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!

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.”

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    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:
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    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)

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    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?

Currently: Our Thoughts are Not Our Stories

Hello everyone!

Guess what else says hello?

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Yep… my breakfast.  You guys, it was so good.  So good that I had to include it in this post.  I did something totally different today and decided to bike to the cafe and have my weekly Skype session with my dietitian over breakfast.  I’ve never done that before and I kinda really loved it.  I’m one of those people who dreams of breakfast… it’s the best meal.  I mean nine times out of ten if you asked me at the end of the day what was the most satisfying thing I ate that day, it would be whatever I decided to have for breakfast that day.  My boyfriend, as well as a plethora of people in my family, are not breakfast people.  Or rather, they simply can’t eat right away when they get up.  I don’t get it.  It kind of makes me sad because I can never share my oatmeal love with people.  Or pancake love.  Or various “for one” crumbles, muffins, and latte loves.  See, the moment my feet hit the floor I’m starving… so waiting more than 45 minutes to eat is SO not happening!

Anyways, I dream of breakfast.  I was lying in bed watching “The Revenant” last night, and my thoughts were drifting to the breakfast I knew I’d be eating in nine hours, and trying to figure out what I felt like making.  It’s actually not disordered… it’s me being super excited about breakfast!  And I mean, you have to plan ahead sometimes because if you have a feeling like you’re going to want overnight oats, or a soaked oat and chia smoothie, you gotta get those goodies in the fridge ahead of time!  And I knew, I KNEW, that I felt like an iced latte and a fresh blueberry muffin.

You remember my muffin issues?  Yeah… it’s not as much of a struggle anymore, but I still really really suck at having them for snacks without a breakdown.  But I also discovered that if I truly honour my cravings, I generally only ever want muffins once.  MAYBE twice, if you’re super lucky.  I’m seriously the most diverse person you’ll ever meet… I hate eating things more than once, or twice in a two or three day period and CRAVE that variety.  Like this week we made pulled pork… yeah, it’s good, but that always makes a TON, and after eating it twice it was like, “GIVE ME ANYTHING ELSE!”

So I live off A LOT of single serving recipes, or rather a combination of recipes and creations I make myself.  It totally feeds my diversity and allows me to eat whatever I truly want in a given moment.  But muffins are one of those really tough ones… there honestly are not that many single serving muffin recipes out there!  I mean, unless you count microwave mug cakes… but those are NOT the same as a freshly baked muffin from the OVEN!

Admit it.  You know it’s true.

And sometimes you want a blueberry buttermilk muffin, but if you’re me you DON’T want to eat twelve of them!  It was super easy when my Dad was around… he was the quintessential normal intuitive eater.  He had absolutely no food rules (🙆🏻!!) and had the metabolism of like a hummingbird.

Side note: Hummingbirds apparently have the highest metabolism of any animal… it kind of makes sense with their speed and ridiculously high heart rate. #gottalovegoogle.

Anyways, I think I get my breakfast love from him.  The first thing he did when he got up was walk into the kitchen and put two slices of bread in the toaster.  He was also a morning person like me… A couple of genetic tics that I’m not hating!

Double side note: Do you even know how many toasters we went through when he was around?  No joke, I swear we went through one every year, or maybe every two years.  SO MUCH TOAST!

Moving along… it was easy with him around.  He ADORED baked goods, and still does.  Give him anything with a bit of sugar and some fluffy floury substance, and he was all over it like white on rice (which by the way is a really odd expression…). So if I felt like muffins, I could make 12 and know that if I had one, or two, he’d easily take care of the rest.  Same with cakes, pies, cookies… actually when it came to cookies, you were lucky if you even got one of those before they were gone.

Now it’s not so easy… if I bake 12 muffins, chances are we’ll only go through three, maybe four before they’re all mouldy, and that’s only if I have help eating some of them.  And don’t give me the whole freeze the rest thing… there was a time when I made like 4 dozen muffins because I felt like having different kinds available.  And then a whole shelf of our freezer was taken up for over a year.  At the moment I have some banana walnut ones in there that I think I made 4 months ago… I’m pretty sure there’s still 10 of them.  The only exception to this was my grandma’s banana bran muffins… man I could easily pound through 3 of those a day.  Once again, just like her cinnamon buns, we’ll never know exactly how she made her little paper-lined cups of heaven.

Long story short:  it just doesn’t work.  So when I felt like a blueberry muffin for breakfast today, I knew the only logical plan was to go to the cafe and buy one.

So I hopped on the bike.  Usually I walk there, but I’ve been craving a bike ride recently because I haven’t had the chance to go, and I FINALLY bought a bike lock, so I can chain it up.  And being relatively new to the biking game, I am of course super nervous about biking to somewhere busy simply because I haven’t done it before.

It went fine though!  And it was WAY faster… like ten minutes and that was a leisurely pace, AND with walking across crosswalks (because I’m not comfortable biking across them, and lets be honest: you ARE supposed to walk your bike across anyways), AND going the longer scenic way that takes like 25-30 minutes to walk as opposed to 15-20.  AND, I managed to figure out the bike lock… I think.

Have you ever had that sinking feeling like you did something wrong, because you weren’t totally confident in what you were doing?

I have this urge to check but I don’t want to pack everything up… so I’ll hope for the best.

Moving along… so I walked into the cafe, first thing when it opened, and you could smell the fresh baked goods!  And I’ve been in a “I’M SO HUNGRY I COULD EAT EVERYTHING!” phase constantly the past few days (so scary!) so I was more than ready for my muffin.  And I walked up to the counter hoping for a blueberry filled fluffy pillow of muffin top joy… and was greeted by raspberry chocolate chip.

Really, I can DO any kind of muffin (I may not be craving it, but I can eat it) EXCEPT one with chocolate chips.  NO.

 

Chocolate chips do not belong in breakfast, and they DEFINITELY do not belong in muffins.  They have made me gag for as long as I can remember.  Not an ED thing either.

So… disappointment.  Because there was no way I was getting a muffin today to attempt to assuage my muffin craving.  But, you can always go back to old faithful: date squares.  I LOVE date squares…. like LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!  And ED hates them… but that’s a moot point.  I haven’t had one probably since September or October, so I was long overdue, and while it was no blueberry muffin it was just as good because I love, love, love them.

Side note: Is this a Canadian thing?  When I was talking to my dietitian, she mentioned that she loved them too, but that they’re near IMPOSSIBLE to find other than at their Whole Foods.  Around here, you’re actually more hard pressed to find a cafe that DOESN’T sell them, thank heavens, because once again, it’s really hard to find a single serve date square recipe too.

So my breakfast was delicious, especially the date square, which I hadn’t tried at this particular cafe before.  I think it’s the best one in town, and it will be a thing again for sure.  And, as far as I know, my bike is still tied up outside.

Win.

Man I get on tangents.  I haven’t written in so long because I’ve had this MASSIVE case of writer’s block… and while I really had an aim at the start of this post, I’ve long since gotten derailed and I’m already 1500 words in and have reached a point where going into ED stuff might make this WAY too long. I guess we’ll just see where we end up at this point…

So guess what!!! It’s my man’s graduation today!

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And while he’s all nonchalant about it, I’m super duper proud of him because I know what he’s gone through to get to this point, and how long he’s been waiting to be able to say, “DONE!”  Plus, yesterday we went to an awards ceremony (which he is also all nonchalant and humble about), where he won three amazing awards that he totally deserved.  And yes, I’m gushing, but it’s totally true and while it might not be a big deal to him, I get to celebrate it and totally brag because that is my job.

#girlfriendrights.

In addition, he’s starting a new job today that is totally more in line with his interests, passions, and hobbies, and while I’m kind of down because I won’t see him as much as a result, I’m also so happy for him and excited for his new opportunities.  Dialectics at its finest.  Truly, the feelings are mostly happy ones.

So the past few days have been pretty full, with today being the fullest I’m guessing.  And it’s funny because you’d think that with all the hubbub and ado, I wouldn’t have time for ED crap.  And yes, this is true, but only partially.  See, I have less time to OVERANALYZE, and limited time to ENGAGE in harmful behaviours, but as a result, or perhaps as a side effect, I have more of an urge to?

It is a well known fact that stress is one of the biggest eating disorder footholds:  the eating disorder thrives on higher levels of anxiety, as well as tensions regardless of whether they are internally or externally driven.  It bases itself on that sense of a lack of control that one has when there is stress in life.

So when my man is stressed because he is struggling with work-related issues, and I can’t do anything about it, I feel powerless, and out of control.  I internalize it, and grasp at strings to try to find something that I can be in charge of and take the reigns on: my weight, shape, and food.

When I have less time to fit in exercise, still have a meal plan, and still want to fully engage in other aspects of my life, I feel like I’m bound and chained to complete the time allotment by any means possible.  I internalize, and I plan.  I set my alarm an hour earlier and sacrifice sleep to “get it all in”.  I eat my lunch super fast at work to maximize time so I have an extra fifteen minutes during a break to shave off of my walking time.

When I have goals to honour my hunger and my cravings from the dietitian for the week, but I’m unexpectedly blindsided by incessant unrelenting hunger for a few days, I panic.  I should jump for joy because, hello, I’m actually getting a clear message from my body, a rarity in a skeleton that has gotten all too used to hunger silence.  On days when your physical hunger signals are ACTUALLY there, it makes identifying cravings so much easier, so this “assignment” would have technically been a piece of kale (I meant to write cake, but I was going fast and that is actually what my fingers typed… I kind of liked it, so I left it 😋). If it involves eating MORE than the meal plan, my brain does not compute.  I internalize, I try to calculate, I make external rules (“If I allow myself to eat now, I cannot have a snackor y, later”, or, “If I have 3 snacks in a day, that’s the same amount I have on an exercise day, so I have to go and do exercise at some point”).

When I honour my hunger and cravings, and it results in me eating scary foods, AND I’m feeling stressed because I’m busy, I experience MORE body dysmorphia and MORE intense body hatred, as well as even HIGHER levels of urgency to engage in old behaviours.  I find myself comparing my plate with those around me, leafing through the paper shredder to find the nutritional info for the Rice Krispie’s, and in my head trying to validate my own consumption based on what those around me eat- regardless of the fact that we are incomparable having different bodies, genders (at times), metabolisms, activity levels, and never being entirely sure what someone else eats as you’re never with someone for a full 24 hours.

I feel as though I am losing “willpower” and as if I am out of control, and by extension gaining weight and fat.  Not that this is would be the end of the world, remember.  But the reality is, I am not losing control and/or gaining weight:  the only thing I am LOSING is ED’s grasp on my reigns and connection to the diet mentality, and the only thing I am GAINING is freedom to make my own decisions and a greater sense of intuition.

But in the heat of the moment, it’s hard to remember this.  It seems like a moot, if not ludicrous point.

And if you’re bombarded by all these things, and your “feelers” are going crazy, you grasp at straws.  You try to maintain composure and stay on the recovery track, you try to appear okay, when a large chunk of you is desperate to go back to that sense of control, to the unsafe place that felt so secure.  You get confused.  You get complacent.  You find yourself at an awards ceremony, bombarded by memories, some good, and others not so much so.  Celebrating someone else’s successes, reminds you of your own, when you sat in a similar situation.  But it also reminds you of all of the times things didn’t go as you thought they would.  It reminds you of where you thought you’d be at this point in your life, versus where you actually are.  And while you’re happy, and while you wouldn’t trade your path or current situation, you play the “what if” game:

What if I’d stayed on?

What if those who know me are disappointed in me?

What if I have climbed as high as I will ever go?

What if I knew then what I would become?  Would it have made a difference?

And all too quickly, these “what if’s” give way to other, even more dangerous ones:

What if I’m not good enough?

What if I’m destined to never recover?

What if I’m too stupid to know how to feed myself “properly”?

What if I’m too lazy?

What if I’m too fat?

What if I should add in more exercise?  You know… tone up, be healthy…

What if I really do need to lose a few pounds?  Five?  Ten? Twenty?

Would I feel better if I did?

And suddenly you’ve lost touch with the reason you’re there.  Suddenly, you are no longer rejoicing in the successes of those around you receiving awards, but instead waiting eagerly for the next woman to be called to the stage, so you can scrutinize.

Is she more put together than me?

Is she prettier than me?

Is she thinner than me?

Does she have less cellulite than me?

If yes, the anxiety and urges climb.  If no, phew… but she’s still probably smarter, has her sh** in order, and will amount to more… to “better”…

I don’t know about you, but last time I checked we were at an event that celebrates academic achievements, not at a bikini contest.

And in this whirlwind you find yourself planning your next opportunity to run a mile, or sneak out for a 15 minute walking session.  Or figuring out which item on your meal plan you can “conveniently” and “uncontrollably” skip.  Or planning your next late night McDonald’s run, or what brownie recipe you will make to stuff your face with at 2 am in a dark corner when no one is watching.

You do you.

Only, not your best you.

Not your real you.

Your ED you.

The difference is, as much as you’re an old hand at slipping into eating disordered behaviours, you’re also dealing with a growing arsenal of tools in your toolkit.  Did you notice that I wrote PLANNING, as opposed to ACTING?

There’s a difference.  And it’s significant.

How many of you were reading this and as it got further along thought, “Damn, that’s it.  It’s the beginning of the end again.  Another struggle, another forced meal, another skipped meal, another relapse.”?  How many of you were foreshadowing my demise?  How many of you were getting anxious thinking, “NO!  But you were doing so well!”?  How many of you were getting anxious thinking, “This was me last night!  You hit the nail on the head!”?

Yeah, you’re right.  It’s a fine line, and a dangerous one.  And it’s one that I’ve been headbutting against a bit more often than I’d like the past week or two, or three.  BUT, remember I mentioned those tools I was talking about?  Yeah, see I’ve been stressed and busy.  Yeah, some days I’ve slipped into old routines, but 98% of the time I haven’t.  Because you can read this and see all the negatives, all the toxic thinking patterns, all the loss of direction, all the steps backwards that take me farther away from recovery as opposed to closer to it… OR you can look at all the amazing positives that have equally come out of the past few weeks:

  1. I have honoured my cravings more in the past two weeks than I have in the past six years.
  2. I took an exercise slip, BUT I admitted it promptly to my dietitian and didn’t hide it.  I lost privileges, BUT have subsequently slowly gained them back.
  3. I have stopped counting my crackers.  It was always 9 or 10 depending on size, or 5 if they were huge… but now it’s a solid reach in the box handful take it or leave it.
  4. I have had three snacks a day some days, even if it almost killed me because I didn’t do exercise that day.
  5. I have been more spontaneous in my free time than I have been in years, and have as such had so much more fun in my relationships with people rather than being in my own head.
  6. I’ve actually drank drinks with calories… a lot of them.  And allowed myself enjoy them.
  7. Although I set my alarm for earlier to exercise… I hit the snooze button.  More than once.
  8. Last night, after all that comparison at the awards ceremony, I built up an ice cream craving, felt really physically hungry again, honoured it even though it killed me to do so-

Side note:  Anyone who knows me well knows that if I have a craving for a restaurant/not make at home food, I NEVER bring it up to others.  I always feel like a glutton and a failure when I crave restaurant or take out food.

  -and ended up buying celebratory DQ Blizzards for myself and my loved ones:

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AND I was hungry so I got a larger size than ED wanted me to… and I ate it.  And it was perfect and delicious.

See, therein lies the difference.  Someone very close to me said, “I just don’t want you to get triggered.”  What she meant was, “I don’t want you to get triggered INTO a relapse.”

See, it’s not about if you’re triggered, or if you have these thoughts.  It’s not about if you really had a difficult time, were under a lot of stress, or even if you goof up a couple times.  We HAVE to be triggered, because being triggered lets us know where our boundaries and limitations are, and give us insight into where the happy medium lies.

For me, the happy medium lies somewhere in between my first bite of my peanut butter baked oatmeal, and the last.  Man, the last bite sucks… until 24 hours later when you can do it all over again!

The difference is, now I can be triggered, but I can act independent of the trigger.  Or at least most of the time.  Our thoughts are not our stories.  They’re not mine, and they’re not yours either.  They’re not who or what or where you really are.

So the next time you find yourself in a whirlwind, ask yourself, “What tool in my toolkit will be the best for me in this situation?”

Sometimes the tool will be a DQ Blizzard.  Sometimes it will be a walk in nature.  Sometimes it will be a spew of verbal diarrhea to get it all out of your head.  Sometimes it will be a list of all the amazing things you’ve done despite being caught in a whirlwind.

Or you can be like me and combine all of them!  You can get a DQ Blizzard, watch a movie, go to bed, wake up, go for a cycle, spew some verbal diarrhea with a dietitian/therapist, and then dispel some more in a ridiculously scattered blog post.

You do you.

The real you.

And now, the real me is hungry… Again.

So imma go find a snack.  Peace.

*PS:  My bike was totally still there! #nailedit. *

**Double PS: Not really… I apparently broke the little thumb lever that releases the lock from the bike frame.  But I just did that to make boyfriend laugh… totally planned it.  And the lock itself still works. So I stand by my #nailedit. **

 

 

Survivor Sunday: The Answers Lie Within Me

Does anyone else hear Destiny’s Child when they read the word “survivor”?

Mmmmmmm. Yep, I totally just did a sassy dance on my chair.  The sad thing is that this is so 1990 to 2006 (I googled (y) ).  The youth of today are probably seeing the word survivor and thinking this:

It’s a travesty.  I mean the chicken pahm and tuna fish…

But really, my boyfriend and I were talking the other day about the things that kids are totally missing out on nowadays.  Like ET!  I mean, I wasn’t a huge fan, but it blows my mind when I make an ET reference to someone and they’re all crickets.  Or fortune tellers, dunkaroos (which apparently you can still buy but they’re hard to find), MASH (the game), hackey sacks, gel pens, wall-mounted pencil sharpeners, and actually renting VHS’s at the video store (or really just having a video store).  Does anyone else remember buying a new CD and actually getting angry when the leaflet inside the front cover didn’t have the lyrics printed out?  It made it so much more work to sing along with it on my boombox to my hairbrush microphone, under the watchful eyes of my O-Town poster!

 

#thathairtho

I’m gonna put my dentures in now and move on with life…

Okay, back to where this started: survivor… STOP music, STOP… or specifically Survivor Sunday.  It’s a concept I’ve wanted to start up for quite some time, and have thrown around without too much pullback, but I finally decided to bite the bullet after getting a few positive responses!

One of the major issues with eating disorders is the feeling of isolation, or an inability to relate.  Either we’re stuck because the people around us in our immediate environment do not share our issues, or we feel trapped in a cycle of avoidance because we don’t trust ourselves to be around food, or not be exercising.  And while it helps to read other’s stories, and we can usually find something that resonates with us, sometimes one person’s musings just don’t fit with us.  That can leave us feeling even more alone, even more “freakish”, and even more imperfect.  The common line:

“Man, I can’t even have an eating disorder right!  I’m not doing x, y, or z, like so and so!  I don’t struggle with that, but I do struggle with ___.  Obviously I’m just stupid thought because NO ONE seems to have the same issue, even in the ED community.”

Reality: You’re still struggling, your problems are no less problematic, you are not “failing” at having an eating disorder/being in recovery, and chances are, someone somewhere has the exact same issue.

AKA: You’re not alone.

And as much as I enjoy the positive feedback I get on my words, I know that the reality is, I don’t resonate with everyone.  What has worked for me, may not work for you.  What I struggle/have struggled with, might be completely different.  What is scary for me, could be a piece of cake for you, or vice versa.  And that’s why I wanted to start this (ideally) weekly post: Survivor Sunday.

Let me start here: if you’re pursuing recovery in some way, if you’re contemplating a change, or if you’re simply just opening your mind to the possibility of another way of life, you ARE a survivor.  Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, and anorexia nervosa specifically has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness – it is estimated that 10% of individuals with AN will die within 10 years of the onset of the disorder.¹  Bulimia Nervosa has an average lifetime duration of about 8.3 years.²  With numbers like that, with realities like that, it’s important to value the tremendous achievement it is to rally against it.  A choice like that literally can make a life or death difference.  It doesn’t matter if you “weren’t that sick”, or were only “kind of anorexic”, whatever that even means.  You never know what the other road travelled could have lead to, and it’s not a road that I suggest you go back and try out.  You’re a survivor.

You’re a survivor as much as someone who enters remission from cancer is a survivor.

You’re a survivor as much as someone who lived through third degree burns is a survivor.

Just because the wounds aren’t visible, doesn’t mean they’re not there.

So now that we’ve determined this, what is this whole Survivor Sunday shenanigan?

Sunday, for many, is a day of reflection, rest, replenishing, rejuvenation, and readiness for the week ahead.  It’s about examining both where you’ve been in the last seven days, and where you’re going in the next seven.  And that can get you down.  If you’ve been struggling, you might feel like you haven’t accomplished much.  If you’re nervous about something coming up, you might be more vulnerable to triggers in the days leading up to it.  And Survivor Sunday is about both of those things: where you are, and where you’re going, as well as how you’re going to get there.

Every (again, ideally!) Sunday, I’m going to be posting a contribution from another Survivor.  It brings in the other points of view that I might not reach, and a breath of fresh air to the blog space.  Plus, if you decide to contribute (hint, hint), it’s a great way to connect with others, share experiences, and promote your own blog, if you have one, a bit!

It’s a great way to show everyone how diverse eating disorders are and that we are not alone even though so often it feels as though we are. Plus, as everyone’s disorder is different, everyone has different rules, everyone has had a different experience, etc, this gives the opportunity for you to connect with someone that I potentially can’t! I hope that you’re just as excited as I am!

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So how’s it going to work?

Firstly:  There is no “I don’t know how to write… I’m not good enough… It won’t be very good… etc etc….” ED beats us up enough. Don’t do it to yourself too! This is our individual experiences, and it’s the story and the thoughts and the stuff you put into it that counts. I have no rubric… I’m not going to send it back to you and say, redo it, it’s not up to standard! I welcome everything and everyone. However there are a few ground rules. And bear with me, I’ve never done this before so whilst I get it working there may be add ins or whatever to this list as I figure out what works and what doesn’t:

RULES:

  • No numbers related specifically to you- i.e., weights, distances ran, amount of times purging, calories eaten etc, etc you get the idea.  No need to feed the comparison monster.
  • In general, keep the language clean. I can do a swear word here or there, if it’s emphasizing something in a way that no other word really can, but if it’s littered with them, it doesn’t work for me.
  • I’m not pro ana, or mia, and while this should be evident, I’ll iterate it. We’re not glorifying the ED here. I’m pro recovery.
  • Be respectful of other’s privacy. If you’re telling a story, don’t use other’s real names etc etc, because they might not want their story broadcast.

I’m blanking. It’s common sense stuff really. That being said, note I will require the submission to be sent to me no later than the Friday before the post. I will be reading over all submissions before they are posted just to check that we’re all jiving but I’m sure we will be 🙂 If things come up that pose a concern, I’ll bring it back and we’ll work it out (hence needing at least a day in between so we can edit if need be 🙂 ) . Similarly to respecting other’s privacy, I will at all times respect yours. It is an honour to have you write for the blog, and I value your opens and honesty. If you do not want to have your name posted with your submission, let me know. If you want the name changed, either do so directly in the post (but let me know too obviously so I don’t give you a byline), or tell me, and I can change the name for you. Similarly, if you want some self promo for one of your projects, note a link to your page etc, and I’ll for sure work it in!

SO WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT?

Answer: Anything your little heart desires! It could be recipes, it could be aspects of recovery, it could be your ED story, how it developed, things you learned, relapse, triggers, treatment, how you’ve grown, your hopes for recovery and life beyond an ED, etc etc etc… ANYTHING. I’m all ears, as long as it is pro recovery. Traveling with an eating disorder, how to cope with stress, being in university and having an eating disorder… I don’t know. I could go on and on!!

WHAT IS THE COMMITMENT?

None. There’s no commitment… although if you want to be a regular contributor I would not object!! You can test the waters. Maybe you only write once, maybe more than once. Maybe you write once now, and then are inspired again in 2 months, and decide to write again. Feel it out. I’m feeling it out with you too!

Also, I’m toying with the idea of starting a fb group or page or something so that all of those who contribute to survivor sunday can get updates to this or whatever all in one place, and talk about ideas etc too, but obviously as anonymity could be a factor, am not sure whether or not this would be helpful. Let me know your thoughts!

Furthermore, if you know of anyone who might like to contribute to this, feel free to pass this along! Looking for as many people as possible 🙂

So, let me know your thoughts, ideas, when you’d like to write, etc and we can go from there. Feel free to leave a comment, or email me, or instagram… You can reach me at:

cookiecrumbsandcarrottops@gmail.com
https://www.instagram.com/cookiecrumbsandcarrottops/

Note: when emailing, make sure you attach a subject line, or you’ll probably get deleted without me reading it if I don’t know you 🙂

AND WITHOUT FURTHER ADO… THE FIRST CONTRIBUTION!!

Our first contributor is Emily of Em Recovers.  She is a beautiful soul that I have had the pleasure to follow on wordpress for a while, and I am totally honoured that she would take the time to write and share her unique perspective on things.  Be sure to pop by her site and give some of her awesome posts a read… with a latte, or some peanut butter and oats in hand, because you might just get hooked for a bit :).

The Answers Lie Within Me

The end “food goal” when it comes to my recovery is to be able to feed myself intuitively. Your end goal may be different, but I do not feel like being held back through the rigid barriers of a meal plan is healthy for me in the long term. Many others have this same goal and “intuitive eating” is a phrase thrown around left and right in the recovery community.

If you suffer from an eating disorder, I am sure that you know that it is “not all about the food”. It’s a coping mechanism that affects so many parts of our lives. Intuitive eating is not something that I am actively trying right now, but I am still able to practice being more intuitive in other aspects of my life. Being more intuitive and trusting my gut has helped me reconnect with my hunger/fullness cues, and I believe is putting me in a closer spot to being able to escape into the freedom from ED rules that I so strongly desire.

In IOP, on my blog, and on Instagram I see these beautiful souls asking questions right and left about what others think they “should” be doing. I’m sure you’ve seen these: How many calories did you eat to restore weight? Is it disordered it I count macros? Would it be a behavior if I went to yoga tonight? And maybe you’ve asked some of these questions too. I know I have, especially early on in my recovery. I still do ask them. I’m starting to learn, however, that the answers lie within me. Only I know if eating Arctic Zero is a behavior. Only I know if meal planning ahead of time is disordered. Because everyone’s eating disorder is different. Eating disorder rules vary SO much person to person, so naturally everyone’s recovery looks different.

The best part that I have found in trusting my intuition, is that I no longer feel like I have to worry about everyone else: I am taking care of me. Or at least, I’m trying to, because I do give into my eating disorder sometimes. And I know that when I do give in, I get this sick/guilty feeling that I went against what I know is healthy for me right now. As long as I focus on what my gut is telling me, it doesn’t matter if so-and-so is running 4 miles 6 days a week or if what’s-his-name is eating amount of macros. Regardless, I do get so jealous when I see people doing things that I know are behaviors for me.

But at the end of the day, I trust that I know what is healthy for me. I can choose to go against that, too. And I still mess up every day. I have an intuition, and I am also human.

Everyone has an intuition. It may be quiet, it may be hard to trust right now. But it is there. And it is beautiful. The next time you find yourself wanting to seek advice from others, I challenge you to stop and ask yourself first. Because chances are, you probably already know the answer.

¹: Sullivan, P. (2002). Course and outcome of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. In Fairburn, C. G. & Brownell, K. D. (Eds.). Eating Disorders and Obesity (pp. 226-232). New York, New York: Guilford.
²:Hudson, J. I., Hiripi, E., Pope, H. G. & Kessler, R. C. (2007). The Prevalence and Correlates of Eating Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Biological Psychiatry, 61(3), 348-358.