The Many Hats of Me

Good Morning,

I realize I have, again, continued to be MIA for longer than I anticipated but I have good reason.

I was finally honest with myself and realized the bloggining community…at least the blogging community I was trying to fit in with…was hurting me more than it was helping.

Even those who write about recovery and seem so positive and uplifting, generally still have a lot of issues that need to be worked out, and were detrimental to my progress in the sense that I continued to compare myself with their photos, struggles, etc.

The people I know who are doing the best in recovery, and happiest in life in-general, are not those writing about it every day, isolated wherever their lap tops are located, but those out in the world actually LIVING.

I do not intend for the above paragraphs to be offensive in any way, just a personal observation and reason for my absense.

All that being said, why is it that I am now writing at 8:30 in the morning on a wednesday? 

Because I felt like it and I love writing.

I have written about 60 posts in the last two months that are either sitting in my documents folder or have been deleted because they didn’t fit into my old blogging “genre.”

I don’t have a genre, nor do I want to, but I do want to continue writing, whether it be publicly somewhere like this, or tucked away for only my eyes to see.

The past few months have brought about many changes in my life, and after a lot of reflection and some seriously difficult therapy, I can finally admit that the person I was most of my adult life was nothing like who I wanted to be. 

I think I, like many college and young twenty-something-year olds, I tried to wear a variety of different hats, because I had no freakin’ idea about my place in the world.

I felt lost in the shuffle because no longer did I have organized athletics, grades, part-time jobs, to fill my time and make me feel accomplished and it was now my responsibility to find a group of friends, a career and routine that worked for me as an adult, and obviously I did not handle it well.

I entered an occupation that was honestly perfect on paper, but was not meant for my talents and/or personal preferences.

I had about zero friends because all the people I spent time with in college moved out of my lame hometown. <—obviously I should have followed their lead 😉

OR I was the complete odd ball because who gets married at 21 and doesn’t want to have kids?!

Anyway, once I started getting in an isolated, depressed funk, it spiraled downward and I was not the capable of digging myself out of the hole.

I relied on my treadmill, cookbooks, and a calorie counter for entertainment and to determine my self-worth and it completely snowballed into poor health, even worse self-esteem and lonliness.

Fortunately I had Ryan by my side every step of the way and he reminded me of all I have to live for, but every day is a struggle.  (Um, or every week is a struggle if you count this one…)

I want to continue to write because I truly do enjoy it and I think my situation is pretty relatable to a lot of people; eating disordered or not, but I am going to reiterate something I have said in the past and that is that I don’t always want to write about food, exercise, etc. because there is a ton more to me than those things.

Personally I prefer Disney World to a pasta recipe, and I would rather dance my butt off to some Mark Knight than be on a treadmill, so when I do write, it could be tips on how to maximize your travel experience while minimizing the cost, or just posting an awesome podcast that is improving my mood.

It could be the fish taco recipe that Ryan raved was the best thing I ever made or it could be an incline work out that I didn’t think was totally lame and boring and that made me feel strong and empowered.

It could be about the killer deal I just snagged at H&M on glitter tights because obviously every woman should have a little sparkle in their wardrobe, or maybe even a devotional I read that really hit home that day.

Who knows, but regardless, I appreciate all the love and support you have given me through this process, variety of topics, and long periods of absence.  Without you, my husband and some very special friends, I don’t even want to think about where my life would be now.

So cheers, because today is a new day and a fresh start…and it’s only two days until the weekend 🙂

Oh My Goodness…NEW POST!

This feels weird.

Sitting down at my computer writing a post, since it has been over a week.

I love blogging.  I have told you that a million times before, but I am learning that sometimes in life it is best to take a step back from the things we enjoy and evaluate our reasoning for what purpose they actually serve.

I don’t think I articulated that as well as I intended, but perhaps an example might provide a clearer picture.

I used to love running.

I started running because it gave Ryan and I something to do together and we competed but in a way that was good for our relationship.  We pushed each other and wanted to improve but not in a destructive sense.

It then became an obsession.

I needed to be faster, go longer, do more in order to have the same positive feelings.

I started to exclude my husband and did races on my own.

I had to do it every day or I felt like a complete loser and a failure if my times were not better than the day before.

Ultimately, it was more of an addiction than a joy.

Anyway, blogging is not like running if you think of it in terms of my physical health, but my point is similar.

One does not die from being at a desk and typing away…even if a person would do that for hours at a time, but for me personally, blogging started to become more of a detriment than an asset to my recovery, because if I didn’t do it on a regular basis I felt like I was the worst journal-er in the universe.  I felt like no one cared and once again I was a big, fat, loser.  Since negative self-talk is NOT my friend, I needed to take some time and figure out what I wanted to do.

I don’t want to give up writing, and I certainly don’t want to eliminate connecting with others; since I have made a ton of friends through this medium and absolutely love helping others by sharing my experiences, but right now I am going to set some boundaries to protect myself, and my own journey because there were aspects of Healthy, Happy, Whole that need to change in order to maintain why I actually started doing this.

So first, just like in many treatment centers, I don’t want to talk numbers.

I LOVE when readers e-mail me, and I truly appreciate the reach out, but a caloric plan that works for me, most likely will not work for you.

Everyone has different needs, various activity levels, dietary requirements and I am certainly not in the position to give advice on any of those things.  I am not a professional, nor have I succeeded at the whole weight-restoration process before.  (I am working on it now though!!!)

As I have done in the past I suggest if you do need more information on meal planning and specifics, please see someone who is licensed and qualified.  They will be able to asses you physically and give you a better idea of what your daily goals should be.

I KNOW…trusting a stranger that is telling you to break all your rules is super scary and you read all these forums that tell you about a Buddha belly and how people gain weight so fast, but I can assure you everyone’s situation is going to be different.  I know plenty of people who never got an inflated tummy…who could barely gain a pound a week…

Your body will respond to treatment and nourishment however it NEEDS to in order to survive.

I am trying to remember this, as well, so please don’t think I am being mean or harsh by stating I cannot discuss my numbers.  I am just trying to be mindful of what will help me, and what I think might help you in the long run, too.

Second, there is a TON more to me than my eating disorder.

If I could tell you the amount of interests I have outside of food and exercise you might be stunned!

Stunned because all I ever talked about on here WAS diet food and physical activity; maybe a bit about travel and my family, but not much else.

Well let me tell you what.

I also like to be-dazzle things.

Yes, I made this sweet cup! I wish you could see the bottom!!!

I like to plan parties.

I like to see my friends on a regular basis.

Watch TV.  (HOMELAND?! I can’t believe I did not watch you sooner!!!)

Read.

Pray.

Practice my faith.

Be outside.

Color.

I mean, really, the list goes on.

I am hoping you all aren’t too bored if I start discussing more of my daily ventures, but they are a huge part of me, so I am done keeping them hidden and I want to explore MORE.

Time to look at recovery as an adventure, not a chore.

I hope you all have been well.  I really have missed my bl-iends, and I am ready to be back!  Maybe not as regularly, but definitely every now and then to give you some tid-bits and tips that are helping me, maybe to share in some of my struggles when I need support, and to show you that life is something to celebrate.

Le Dolce Vita, my friends.

Life is sweet.

Blog Balance

My brain has been spinning lately, about a decision that is really difficult for me to make.

I think Healthy, Happy, Whole is all wrong.

Although I AM on the journey to find balance, I am not anywhere living up to the title (um, obviously), AND I don’t really think predominately writing about food, exercise, and the mental turmoil of ED is helping my recovery.

You see, I started my blog to assist in this process; perhaps as a source of accountability, and as a means to seek out support, but it has not served either of those purposes.

Instead it has been a great additional mask for my friends and family to read and think I was doing much better than the reality, and added to the shame I have because I don’t fit the “perfect” blogger mold.

There is a ton more swirling around my head, but the thoughts are still not anywhere near organized and I will spare you the ridiculous details.

In attempt for me to personally sort through them, I took advantage of the hour long car ride Ryan and I shared on Thursday and sought out some advice.

I explained that I really do LOVE the writing component of my hobby, but I feel like the avenue I am heading down is flawed.

Even though I KNOW I was much more articulate when my brain was well-nourished, writing has always been an interest of mine and it makes me sad that I don’t really get to do it anywhere but on here, so that truly isn’t the issue…it is the content that is no longer fulfilling.

It is boring, tired, and repetitive, and I can imagine getting old for you all to read, as well, because seriously how many times can a person state they are terrified of a sandwich?

(Answer: read my old entries and you will find out.)

All that being said, I think it is time for a new direction.

For the first time in my recovery Ryan and I both agree that my heart is dead-set on establishing a NEW, IMPROVED, life sans eating disorder, and for me that means I will talk about it to my therapist and support team at home, but I don’t really want it to be the central focus of my writing.

This should be an outlet, a medium of expression and development for me…without a nagging a$$hole attached to my hip.

  • And that me loves music, dance, my family, cooking, horrifically trashy television, old movies like Pretty In Pink and Grease, while also being kind of obsessed with animated Disney Films and musicals like HSM (don’t hate).
  • A more healthy me likes peanuts on her frozen yogurt because the added salt is freakin’ fantastic.
  • Reads books and actually cares/comprehends and cares what they say.
  • I will also don’t particularly like the treadmill, and would prefer the park or taking a fitness class.
  • I make up songs about Ryan that I like to sing when he is being too quiet.
  • I plan lavish vacations that we cannot afford at this current moment but trust me, we will take them later.
  • I think Target is the best store ever put on this planet because they have pretty much everything your heart could desire and the Red Card is like a license to shop! (hello, 5% off all purchases?!)
  • I love my Lulu Lemon Yoga pants but sometimes I just want to put on my favorite, huge UVA Sweats I got for 7 dollars at the college book store because there was a hole in the crotch. (Woops, still haven’t sewn that!)
  • And I really don’t care if I ever run a marathon because the entry fees are ridiculous and I don’t think anyone at my funeral is going to give a dissertation on my running capabilities. (I really never thought I would say that, by the way!…AND I absolutely respect all my favorite runners out there…I just would rather dance 🙂 )

I realize that was a completely random list of stuff, but the point is I am working on re-establishing ME, and that’s what I want this blog to portray. If that means I post a recipe one day and random ramblings about school chaos the next, so be it. It doesn’t mean I am going to completely STOP writing about my struggles, because they are definitely a major part of my life, but I have personally pigeon-holed myself into a category I would like to relinquish.

I am more than just a girl with an eating disorder.

P.S. If you are in need of support, I am still here and totally understand. I just needed to get off my chest that changes HAVE to be made in ALL areas of my life in order for me to truly GET BETTER. Since this blog is very important to me, being more flexible in this forum seemed like it might be constructive 🙂

Friends and Face A Fear Friday

Let’s talk about taking advantage of what works.

I have tried a great many things in recovery that do not work, but there are a few tricks I have up my sleeve that, to this point, have never failed me if I actually utilize them appropriately.

I will give you an example, because I knew this week would be difficult, so when I did have moments of strength, I mustered up every ounce of courage in my body and committed to a success plan.

A few days ago I made arrangements with a friend to hang out after school.

We were to meet on the day I had to get up extra early and take Ryan to the airport, which in theory was perfect because I knew this day would especially be a struggle for a few reasons.

I was jealous of him taking a trip, feeling a little resentful because I have like 0 vacation time at my job, and anytime he walks out the door for more than a second, ED loves to try to weasel his way in by nagging me about restriction, how I should be running again, etc.

And no surprise here, I was right in my anticipation that Wednesday would be hard because immediately my normal, “workout, breakfast, safety net,” was disheveled by the hour and fifteen minutes I had in the car.

By 7 a.m. I felt like I overate, under-exercised and just looked like a freakin’ mess because I felt so poorly.

This might sound ridiculous; being so shaken up by one morning of 15 minutes less on the treadmill, but working on my ability to be flexible has proven to be one of my most troubling challenges.

Anyway, for hours I tried to figure out how to cancel my evening agenda.

What if she wants to go to dinner? What if I am tired and get home too late and my routine is “ruined” once again?

The healthy part of me…or the part of me that wants to get healthy?…really wanted to go out with Brielle.

Actually, that small positive voice really wanted dinner and some frozen yogurt but Ed just kept interjecting saying what a pest I was, how my friend probably did not want to spend time with me anyway, and I should probably just cancel to take a walk after school and eat something that was comfortable (aka boring.)

Finally, I sent her a text asking if we were still on.

When she responded with a yes I was torn, but in my heart I REALLY wanted to see her.

This particular female is one of my favorites to be around.

You can absolutely think I am weird for saying this but I think there are certain people we are just drawn to through connections that are pretty instantaneous.

The first time we met I enjoyed talking to her and realized how much we had in common, but in almost every situation where we were together, we were also with our significant others. In this instance I was looking forward to spending a night just the girls chatting and getting to know one another of a different level, because to be honest, I don’t really have many femakefriends.

So long story short, I really wanted to hang out, was just kind of panicky because ED is a douc*e bag.

When she asked what I had in mind for the night I again was flustered but thank goodness was honest and told her if I was coming her way I would really like to have some fro-yo.

At this current time my town doesn’t have a self-serve fro-yo which is pretty much a tragedy, but Sweet Frog recently opened close to her home and obviously this was a fantastic opportunity for me to enjoy my favorite treat…

(P.S. if you live near me you will be happy to know YoFresh is opening SOON! I know I can’t wait!!! Facebook them for more info 🙂 )

To my happiness, she was also in the mood for some frozen deliciousness, as well and suggested we grab some sushi before.

Seriously, I knew I liked her!

Those are two of my absolute favorite things, so enjoying them with a friend seemed like the PERFECT night.

As soon as I pulled in the driveway, petted her puppies, and we started to talk my mind was at ease.

…At the restaurant I tried some new fish, ordered a double seaweed salad even though the negative mind told me no.

…And at Sweet Frog I mixed several flavors, some that were on my “un-safe” list, and went with toppings other than fruit.

(Just as a side note, does anyone else think pretzels make one of the best adornments ever?! You know I love my sweet and salty concoctions!)

But aside from the food, the most important portion of the night, to me, was our conversation.

It was so nice to be around someone I feel is intelligent, interesting and encouraging.

I look forward to having more of these nights, and it just proved to me that sometimes surrounding yourself with positive influences, friends that will be with you regardless of a dress size, those who will lift you up rather than feed into the horrific stream of negative thoughts, can be the best medicine, or aid in recovery.

Friends work.

Support works.

Stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something even though your natural instinct says NOOOOO!!!

These things work.

Continuing behaviors out of fear and habit….not so much.

I kind of like these theme days this week so today is Face A Fear Friday.

What are you going to challenge today?

A Great Debate

Your comments and e-mails yesterday reminded me why I enjoy blogging; because of the community.  The support and camaraderie that comes with social media is often a wonderful wonderful resource when it comes to building relationships and getting help. 

For the most part I have had a tremendous experience in the virtual world, but I was reminded recently of why blogging can sometimes be tricky.

As most of you know Healthy Living Summit is just around the corner.

I went last year and enjoyed my time so much I was absolutely positive I wanted to return, and I still do, but Ryan is extremely hesitant about me obtaining another ticket and booking a room.

It is not that he is trying to prevent me from having fun and seeing the amazing friends I met because of my attendance, but he is worried about what I represent at this current time.

As I have mentioned before, the feedback I received after posting about my trip last August proved that I was not the physical epitome of health.

My body was relatively frail, my hair and skin were extremely dry and brittle and I looked kind of old and hagred rather than a vibrant woman in her early-twenties. 

Similar to my current situation, I felt completely fine and like I was doing extremely well with recovery; enjoying fro-yo and the provided meals at the conference without much difficulty, but I was also not eating near enough to repair the damage I had done to my body and my exercise was a bit excessive compared to what my team was recommending.

All I wanted to do was fit in with all the amazing women that I admired so much from reading their stories on-line, that I failed to realize my individual needs may have been a little different; i.e. you cannot run 6-7 miles a day when you are trying to gain back your health, post-anorexia.

Long story short, I feel very torn at what to do as far as trying to go to HLS.

I learned so much, met fantastic people, made fabulous memories and truly LOVED every single second, but at the same time I feel like I am being a total hypocrite showing up when health doesn’t really describe me at all, mentally or physically.

But maybe I could use it as motivation?

There are still several weeks until Boston and it could provide inspiration to stay on track.

But then that pesky and negative voice enters my mind and says, “You know getting healthy means gaining weight and all the “friends” you think you made are going to judge you for being a lazy, fat, slob.”

Oh how I love the meanness of ED.

Yay for tomorrow being Friday.  I am hoping to get some pictures downloaded and a few trip posts together in the next few days.  Thank you all for asking about our vacation and the encouragement after yesterday’s post.

Have a great rest of the day!!

Quality Over Quantity

Why is it that the work week seems so long but weekends pass in the blink of an eye?

It didn’t used to be like that for me, when I dreaded the downtime of Saturdays and Sundays, a lack of schedule and a constant stream of negative thoughts that just would not relent.

But this weekend was nice; difficult, but nice.

Friday I actually enjoyed a refreshing twenty-minute nap after school, unplanned but perfect to prepare me for Ryan and my night at the movies.

I have immense trouble going to theaters because I am not good at sitting for an extended period of time, and I never seem to be able to pay full attention when my mind is racing with billions of thoughts.

This Friday, however, we saw Man on a Ledge, and it was fantastic!

I know it didn’t get stellar reviews but I am telling you, Ryan and I sat on the end of our seats for the majority of the film.  It was suspenseful, entertaining and an awesome way to spend an evening.

We both agreed it was one of the best movies we have seen lately, so if you are looking for something to do, I highly recommend it.

Saturday I began my day with some Zumba, got my nails done, and made my way to the grocery store for our weekly trip.  It was conveniently located next to a Target so of course I had to venture through the aisles and spend a bit more than I anticipated.

I really should know better than to ever enter those doors because I cannot seem to go into Target without finding something I “need.”  And this time, I was so excited to FINALLY get my hands on this:

pic.twitter.com/iJQRK8eM

I have tried the new flavors of “adult” CHO (Apple-Cinnamon, whoa, amazing!!!) but I had been DYING to try the Vanilla-Chocolate Chunk Champions.

Just as I suspected, it did not disappoint…but really, does Chobani ever let me down?  Absolutely not.

How could I help myself but to pick up two packs???

Thank goodness I had a coupon!

I came home to spend some time with Ryan before he had to head to work.

He leaves in less than a week for Colorado and we both have a lot on our minds.  We spent the afternoon having a discussion that was insanely difficult and hopefully awakening, but it wasn’t a conversation I was prepared for, or necessarily one hundred percent receptive.

I will definitely be less cryptic later this week, as far as what the discussion entailed, but for now, I am still majorly processing the content.

Sometimes I think my brain has so much information swirling through, it has trouble actually sorting something that is super important.

Hopefully I can become a little more clear, and then a little less vague with all of you.

You have been very helpful lately and sometimes writing is much easier than actually articulating things verbally.  Thank you for these past few weeks of being so supportive.  As I have said before, you will never know how much of an asset you all have been 🙂

After Ryan left for the hospital I had totally planned on cleaning, but that just did not happen.

I spent a very lazy Saturday night, really looking forward to my Sunday. <— Is that weird?!

I did not go to Zumba, but instead opted for an early lunch with one of my very good friends from childhood.

Jill was two years older than me through school, but she and I still had a great relationship and frequently enjoyed casual dinners at the diner in our town. There we would talk about boys, school, friends, family, pretty much anything and everything on our minds.

My friendship with Jill was special because I always looked up to her, trusted, and sought her advice.

She was so beautiful, inside and out, and served as a major role-model throughout my high school years.

When she went to college and we transitioned into adulthood, we didn’t see or talk to each other nearly as much as I would have liked, but a few weeks ago she reached out to me after reading about the immense struggle I was having with myself, and suggested we meet to catch up.

I was so glad she did.  Just seeing her put my mind at ease, and I felt an instantaneous comfort that was so familiar and welcome.

As our outing progressed things just got better; she was a wonderful listener, gave great insight, and as in the past, I was inspired by her strength.

I was so glad to see Jill, and it really was a much-needed way to wrap up my weekend.

I know I am not that adventurous or exciting in my weekend wrap-ups, but one thing I have learned, especially lately, is it is not always the quantity of things we do, but the quality.

…obviously that can be applicable to nearly all things in life…

Low key and filled with loved ones; pretty much the best use of time, ever.

Why I Blog

Last week when I was obviously shaken up at my nutrition appointment about the jump on the scale, my dietician and I had a talk about blogging.

I had told her that sometimes comments people make can affect me in one way or another and she asked if I thought it might be a good idea to take a few steps back from public documentation of my journey and maybe just reflect on things personally.

I actually considered it for about thirty minutes, when I realized why I love blogging, the community, and what it has done for me in the past few months (well years if you consider how long I have been reading).

When I first started to read I felt kind of weird explaining the new hobby to my husband.

I was fascinated by the lives of people I didn’t even know and actually felt like we could be friends.

I learned about new foods, exercise routines, clothing brands, a whole world of people who had similar interests to me!

And then I progressively got worse and deeper into my disorder and was unfortunately planted in the hospital where they are usually not too keen on you reading about “healthy living,” weight-loss, exercise, or anything that could potentially be a trigger.

In residential I wasn’t even allowed near a damn computer so to keep up to date on these things was completely out of the question.

Now I will admit, and I think some of you might need to think about this portion carefully because I know how it is to read about other’s lives and want them to be your own.

You want to be as fast or run marathons.

You want to be able to have all these sweet gadgets that cost oodles of money, or foods that just may be beyond your means.

I KNOW what it feels like to want all those things and then get down on yourself because that just may not be where you are in life right now.

For me, I read all the marathon recaps, running statistics, people able to put together balanced meals and still look absolutely fabulous and I just think, “Oh my gosh why can’t I be like that!”

But that is not what blogging is about.

I never ever ever write things to make others feel bad.

I never explain my situations or ideas thinking that someone else should completely adopt my way and emulate my life in any shape or form.

In fact, I desperately hope that people can take what I post, and use it to help them avoid being in similar scenarios, or to help show that you are not alone in feeling lost, hopeless or just completely unbalanced and struggling.

I blog because through reading others, finding specific people who inspire me, I have come to terms with what I NEED to do, and where I NEED to go, to earn everything I have always admired and strived for; health.

Through this cyber world I have made both virtual and real friends that are beyond my conception of amazing.

Anytime I need support I know I can call to any one of these ladies and they will understand or be able to say the right thing to make me push through even the most dark situations.

I blog because I want to be that for someone else.

I never want to trigger, or hurt you, or make you sad.

I want to be there if you need me, and in a sense, anyone who reads this is helping me, because I am accountable to someone other than my family who has shown that they will love me no matter what.

When I get negative comments; “You are ugly, you look old, you are selfish…” it only tells me I need to do better and pushes me to re-evaluate my choices or personal recovery plan.

So thank you readers, friends, and bl-amily.

You have helped me so much and I only wish I can pay that forward in some way.

Have a super Monday and remember to PTG!!!!