Seriously Smitten With…

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  1.  I actually went through SO MANY origami phases as a kid, and I still think the art of paper folding is so incredible.  I mean come on guys, it was a flat, 2D piece of paper!
  2. I find showing up in life so hard to do.  Whether it’s the social anxiety, the perfectionist, or simply the introvert coming to the surface, I often find myself making excuses for not being present in relationships or in moments.  This post is a great reminder of the importance of being present.
  3. I made the most amazing pumpkin pie this weekend for Thanksgiving, and guys… it really was incredible!  I’m not huge on pumpkin pie, but I couldn’t get enough!  The flavour isn’t too sweet, but just the perfect amount of spice, and the dough was a breeze to work with.
  4. Words of wisdom that we all need to bear in mind now that the cold weather, and carb laden holidays are coming up.
  5. There’s something I love about white walls and white shelves where you can’t see the supports… dream kitchen material for sure!
  6. This recipe combines four of my most favourite things: pumpkin, chai, crumble, and muffins.  I MUST MAKE.
  7. At least there’s a voice of sanity out there in the mix of diet media and holiday mumbo-jumbo.
  8. This sums up so well where I’ve been, where I am, and where I hope to be.
  9. A free online journal for all of you whose thoughts go too fast for pen and paper and whose patience wears thin.
  10. I believe in affirmations whole-heartedly, so long as you personalize them and make them resonate with you.  This list is full of good ones to get you started!

Seriously Smitten With…

 

  1. Say what?!
  2. These illustrations about living with anxiety are spot on.  Or at least for me, 1-8,10,11,13,14 are spot on.  Although, I once attempted to drown an ant in iced tea (I just don’t like them!), so I guess I don’t overthink EVERYTHING.
  3. Guess what?!  Imma shock you.  Because I get SO TIRED of the argument that “I’m fat because I eat bread, pasta, muffins, or white rice.  I’m also fat because I eat SUGAR!” Carbs are not the enemy people!  And guess what else?!  SUGAR is just a CARB!
  4. I used to get all my confirmation of my worth, value, and beauty from external validation related to my weight/shape/appearance.  And it’s something we as a society battle with every day, even if it’s subconscious.  But guess what?  Weight is the least important and least interesting thing about you!  And if that’s all you can comment about in conversation, you need a hobby.  It’s time to end the stigma!
  5.  I just started reading this book last week and it’s such a refreshing and little talked about side of eating disorders, the side from the observer.  The first 50 pages or so moved super slow for me, but all of a sudden it came alive!  Not done it yet, but I totally recommend it so far!  Boyfriend probably doesn’t recommend it though… I think he’s probably getting tired of my being curled in a corner at every free moment reading it!
  6. Guys… I put some coffee in my smoothie for the first time, and this came out tasting JUST like a PSL.  NOM.  (Side note: you’re the best judge of what your body needs!  For years, I would rely on recipes and “healthy” recipe creators serving sizes to tell me what is “acceptable” for a meal.  It’s still something that is tough, but I knew when I made this, regardless of what the description said, it was NOT ENOUGH for my body for a meal.  I added toast and almond butter.  I was still hungry for morning snack at 10 am.  AND I’m not trying to gain weight anymore.  You be your own judge of what your body needs!) (Double side note: did you know Starbucks PSLs have only been around since 2003?!  What did they DO before then?!)
  7. I love DIY’s, I just wish materials didn’t cost money!  Either way, I really want to make this for my food photos!
  8. OMG, she’s writing another cookbook! EEEE! 😃😃😃🙌🙌
  9. Okay, bucket list vacation for the States.  Until then, I’ll content myself with picking through this assortment one Canadian city at a time.  I’m not a millionaire… it’ll keep me busy for a while.
  10. So, I ordered this as a three month subscription package almost a month ago, after reading this post.  AND it’s scheduled to arrive TOMORROW!  I’M SO EXCITED!  And I get COFFEE to sample.  And a mug.  And a soaking jar!  EEEE!  I’ll keep you posted on the deliciousness, once I’ve tried them!
  11. ****A bonus, because I just read this and it’s 👌!****

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

 

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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Seriously Smitten With…

It’s Tuesday again, which means it’s the perfect time to take another 20 minute hiatus from life!  I have a very important meeting in an hour and a half, that’s kind of stressing me out, so I decided to take some time for self care and do my absolute favourite thing:

Go to a cafe, order breakfast and a latte, and blog with you all.

Win.  Always a win.

So let’s check out some of those things I’m seriously smitten with this week:

  1. I resonated with the signs and symptoms of an introvert hangover so much, although for me it is a mix of those and just an increased lack of patience and really high levels of anxiety!  I’ll snap at the simplest things, and will transfer my frustration and guilt and inability to focus on those I love most.  It’s a tough one, because even with those you love the most you still sometimes need a break.  For me, I always feel guilty about it too, because it is easily portrayed as an affront to those around you when you say, “I need to be alone”, and often sounds to people who don’t quite get it like, “I need to be AWAY from YOU!”  It doesn’t mean that.  It just means my battery is drained and needs to be recharged with fresh air and solitude.
  2. I can’t remember what TV show it was that had a scavenger hunt proposal, but ever since I saw it I thought it was the sweetest and most romantic thing.  It shows so much thought and love, going through different places you’ve been together, different things you discovered together, all the memories of all the little things… either that or I’m a cliché romcom fanatic.  This guy had it all right.
  3. There are so many places I want to see, but after following on instagram and snapchat, Michigan has made it onto my list for sure.  (There’s a LIGHTHOUSE, and a giant lake that reminds me of an OCEAN! And delicious looking cafes, food, and coffee. Win.)
  4.  It always mind boggles me when you see Instagram photos of women with “perfect” bodies, and then hear the story behind how it actually looks that way.  This woman is an inspiration, and I am seriously smitten with how the body that has “lived more, given more, and enjoyed more” is given its credit.  Body’s like this are a result of living and loving life, instead of losing and loathing self.
  5. My Goodness… I had to pee when I read this list of Mom texts, and it almost ended very badly for the chair in the cafe I was sitting in quite a few times.  The sad thing is, my mom would totally text a good number of these.
  6. A fantastic podcast interview by Caroline Dooner with Isabel Foxen Duke, a Certified Health Coach and Emotional Eating Activist, fantastic body image and body positive activist, and all around badass in the food, eating disorder, and food psychology realm.  Seriously, one of my favourite emails to read each week, and she makes SO MUCH SENSE! You’ll laugh, you’ll resonate, and you’ll agree, and say, “Man, society is f***ed up!”
  7. I need this shirt. And a large iced vanilla soy latte with it, please and thank you… Oh, and a side of this shirt and this shirt.  And this print.  Okay I’m done.
  8. My next kitchen wishlist item.  Money, money, money… you’re fleeting and easily spent.
  9. Flourless, high protein pancake recipe that I ADORE.  I usually do it as is, with 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, OR I make a pumpkin version, with 1/2 a banana, 1/4 cup of pumpkin purée, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.  And top with lots of nut butter and blueberries. (SIDE NOTE: there is NOTHING wrong with carbs or flour.  This is just for those times when you want something a bit different, taste or texture wise.  I still love me some good oat flour pancakes, or regular pancakes if they’re dense and hearty too!)
  10. A really cool free summit I’m a part of, that started yesterday (but it’s never too late to join!, all about making peace with food, loving your body, and feeling beautiful inside and out.  It features daily interviews with leading experts in this area, and is a much needed breath of fresh air for anyone struggling with unrealistic expectations, food and/or body image issues.

Happy Tuesday to you all, once again!

Processed with Snapseed.

image source (side note: Seriously, can I PLEASE have her natural handwriting?!  I can’t believe this awesome font is her everyday!)

 

 

Seriously Smitten With…

So I want to write the blog I’d like to read, and in my favourite blogs, there’s always a weekly link love post.  And one of my favourite ones is the one that comes from Shutterbean, as an I Love Lists assortment, as it’s always different, always includes some totally random stuff, and always makes me laugh.

I decided I wanted to get in on the action too, so here we are with my new “Seriously Smitten With” series, which assuming I can keep my act together, will be posted every Tuesday.  Here’s some stuff I’m seriously smitten with this week:

  1. This artist makes jewelry inspired by the cities she visits!
  2. I have to question whether some of these fml moments are real, or made up.  Either way, I was almost crying laughing over some of them (especially number ten)!
  3.  My go-to burger recipe, although I use it direct from the cookbook (which is one of my favourite cookbooks ever, just be sure to white-out the calories first (or get someone else to if you know you’ll memorize them/be affected by them instantly) because you don’t need that crap!).  I don’t always make the onions or toppings, but as a base burger, it’s THE BEST!
  4. Diets suck, and we all know it.  We also know that they are not a solution for long term health or weight loss.  But there’s also the growing issue where “getting healthy” is really a diet in disguise… and before you know it, you become less concerned about your health, and more concerned about your body.
  5. Seriously this melted my heart a little bit.  What a genius idea!
  6. I want this spoon.  And knowing me, I should probably get this spoon.  And I’m liking these wedding favors.
  7. I love gold rimmed dinner collections but I hate the fact that you need to hand wash them.  The struggle is real.
  8. I can’t commit to a real tattoo.  Did you know you can make your own temporary ones?!
  9. Whether you’re recovering from an eating disorder, or just trying to make peace with food and your body so you’re not a total nutcase anymore, one of the most important and key things is to start living a non-diet life, and these three points are on point.  In my experience the order to which to approach them is more like 1-3-2, because it’s super hard to tune into your hunger and fullness cues when you have all those judgements from 1 and 3 in the way.
  10. Everyone knows I’m addicted to oatmeal, but there’s a particular combo that I have been MAJORLY crushing on lately.  Usually, I can’t eat the same thing more than a couple times in a week or I get bored, doesn’t matter what snack or what meal.  But I unashamedly had this guy probably 5 or 6 times in the past two weeks, and once it was within 12 hours of each other.  Mind blown.  You can get the combo, which I cannot take credit for here.
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Here was my version yesterday morning, topped with cashews and fresh figs, although my winning topping has been cashews, toasted coconut, and dried cherries.

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

A Weekend Away (Finally!)

 

Sometimes, you need to escape.

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After a whole summer, working full time, or full time plus sometimes, my boyfriend and I were burnt out.  I honestly don’t remember the last time I had an actual holiday… I mean days off, typical to a week, yes.  But an actual overnight escape from the town we live in?  Yeah… I can’t remember.  It’s been at least 4 months I’d say, probably longer.

I’d been burnt out for a while.  I hate it when you get into a rut, and everything you do is just routine.  Wake up at the same time, eat breakfast (which thank heavens is always varied), bike to work at the same time, take a break at the same time, work some more until you have lunch at the same time, work more till you go home at the same time, plan dinner, cook dinner, do a bit of activity/try to unwind in the same ways, go to sleep.  Repeat.  Those ruts where the most diversity you have in your day is your meals and snacks.  Those ruts where even your days off start to look the same:

Day 1: Skype with dietitian, breakfast, blogging/cafe time (sometimes with breakfast), home for lunch, chores/errands, dinner, activity/unwind, sleep.

Day 2: breakfast, cafe time/chore time, lunch, therapy, boyfriend time (this can always look different yay!), dinner, activity/unwind, sleep.  Or if it’s a doctor week, it’s a trip out of town… but that’s only once a month, and while it’s a change in pace and super exciting, it just doesn’t happen enough.

And you get burnt out.  You get bored.  You get stagnant.  And when you’re still just making ends meet, you get depressed.  Your constant routine is a breeding ground for behaviours.  The predictability offers too many ways to let the ED sneak in.  The routine, which is so familiar, is engrained in your memory.  You remember when you were actively engaging in your eating disorder, and all the places you fit it in.  Those places are still there.  It’s too easy to go back to old behaviours because everything else is the same as it was when you engaged in them all the time.

The past two weeks were a bit of a landslide.  It wasn’t a relapse, it was just a tough haul.  I had super emotional session with the dietitian that started it, and it sort of threw my mood into the toilet.  It was harder to be happy, it was more work to get up in the morning, it was dreading the start of another work week, it was stress.  It was feeling defeated, feeling that recovery was hopeless, feeling like you were failing yourself and those around you.  It was feeling trapped in your thoughts, feeling once again scared of everything.  Scared of food, of drinks, and especially, of not moving enough.  It was feeling as though as enjoyable as movement was, it was entirely compulsive, and feeling stuck in a juxtapositional paradox- I am loving something as much as my ED is, I feel liberated from my thoughts and my cage by flying down the street on my bike, but I feel trapped as soon as I get back.  Knowing that with every push of the pedal, it would be harder to sit still the next day, and knowing that as much as it was liberating me, it was giving the ED voice more power than it’s seen in a while.

We planned this vacation for a while, booking it off (as required) almost a month in advance.  We had been hoping to visit my uncle at his house in the mountains, and were looking so forward to the time away.  I think the countdown really started the moment we requested the time off… as we work two different jobs, when we both find out that we get the time off together it’s that much more exciting.

But of course, life got in the way.  About a week before, we were asked if we could postpone it.  My family was burnt out, and the thought of having more guests was just too much.  My grandmother has been having a really tough time medically lately, and in the last two weeks has been moved into hospice care.  It’s been really hard on all of us, because she was in every meaning of the word, the head of the family.  And we’re a pretty close family unit, so it’s taken its toll on all of us.  We understood, but we were crushed.  We both needed a vacation.  The boyfriend has been working 13 hour days 6 days a week for almost a month, so he probably needed it even more than I did.

It would have been relatively easy to get back on the schedule at work, I think, for both of us.  At my work we were short staffed, and at his, they can always use him.  I was going to do it, because when we finally DID take time off, I didn’t want to lose the hours.  I mean, I didn’t mind, but the bills did.

But at my last dietitian appointment before the trip, the dietitian saw my tiredness, my defeatedness, my sadness… and she said, “You NEED a holiday.  You need to take that time, find something else to do, to see, go somewhere else.  Please try and get away.”

Long story short, we made it happen.  We decided to head to Vancouver, last minute, and stay with my two aunts, who so graciously offered up a room for a couple of days.  And this is what happened:

The car broke down.

No, I’m not kidding.

We both worked Saturday morning, and got off by 2 pm.  Just when we think we’re FINALLY going to get away, about an hour before we left the car started idling low and just quitting.  I’m blessed however, and I have a boyfriend that is not only talented at just about ANYTHING that involves using your hands, but who is also knowledgeable about cars.  This one kind of stumped him, and the mechanic, though.  However, his impulsiveness is a blessing at times, as well as his unwillingness to give up.  At a time when I would have been like, “Well, looks like we’re not going anywhere,” he fiddled with it and was persistent.

“Well, I don’t know what’s wrong.  But it’s good probably like 60-70% of the time.  So I’m putting my tools in the trunk, and YOLO.  What’s the worst that can happen, right?  Lets go!”

No, I’m not joking.

Are we crazy?

Probably.  But I prefer to look at it as refusing to be the victim of life’s challenges.  There’s always a way out of a problem, even if it takes eight detours.  And oftentimes, if it does take eight detours, it makes for a good story at the end of it.

So we headed off, later than anticipated, but determined to get away.

While sitting in the car, I made a conscious decision.  Considering how difficult the past couple weeks had been, I do give myself credit for it, as it wasn’t the easiest one to make.  I inhaled the fresh air coming through the window, closed my eyes, pictured it flowing to all the parts of my body and giving them renewal.  Spreading out from my center, cleansing my arms and hands, my neck and head, my legs and feet.  And I exhaled, picturing my negativity and stale energy flowing out of my feet and legs, head and neck, and hands and arms, to my center, and out of my body.  I chose to feel refreshed and renewed.  And in that moment I decided to wipe the slate clean.

“This weekend, I am going to live wholly and fully.  I am going to embrace every moment, and treat it as if it were my last.  I am stepping away from my day to day life, and being completely present.  And by doing so, I am consciously choosing to let the eating disorder go.  For this weekend, it is not a part of me.  For this weekend, my choices are going to be based on my cravings.  For this weekend, food will not give me anxiety.  For this weekend, I am going to go with the flow.  If there is something that sounds good, I am going to have it.  I am not paying attention to a perfect meal, or a perfect snack, how many snacks I’ve had, or whether my plate has veggies.  And I’m going to savour.  Savour food, savour moments, savour laughter.  I’m going to look at the world and actually see the world, without being in my head a million miles away.  Because I want to look back on this time, and remember how I lived, not how I controlled or manipulated my food or my body.  I want a moment of laughter to be the first memory that comes to mind, not a moment of anxiety over a bite of cheesecake.  Because in the end, it is the moments that matter, and I know that my body can handle whatever I throw its way.  I trust, I surrender, and I choose to live.”

Was it a scary idea?  Yeah.

I did it anyway.  And this is what it looked like:

Saturday night, we had to take a detour to see my aunts who were visiting my grandma in hospice so we could pick up the key to their appartment.

Knowing that the greater portion of our drive would be in the middle of nowhere, we decided that it was a good idea to grab dinner before we left… and I was craving Quiznos.  It’s been months since I have had it, A) because I remember the calories from my ED days, and B) because since new owners took over the one at home, it has not been the same (they skimp on toppings because they suck).  But we were in the city, so we figured it was safe.

(side note: why is it that the food never ACTUALLY looks like the picture they advertise. I mean, Quiznos is closer, but have you ever seen McDonalds or A&W? The discrepancy between the advertised burger and the actual burger is hilariously comical)

I don’t have a picture of the actual food because I didn’t think about writing a post like this until the morning after.  Whoops.  But I got a beef and swiss, and an ice water because I knew I was super dehydrated and needed some pure fluids.  Super yum, and a craving satisfied.

Boyfriend got a chicken carbonara, his usual.  I totally agree, and I alternate between the chicken carbonara and the beef and swiss depending on my cravings.  Best two, other than the ultimate best sandwich, which is the Baja chicken.  I can’t eat that one anymore though because I’ve developed a pepper allergy, but if YOU can, then I totally recommend it!

After this we headed off.  It was a relatively uneventful 5 hour drive… minus the two times that the car died when the clutch was engaged, and we rolled down hills while boyfriend tried to start it again.  The good thing is it always starts right up again, so we never actually had to break out the tools.  Once we finally got to Vancouver, we used GPS to get to the apartment as it was their new one and I’d never been there.  This was super helpful, minus the fact that it didn’t tell us about turning lanes, so we got a couple of drivers a little irate.  It’s hard to pay attention when you’re trying to listen to GPS, watch the idle so the car doesn’t quit, heed the traffic, and deal with weird turning lanes, merges, and overpasses.  But we made it there in one piece!

We got in super late, so it was pretty much straight to bed, especially since we had both started work super early (I had to get up at 5 am), so we were done in.

Sunday morning, we headed out to buy our transit passes (because you’re crazy if you’d rather drive and pay for parking!) for the day, as it’s so efficient and affordable there.  This ended up being a long ordeal, as they had gotten rid of the FareSaver paper tickets (yes that’s how long it had been since I had been there!) and had switched to electronic cards.  This makes much more sense, but considering we were trying to buy day passes, it became complicated.  I looked it up online, but everywhere we went they said they didn’t sell day passes.  An hour later, we got frustrated, went back to the apartment to look it up again, determined that you could actually buy them right in the skytrain station that was literally a block away.  So we wondered around for an hour for nothing.

But it was a nice day, and the air was full of sea breezes, so I couldn’t complain!  The only thing was by the time we finally got them, I was super hungry!  I had woken up hungry, but since we thought we would be getting breakfast right away I didn’t eat at the apartment.  I decided that I was on a mission to find the best iced latte in Vancouver.  Now, I couldn’t be as avid about this as I could have been with a lot of my other friends, or my dietitian, because boyfriend doesn’t like coffee.

Yeah, I know right?!

So I knew I wouldn’t be drinking them all day and really just had a couple of shots.  One of my favourite things to do is look up places to eat and drink before hand, so I can find something with great reviews and not miss out on great opportunities I don’t even know about… so I looked up some places.

My previous stays in Vancouver had been predominantly dictated by my ED.  I remembered going to this coffee shop that sold amazing homemade donuts and coffee both with friends who lived there, and family.  But every time, I always had ordered water or tea… and I was determined to try their lattes and their donuts that had always looked SO GOOD!

Enter 49th Parallel Coffee, and Lucky’s Doughnuts, a combo shop on West 4th Ave.

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I really should have taken more photos of the buildings and stuff… noted for next time I do a travel diary!

There were WAY too many choices to pick from because they all looked SO GOOD!  We ended up each getting a savoury pastry, and splitting a sweet donut.

Boyfriend got the pistachio and salami scone, and an iced tea.  I got the ham and cheese croissant, and the iced Venezuelan.  This was a spur of the moment thing to try something new… it’s caramelized milk reduction, served with espresso and texturized milk with a bit of cocoa powder.  It was good, but a little too sweet for my liking.  The croissant was delicious though!  Fluffy and flaky on the inside, and crisp on the outside.

We were both full after that, so we took our sweet donut to-go and picked on it through the morning.  It was a BACON apple fritter (yes bacon!), and THAT my friends is the texture a donut should be!  It was just the right amount of sweetness, and that smoky savoury bacon was perfect.  Nom.

It was boyfriend’s first time in Vancouver other than the hospital, so I was the main tour guide.  We decided to head out to Metrotown in Burnaby after breakfast.  For those who don’t know, Metrotown is a GIANT mall, with stores for absolutely everything.  We wondered around there for quite some time while I tried to find a new swimsuit and leggings, a difficult task.  I’m fairly easy to shop with though because I literally go into a store, do a loop, and if nothing catches my eye from a distance, I’m done.  Speed shopping for the win!  I almost had a mirror meltdown, or two in the process, but thankfully I had my man there to keep me happy and together.  He knows exactly what I need to hear and how to keep me calm in my worst moments.  I am forever grateful ❤️.  I never found a swimsuit, but I did get some leggings that I LOVE.

We stopped and did some tea sampling at Teavanna, got some iced teas, and then decided it was time for lunch.  It was easiest to just eat at the food court, which isn’t my favourite because it’s never GREAT food.  But we decided to try Fresh Slice Pizza, as it was quick and easy.

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A slice of meat lovers topped with parmesan cheese for me, and a diet coke.  I used to keep diet coke in the house all the time, but now I prefer to have other drinks around (some of them even have calories 🙌!) and just get my diet cokes when I go out to the movies and at fast food chains.  I enjoy them a lot more that way.

After that we headed… to IKEA!  Yep.  It sounds like nothing exciting, but we’d both never been to one before.  My basic synopsis, is when I need to furnish my house, this is where I’m going!  We compared countertops, and kitchens, talked about my need for my dream kitchen to have tons of counterspace and an island.  Luckily it would appear that we are both very similar in terms of our likes!

Some favourites I noticed:

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After IKEA, we decided to get some late 5 pm froyo.  And shock of shocks, I was actually feeling peckish.  Boyfriend had never been to Menchies, and he had never had froyo… I know right?!  I was shocked!  Not about the Menchies… we don’t have one at home, but who hasn’t eaten froyo?!

He learned the cardinal rule, which he will definitely abide by next time: Limit the froyo so you can put all the toppings on!  He went the other way, and it was too much froyo to actually enjoy all the toppings!  I on the other hand knew this from experience, so I had half as much froyo and ALL THE TOPPINGS!

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A bit of butter pecan and nutella swirled froyo, a bit of cake batter and cookies and cream swirled froyo, topped with Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Oreos, cookie dough, strawberries, peanuts, and chocolate sauce.  Yep… I think that was it.

Because we ate the froyo so late, we decided to go for a late dinner and go to a movie first.  Let me be clear… I don’t do horror movies. Or at least I haven’t since I was eleven or so when I watched Darkness Falls and was scared to sleep for months.  I can still see her in my mind… no.  Just, no.  But somehow I was at the movies to see Suicide Squad and saw the preview for Don’t Breathe, and it looked good.  And I have a man, so he can cuddle me when things get too intense… so I thought why not, lets try it.  Being from a small town, we don’t have a movie theatre, nevermind a fancy one, so we were debating on what kind of “fancy” theatre to go to.  We had to decide between D-Box, UltraAVX, and IMAX… but IMAX was out because nothing we wanted to see was playing.  In the end we went for UltraAVX because we’re both money conscious and couldn’t justify a $25 ticket just for moving seats.  The verdict was: Not that exciting really.  I personally don’t think the sound and huge high quality screen is worth the extra cost.  But the movie itself was good, although boyfriend only half did his job of cuddling me when it got intense…

The coolest part of the theatre was the soda machine!  Forget seven or eight choices of soda, this one had over 300!  SO MANY!  I had a hard time picking, especially when there were so many I hadn’t even heard of!  This is something we definitely need everywhere, nevermind the fancy screen 😉…

After the movie we decided to walk to dinner, which was super close to where we were staying.  Joy of joys, I was to my great surprise feeling hungry again.  One of my favourite things to do when I travel is use Zomato (formerly UrbanSpoon) to pick out where to eat.  I LOVE this app, as I can search by food type, area, or “best ….” (my favourite!), really whatever you want/are craving/are feeling in the moment, which totally allows me to honor my cravings 👌👍.  Some people are like, “Oh, whatever, we’ll just find somewhere to eat.” But I’m all like, “Please, if I’m going somewhere I want to enjoy every moment to the fullest, and try something new that’s supposed to be AWESOME!”

Side note:  If anyone has any other good app recommendations for this, I’m all ears!

So it was a little harder because we were eating at like 10:30 at night, and a lot of places are closed by then, but I decided to pick something that had good reviews and hazard a try.  We were both craving the best burgers (we both LOVE burgers… it’s a great thing that I’m glad we share) so I plugged that in and came up with a bar called The Hub.  This actually ended up being our favourite place we ate at the whole weekend and it was a total win.  The picture however, doesn’t serve it justice because the lighting was SO DARK!  Both of us agreed just a bit brighter would have been nice, because it was even dark when reading the really small print on parts of the menu.

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We both ended up ordering drinks which were DELICIOUS!  We kept talking about them all weekend, and you know it’s good if I’m tempted to order a second one because I NEVER do that.  Neither of us drink a lot, so it was nice to just relax and have a drink together.  The funny thing was that we both ordered different cocktails, but ended up switching them as we preferred each other’s order to our own.  Only one drink each though because they were doubles and I really am a lightweight.  I was definitely feeling it after only one, so I knew it would be a bad idea to have another.

What I ended up with:”Blueberry Lemon Mojito- Stoli blueberry vodka, muddled lemon + mint, blueberries, simple syrup, soda”.  This was my first time having a mojito and if they all taste that good, I’m definitely a fan!

Boyfriend: “Tequila Paradise-  El Jimador tequila, peach schnapps, Triple Sec, pineapple juice, fresh citrus, soda”. The only part that turned me off was the abundant pineapple aftertaste, but he loves pineapple so it worked for him.

And for dinner we both ordered the “Crack Burger.”, but I had mine with sweet potato fries instead of regular because I don’t like potatoes. Guys… it was honestly the best burger I’ve EVER had!  The patty is encrusted in cracked black peppercorns, and topped with Monterey jack cheese, lettuce, pickle, tomato, onion rings, and pesto aioli.  Boyfriend doesn’t like onion rings so I got his on the side of my plate as well because me+onions= super happy!  We relaxed, ate, marvelled at how awesome the whole meal was, and planned our activities a bit for the next day.  Then by midnight we decided to head back home and get some well-deserved sleep.

I didn’t expect to be hungry in the morning, as I had eaten my whole burger, half my fries, and we had eaten so late, but I woke up starving!  The next morning started out with a trip downstairs to JJBean.  Yep, downstairs.  My aunts’ apartment is right overtop of a JJBean, and a block up from a skytrain and a few awesome grocery chains.  Safe to say they have everything they need at their fingertips!  I’ve heard nothing but good things about the coffee at JJBean, but I’d never been, so we decided to check it out.

img_2507 Side note:  Look at the difference natural light makes!!!

I went for a peach oatmeal muffin and a half sweet vanilla latte.  Odd choice for me as I’m not big on peaches in muffins or in oatmeal, and I usually get my lattes iced, but both just sounded appealing for some reason that morning!  Boyfriend got a ham and aged cheddar turnover, and a really good iced tea.

This latte was one of the best ones I’ve had in a while, and I understand the Bean love.  It was smooth, nutty, but not overpowering. I love coffee, but I still want my latte to be creamy and subtle in flavour, which is one thing the coffee shop back home is missing.  Their coffee is so strong, I have to order it with regular sweetness instead of half just to cut that bitter strong coffee taste.  It always reminds me of two distinct flavours – coffee… and then some milk, with a bit of the flavour shot you added if you’re lucky enough to taste it (hence the full sweet versus half).  I want my coffee to be one drink, not two distinct flavours mixed.  Hence this latte was right up my alley.  And the muffin was pretty good too!  I did eat the whole thing, even though it was ginormous because I was hungry, and I didn’t feel overfull after which was awesome.

Then we headed up to the entrance of Stanley Park, and we decided to rent a tandem bike from English Bay Bike Rentals for the day.  We did some research beforehand and had decided on this place from its good reviews, reasonable rates, and location.  They also supplied a basket, lock, and helmets with the rental so that was awesome.  It was our first time riding a tandem, and though it took probably 20 minutes to get the hang of it and synchronize our movements, soon we were pros.

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We decided to bike the seawall, did the Stanley Park Loop, through English Bay, went down through False Creek, and then stopped for a bit at Granville Island.  This is an artsy little island, where the Emily Carr Institute is located, as well as cute little shops and an awesome marketplace.

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Boyfriend with the tandem at Stanley Park.  We’d pretty much gotten the hang of it by this point.

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I have the world’s worst luck with sunglasses!  I spend $30 on a pair, and I break it within 2 weeks.  EVERY TIME!  These ones I bought from a street vendor in Paris, for the equivalent of $2, and they’re a piece of crap literally.  They are SO CROOKED, as you can undoubtably tell, but I CAN’T BREAK THEM!  Seriously, they’ve been half way around the world.  Thrown in bags, knocked around, bent backwards and forwards, but they never break.  At this point I’ve given up and just gone with it.

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We wondered around Granville Island for a while, and by the time we’d seen it all it was time for lunch.  Boyfriend was craving Chinese, and I was indecisive, but I knew I was feeling the need for something lighter and fresher with some produce.  He’ll never understand my love/need for vegetables, but it is a real thing!

We saw some iced teas at the Granville Island Tea Company, and decided to get a couple of those, and boyfriend got his Chinese.  The nice thing about the market is that there’s so many choices all close together, so people don’t necessarily have to have the same thing from the same shop.  In this case I did though, but instead of going for the traditional smorg-type food, I went for a seafood noodle soup with veggies.

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It wasn’t anything spectacular, but those fishballs were delicious, whatever fish they were.

I should have really listened to Boyfriend when he said, you’re probably feeling full from liquid.  I drank the broth, ate the seafood and veggies, and had my iced tea, but I didn’t have many noodles.  I started to feel really full and they weren’t THAT good anyways.  So I stopped.  But it definitely wasn’t a food full and ended up being a fluid full, as I was peckish again in under two hours.  Oops.  You live and you learn.

After Granville, we biked to Kits Beach, and then all the way out to UBC, one of the universities I attended in my attempt to find myself.  Anyone who has done that bike ride will get me when I say THAT, is one BIG HILL!  By the time we got to the top and to UBC we definitely needed fluids!  So, because caffeine is totally fluids that hydrate you (yeah right!), Starbucks it was!

IMG_4448My signature grande half sweet cinnamon dolce iced coffee frappuccino.  I asked for an iced water too but they forgot and the line was so long I didn’t bother.  I should have though because I was SO DEHYDRATED by the end of the day!

At UBC we walked around a bit, and then took the trek down a bisquillion stairs to Wreck Beach.  Yes, Wreck Beach.  We’d never been, and boyfriend wanted to see it… and yes, it is an optional nudist beach.  And yes, people were nude.  And no, it’s not a big deal.  It’s the human body.  I’m more inspired than anything, because you definitely have to be comfortable in your own skin to walk around nude.  Just saying.

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The stairs going down… SO GREEN!  I love Vancouver for its ocean and its GREEN!

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We didn’t go nude.  We also only saw the top corner and it was super rocky!  Found out afterwards that the main, sandy beach was farther west towards the bottom of the UBC corner… so we kinda missed out on the beachy part of the beach.

Afterwards we biked down the crazy hill (which was super fun!) and returned the bike at around 5 pm.  Somewhere along the ride, the thought popped into my mind to go and see the old residential treatment center I went to when I was really sick.  They used to be in a different isolated location far away, but they’d recently moved to Vancouver so I was in the same city as the new center.  So we found some water bottles and then took transit to the new building.

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I didn’t go in.  We got there at like 6, and I knew they’d be eating dinner (an always stressful occasion), and that most of the professionals that I’d worked with would have gone home for the day, save a few nurses maybe.  So I just looked from the outside, completely immersed in memories.

“Why do you want to go there?  I don’t get why you’d want to see it again.  It’s memories of one of the biggest struggles of your life.  It’s painful stuff.  Why do you want to put yourself through that?  You don’t want to be back there do you?”

It’s a combo question I got when we were on the bus to the facility, and as we were standing on the street, looking up at the building.  It’s interesting how so many people think that it’s a process I don’t want to relive.  I mean, no, I don’t want to be sick like that again.  No, I don’t want to have to go back to residential treatment.  But the memories… they’re a part of me.  And, I honestly don’t have bad memories of that place.  Truly, I don’t.  That was the best place I could have been at the stage in recovery I was at.  It was a safe, welcoming environment, that allowed me to slowly wean off the medications I had become addicted to (doctor error), and start to reclaim my life.  I met people there who, still this day, are some of my best friends.  I have so many laughs, so many tears, and so many good memories.

The difference is that now I’ve moved beyond that point.  At this point, being in residential treatment would interfere with the good parts of my life that I’ve built, as opposed to start a new life, or save my life.  It’s not a place I need to be at this point in my recovery journey.

We stayed there only for a few minutes before we bussed back into the city center, and headed back to the apartment.  By this point, neither of us had had anything substantial since lunch, other than Starbucks, and we were STARVING.  My aunt had gotten off work, and we decided to all go for dinner together.  She is like me, and she loves to try new places.  You’re only on the ocean for so long, so boyfriend and I knew our last meal in the city had to include fresh seafood!

We ended up heading to Provence, which was right on the harbour, and quite fancy.  My aunt had never been there either, but it had pretty good reviews on zomato, so we decided to give it a shot.  We agreed, it wasn’t as good as the burgers, but it was still super nice and the food was good.  The winning dish was definitely mine, and boyfriend even said it was a high contender for the best meal, although he didn’t enjoy his as much.

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He got a fresh seafood linguine with tomato sauce.  I NEVER combine my seafood with tomato sauce and I can’t understand it… to me it takes away from the incredible flavour that seafood has.  Hence, I didn’t order it, because if it’s seafood it needs a white, or butter/herb sauce every time.  Or just simple grilling.  No tomatoes.  No red sauce.  No way.  Boyfriend said it was good, but definitely not great.

img_4747-2I got their famous (they said they’re known for it) wild mushroom ravioli in a wine butter sauce, and added grilled prawns.  I was actually strongly feeling pasta-y which doesn’t happen too often.  All that biking, I guess I needed to replenish my carb stores!  I even had bread from the bread basket beforehand which I never do, but I couldn’t wait for the main meal.  And I ate it all (the main), and I was comfortably full. Win.  And this… yeah it was DELISH!

We also had drinks, which were good, but nothing terribly exciting.

We sat with my two aunts, had good conversation, good food, and good company for a couple hours.  On the way back to the apartment, boyfriend and I stopped in at Urban Fare to grab some breakfast supplies we could eat in the car in the morning, including Erin Ireland’s “To Die For Chocolate Macadamia Nut Banana Bread””, which I had heard of a few times in the blogosphere.  We had to be back by 10 the next morning, so we were up and greeting the morning by 4 am.

And what did I learn in all this?

  1. If I let things go and stop thinking so much, my hunger and fullness cues are WAY more reliable.  In other words anxiety and stressing out about food actually impact my body to tell me what it needs in more ways than I ever thought possible.
  2. If I tell myself I SHOULD feel a certain way, I often do.  Hence, when I eat a big meal, or a scary/higher calorie meal/snack, I spend a lot of time telling myself either I won’t be hungry later, or I shouldn’t be hungry later.  HOWEVER, if I just let it go, my body does its work, and wham, oftentimes I am still hungry the next time a meal or snack comes around.  As was the case for our dinners this weekend- each morning I woke up starving regardless of whether it was 4 am or 6 am or 8 am, AND regardless of the fact that I had eaten the whole plate at dinner.  I let it go, I was fine, and my inner cues were going strong!
  3. It’s easier to function if you stay present and in the moment.  As was the case with the leggings shopping with the mini-meltdown in front of the mirror.  I stopped, closed my eyes, breathed, focussed on my breath to calm me down.  And then I said, “The goal right now is to buy leggings, not to make myself feel like crap.  So I’m going to get out of my head, into the now, and focus solely on the goal.”  Win.
  4. Vancouver is fantastic.  Enough said.

 

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Normal is Disordered: Reframing the Size Bias

Hello all!  How have you been?

My week has been crazy.  It’s the middle of summer, and we’re approaching a long weekend where I live, which is typically the busiest two weeks of the year here.  It’s great for our economy, as I live in a tourist town that relies on the sizzling hot summer months to survive, but it makes work a gong show! Plus, we’ve been having so many issues with people calling in sick, breaking ribs, altering schedules, etc in my department, that that just adds to the hectic nature of summer, and not in a positive way.

I’m one of those people that, when I decide to do a job or am employed to do a job, I do it to the best of my ability… call it my perfectionist/fear of making a mistake or failing bias, but it works quite well in the workplace.  I mean minus the fact that it usually stresses me out more than it should.  The boyfriend always says to me, “You did what you could, and honestly they don’t pay you enough to care the amount that you do.  The way you worry about things is the equivalent that the manager worries about things… and they certainly don’t pay you the same.  It’s not your job to worry about all these things, and it’s not worth the amount that it stresses you out.”

True.  So true.  But I have such a perfectionistic bias!

AND, it translates to my mood, because I’ve been like that for as long as I can remember.  The idea that you only half-assed do things just doesn’t compute in my brain, so when I go to work and see people putting in minimal effort, calling in sick when they are NOT SICK, and/or just not giving a shit or dogging it, it pisses me off.  Like, ridiculously so.  You can ask the boyfriend about this… he’s experienced it personally.  And in his oh-so-logical mind, he says to me, “You can’t let other’s emotions, actions, or sentiments influence you so much.  Just because they’re not doing something doesn’t mean that it needs to impact you.  No one will come back and attack you for not getting something done… it’s their head on the line, not yours.  THIS is why you are so stressed all the time!”

Oh, rational brain, why do you not function so simply!  These things logically make sense, but they still do not compute.  I have a bias… and it is a blessing and a curse.  I find myself SO OFTEN lately playing this game:

Okay, rant over.

At least on that guy… but I’m here today to talk about another bias that’s been getting on my nerves lately.

Yeah… you know the one I’m talking about.  That whole size bias thing.

Side note:  This movie is the best!! I mentioned in my last post how this was and still is my favourite movie of all time.  I’ve seen it a million times and I never hesitate to see it again.  And it’s just so great for those moments where you just need a good quote 😉.

See, I’ve started this new body image/self esteem coaching program, and while I’ve been so reluctant to do MORE therapy, I new I’d hit a wall.  You can’t be okay with listening to your body to tell you what you need in terms of food and exercise unless you trust your body.  And you can’t trust your body until you believe your body is worth trusting.  And you can’t believe in your body’s own worth until you believe in your own self worth.  And you can’t have a sense of self worth until you start to have some self esteem and respect for yourself emotionally and mentally.  And you can’t do that until you believe in yourself enough that you give yourself permission to take up literal/physical and mental/emotional space in your own life.

Long story short:  You can’t hope to be intuitive and move past an eating disorder until you believe you are enough, emotionally, mentally, and physically.  You have to accept your existence not as a hindrance to the world but rather as an asset.

Anyways… it’s pretty intense.  I’m spending more than an hour every day actively writing and working through my thought patterns and body image issues.  And while I’m still trying to get the hang of putting new neural pathways into action and remembering to do things differently than my current rut, at least this delving into exploration gets my brain going and thinking about things both in my past and in my present in ways I haven’t really examined before.

I’m basically one step away from growing out my armpit hair and living in a tree, one with nature…

Actually not really.

But it’s gotten me thinking.  A lot of this work has to do with reframing the way you look at things.  Not stopping thoughts, not judging yourself for having thoughts, but also not giving your thoughts the power to shape who you are and how you live your life in a day to day fashion.  I don’t remember the context, but in my first therapy session I was asked a question to which I responded quite simply, “because normal, nowadays in modern society, is disordered.”

How true is this?  And how screwed up is that?

And by taking a step back from my own life, and my own head, I’m able to observe this more objectively and see this truth in action:

  1. A non-eating-disordered woman I know, talking to my boyfriend who was frustrated with my obsession with thigh gaps, said simply, “I don’t blame her.  I’d love to have a thigh gap.”

    3296f38500000578-3511376-image-m-13_1459089189433

    image source (side note: it’s actually brilliant!)

  2. They build strollers SPECIFICALLY for running with your baby… as if running around looking after your baby was not enough activity for a woman.

    bugaboo-ad-main

    image source (side note: who the HELL dresses like that to go for a run, much less with your baby?!)

  3. Recipes are no longer focussed on flavour but rather on numbers:
    recipetitlescrewy

    Before —-> After

     

  4. An Oreo is no longer a mid-afternoon treat, but rather a workout guideline:

    bwjrypdieaegb0y

    image source (Side note: Who, in their RIGHT, RATIONAL state of mind, eats only one oreo? Unless you’re pairing the oreo with a golden oreo…)

  5. Witnessed personally: A starving hospitalized non-eating disordered woman who hasn’t eaten in over 24 hours refuses to eat food unless it is one of her packaged diet foods from the current crash diet plan being followed.

  6. You can’t walk into a restaurant without being blatantly greeted by nutritional information, that was unsolicited by you in the first place:
    gtres66

    image source (Starbucks… it wasn’t even on the leaflet, but displayed instead)

    breakfast_sandwich_board-490

    image source (Side Note:  This was Panera… and the funny thing was the website the image came from titled it “I’m on a diet and I can’t have a bowl of soup!”.  #modernlifeinanutshell)

Man I could think of so many more options, but this just gets too lengthy.  The funny thing is modern society is screwed.  This is DISORDERED!  I gave you six plus examples of these things that are considered “acceptable” if not “healthful” practices in modern society, WHICH, if I personally engaged in any one of them, would be told I was engaging in eating disordered behaviour.

I’m sorry, but if it’s DISORDERED for me, is it not DISORDERED for everyone?

And where do all these things come from?  It is often lumped under the assumption that you are engaging in these behaviours in an attempt to be “healthier”, but then what is your definition of “healthy”?

If a person who is naturally built larger, whose body wants to be what society would normally deem “overweight”, engages in all of these behaviours, chances are eventually, their weight would still be “overweight”.  Because that is where their body naturally wants to be according to set-point theory! And that person goes to the doctor, for a bladder infection… and the first thing the doctor says is, you need to lose weight if you want to be healthy.

Excuse me, but how is this related to the problem at hand, a bladder infection?  The person didn’t even come there for weight loss advice!

The person says, “Look, I run every day.  I eat lower calorie foods, whole grains, low sugar, and vegetables.  I count everything and make sure that my calories in equal my calories out, but I can’t seem to lose weight.”

Without even running blood tests, or cardio tests, or what have you to determine the actual “health” of the body, we’ve already determined that the person needs to lose weight.

When you yourself go to the coffee shop and order a skinny, or fat-free latte, and claim that you’re doing it for “health”, ask yourself, what does “health” mean?

If you can close your eyes and picture yourself at your healthy self goal, what does that self look like?

Does your “healthy self” equal ripped abs, and a long and lean physique? Do your thighs not touch?  Is your cellulite gone?

Yep.  So let’s stop the delusion.  The issue is not “health”… the issue is SIZE, WEIGHT, and the associated bias that goes along with it.  The idea is that you are worth more if you take up less space.  The idea is that skinny > fat, that skinny people are happier, healthier, stronger, more driven, more desireable, more attractive, more loved, more accepted… basically they’re just more.

They are more, because they are less.

What an oxymoron?!

I remember when I was little, I always had a large appetite, but I was never overweight.  I was always pretty lean.  I used to eat the same amount as the hockey jocks in high school, and one slice of pizza was never enough to satisfy me, even when I was 6 or 7.  People would joke that I eat SO MUCH, and I used to feel pride and joke right along with them.

I used to be a size 0 or 2, and then when I became a 4 or 6, I was actually proud that I was growing and becoming less of a child and more of a woman.

Somewhere along the line, this changed.

Somewhere along the line, whenever I ate as much, or more of than my boyfriend it became less of a joke, and more of a source of guilt, shame, and anxiety, because a rule was created that girls should not eat as much as guys.

Somewhere along the line, if I ate 2 or 3 slices of pizza, it became not about satisfying my hunger and cravings, but rather about eating the lesser amount because a rule was created that girls should (based on observation of others) only eat one slice of pizza, and pair it with a salad.

Somewhere along the line, advertising and the bandwagon taught me that a latte had to be skinny, and that I should feel guilty for enjoying my coffee with a non-sugar-free flavour shot and actual milk.

Somewhere along the line, I learned that cake and cookies should be enjoyed in secret, and that the 8th deadly sin was a love of peanut butter cups.

Somewhere along the line, I learned that “healthy” people swapped their pasta for zoodles, and their rice for cauliflower.

Somewhere along the line, I no longer felt proud of my size 4, or more often 6 frame that was curvy and womanly, but ashamed because it wasn’t closer to a negative number.  Somewhere along the line, I threw out the notion of womanly curves in favour of the teenage boy gangly look that accompanies a restrictive diet and the loss of body shape and boobs… all because somewhere along the line I accepted the notion that two became the new four, and zero became the new two, and six became the new fourteen.

 

We’re a generation that is expected to be able to DO more, while running on LESS.  We’re supposed to get more in touch with our “hunter gatherer roots”, and serve it with an aspartame filled fizzy drink.  We’re confused.  We have too much knowledge, and too little perspective.

Because if we stopped with the high powered craziness for ten seconds, and stopped running a mile a minute, accepting ideas willy-nilly because we don’t have the time to stop and think about it before internalizing, we would realize that none of this makes sense!

You cannot do more while taking in less.  I cannot be on my feet at my job, for 8 plus hours, come home and make dinner, and go for a bike ride afterwards while eating zoodles and diet coke.

You cannot compare the amount of satisfaction you get from a real chocolate fudge brownie, with the “healthy” plant-based black bean, Splenda sweetened 56 calories a piece one.  Yep… one pan later, and I’m just as lethargic as before and my chocolate craving is still there.

An oreo is not equal to 1200 jumping jacks any more than a romance novel is equal to a llama, or my left butt cheek is equal to my elbow.  You can’t equate two totally different things!  Plus, imma enjoy my oreo, but I’m not gonna enjoy 1200 jumping jacks.  That pleasure factor is significant!

You’re going to make more memories playing peek-a-boo with your baby and hearing him/her laugh, than you will jogging with them in a bikini. AND if you’re like me you’ll be much less likely to end up with road rash from tripping over something… although, you might accidentally poke yourself in the eye.

We talk about health in terms of weight… but we seem to not notice that the size bias that is running rampant through all our heads, and the associated disordered notions that accompany it, is making us the most miserable and habitually depressed and unsatisfied generation ever.

We have less patience/tolerance of others, less connection to our hunger/fullness cues, less connection to other people (because we’re too obsessed with diet/exercise/technology), less sense of belonging, drive, motivation, contentment… all because we’re HUNGRY.  And I don’t mean hungry just for food, but hungry for balance and a sense of calm that you can only get when you stop trying to be MORE, and do MORE all the time.  Hungry for all the connection with others and relationships that you’re missing out on because you are never stopping.

And it gets us into a vicious cycle… because we’re bombarded by this size bias and are convinced that we would be happier by being thinner.  We’d be more accepted, more loved, more driven, more motivated.  But trust me, if thinness made you happier when I was literally lying in the hospital on my death bed I should have been the happiest person on earth.  Needless to say, I’ve never been more miserable in my life… except when I was trying to RUN while in this deathly ill state.  I was more miserable then because I was in more physical pain than you could ever believe.

It’s time to address the real issue, which is not your weight, shape, or size.  It is your relationship with yourself, and the world around you.  It is your need to fill only one facet of your life (diet/food, body shape/fitness), and ignoring all the rest.  It is a lack of balance.  It’s the acceptance of all of these DISORDERED notions, as NORMAL.

It’s the fact that you’re allowing zero to be the new two, two to be the new four, and six to be the new  fourteen.  It’s the fact that you’re allowing the calorie count to be the deciding factor rather than your tastebuds, and the treadmill to dictate whether you can spend time with your friends at a coffee shop later.  It’s not make you healthier, and it’s not improving your value or worth.

It’s time to stop buying it.

It’s time to go back to your roots and reframe the bias that you’ve been trained to accept.

It’s time to look in the mirror and instead of condemning your love handles, appreciating your womanly curves.

It’s about making the choice when buying new clothes and having to go up a size, to allow it to be the beginning of a new relationship with another stage of your life instead of the beginning of another crash diet.

It’s about eating an oreo for a snack without reading the label, and then eating another if you weren’t satisfied.  And trusting that eventually you will be, and your body will let you know when you are.

It’s about going for coffee with a friend and ordering a cookie to share, even if you’ve already eaten, because it ADDS to the experience and the memories, not to you your hips.

It’s about changing your vocabulary when it comes to food, taking out all the “skinnys”, “cleans”, “cheats”, or whatever other judgements you make, and allowing only flavours, textures, and cravings to make your decisions.

AND it’s about doing all these things and not thinking you’re being LAZY, LACKING WILLPOWER, or being a GLUTTON for doing them.  

Because normal is disordered… but who ever wanted to be normal anyways?