30 Things That are More Important Than my Pant Size.

So yesterday, I reached a precipice:

I had an important meeting to go to… the kind that you can’t wear yoga pants or leggings to.  Which meant digging through my closet to find ACTUAL clothes.

Sometimes being a grown up isn’t fun.

Anyways, I found 3 pairs of pants:

  1. A pair of thai pants… anyone who knows what thai pants are knows that these gems, while super comfortable, make leggings look like business suits.
  2. A pair of sweats… a skip from casual leggings to the lazy Saturday, not-leaving-the-house wear.
  3. A pair of pants I bought around January/February of this year. Wrinkled, but nothing an iron wouldn’t fix.

Obviously, I had to go with the third option.  While to many, this is a non-stressful endeavor, for me, trying on clothes that I haven’t worn in a long time produces tons of anxiety.

Will they still fit?

Has my body changed?

I see fat accumulating on the daily, but they say it’s not an accurate perception.  What if this is my worst fear come true?  An enforcement that what I see is really what’s there?

If I do put them on, and they don’t fit, how will I react?

Will it be the start of more restriction?  A more intense exercise regime?  A reinstatement of my old eating disordered ways?

How will I cope with this?

Regardless, I had to put on the pants.  I built myself up while ironing them, popped a few benzodiazepenes (kidding), and tried to tell myself it would all be okay.

And guess what?

The stupid things didn’t fit.

Correction:  The stupid things didn’t fit the SAME as they fit at the beginning of January.

So let me clarify something… your brain doesn’t store useless information, or stuff that is deemed unimportant.  That’s why, if someone asks you what you ate on September 1st, the most likely response would be something along the lines of:

“WTF, I have no idea?!  Why the heck does it matter?”

And believe it or not, what your body looks like on a day to day, minute to minute basis is pretty useless information.  I mean, your brain is much more preoccupied with keeping your heart beating and remembering how to get home from work so you don’t end up half way to Alaska.  THAT my friends is useful information!

Hence, the argument of many eating disordered patients of, “I swear my stomach has grown two inches since the last time I looked in the mirror!” is pretty unfounded.  The brain plays tricks, the disorder plays tricks, and creates a fictional perception of what you looked like before based on what you BELIEVE you looked like before, and what SEEMS logical in your brain.

Regardless though, the facts lie in the fabric:  my pants were tighter in certain places.  While I can’t remember EXACTLY specifically how the pants fit, because again, useless information, I remember them being a touch looser around my thighs, and butt.

The argument of me is instantly:

The argument of the boyfriend is: “It FITS you, instead of being baggy.  They look good!”

It’s not a drastic change, but it’s a change nonetheless.

In ED recovery, one of the hardest things is coping with a changing body, even if its changing for all the right reasons.  There’s the constant comparison between where you were and where you are now.  You have to make peace with yourself, inwardly and outwardly.  That includes accepting that your body wants to be a certain size and shape, and you have very little control over that if you want to live life as a normal person and not as a crazy food-and-exercise obsessed control freak.

That also includes accepting that the clothes you had when you were disordered, or the clothes you had even before your disorder might, or more likely than not, won’t fit.  AND knowing that that doesn’t mean you’re ballooning, anymore than it means you’re fat.  And even if you are, is that the worst thing you could be?

You also have to decide what you’re willing to give up to create the life you want.

In a world of people telling you to never give up, to push yourself to the limit, and to strive for nothing short of perfection, I am your antithesis.  It is impossible to create a life that is filled with everything.  You can’t have your cake and eat it too.  Something’s gotta give.  _______ (Insert other overused historical/film quote here).

The same thing applies to eating disorders, or rather eating disorder recovery.  If you hope to recover, you have to be willing to let go of things.  I know this seems like an obvious statement, but when put into practice it’s actually quite a difficult thing.

So what do you have to give up?

Is it the idea of a lack of cellulite?

A thigh gap?

The ability of the ED to act as an excuse for putting life on hold?

Is it exercising when you’re really anxious about moving?

The idea that health = thinness?

All the food rules and judgements you hold in the name of “health”?

Is it the need to feel in control and right/perfect all the time?

For me, it’s all these things and more.  AND it’s the idea that a certain arbitrary label sewn, probably haphazardly, into an article of clothing has the right as well as the power to determine my worth, value, beauty, and integrity as a human being.

Because in your everyday life, do you look at a woman next to you on the bus, who society deems as “overweight” but who also has volunteered countless hours at the local homeless shelter, and say, “You have less value than the thin woman next to you who has fundraised more for the SPCA than anyone in the town.” ?

Do you say to an “overweight” woman breastfeeding her newborn that because she’s “fat” her breast milk is worth less to the baby she’s feeding, than the thin woman doing the same sitting next to her?

Your weight is the least interesting thing about you.  And whether or not you can fit into a size 2 or a size 14 is hardly the most important thing in your life.

At some point, we have to make peace with our changing shape.  With everything in our lives, we have to decide whether it is something that is important, or whether it’s something that is preventing us from creating the life we want.

We stand at a crossroads, or a fork in the road as obvious as the fork dividing your left pant leg from your right.  We can put on our pants, suck in our guts, and do up the button, all while lamenting the loss of our willowy frames, our high school bodies, our 25 year old stomach, or our grey-less hair.  We can beat ourselves up and make ourselves feel like crap for changing.  And we can choose whether the things we have given up or lost, are things that we still want to hold on to or get back.

As my pants hugged my thighs, and caressed my hips and butt, I felt like a failure.  I felt panicked.  I felt as if my world was ending and my worst fears were being realized.  I felt like the person I was was gone, and I could never get her back.

All because denim is unforgiving after a trip through the laundry machine.

But I had a choice.  I could continue to hate myself.  I could cut out sugar.  I could decrease my portions.  I could skip a few snacks.  I could exercise for just 10, 15, 20 minutes more.  I could bust out the screwdriver and put the treadmill that I dismantled because I didn’t want to be chained to it, back together.  I could find the person I was, and bring her back.

I’ve done it before.  Enter relapse, again.

Or I could decide that there were other things that I valued MORE than the person I was, or the size of my pants.  I could be uncomfortable, unsure, unsteady, and exposed to the harsh realities of limited motion fabrics, and not change a thing.  I could move on with my day, and my life.

I could set my priorities… and I did.

30 things that are more important than my pant size:

  1. I can go out to whatever restaurant my friends, family, or boyfriend pick without having a complete mental breakdown, ordering a salad, or looking up the menu/calories ahead of time.
  2. I have a latte every day, and it is 100% delicious and a very normal, enjoyable part of my morning.
  3. I’ve had a few cocktails, a couple slices of cake, and made memories to last a lifetime.
  4. I’ve had cookie crumbs fall into my bra, and lost a drop or two of ice cream in there as well.  I remember a time neither of those would touch my lips or fingers, never mind get up close and personal with my feminine features.
  5. I FINALLY learned to bike, and I bike… a lot.  And have increased the strength and musculature of my legs, as well as my genetically crappy knees.
  6. I’ve spent more time with my friends and family than I have on a treadmill or yoga mat.
  7. I have the strength to go up stairs and hills without getting winded.
  8. My energy level is much more consistent and I have more get-up-and-go than I have had in my whole life, even before the ED.
  9. I have learned to relax my standards a bit more, even though it is uncomfortable to do so.
  10. My hair is crazy soft… and not brittle at all.
  11. I’ve spent less time at home, and more time exploring the world.
  12. I frequently have conversations that don’t revolve around food, weight, or shape… and I can pay attention and remember having them.
  13. I can have a bite of pizza without counting it as a snack or meal.
  14. I have more patience and more compassion for those around me.
  15. I’ve stopped mumbling, “Fuck you!” under my breath every time I saw someone genuinely happy.
  16. I’m not trapped in a specific exercise cycle, with a specific route, for a specific amount of time, EVERY SINGLE DAY, until I die.
  17. I can’t remember the last time I specifically set my alarm clock earlier to fit in a work out.
  18. I can’t remember the last time I did sit ups, weights, or pilates at 2 am.
  19. I’ve carved out a niche and found a great love for blogging, which I never could do when I couldn’t sit long enough to open a browser window.
  20. I’ve fostered relationships that fill the gap in my spirits to replace the one in my thighs, and that never would have had a chance to grow had I not stopped moving.
  21. I have a figure that allows my boyfriend to hold me without fear of breaking me.
  22. I can wear shorts again.  Both in terms of temperature, and in terms of acceptance.
  23. I’ve begun to view my “unforgiveable” past choices, simply as choices.  They don’t speak to who I am now, or who I will, or can become.
  24. My body does not determine my worth, value, or integrity as a person.
  25. I’ve begun to do things regardless of the fear there is in doing them.  I push myself to not stand in my own way.
  26. I don’t take life so seriously.  One choice, one day, one hour, one meal, or one conversation does not a life sentence make.
  27. I’ve shared my deepest and darkest secrets… and was met by only love and support.
  28. I’ve become more literate on the many ways society is more flawed than I am.
  29. I’ve laughed more, seen more, and done more than I ever did when my pants fit.
  30. Basically, I’ve learned how to live, and lived a life worth living.

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And that is worth so much more than my pant size.  So in the end, it really comes down to:

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This or That- A Lighthearted Post Because I CAN.

Is there anyone else who loves reading posts like these?  Sometimes you just need these kind of things that mean absolutely nothing but are everything in your daily life all at the same time.  I am a human, not a robot, and these kind of things really connect you to the writer of the blog.

Or so I think.

I saw these questions on Jillian’s blog and loved reading her answers, so I had to give it a spin myself.  Side note:  If you haven’t checked out her blog, definitely do it!  She’s a joy to read 😘👍.

I also love link love posts, and lists of random stuff.  The queen of these lists is Shutterbean, so if you need a good dose of random and without doubt a few laughs, be sure to check that out too.

I just had a thought pop into my head about the latest season of Orange is The New Black.  This whole “This or That” game, reminded me of the creepy new guard and him playing this game with the Latinas… you know the episode I’m talking about?  Yeah… rest assured this game of “This or That” is NOTHING like their version.

So without further ado:

Instagram or Twitter?

Instagram, 100%. I could never figure out Twitter, but that could just be me and my lack of technological savvy.  I love scrolling through my instagram feed and being able to see life 100% in colorful fabulous imagery- it appeals to the artist within me.  Plus, does anyone else find the Twitter bird notification sound super annoying?!

Pepsi or Coke?

Ooh, tough one.  People say you can’t tell the difference, but there is one, albeit subtle.  I think I really alternate, but in general I think I’m a Coke person.  Every so often I get tired of it and switch to Pepsi, but it never lasts more than a couple.

Bath or shower?

“Showers. Who has the time for baths, honestly? Haha I’m kidding. Personally, I don’t like baths. The thought of laying in bath water that’s filled with my dirt from the day grosses me out. Sorry not sorry.”

THIS!  This was Jillian’s answer, and I finally can say I found someone who shares my opinion about lying in your own filth!  Boyfriend is always giving me grief about how ridiculous this is, but FINALLY I’ve found someone who agrees.😁

Plus, I get super anxious in baths for some reason.  I’m not sure why.  I’m okay if the water is warm, or lukewarm, but I can’t handle hot.  It freaks my system out, my throat constricts, and I feel like I’m suffocating.  The only exception to this is when it’s the middle of winter and you’re in a hot tub, but the air around you is cold.  Then, I’m good.  I don’t know why this is, but it makes saunas impossible too.

Glasses or contacts?

Well, funny story, I used to have glasses.  For at least… 2 or 3 years.  Plus a stint when I was in elementary school.  Miraculously however, my astigmatism corrected itself right after graduation.  The optometrist was amazed, and confused, as I had gone to him because my glasses were blurry to me and I thought I needed a STRONGER prescription or something.  I still have them, but they only ever make an appearance when my eyes are SUPER tired or I’m sick, where they seem to help.  I’ve never tried contacts, but I’m pretty sure if I did, it would be something like the scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding where she almost blinds herself.  I don’t think I could stick them in my eyes without blinking as I have enough troubles with eye drops.

Online shopping or shopping in store?

Depends.  There’s something about shopping in store that’s SO much more fun.  I love to make a day out of just wondering through shops and up streets and looking at stuff. Most of the time I don’t even get things, although I would if I was rich, but the process is fun!  And there’s no way I can clothes shop online, as I seem to be totally different sizes in everything and am not really in touch with my actual body size as the dysmorphia will often get the better of me.  BUT, I also LOVE AMAZON!  Most of my cooking stuff, coffee, books, and things like that will be online as it’s often a much better deal and so much more accessible as I live in a small town without many shopping options in the first place.

Coffee or tea?

BOTH!  Four months ago I would have said tea, 100%.  But as part of my recovery I have a latte everyday midmorning, and give myself permission to enjoy it fully, and it’s one of the things I enjoy most about my morning.  I’m getting pretty good at making them too.

The rest of the day it’s tea 100% though.  Especially The Spice is Right from DAVIDsTEA… I can’t get enough, and will easily go through half a kilo a month.  No joke.  It’s a problem, and all the staff at the store know me by name now, and know exactly what I’m coming for with my jumbo half kilo tin every month.

Pen or pencil?

Pen.  Pen, pen, pen.  Does anyone else have a favourite ink thickness too?  I have this addiction to slightly thicker ink, not quite like a thin sharpie but between that and a ballpoint.  My old boss always had the best pens, and they had the PERFECT thickness.  I was constantly on the hunt for these pens but I could never find them, and then when I did come across one I liked, I ALWAYS forgot to write down which one it was so once it ran out I was right back to square one.  I’m still looking…

Pancakes or waffles?

Mmmmm…. sweet pancakes and savoury waffles.  If that makes sense?  I adore dense, hearty pancakes, that I glom up with rolled oats, and I don’t touch those light fluffy ones if I can help it.  Hence if I’m out for breakfast, you’ll never see me ordering pancakes, because they just don’t get it!  BUT, one of my favourite lunch things is making a savoury buttermilk cornbread waffle and then topping it with guacamole, black beans, and cheese.  Nom.

Side note:  I HATE MAPLE SYRUP on pancakes.  And I HATE WHIPPING CREAM always.  Like nothing grosses me out more.  I always top mine with nut butter, or cottage cheese, or yogurt.  And granola.  And fruit.  Perfect.  It was hilarious at the residential treatment center I was in, because every couple of weeks on a weekend we would have pancakes for breakfast one morning.  And not only were the pancakes light and fluffy, but you had two topping options: maple syrup and butter, or strawberries and whipped cream.  Can you see my dilemma?!  I always asked, “Can’t I have butter, and strawberries?”  No dice.  I hated that breakfast.  I always went for the whipped cream and strawberries though and choked it down, because if you picked the maple syrup and butter, you had to have a whole quarter cup of syrup on just one silver dollar pancake.  It was literally, did you want a pancake with your syrup?!  I mean I guess I could have just played Gilligan’s pancake Island in a maple syrup sea too… but they probably would have called food games disordered too.

Winter or summer?

SUMMER.  Boyfriend would have called this instantly without even looking at the answer.  I struggle so much with winter because I get cold so easily.  I always have, even before the eating disorder.  We’re only a few days into cooler weather, and I swear I’ve said, “I’m freezing!” at least 4 or 5 times.  The plus to winter though is we do have a heater, whereas we don’t have an air conditioner.  And cozy sweaters, hot lattes, tea, and PSL.  But that’s more fall than winter… and that wasn’t an option.  Actually keep my temperature in the 15 to 25 degree range, and I’d be one happy camper!

Sweater or hoodie?

Probably zip up lighter hoodie, or my absolute favourite kale sweatshirt.  Seriously, there is nothing as comfy as this guy!

Sun or moon?

Sun.  I’m a morning person, and sunrise means breakfast.  And breakfast means oatmeal.  And oatmeal means BEST THING EVER!

Tv shows or movies?

Probably TV shows, although I don’t watch either with any regularity.  I mean I like to GO to the movies, but I love the fact that when you get hooked on a TV show you have something to look forward to every week, and it’s prolonged.  Movies are over and done with.  I mean come on Grey’s Anatomy, Orange is the New Black, the Amazing Race, Friends, Gilmore Girls… they’re all genius.

Side note:  Boyfriend and I just started watching Stranger Things last night… we’re two episodes in and hooked.  Who else is watching?!

Rain or snow?

RAIN!  I love rain!  Just like I love the ocean… man I need to live on the coast!  There’s something about it that is so relaxing, and when I’m anxious and it’s raining, I throw open the windows and just smell that fresh signature scent.  And the sound… oh it’s the best.

Snow is cold, and wet, and icky, and turns to ice.  And then you can’t ride your bike.  And you walk, slip, and fall in the middle of a crosswalk, probably in a pile of dirty snow-plowed snow that is also yellow because Winston (my dog) has no filter and has peed on it.  Yep, can you tell I hate winter.  And I hate snow.

Chocolate or vanilla?

 

Vanilla.  Vanilla yogurt is the best.  Vanilla based ice cream is the best.  BUT vanilla with chocolate chips, or vanilla with chocolate chip cookie dough, or vanilla with oreo crumbles…. that’s where it’s at!

But dark chocolate covered almonds, or dark fudgey brownies, or Justin’s Dark chocolate peanut butter cups…

OH the decision is too much!

The Happiness Equation: Mathematical Machine or Magical Unicorn?

 

 

Hello all!

It’s a sunny Thursday morning in my part of the world, and I feel like I’ve won the lottery because not only is it gorgeous outside (so gorgeous this cafe has its windows open!), but I managed to score a table with an outlet so I can plug my computer IN whilst I write. My face be like:

smile12

Except replace the penguin with an outlet… if it was an actual penguin, my face would be more like:

yeeaaaa-rollerskates-11934-1311641451-13

Novelty of novelties, I know.

But seriously, there should be a law that every coffee shop has outlets at at least half of their tables, or along their bar.  This particular cafe has only two outlets in the whole store, and they’re both at tables that people love to sit at who don’t have anything to plug in at all.  And while I’m fine with sharing the comfy chairs, for those of us who forget to plan ahead and plug in our laptops the night before and are running on like 20%, those extra outlets would be very much so appreciated.

Either that or people need to become more accepting of having someone sitting under your table at your feet.  Just pretend I’m your adorable Labradoodle.

Personal space bubble, what’s that?

Moving on…

I was sitting here the other day, and I overheard a conversation between two people, specifically two women.  Both were drinking coffees, and it appeared to be a typical meet up of two friends.  But being the recovery warrior that I am, I’m kind of like a dog and the mention of the word walk or treat:  I hear a word related to nutrition, exercise, weight, or shape and my ears perk up.  So while checking my emails, my Spidey senses were sent tingling when I overheard this:

“Hun, you’d be so much happier if you just lost a little weight… I mean you seem pretty happy for a fat person, but 20, 30 pounds, and you’d be so much happier.  It’s all about calories in, versus calories out.  Just tie up your running shoes, and stop ordering the banana bread when we come here for coffee.  It’s all about willpower.”

And it takes a lot of restraint to avoid throwing my iced latte in her face, but:

  1. My iced latte tastes way too good to waste.
  2. I haven’t thrown a drink on someone since I waitressed and tossed red wine on a man’s white pants.  Side effect of being semi accident prone, and not an experience I wish to repeat.

How many times have you heard this ideology: weight=happiness, happiness=weight ?

How many times have you witness/held the belief that the key to all happiness lies in external appearances?

How many times have you been mislead to believe that what you weigh or what shape you have is completely within your control, and by extension, you are in control of your own happiness?

Probably too many to count.

One of the hardest concepts to grasp in recovery from an eating disorder is that you are not a machine.  Part of this comes from the hope and key belief that all eating disorders hold: you are in control.  One of the biggest rewards an eating disorder gives you is a feeling of total control, and that regardless of whatever mayhem is going on around you, there is one thing the tornado of life cannot touch: what you put in your mouth, and what you do with your body.  A plane could crash in my backyard, or a typhoon could occur in Laos while I was on vacation there, or my uncle could wind up in the hospital, and regardless of all this I still have a choice whether or not to eat my McDonalds hamburger.

Mc-scuse me… my Chicken McNuggets.

And by feeling like we are in control of this one key element we feel stable and secure, because this feeling of control brings a whole bunch of other feel-good emotions along with it:

Pride: Because you have (will)power, and a “enviable” body shape due to your ability to control what, when, and how much you eat.

Motivation: You have that get up and go, because at least initially you will receive positive feedback on your changing frame from those around you. And motivation lifts depression, sadness, and shame.  And because you have something to “control” you have a clear cut goal, and that makes you feel motivated.

Hope: This control gives you hope, and the eating disorder itself gives you hope.  Hope that by controlling this one thing everything else in your life will get better, or at least become bearable.  And because a “beautiful” (aka: thin, toned, fat-free, or whatever adjective of choice appeals to you) body is toted throughout society as being of critical importance and worthy of praise, you become hopeful that you will feel content when your goal is attained.

And these three emotions, or feelings, are unbelievably powerful.  They give you a sense of purpose, a feeling of power, significance, and importance, and tend to override other more uncomfortable feelings.  But notice, there is a key emotion I didn’t include in this list, sort of the Grand Poobah of the emotional hierarchy…

Side note: As I wrote this, I felt the need to know where on earth the term Grand Poobah came from.  Apparently, it originated from Gilbert and Sullivan, but it was used most frequently in… “The Flintstones”!!

wtl1evn

#stoneageknowswhatsup

Double side note: Did you know “The Flintstones” was from the 60s?! AND that it’s spelled Flin-T-stones, not Flinstones?! Mind. Blown.

Moving on…

Right.  The Grand Poobah of the emotional hierarchy: happiness.

Because that’s really where we’re all trying to get to in the end, isn’t it?  Like, if we were all happy people, we really wouldn’t feel the need to change ourselves, or complain, or need to feel all those uncomfortable emotions: guilt, shame, anger, fear, sadness, and the like.  By not feeling those uncomfortable emotions, and by not feeling a need to change ourselves, we’d feel less need to change others… because often times we try to change other people in order to make ourselves feel better, or less guilty about some characteristic we possess ourselves.

Yeah, world peace, sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, right?

I promise, I’m not running for Miss America, or becoming a hermit in a tree growing out my leg hair and becoming “one” with nature.

#toomanystereotypesinonesentence. Scratch that.

But, it’s true right?  I mean about the end goal being happiness… I mean, people get high paying jobs to be able to afford the lifestyles they want, in order to be happy by having the lifestyle they want.  Likewise, people quit high paying jobs to be able to spend more time with their families, in order to be happy by being with the people they love.  The reasoning for the actions and the actions themselves are different for everyone, but the end goal is the same: happiness.

And with the sense of control that the eating disorder gives, along with the secondary feel-good emotions that come along with it, you find yourself in a state of pseudo-happiness.  Or rather, you are ensconced in the pursuit of happiness, and completely convinced that the path you are on will eventually lead to happiness.  Because it just makes sense right?  I mean, you feel ALMOST happy, when you feel pride, or motivation, or hope, so eventually if you build up enough pride, or motivation, or hope it will equal actual happiness.

It’s like an A+B+C = D concept.  Linear, straightforward, and mathematically and logically sound.

Except think about it: at the same time that you were rolling your eyes at me for going all sunshine, and lollipops, and rainbows on you about how the world would be perfect if we all just loved ourselves and were happy, you took it to an equal extreme by assuming that pride+motivation+hope=happiness.

The reality is A+B+C ≠ D, it actually equals a smoosh of ABC which if you speak english, you can’t even pronounce never mind achieve.  So by extension pride + motivation + hope ≠ happiness.  It simply equals pridemotivationhappiness.  You can’t make oatmeal out of bananas and peanut butter, so you can’t make happiness out of pride and motivation.  But you can put it all together and make a killer dish.

I feel like I’m getting sidetracked…

Point is, you can’t magically create happiness.  It isn’t something that’s mathematical, and it’s not tied to a specific formula.  You can’t add two things together and create something that is completely individual and independent.  It’s like combining sodium and iodine and expecting to create boron.

 

3xpdg3j

#sonotgoingtohappen

I so did not just use chemistry to illustrate a point…::cringe::.

So now we know, the sense of control the eating disorder gives promises eventual happiness, but it never delivers because it can’t.  It can’t create happiness.  And it can’t create happiness because it, and you, are not as in control as you think you are.

I repeat, you are not in control.

The eating disorder is not in control of your body because you’re not in control of your body.

The eating disorder is not mathematical or magical because you are not mathematical or magical. And you are not mathematical or magical because:

You’re not a machine, and you’re not a unicorn.

In the eating disordered lifestyle, you fall on either one of these extremes on a day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute basis. And because we love black and white thinking so much (insert jazz hands emoji for us Apple users), it’s always one or the other, never a shade of grey. Let me illustrate:

Scenario A:

“I must eat number of (calories, carb grams, protein grams) a day, or less, in order to lose or maintain my weight.”

AKA:  I am a machine.  My body only uses so much, and any insufficiency or excess whatsoever will equal weight loss or weight gain respectively.  I can track from minute to minute what I burn, based on what I am doing, my height, my age, my gender, and what have you, and come up with a precise tally.  This is exactly what I need and this specificity is integral to the operation and mechanics of my day to day life, as well as my weight and shape.

OR

Scenario B:

“I know that your body uses fats, but mine doesn’t.  If I eat fats, it sticks right to my body as fat.  It doesn’t use fat at all, it just stores it.  Therefore I can’t eat butter, oil, cheese or deep-fried foods. In addition, other people burn enough calories to eat lunch after exercising, but I don’t.  My body barely burns anything.  My body is different.”

AKA:  I am a unicorn.  I am unique and special, and even though I could admit that x, y,or z is true for the rest of the world, and logically makes sense, it just isn’t the same for me.  I’m not trying to be better than anyone else, it’s just that I know it won’t work that way for me, because it can’t.  For some unknown (magical) reason, the rules/standards that apply to everyone else, do not apply to me.

And believe me, you, or rather your eating disorder, can twist these things in any which way to keep you living in a cycle of fear, shame, regret, guilt, depression, anxiety, but unsurprisingly NOT happiness.  You don’t even have to have an eating disorder to fall victim to this type of mentality.  After all, how many people have you heard lament, “good for the lips, straight to the hips”?  Or, “I’m going to have to have to do an extra hour on the treadmill to make up for tomorrow”?  It is a lethal side effect of living in a fat-phobic and media driven world, where we are consistently bombarded by messages telling us what we should do, eat, think, and look like.  All to sell us products or lifestyles that may or may not be ideal for us or our body type(s).

So, how do we begin to separate reality from fiction?  How do we begin to see the world as it is, rather than how we think it should be?  How do we begin to let go of the reins of our eating disordered brains?

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Take a step back.  Close your eyes.  Feel what is going on in your body and brain right now:

  1. Feel the air rushing through your nose, into your lungs and expanding your chest as it fills.
  2. Feel the sensations in your fingers and toes, the subtle lines of energy and blood flowing down your arms and legs.
  3. Feel any pain, any stiffness, any discomfort in your skeletal frame.
  4. Hear the world around you, be it the quietness of your room, the blare of traffic, or the bustle of a cafe.
  5. Hear the thoughts going through your head.  Feel their motion and the effect that they have on every part of you.  Feel how one thought produces a physical reaction in your body, be it a tensing of a muscle, or a quiver of a lip.  Notice how the thoughts pop through your head endlessly, and how you cannot change the fact that they appear.
  6. And now notice the air rushing back out your nose, the compression of your chest as it deflates.

Open your eyes.  This is now.

Notice that all those things occurred in the space of seconds.  And notice that every single one of those things you had no control over.  You do not consciously control your breathing, your body just does it.  You do not regulate the degree of sensation in your limbs, or choose how quickly the blood flows through your veins, your body does.  You do not control whether or not your feel stiffness in your neck or shoulders.  You cannot control the car rumbling down the street, or the wind in the trees.

So, if you cannot control all these things, what makes you think you can control how your body processes the things you consume?  What makes you think you are in complete control of what your body looks like or what shape and weight you have?  If your body has its own ideas of how it wants to breathe, or circulate, what makes you think it does not have its own ideas of how it wants to look or feel?  If it is smart enough to know how much oxygen to take in and how much CO2 to expel, do you not think it’s smart enough to know how much fat to store around your midline?  And if it has the power to choose how much testosterone or estrogen to produce, and has manners ingrained into it to keep everything in your body at the correct, not too high or not too low, levels, do you not think it also has the power to control your weight and shape and prevent either from becoming too high/large, or low/scrawny?

You are not a machine.

If you were a machine, you’d require only one type of fuel, like electricity or gasoline.  And you wouldn’t have these mechanisms in place.  If you were a machine, you would rely on someone else to supply you with your fuel, and cease to function if the amounts given were too high or low.  If you give an appliance too much voltage it is fried, or a car too little gas it dies.  Yet, one day we eat more, and another day we eat less, but our ability to carry out our daily lives is unaffected.  Our bodies are smart.  We require a mess of nutrients and types of food to function.  It can alter our metabolism up or down to keep our energy levels and weight and shape stable.  And it does all these methods of preservation automatically. Just as automatically as your breathing or your heart rate.  When we try to override the system, it just alters what needs to be altered to keep ourselves safe, stable, and balanced.

You are not in control.  Your body is, and your body will win.

And that person that you just saw running down the street, or the lady sitting at the next table is the same as you. She breathed, her blood circulated, her ears heard, and her brain thought. And they did all these things without her conscious control too, because she isn’t in control of how her body does things any more than you are.  If her body has the same degree of intelligence as yours in terms of circulation, breathing, hormone levels, enzymatic function, and all other mechanisms, why would the way her body processes food or maintains weight and shape be any different than how your body does?  Why would she use exorbitantly more energy than you when she exercises?  Why would her freedom with food and activity level be easily so much different than yours?

It’s not.  You’re not a unicorn.  Your body is no less or more effective at doing what it needs to do for self preservation than anyone else’s.

You do not control the fact that a thought occurred.  I repeat, YOU DO NOT CONTROL THE FACT THAT YOU THINK.  The only thing you can control is how you react to the thoughts.  You can choose what thoughts you heed, and which thoughts you let go of.  You can choose what directives you listen to, and which ones you ignore.  Remember, you’re not a machine.  You don’t have a CPU that obeys every keyboard shortcut.  You call the shots.  You can choose what thoughts to keep and what thoughts to shred.

Shred the idea that you are a machine.

Shred the idea that you are a unicorn.

Shred the idea that you are in control.

Keep the awareness of the current moment.  Keep the idea that your body knows more than you think it does.  Keep the knowledge that it will keep you where you need to be.

And accept that that is exactly what is going to happen, like it or not.

And through acceptance, eventually you will find a certain degree of peace.  And sometimes, if you’re lucky, peace eventually leads to a certain degree of happiness.  You might eventually attain it, when you weren’t even pursuing it at all.  And that is the real happiness equation:

Happiness = something found when you finally stop looking for it.

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