Totally Unprepared: Losing Sight of the Shore

You guys… I’ve broken out the scarves.

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I actually love fall, but it’s moments like this that remind me that after fall comes winter, and winter means cold. And wet, cold, snow.  I don’t like being cold, wet, or in the snow.

I think I’m a wimpy Canadian.  Or a spoiled one.  Perhaps if I grew up in Alberta or Saskatchewan and was used to -40˚C I wouldn’t have this problem.  It’s like Boyfriend, who grew up in a part of the country that frequently had snow up to your waist, and hit the minus 30s and 40s on the regular in the winter… yeah, he has NO problem with the cold.  Living where we do now he doesn’t even wear a winter jacket.  Meanwhile there’s me who piles on the the parka and three sweaters as soon as it gets around zero.

Yep, I think if I had lived somewhere else and been used to cold, I’d be different.  Perhaps I’d own long-johns, actually enjoy hockey, and put maple syrup on my pancakes.  And I’d have a pet polar bear named Alfie living in the backyard.

(Joke.  I reaffirm, we do not have pet polar bears, live in igloos, or take baths in maple syrup… as far as I know.  But the world is made up of all kinds of people.)

Perhaps that would have prepared me for what is to come.  I was Skyping with one of my best friends last night, and she announced excitedly that her and her fiancé had finally set a date for their wedding, and I was super excited for them… until she said it was going to be on December 31st.  That in and of itself isn’t the WORST thing… but she also happens to live in one of the coldest places in Canada.  Hence, me in bridesmaid territory, that reads, “I’m going to be in -40˚C, in the middle of winter, in a dress, not wearing 400 layers of clothing, and be ridiculously unprepared for this.”

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image source (side note: Boyfriend would argue I NEED this sweater…)

I’m happy for her, I am.  But is it okay to say I’m absolutely terrified as well?

There are so many things coming up lately that I feel ridiculously unprepared for.

I started a new job this week as a mixer/shaper/person at a bakery, another job I’m ridiculously unprepared and unqualified for.  I have no formal training… and a strong tendency to make yeast breads that are flat.  RISE, damn you!

So I’m literally running on a passion for food, being a morning person (yay 4-5 am shifts!), knowing that I REALLY REALLY want to learn how to do this, and hoping to high heaven I can keep it together long enough to not make unleavened bread unintentionally out of every single loaf I am in charge of starting.

Either that or the whole bakery will be really prepared for Passover.

I was also unprepared for the change that was going to happen in my dietitian’s appointment a couple weeks back.  To clarify, I’m not relapsing.  I’m not falling apart.  BUT I did lose A LOT of exercise privileges (that spelling SO doesn’t look right but autocorrect is telling me it is!) because we’re running along the lines of, “What kind of life do you want to have?”

I know as soon as I admit I’m doing something compulsively, and not because I’m genuinely wanting to do it, we’re going to deal with the issue.  And that’s why it took me so long to bring it up, even though I knew I’d have to cross that bridge eventually.  I knew, and still know, the way to reduce behaviour related anxiety is to stop engaging in the compulsive behaviour without coming up with more compensatory measures.  And then sit with it.  OVER, and OVER.

AKA:  I want to exercise to change my body… therefore I must STOP exercising to change my body, and NOT restrict food to make up for a lack of activity.

“What kind of life do you want to create for yourself?”

“Is this behaviour worth the emotional toll it is taking?”

“What are you willing to give up to create the life you want?”

(Side note: If you start singing, “Let it go”, I will come and murder you in your sleep.  Sorry, not sorry.)

If you hope to recover, you have to be willing to let go of things. At the moment, that means for me, I need to let go of compulsive exercise, or exercise to impact what I look like.  AND at the moment, that means really cutting everything down, down, down, so I can sit with that anxiety and work through it.  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.

Picture yourself on a sailing trip, when your boat hits an unseen high reef and instantly springs an irreparable leak.  Because you’re such a daredevil and do things on impulse (yeah, I know… but bear with me here), you planned this trip spur of the moment, without telling anyone you were going, and went solo.  And you also decided that nothing could be better than finding Jaws in his natural habitat (because Nemo and Free Willy are so last season), so you decided to sail to known shark infested waters.  Knowing the boat was toast, and you have to go somewhere, you swim rapidly to the closest sprig of land nearby; a tiny island.  You make it there safe, but there’s no one living there, and limited resources.  You might be fine for a while, but eventually you’re going to have to make a move.

Oh, and you’re a recovering pyromaniac who can’t risk lighting a fire…

And you’re also suffering from aichmophobia (fear of sharp/pointed things) and petraphobia  (fear of rocks), so using a stick to write SOS in the sand, or writing it out of rocks is not an option.  You’re an aichmophobic, petraphobic, pyromaniac, who is somehow also an impulsive daredevil living on the edge…

Basically, you’re a walking enigmatic contradiction that should have been in therapy YEARS ago. (My apologies for the judgment if YOU are actually an aichmophobic petraphobic pyromaniac.  It’s not personal.)

But I digress… point is, you’re royally screwed.  And the daredevil you’re trying so hard to be figures this out because contrary to your rash actions you’re not actually stupid.  And once a daredevil figures out that luck has run out, that daredevil is terrified.

You’re unprepared.  You’re at a precipice.  You’re on your own.  You make the decisions.  You have to save yourself.

So regardless of the danger, you know you eventually have to leave the island.  Even though jaws may be circling around, you face certain death or possible death.  You have to work up the courage to leave, and that takes time and perseverance.

So the first time, you swim out maybe ten meters.  You test the waters.  But you’re not ready, and you’re not able to keep going, so you swim back.  And the next time, you swim out maybe 15 meters… and then you swim back.  The cycle keeps going… hours, days… I’d say weeks but if you’re on an island with no resources you probably don’t have that long.  Each time you make it out a little further, until eventually you have to take that last step and lose sight of the spit of land in the hopes of a better option just out of sight.

Luckily, just out of sight is another island where they are currently filming the next ridiculous reality TV show that’s somewhat Lord-of-the-Flies-esque probably with convicts because we all like to make TV shows about life in prison recently.  And there’s plenty of donuts and burnt coffee to satisfy your hunger and caffeine needs… as well as a way off the island assuming you’re not like Piggy.

Wow… you know I try to be emotionally deep, but my sarcasm and overly critical nature sometimes gets the best of me…

The point is: Just like a life or death situation on an island, you are faced with a life or death situation in recovery.  Just like you have to literally lose sight of the shore to escape a uncharted island, you have to lose sight of what is comfortable and familiar in recovery in order to create a life worth living for the long term.

AKA:

 

I know I’ve used it before, but I’m using it again because it’s so important.

What are you willing to give up to create the life you want?

What shore do you need to lose sight of to cross the ocean?

And, are you willing to take that risk, even if you’re feeling unprepared, because the grass might just be greener on the other side?

Basically, regardless of how unprepared I feel, I realize that staying on my island is certain death.  No, I’m not currently dying.  No, I’m not relapsing.  No, I’m not back at the point of life or death, eat or die, in the hospital, organs shutting down, and all that fun jazz… although you might be.  But just as severe as a physical death, emotional death is significant.

The reality is:  If I don’t start to leave parts of the eating disorder behind, I cannot create the life that I want to live.  And if I cannot create the life that I want to live, I will never feel satisfied, content, or at peace with myself or with my situation.  And if I don’t feel satisfied, physically, and emotionally, that is just as bad as a physical death.

I have to give a lot up.  And I’m grossly unprepared to do it.

  1. The idea of a lack of cellulite
  2. The thigh gap
  3. Allowing the ED to buffer me and give an excuse for me to put life on hold
  4. Exercising to manipulate my body
  5. The idea that health=thinness
  6. All food rules, and judgements about foods
  7. The need to feel in control all the time
  8. Perfectionism and not allowing myself to make mistakes

I’m sure there’s a lot more.  And do I know what will happen when I give these things up?

Nope.

Not a clue.

BUT, if I hold on to them, I am doomed to stay where I am.  And that’s not a place I want to be.

So I let the exercise go these past two weeks.  I let go of the hour of activity after work…for a few days.  And then I brought it back.  And then I let it go for a few more.  And I brought it back.  And then we did again, for longer.

I swam 10 meters from the shore, and then I returned.  Then I swam 15, and back I went.  The cycle continued, and continues.  And that’s okay.

It’s okay if it’s a process.  It’s okay if it takes a long time.  It’s okay if it isn’t all or nothing.  Because it’s hard, and you need to swim back when you’re struggling to tread water.

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But eventually, prepared or not, you have to lose sight of the shore.  You have to not look back.  You have to put all your energy into going only forward.  Because where your going has to become more important than where you’ve been.

It isn’t easy.  But nothing worth doing ever is.

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Seriously Smitten With…

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  1. Most elaborate latte art for all your coffee porn needs.
  2. I’m not a huge tattoo fan, but these matching tattoos are a neat idea.  Hint: Moving beyond the portrait you might regret, or the name you’d like to forget.
  3. I’m not big on vulgarity either… I’m not really at all.  But there’s something about this mug that just makes me laugh and hits all the right spots.  You won’t believe how many times I’m holding a coffee, and thinking this at the same time.
  4. These cookies are next on my “To Bake” list.  Has anyone tried them?!
  5. I started a new job this week, and this little snippet was making its way around the bakery in a room full of chefs.
  6. These confidence-boosting journal prompts are an awesome tool to figure out where your emotions, judgements, or frustrations are coming from, and to process out your thought diarrhea before it splats all over the inappropriate places of your life.
  7. Some self compassion for all of those, “I hate my body!” moments.
  8. In need of a new phone case, and I’m totally loving this one.
  9. I think this would be the coolest course to take, even if just for those day off mornings to have a bit more pizazz.
  10. Leading up to turkey time, I’m craving all the pumpkin!  A list like this will keep me going a while.

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

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!

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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!

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?