You’re So Vain

Do you have an eating disorder because you want to be skinny?

No.

Honestly, that might be one of the biggest misconceptions about eating disorders and I would like to debunk that myth right now.

If I go back to the very beginning of my sickness; the root, when I was a little girl, I did ask my mom how to effectively go on a diet, but at 7 I was worried about what my family thought, not if society deemed me as having a nice body.  (Um, what is a nice body for a 7-year-old anyway?!)

When my grandfather told me I needed to cut out the ice cream cones because I was getting fat, I did so because I wanted his approval, I wanted him to love me, and thought if I continued enjoying my mixed cones with sprinkles I would no longer be acceptable to the people I looked up to the most.

When I realllllly started to lose weight and get sick in my senior year of college, things started spiraling downward as I trained for races, and my wedding grew near.  Sure, I wanted to look good in my dress, but my behaviors were not driven by a desire to be a skeleton.  They were more about feeling in control as so many changes within my life occurred, or punishment for my beliefs that I was unworthy as a person, and failing miserably as an adult.

Anorexia is not a disease of vanity, and it hurts me to think there are still people out there who believe that it is.  Although I cannot give you concrete proof this statement, I can tell you when I looked in the mirror at the time when my weight was the lowest, I still saw the same girl from college that I perceived as overweight and gluttonous.

Because of that, I either a. avoided the mirror or b. just considered myself the most disgusting/lazy person in the world and tried not to draw attention to myself.

Now, I still have horrific body image, even though I don’t look like I am knocking on death’s door.  Sadly, I am not alone.  Most people in recovery, despite the fact that they look 84576746 times better than when they were frail and undernourished (you do not have to be underweight to be undernourished, BTW) will tell you they feel like a beached whale 90%+ of the time, BUT I can see things a little more clearly, and I am trying to use this to my advantage.

Vanity was not the cause or the driving force behind why I used ED behaviors, but it is now becoming my motivation to get rid of them.

Let me explain.

I spend a lot of time at clubs on the weekends.

Women at these venues are freakin’ hot.

Some of my best friends are beautifully built, wear the coolest clothes, and although have their insecurities in certain areas (who doesn’t), exude confidence I think is super sexy.

Anyway, I love fashion.  I always have, but you would never be able to tell because the body of a child is not fitting into the awesome sequined dresses I frequently admire.

Many of my friends have gorgeous flowing hair that makes them look so feminine and can be styled in ways I could only dream of.

Mine breaks off at the end and has one option other than the boring, flat, variety I normally have going on.

And all of them wear shoes that belong on the runway, which I would have proudly worn as well, if you would have seen me pre-osteopenia; when I did not have back problems or constant pain.

Me Too Flats I love you, but I miss my favorite Patent Black Leather Wedge heels.

I am not saying you NEED to have the latest styles, tiny outfits and full locks to feel good about yourself, but if we are being honest, what female, or person in general, doesn’t want to feel physically attractive sometimes?

Of course it is the inside content, and our hearts that are more important, but like I said, if I am being completely open, I would like to feel pretty again.

Pretty to me is not always about body size…because as I have explained my perception of that is definitely skewed, or non-existent, but I would love to put on a dress and have it fit me in just the right places where I am excited to show my husband.

So my motivation for today; especially after I am feeling HORRIBLE about myself for chosing a very challenging breakfast, is that I want to feel strong, sexy, and maybe have shiny, rather than course and brittle hair.

Yes, the things I have written in this post are completely vain, and I do still believe confidence and a smile are the best accessories, but it is hard to look genuinely happy when you are cru-ngry and dead tired because you ran seven miles 6 days in a row.

On that note, time to take a little nap and start the weekend off right!

Happy Thursday!

Pho With Friends!

Yesterday, I saw my outpatient nutritionist for this first time since April.

(Insert annoyed/angry/scolding remarks here)

I was working with someone else while I was in program but that doesn’t give me an excuse for why I had not returned to my regular dietician once I was let go.

Anyway, all that aside she sat back in her chair and looked at me in astonishment after our encounter.

“Where is the girl I used to know?  This is either too good to be true or you are completely bull-s*itting me.”

I can assure you none of what I told her was malarkey, but she caught me at a good time.

ED apparently wasn’t feeling horrible about the decisions I made that day and I have a really fun weekend at Soundgarden Hall coming up, so my mind was more focused on seeing my friends and some seriously amazing trance acts, that the ED thoughts were relatively quiet.

Anyway, we got to talking about changes that have occurred in my life that could have potentially flipped the switch to me actually wanting to get better for ME, rather than only seeing her because my family basically forced it.

Off the top of my head I could think of a couple of things that have pretty much opened up my world; pho, music, dance and God. <—In no particular order, of course.

You might laugh at the first three, but let me explain…

There is one common denominator in those things that my very insightful nutritionist pointed out; FRIENDS…PEOPLE…being social and interactive with other human-beings.

Holy shmoly, you mean isolating alone with my treadmill is not fun?!

I can tell you for a fact, NO it is not fun, regardless of how much my distorted mind told me it was.

Anyway, she asked me about my experiences with Pho, since that is a very new food to me…

“It’s delicious…I eat it probably twice a week…it is the perfect food before going out…my friends and I really like to go together…you know, four number 70’s all around….”

Let’s analyze my statement…

I like Pho because it tastes good.  It makes my body feel great and is awesome fuel before going to do an activity I love for the pure enjoyment of the beat, who I am with, and the passion of the DJ’s, not the caloric burn.  I ALWAYS go with friends.  We typically all order the same thing.  No menu alterations, no weird-ass requests to not cook things in butter or oil, or to leave the noodles out…

That is a pretty good list of WHY Pho is quite possibly my new favorite food, but as my wonderful clinician pointed out, the key element to my words, was that it included my FRIENDS…people I trust and genuinely care about…people I do not feel judged by at all…

She made a suggestion:

Let’s make food fun!

Let’s make food fun by eating with my new-found friends, perhaps before one of our many epic evenings out.  What a perfect scenario to challenge the last few things on my fear food list!

Obviously the point here is not about Pho, or any other specific food item, but more about the minute changes that can be made to make this process SOMEWHAT easier.

Friends, music, dance and prayer make it more tolerable for me.

I would love to explore these other elements in future posts, but for now, remember life is better when not spent completely alone.

Isolation is like a breeding ground for eating disorders, and so perhaps when I am struggling the most; when I really do not want to be around another person AT ALL, is when I need to reach out the most.

It sounds like my nutritionist is more like a therapist…and actually, kind of like a friend 🙂 which I would not have any other way.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!! It is snowing here in the northeast so definitely a perfect day for Pho 😉

The Truth

I got an e-mail the other night with a question that made me think I am not necessarily giving the WHOLE picture of what my process is like at this current moment.

She asked how I am dealing with the weight gain because that is an aspect of her recovery that is proving to be a major challenge.

Honestly, the increased body size SUCKS.

Like it, f*cking sucks.

I use the F-word here because I don’t know if I can accurately convey to you how much I HATE the FEELINGS I have about my tummy pooch and an increased number on the scale.

And if I am going to completely confess where I am today, in this moment, I am not handling the poundage well.

My two past posts have been pretty positive, and that is because I was feeling great when I wrote them.

I am not feeling completely horrible or hopeless today, but last night I would be omitting a major truth if I did not tell you I actually pounded my fist on the floor in frustration because I felt like a lazy-ass for sitting around watching Christmas movies all day, and basically sleeping most of Saturday.

As Ryan looked at me with annoyance, because my progress is not nearly as fast as it should be, I kept telling him, “If only I could gain the weight healthily!!! I just want to have muscle and stop eating junk, and have nice arms, and look nice in clothing, and not have these rolls on my stomach, and….”

The list went on and he tried and tried to reframe but my mind was made up; I was a fat load and all I would ever want to eat was cookies.

Looking back I can be a little more rational and say I do like cookies, and I do have a cookie, or another sweet item (at least) once a day.

I like to end my meal with something delicious and dessert-y, probably because in 20 years of my life, I never did so.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and this does not mean my diet is only junk food.  In fact I made a pretty healthy, balanced and delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup last night for dinner, inspired by my favorite celebrity chef, Rocco Dispirito, but at the time I was having my little temper tantrum, cookies were all I could remember, and fat was all I could feel.

On a happier note these moments of irrationality are getting less and less frequent, but I still have way more pounds than I would like to admit to go and that means there are going to be some rough days.

Can I do it?

Yes.

Will I do it?

Yes, but kicking and screaming because my brain is still pretty warped by the ED mind-set.

I don’t really have an answer to the question of how to effectively deal with the weight-gain because I still struggle with that problem myself.  Talking to someone about it helps; someone you trust who will help remind you of all you are working for, but I can’t guarantee you will see the light at that very moment, just pray it will pass and keep doing the RIGHT, HEALTHY things, you know in your heart YOU NEED to get back on track.

I know it will be worth it, because the best things in life don’t come for free, but that does not make this process any easier and I totally get that, but for those of you out there in the same boat as me, or who are dealing with something else that is equally as challenging, remember you are not alone and support is literally, your best friend.

Happy Monday, loves.

Nothing Like In School

Were you like me?  One of those weird people who loved taking tests in school because you got a thrill from studying and then immense satisfaction if all the hard work paid off?

I loved tests like that.  I hate tests in life.

What do I mean?

Well, the past few days have thrown me some curve balls.

On Monday I had my weekly medical appointment, where I did not do as well numerically as I needed to.

I was pretty shocked considering I followed my meal plan well and challenged myself A LOT over the weekend, but apparently my efforts were not as lucrative as I hoped.

Monday was also the end of my two-week contract at Hershey, which stated that if I did not meet the terms I was supposed to go to an inpatient unit to gain the weight needed to be admitted to a PHP program (technically I should have gone to inpatient a few weeks ago since I meet the criteria specified by charts and books and all those fun things.)

My family and I decided inpatient is not where I need to be, since I am doing very well mentally, working super hard at challenging myself in my diet, gave up my treadmill key and have become very much more assertive and aware of what makes me happy outside of my eating disorder.

(Just to clarify, the eating disorder is not one of the things that provides joy!)

Instead, we opted for a more strict “hospital-at-home” approach…speciffying that despite these fabulous mental strides, we still cannot deny or avoid the obvious.  Pounds still need to be gained in order for my body to perform optimally and function normally again, meaning there is a new contract in the Weaber household and a larger outpatient team has been put in place to facilitate it.

***********************************************************

Anyway, let’s go back to Monday and the fact that my PHP counselor told Ryan we all needed to discuss the new “Weaber Contract” Tuesday when I got to program.

On my drive I popped a tire and was late, which I HATE HATE HATE more than anything in the world.

And then I get there halfway into lunch so I am rushing, then forced to finish in my *old* therapist’s office as I am told about the contract breach and our new plan. (Old news, I know you read that a few paragraphs ago…)

I get to my residence and a few hours later a family crisis occurs that, since it did not happen to me directly, I will not really go into detail on here, but I will say it affects me and Ryan VERY VERY much, and will bring more changes that I don’t know if I am ready for.

Then, the following day, my mom, sister and I decided to have lunch at a local eatery before she was to head back to New Jersey.  My biological father (who I only met for the first time 2 years ago and have had about zero contact since) my brother, and my uncle, were all sitting at a table by the door.

My brother, who I love so much and think he is totally fabulous (just met him 2 years ago, as well) waved sheepishly as I am sure he felt super awkward too, but my dad just looked the other way and did not acknowledge my presence at all.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly hurt by the snub, but you know what, I am very blessed to have wonderful men in my life, and a Poppy, that take care of me just fine.

Anyway, these few little blips would have EASILY sent me in a downward spiral before, but with the help of my friends and support team I am trying to look at them differently.

Similar to having a test in school, life’s snaffus are an opportunity to learn.

I may not always see it that way initially; for example I was pretty angry with the lack of love from my gene pool, but it is absolutely a perfect opportunity to use my re-framing skills.

So were the few other things that happened on Monday and Tuesday…

My tire popped…

This was the first time this ever happened to me, so it forced me to call On-Star, problem solve on the spot and encouraged me to take a lesson in putting on a spare.

It also reminded me that perhaps a tool kit in my trunk is not the worst idea ever.

Having to be more responsible for my meal plan and minimizing activity at home is going to present a challenge, but it gives me a chance to practice the skills I have at coping with stress sans treadmill, explore hobbies outside physical endurance, and in my opinion, could be a sign from God that I just need to DO IT.

Easier said than done, but with a lot of accountability measures put into place, I am confident that I can accomplish my goals.

Seeing John was difficult, as well, but it made me do some soul-searching yesterday that I wasn’t necessarily prepared to do before.

I used to think I didn’t care at all about him; that I was blessed enough to have the wonderful family and friends that ARE present in my life.

And I do still feel incredibly lucky and appreciate every single one of those amazing people, but it doesn’t change the fact that my heart hurts and I feel abandoned by the man who provided me with half my genetics.

I used to think that was weak to admit, and stupid or ungrateful, but now I realize the sad reaction is pretty natural considering we have lived in the same town for 25 years, stood right next to each other on many occasions, look i-freaking-dentical, and he still denied the fact that I was his, or paid no attention, like I was invisible.

These actions, or lack of actions, on his part made me feel like I had some sort of defect; that I was not good enough for his affection, and although I cannot change the past or how I felt, I can absolutely learn to ACCEPT that this was my familial situation and tell myself more positive things like, “perhaps he has issues to deal with that have nothing to do with me and that caused him to be such a jerk…”

Instead of ruminating on the negative things that go on sometimes; a popped tire, not meeting a goal even though I put forth a ton of effort and followed directions, not having someone want to be with me even though there isn’t anything inherently wrong with my character…

I am going to take these things and use them as practice to continue loving and caring for myself, just as I would want for my best friend, husband, or random stranger on the street.

I deserve the same treatment as others and that is a pretty new concept to me, but the second I restrict my food intake, abuse my aching body by excessive exercise; that is when I let the people who hurt my feelings win, or when I let the hardships that everyone in the world experiences at some point or another, move me down to a lower place.

I was always a really good student in school, so why can’t that translate into adult life?

Answer: It can, and it will!

Happy Thursday, friends!  One more day until the weekend 🙂

Counting Blessings Not Calories

Last night I sat on my floor, eating my snack, next to my heater (I cannot wait until this thing doesn’t have to be attached to my hip as I enjoy my smoothies!!!) and was having a minor breakdown because it was earlier than usual.

What I mean is, instead of me only being hungry for snack around 8:45, I was ready for it at 8.

Who cares, right?! 45 minutes, what is the big deal?

The truth of the matter is, I am hungry pretty much all the time right now and it is freaking me out.

Sleep, eat, sleep, eat…it seems that those are the two biggest time segments in my daily schedule and both of those things are uncomfortable for me because they invoke feelings of being fat and lazy.

So because I was struggling with the “too early” snack-attack, my mind automatically started to tabulate my caloric intake for the day.

*How nutrient calculation was a comforting coping skill, I really don’t understand!

Since I am not eating many products with labels or preparing much of my own food (more on those things later) my ED brain had to rely on estimations for easy addition.

Typically I tend to overestimate so as the mental number climbed higher and higher, my stress level went through the roof!

Then, on Parenthood, the show I was watching on my DVR at that moment, Christina hugged her husband as she told him some pretty terrible medical news.

He held her in his arms as she sobbed and I could not help but think of Ryan, who was at that moment working in the Medical Intensive Care Unit, trying to help others LIVE.

A wave of guilt flooded my mind and I scolded myself for the internal “myfitnesspal” that needed to turn off.

From a fictional TV show I was reminded that getting healthy is extremely important not just for my life, but for my family.

I love Ryan with all I have and I am sick of us not being able to participate in the world because I am so rigid and un-well.

A good friend helped me realize that although I used to make lists of what the eating disorder has taken from me, and use that as motivation to get through difficult times, perhaps I should change the focus of my inspiration…

Maybe instead, I should recollect the things recovery is GIVING me back.

For me getting well means traveling, ENJOYING the culture in which I am visiting.

It means more time with friends, and not having a break down if they want to go for a spontaneous trip for frozen yogurt, which happens to be off my time schedule for eating (the horror!!)

It means doing physical activity for fun, taking hikes as the leaves change and cross-country skiing on the first good snow.

It means dancing whenever the heck I like and going to Tomorrowland, which I currently happen to have as a goal of mine for next year  😉

(I am still obsessed with the after-movie, obviously!)

It means I will be alive past the age of thirty and get to enjoy days with my family and friends because I am no longer damaging my organs and disrespecting the body God gave me.

It means endless opportunities and I personally think this list sounds much more exciting than one containing the downers of a life with ED.

Yay for motivation on a Monday 🙂

Bring on week two!

What do you use as inspiration to accomplish your goals??

Get Ready!

Today was my last day of work for a while and it was CRAZY! Non-stop bill paying, money counting, depositing, dotting “i’s” and crossing “t’s,” whatever you want to say to describe the random tasks that swept through my office in my 9 hour presence.

This was a good thing in some respects because it didn’t allow me much time to acknowledge how terrified I am to start program tomorrow.

I opted to do a partial hospitalization so I could sleep at home and not, once again, be hours away from the man I love, but I have to meet some pretty strict rules and stipulations in the next few weeks for the professionals on my team to allow me to continue down that path.

Initially, they suggested me going to the Denver Eating Disorder Clinic because apparently it is one of the best in the world, but I am a firm believer that it doesn’t matter where I am, I have to put my best foot forward and kick this thing once in for all.

I can definitely admit I needed a little extra help/support, but if I am willing to make the necessary changes at home (which I am!) then I HAVE to give it a shot, because I KNOW I am strong and can conquer this disease.

How is that for confidence, right?!

Anyway, I just wanted to stop in and say hello and fully admit the fear I have about tomorrow…the lack of treadmill usage…the foreign foods that will enter my body…and a caloric amount that makes my heart beat a million miles an hour with anxiety.

So please, wish me luck, friends.  You guys have been amazingly helpful and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate all your kind words 🙂

Happy Tuesday!!!

Flip Side Of The Same Coin

Have you ever seen Extreme Home Makeover Weight Loss Edition?

I love it.

And before you judge, because I know what you are thinking; “why is this girl watching a show that could potentially trigger her or give her more tips on insane diets and workouts?!?!” I think you should really have a look.

Why?

Because I want Chris Powell to be my life coach.

First of all, I truly believe eating disorders on opposite ends of the spectrum; compulsive eating/obesity, and anorexia/anorexia athletica, are pretty much the same, just physically manifest in different ways.

This was proven to me as I watched episode 1, featuring Jacki, who described exactly what goes on in my mind more articulately than I could ever explain, when she was explaining her situation.

Food was her coping mechanism and a mask to cover up her feelings of inadequacy and fears of failure.

She could ignore her obvious problem because she never chose to look. Secretly knowing what was there she avoided mirrors, didn’t put herself out there, or go many public places because then she would have to acknowledge the feelings that were behind the abuse that lead to physical destruction.

And then I saw her poor husband interviewed, talking about his profession as a firefighter and parademic who sees people die every single day, which breaks his heart because he worries that too could be his wife in an instant.

Oh my goodness I cried like a baby.

That is Ryan!

THAT IS RYAN, THAT IS RYAN, THAT IS RYAN!!!

And I cannot hear him say those words because I am so damn stubborn, even though they have left his lips so many times.

So Jacki returns and says there are times where she has thought of divorce, not because she doesn’t love him but because she thinks he is the greatest in the world and she feels like she is a huge hindrance on his life.

…I am ashamed to admit this but I have often asked Ryan if he wanted a divorce for Jacki’s very same reason.

She wrote to Chris Powell, knowing the fight to gain her health back would be incredible, and he came into her life with a plan that would intimidate the hell out of anyone in their right mind.

BUT she achieved the immense goal they both agreed upon, and not only did she look fantastic at the end, but she had a glow/attitude that I so desperately want.

She closed the show saying how it really didn’t matter how much weight she lost, because if she didn’t make a transformation inside, she would still be an empty shell lacking empowerment and self-love.

This is so so so true.

Not only do I need to change my exterior; I need to completely reconstruct my interior.

Chris did a fabulous job helping her with that monumental task because this man did not just take her to a gym and say “ok, we need to work out for 834583 hours and burn X amount of calories.”

He challenged her with things that would alter her perception of what she could do, achieve, and obtain.

He wanted her to face her fears and become a WHOLE person again.

Chris, can you please come help me? Because it’s not fair that I ask Ryan to be my husband, nurse, friend, therapist, nutritionist, motivational speaker, etc.

Maybe this is me admitting I can’t successfully complete my journey alone; I don’t really know, but it was interesting to see my feelings, and thoughts being so openly expressed on national TV; maybe even a bit eye-opening.