Day 279

6PM:

Some universal signs to interpret, from today, a day that has left me realizing I’m worn down and not doing myself any favours by living on the edge:

“Peace is in each of us” (Mennonite Church)

Even though I felt like I needed the Naturopath to be a sounding board, that I needed her to tell me I am drinking too much (either to cope or to fill up the calorie tank at that point in the day), that I am not respecting my hunger out of fear of getting fat (and the never-ending thoughts of belly fat, unknown as to its delusional or truthful nature), that I am not fueling my me-ness enough throughout the day with food and rest, thereby letting my blood sugar drop, my adrenal health plummet and my ability to fight off / ignore / not hear the blackness crater.

Even though I felt like I needed her to say it, I knew these things.  I am scared of trusting myself, of trusting my opinion, even though time and time again, we draw the same conclusions: the only us experts, are us.  Peace is in each of us, or at least, in my case, the ability to find that peace is in me.  I trust my head to think, my heart to love, my soul to feel; now, I need to trust my body to heal.

“I value myself” (Naturopath)

I want to shift the way that I think from I find no value in myself compared to others, worthless in their shadows and that I accept myself as such.  I want to shift it to that I find purpose in others, I find value in helping them (like the happiness I got from doing yard work at my mother-in-law’s house today, not thinking about the selfishness that spawned me doing it, but simply having my heart focus on the love and the IAN).  However, finding purpose in others does not negate valuing myself, it does not have to.  In fact, valuing myself means I can be selflessly selfish, by taking time to heal myself, heal myself so I can engage in that purpose of others; as opposed to being selfishly selfless, making it about ignoring my own needs and ultimately sacrificing my ability to live that purpose.

“Be patient” (Mennonite Church)

We will make mistakes, we will falter, we must before we fly.  We will be patient, step by step on the path of recovery.  We will keep putting one foot in front of the other to reclaim healthy, making mistakes along the way but still going, one day at a time, one breath at a time, breath by breath.

Day 276

6PM:

With this week on the job coming to a close…

This week on the job, taking the reigns, being aware to support my mother…

Doing this has led me to the following (or should I say continuing) thoughts: now, the starbursts of support may be in warmth or in echoes, while light years away the supernova has dwindled, used up its primary energies, become a secondary star.  Now, maybe I am meant to be the brightest star, the supernova that’s meant to provide the strength and courageous care – Tz’u.

It was me who called my aunt as the voice of reason, to make sure that she took care of my grandparents in my absence, ignoring her neglect (my birthday message to her that went unanswered out of “busy-ness”) and instead focusing on my grandparents and inspiring care.  It was me who has been my mother’s sounding board, her unwavering resolution through some trying marketing dilemmas during this job, her idea-bouncer-offer (and often creator).

It was me who has been bolstering my mother’s self-confidence this week, making sure that she does not feel obsolete, out-of-place, purposeless, but also balancing this with making sure she does not feel inferior, that she still feels like she is the best at schmoozing, at taking care of others, at being the silent upper-hand.  For example, last night she went alone to a schmooze-fest with another sponsor, much bigger than us.  I wanted her to go alone not only because I am fucking exhausted and sore (feeling it beyond my bones, but in my marrow, in my coldest physical parts), but because she needed to feel important, she needed not to worry about me being there, she needed to feel the best, she needed to feel “solo,” like she could conquer the marketing world all on her own and be seen as a super-woman.  Much of that is true, but much of that is about emboldening her and avoiding her feeling an iota of negativity towards herself.  I love my mother and would never want her to feel that way.  The difference is that it wasn’t about short-term pain for long-term gain.  It wasn’t about making her emotionally and intentionally healthy so that she could support my recovery, so that she could be the Don.  These intentions were about making her feel loved, feel cared about; these intentions were solely about her.

As such, I am led to the inevitable – no, the approached, not “rapidly approaching” – thought: am I the new dawn/Don of Tz’u?

Day 263

8AM:

We will make mistakes.  We will stumble, we will falter, we will collapse.  But we’re still on the road, we’re still on the path, we’re still in recovery.  Looking back on the last nearly eight months, there have been lists and plans and lines to set the recovery on the me path, on the us path.  Some of these have worked and worked masterfully.  Some of these have worked for a time, for that version of me, but no longer, not for the more colourful, soulful me.  And others have practically not worked, even if theoretically they “should.”

We cannot hold these against ourselves, let them be the burdensome, cumbersome prevention.  By that, I mean we cannot let them prevent us from moving forward, let the blackness take hold of them and use it as ammunition for spiral thinking and self-hate and mind-fucking attacks.  I have not been eating breakfast for the week I’ve been back.  I eat twice and act as if eating two times a day means a smaller margin for error, less of a chance for me to eat too much.  But because I’m oblivious to my hunger cues at Meal 2 (as I wrote a couple of days ago, traditionally hungry is not what I’m being aware of), there is actually a larger guessing game when preparing this meal, more of a chance for me to eat disproportionately, to eat out of my nature.  As such, it is a bad habit, one that the blackness has taken a hold of, feeding off my insecurity and using it against me, turning it into a bitter flaw and causing me to make daily mistakes.  These mistakes may not have served to propel us forward on the path of recovery, but they have the ability to give to the wisdom that makes recovery that much more powerful.  The strength of recovery, the respect for what works and what doesn’t, the love and courage that drive us forward – these are intertwined with the wisdom acquired along the path.

In Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff writes the following about the true nature of wisdom: “In the final section of the Tao Te Ching, Lao-tse wrote, ‘The wise are not learned; the learned are not wise.’ … From the Taoist point of view, while the scholarly intellect may be useful for analyzing certain things, deeper and broader matters are beyond its limited reach” (24).

If these are not mistakes for the sake of mistakes, stumbles and falters and collapses in themselves, we can gain strength and courage and respect and love from them.  Being respectful of one day at a time only came from looking too far ahead.  The closeness of failing together ends not with error, but with loving embraces.  Bitter loss serves as an emboldening, one that strengthens the courageous ferocity in the true versions of ourselves.

A post-it note once told me an important life lesson: “remember, we all stumble; you have to fall before you fly.”  I will eat breakfast tomorrow, knowing the problems it causes later in the day with hunger cues, drinking and respecting my true nature.  If we gain from our mistakes, in this way, they serve to make us wise.

Day 243

10AM:

Three days into this and there is definitely doubt – especially because of the length at which we have been existing in this stage of recovery, the one that needed the portion control, the calorie counting, the external voice to keep me in line.  Doubt brought on by my wife putting herself in another careless, thoughtless situation last night with drinking and work and neglecting her home-life, her whole life, her life of intention.  Not doubt of her, but doubt brought on by the stress of staying up all night waiting anxiously for her to come home safe.  Doubt brought on by a soul less powerful today to fight off the blackness.  Doubt that has questioned and will now question every fucking food decision, constantly: Too much? Not enough? Waited too long? Should have waited longer?  Doubt that analyzes every time a piece of food enters my mouth.

That doubt says maybe I need a plan to follow for eating – maybe that’s just me, needing some sort of organization.  Maybe I can’t be eating “willy-nilly?”

But wouldn’t this still be restricting, be suppressing emotions, which we think is what killed the other emotions (sex, love, sadness, rock and roll)?  Wouldn’t this be perpetuating the dulling of my soul, as opposed to reclaiming its beauty?

That doubt says why not keep the portion counting and set breakfast, lunch, pre-dinner and post-dinner = fuel the brain enough throughout the day to fight the blackness that screams loudly when I am hungry (e.g. suicidal thoughts, self-harm, self-doubt, self-inflicted pain, guilt, and all the other dwarfs who missed out on Disney).

However, to the point made yesterday, those lines are old lines, too bold for the me version of me, too solid for these colours of my soul.  Quell the short-term anxiety for long-term harm?  That doesn’t sound like what brave, strong and smart bears do.

And what would you do about activity levels?  Regimented eating is one thing, but to truly “do this right,” you’d have to regiment movement, stress levels, activity duration and strenuousness, sleep times… (get the point).  Dealing with the movement anxieties of “not sitting down because it isn’t compensated for naturally” (as it would if I just ate, like the new stage of recovery suggests) prevents calmness of mind and soul, feeds the perfectionistic qualities, brings out the flawed nature of my obsessive imperfections.

That doubt says today – given how hard things are setting up to be with home stresses, crappy sleep, potential for restriction as a result of both (just because hunger has had a hard time speaking through these before, not an intentional restriction), Summer School midterms to turn around in less than 18 hours (assuming sleep isn’t a priority…) – maybe today I count, I take it out of the context of yesterday and the context of tomorrow and I pick up the calorie/portion counting for one day.  I can’t get out of control for one day…

If I can get through today, if we can get through today, on Day 3, not taking a sabbatical…  I have always been too stupid to fall down, to know when to give up, forever tilting at windmills because I’d rather find the giant among them.  But this is more than that, getting through today will give us strength.  It will embolden us and more importantly for me, it will embolden her.  Show her that when times are tough, she does love, and MOST importantly, she does care.  Stay the course.

That doubt says I have felt bloated over the last three days, and I don’t think it’s the blackness talking.

That is anxiety fucktard!  It probably always existed and you just ignored it because while the cause was unknown, the intake was known (used to tell the blackness that I couldn’t get fat, because the intake was regular, regimented, controlled).

I’m scared.  I need to record these because even though they aren’t real, they are real to me, right now.  I know that these are just fears and that these fears and anxieties are temporary (but I’m an overachiever — and I really want it to stop) and that I need to focus on the positives (like the fact that I haven’t had a desire to binge at any point during the day, except yesterday between lunch and early-dinner when I waited too long – but the voice stopped when I ate reasonably, turning off the demon that screams in times of restriction) and have faith.

I know these things because of my grandfather who emailed me within minutes of me asking for advice.  I know these things because of my beautiful wife, who (yesterday, before the carelessness) in a step on her recovery of the her version of her, reminded me that maybe (just maybe) these anxieties are because I’m not at my appropriate weight and that will fluctuate when I accept my hunger, my feelings, my emotions = evidence of care.  Even after last night, that is what I want to believe in – the unicorns, the penguins and her.  That is her reclaiming healthy, being my support system, holding my hand as we walk this path of recovery together.

And suddenly, I’m not as scared anymore, even though the path ahead seems dark.

Day 240

7PM:

A week after the Fourth of July and a week and a half after Canada Day, I’m declaring my Independence…

 

Cue the dramatic, but this is a huge step.  A step on the path of recovery.

And no, it won’t be perfect.  The blackness will still scream in my head, telling me that I will get fat, telling me that I am not doing enough, telling me that I am wrong.  The blackness will force me to use the tools I have at my disposal, to find new tools, to use my support system.  However, consider that neither of these examples were perfect at the time either:

  • Canadians still had Western Canada to bring into the fold after 1867’s Confederation.  It took over a century, but they got there.  Now, all the provinces and territories celebrate.
  • In 1776, the Americans still had the ghost of the British looming over their shoulders and a Civil War that was a hundred years away.  But there was progress.

Signing of Confederation, signing of the Declaration of Independence – these things, these showed progress, these were steps on their paths, these were hope.

And just like them, I can have progress, I can have hope.

And just like them, I deserve both – for me, for us, for all the people it will allow me to focus on in the future and for all the Intentional Acts of Niceness I will be able to do because I won’t be concerned about food or hunger or the things I’ve avoided as a result of the portion-system (because the food or activity or activity level couldn’t be measured or quantifiably compensated, because of the anxieties around not getting it all out of the blender, because of not being able to stop moving and doing extra).  We all deserve for these things to be gone.  Reclaiming healthy through recovery deserved.

The portion controlled system will always be there if needed, in times of stress or in times of relapse.  But for right now, it has done its job.  For right now, I have done my time, my 25 to life

Now, it’s my day.  Not a day of endings, of forgetting the history leading up to this moment or of ignoring the continued progress that needs to come, that will come.  But today, today is my Independence Day.  And tomorrow, we wake up and take the next step.

Day 239

Plan of Attack:

Prioritize vegan and healthy, the true colours of my soul

Juice — Breakfast — Lunch — Dinner (Snacks as needed, which will be the tougher part out of all this, listening to my hunger cues to determine if I need to eat something between Lunch and Dinner, or after Dinner to “touch up” the day [which should be much more manageable than playing catch up at the end of the day with the massive meal])

At the three meals, hit four of the six vegan food groups (dividing fibrous vegetables into greens and non-greens) to ensure that I am combining the two colours of veganism and healthy – thank you Thrive Foods and Brendan Brazier for the graphic:

Vegan Food Pyramid Graphic

Also at the three meals, making sure that one of the four is from the healthy fats section (this may change given its placement on the above graphic – which is more for visual purposes than anything – but it is a hang-up of mind, a remaining blacklist item that I want to make sure I quash early and often)

If cooking these meals becomes too difficult, anxiety-inducing, etc., we will look at getting pre-prepped stuff (Whole Foods, your prices be damned!!!)

No coffee or booze, at least for the first couple of weeks – they are appetite killers for me, things I’ve used in the past to ignore my hunger cues and I want to get firmly entrenched in this new system before I reintegrate them

No weighing myself or my food (I can’t wait to destroy those fucking scales!)

Use the tools we have developed, those mechanisms to fight the blackness – use them willfully, intentionally and without hesitation to battle the urge to move too much, the urge to hurt myself, the urge to portion control or predict, the urge to make my imperfections into flaws, the urge to not be the version of me that we know is there and screaming to come out

My girl, my beautiful wife, will be crucial in keeping an eye on me, making sure the lines are appropriate, my safeguard, my love (and she will bring me home one meal a day – I can’t wait!!!!)

Let hunger cues be my guide, let resting cues be my guide and trust that my support system will help me along this next step in recovery (I will need to prepare them for this, so they are ready for this and may take a day or two).

This is reclaiming healthy, this is progress on the path of recovery, this is a continuation of my soul’s awakening and growth, a vividness that we seek.

Day 235

5:30PM:

What is reclaiming healthy in this stage of recovery?

Reclaiming healthy is respecting my appetite, respecting my desires…

my appetite for food;

my desires for rest, for sleep;

my appetite for movement;

my (true) desires to eat vegan, to eat healthy [AN ASIDE: vegan test yesterday — found out I ate non-vegan food accidentally and didn’t freak out about calories or fat, just thought about the dairy I had consumed — I cared more about the vegan than about the eating disorder — there is trueness there, evidence of true appetite];

my appetite for emotion and connection;

And later, my desires for sex, for sadness, for love.

We are still trying to figure out the how, the lines for this stage of recovery, but it’s about trusting the soul we have looked to find, coaxed out through the darkness and nurtured to grow.

Day 234

5:30AM:

Time for the lines…

Time to (even if a wee bit early -fuck- to) figure out next steps…

Time to figure out some “how to”s = Resource TIME!!!

From Your Eatopia’s Recovery page:

Here is how you know you are ready to attempt eating to your hunger cues:

    1. Your weight appears stable. (weighing yourself is not necessary to determine that).
    2. If you have dealt with amenorrhea during your restriction, then you have achieved 3 consecutive periods in a row.
    3. You are continuing to eat minimum amounts and it is comfortable to do so.
    4. Other lingering signs of repair seem complete (no longer cold, tired, achey, dealing with water retention, no brittle hair or nails etc.)
    5. You think you may need to start eating to hunger cues and are a bit anxious that you can trust those cues.

Note Item 5—if you are feeling extremely confident about eating to hunger cues then chances are you are a ways away from remission still.

[AN ASIDE: DEFINITELY NOT EXTREMELY CONFIDENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

You move from meal plans or counting calories to eating to hunger cues by attempting a 3-day experiment. Eat to your hunger cues but jot down everything you eat. At the end of those three days you should discover that your hunger has taken you to approximately the recovery guidelines you have been following thus far. If so, then you can likely trust your hunger cues and move into your remission with some confidence.

From “fyoured“:

If you’ve seen the ‘Scarier Version’ of how to recover, and the thought of listening to your hunger makes you panic, then you might find a more ‘structured’ recovery meal plan useful in the meantime.

I will add though that either way, you will still be hungry all the time and gaining weight basically at the same pace (i.e. the pace that’s right for your body), so you may as well do the harder thing and start listening to your body instead of conforming it to a strict schedule.

I mean, I started recovery by having a very rigid meal plan that insisted on weighing everything. This made me physically better, but my attitude to food went absolutely crazy. I became so dependent on weighing everything, and eating things only on my meal plan, and eating at set times.

The idea of ‘normal, intuitive eating’ was even harder to get used to after my somewhat OCD/manic attitude to food in recovery.

I completely regret not following my true hunger in recovery, and making my poor body stick to yet another strict schedule. My body – and my mind – were sick of rules by this point.

And again:

Counting calories is a very hard habit to break, sadly, which is why I strongly suggest you never take it up, if by some miracle you haven’t yet. I don’t care if you don’t suffer from an ED / disordered eating and if you are medically overweight; counting calories is the worst way to lose weight. It makes you miserable, dependent on a stupid system and, this way, you never really learn how to eat.

But back to your question. Some places to start:

  1. Get rid of all measuring tools in your kitchen. Quit measuring foods cold turkey. This will be damn frightening at first, but you will get used to it. Each time you feel the panic rising, take a deep breath, say ‘fuck it’, and let go.
  2. Venture into the land of ‘unknown calories’. Eat out at cafes, restaurants, buy food from organic markets (the only reason I even go to places like WholeFoods sometimes is because they have surprisingly little nutritional info for most of their stuff), anywhere where there are no calorie values available. Don’t overestimate calories in a secret tally in the back of your head, either!
  3. Which brings me into this point. Listen to your body, not your (disordered) head. When you know you’re hungry, think ‘what do I truly want?’ Eat the food until you are truly satisfied, and don’t stop just because you ‘think you should’. Every time you feel your mind clicking the numbers away, tell it to shut up. Satisfied? Finish meal. Want more? Continue meal. Not too sure? Eat something sweet to wrap up. You get the idea.
  4. Start to enjoy food for the taste, just the damn taste of it. This is a simple idea, but one that is surprisingly hard. You know by this point what makes a good meal. Example: a good-sized baguette, with butter and cheese and maybe some greens in it. Meal. Lunch. A good-sized bowl of cereal with decent milk, and a piece of toast. Meal. Breakfast. A main course at a restaurant, and if the portion is smallish, then a starter as well, and if you want to, a gorgeous dessert too! (Don’t listen to your ED thoughts here.) Meal. Dinner. Done. Food, done. Eat, chew, leave. Get on with life. Stopping negative thoughts is an excellent technique here, but one that takes practice.

And, all the while, keep reminding yourself that no, you will not ‘balloon’ and ‘get fat’ because to do this, you’d have to consistently eat much above your natural hunger levels. Don’t weigh yourself, either; you’ll find something wrong, even if (of course) you haven’t changed physical size. Go with your body, and trust it; not your disordered, number-controlled mind. Try it, and see how you go.

From Running with Spoons:

If you guys recall, a while back I mentioned that I don’t keep track of my macros or calories – it was an obsession that consumed my life for far too many years and the freedom I gained from it isn’t something I’m willing to give up. BUT… and this is a big but… lately I’ve been wondering if I shouldn’t start paying a little more attention to my eating habits. I’ve become a little too carefree with my eats, to the point where I can’t help but wonder if I don’t end up accidentally under eating on some days.

But that’s life, right? One day you under eat, the next day you make up for it – hence the occasional insatiable appetite. As long as I’m honoring my hunger, there’s no reason to worry, right? (please say right) I mean, tracking my calories was a good way for me to make sure that I ate enough everyday, but at the same time… the obsession, the control, the fear… ugh – not something I’m willing to risk falling back into again.

And again:

I think I might be making up for the weekend because my appetite has seriously been off the charts. I was more-or-less a bottomless pit yesterday, and today looks like it’s going to be more of the same. But here’s the crazy part: it doesn’t bother me. Hungry? Eat. Hungry again 1.5 hours later? Eat some more. It wasn’t even that long ago that I admitted to getting a little anxious whenever I’d get hit with an insatiable appetite day, but somewhere between then and now the anxiety started to taper off to eventually disappear.

I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but I have a feeling that a lot of it came down to [repeatedly] taking a chance (ie: eating more to honor my increased hunger) and realizing that nothing bad happened as a result. I realize that makes it sound ridiculously easy in theory when it’s not in practice, but that’s what it basically comes down to. At the end of the day, you just have to do it.

If you find yourself stuck in that kind of situation, one piece of advice that I can give to make the whole process a little more effective, if not easier, is to ditch the numbers. Stop feeding the obsession and let them go. Don’t weigh yourself on a daily basis and don’t compulsively count calories – it’s not helping you. Yes, not knowing is terrifying at first, but you can’t expect to move forward if you’re clinging to what’s holding you back.

I’m just trying to live my life and be healthy. And honestly? Numbers aren’t going to help me do that. If anything, they’re just going to get in the way by taking my focus off of what really matters and leading to an obsessive mindset that I’d rather avoid.

And once more, just for kicks:

There are days where I have to toss in an extra snack or two because I can’t get my brain to focus on anything other than food – a typical symptom of hunger for me. Terrifying, right? It definitely used to be.

Back in the day where I was religiously tracking my calories and macros, the mere thought of eating more than I had planned or allowed myself to was enough to send me over the edge. And when it came to actually doing it? Yeah right, there was no way that was going to happen. Hungry or not, I would force myself to wait until the proper hour to eat, obsessively watching the clock and agonizing over how slowly the minutes were passing by. One minute. Three minutes. Five minutes. Gah!

Looking back, it’s hard to figure out why I put myself through that kind of unnecessary misery, why I couldn’t just eat when I was hungry and move on. Actually, I take that back – it’s not hard to figure out why. I was afraid that eating before it was time would cause me to eat more (read: too much) and…. gulp… gain weight. But, as with any other disordered belief, this one proved to have no truth to it as well. I mean, I did gain weight, but that’s because I needed to and was consciously trying to. I was severely underweight and eating an amount that was well above my maintenance level. But I digress.

Early lunches, they happen. Eating more, it happens. The point I’m trying to get across here (to myself as well), is that nothing bad happens as a result. Trust me (brain, I’m lookin’ at you!!). There are days where I feel like my hunger is off the charts and I’m doing nothing but eating, but lo and behold, those days never seem to show up on my butt or thighs. So don’t be afraid to eat when you’re hungry, even if that means having lunch at 10:30 AM.

[AN ASIDE: I actually felt the fear signals perk up in my forebrain reading that last comment – something is not right with my receptors if that’s the reaction I have.  It is definitely time.]

From the always inspirational Angela, of Oh She Glows fame, especially as it speaks to a fear I have of over-eating if I let go of the portion control system and start listening to my appetite cues:

My struggles with binge eating began shortly after I started to restrict my food intake. Before this, I had no prior problems with binge eating. I struggled with disordered eating for many years. I would starve myself, over-exercise, and count calories obsessively. It is no surprise to me now that I also struggled with strong urges to binge. Afterwards, I would feel so ashamed, I would cry, and I would vow to restrict my intake the next day- and weeks after.

It took me a very long time to realize that I would always have problems with binge eating as long as I was still depriving my body of what it needed. In an evolutionary psychology course we learned that it is an adaptive response for our bodies to seek out large amounts of food when in a deprived state. It makes total sense to me now that my body was just trying to get food in any way possible!

You can only deprive your body for so long before it acts out in protest. My weekend binges were in fact a protest against my weekday deprivation.

My body had ENOUGH.

And so this cycle continued for a long time. It is such a hard cycle to break because after a binge the guilt is so high that the only comfort you can think of is feeling empty again and restricting your intake. The cycle repeats itself over and over and the person who struggles with it, sinks deeper and deeper into isolation.

I am here today to tell you that it doesn’t have to be like this. You don’t have to live your life with cycles of deprivation and compulsive eating. It is possible to beat it and to eat in a steady cycle.

How did I beat binge eating?

I honestly do not think that I could have beat binge eating if I didn’t stop restricting my intake. This took me a long, long time to realize and I hope to be able to save some of you some time too. When I finally stopped restricting my intake, I allowed myself to eat when hungry and I stopped counting calories and weighing myself. The hardest part was that I still suffered from binges even though I was not restricting my food! You know why this was? Because old habits die hard. My body did not want to trust me. I had deprived it for so long that I couldn’t be trusted, so even though I was now eating enough food, I still struggled with binges now and then.

This was extremely frustrating for me and I will admit, I relapsed a few times because of this. However, the body CAN learn new tricks. It took me about a year to finally stop the binges even when eating normally. My body finally learned to trust me again and it didn’t feel the need to ‘store up on food’. I know for a fact if I was still restricting my intake, I would still be struggling with binges. It is an adaptive response, don’t forget.

And to finish it off with love, the most useful tool in the recovery process, an interview from Blogilates:

How do you help someone overcome an ED or BID?

Shannon (Lagasse): I always say that the best support you can give someone is your full, unconditional love and acceptance. These people, usually women, want to be validated. They want love, attention, and affection. They want to feel like they belong, like they’re being noticed and heard, and like they’re worth something. Showing them how much you truly care is the best thing you can do to inspire them in recovery. If I could, I would suggest working from a holistic, mind-body-spirit approach. Eating disorders aren’t solved by a nutritionist and not always even with a therapist. They’re healed through an understanding of what triggered the individual, learning self-love and self-respect, bolstering self-esteem, and addressing every aspect of the individual, from the inside out.

This is about reclaiming healthy.  This is about reclaiming healthy through love.  It’s always about love.

Day 233

MUCH TOO LATE:

I found this a little while back and have been meaning to write about it: http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/blogs/18-quotes-on-food-and-health-that-will-make-you-think

Most of all, the following quotes:

6. “Each patient carries his own doctor inside him.”
― Norman Cousins, “Anatomy of an Illness”
I and my support system know myself, know how to help and how to heal when listened to, when the blackness is not listened to.  I spent a couple of sleepless hours searching through someone else’s blog, going through a year of their life searching for hope and finding only another step in their path, a stumble at the end (one that I know they will pick themselves up from, that they will learn from, that they will be inspired from and progress from).  I should be looking at me…
3. “And dieting, I discovered, was another form of disordered eating, just as anorexia and bulimia similarly disrupt the natural order of eating. “Ordered” eating is the practice of eating when you are hungry and ceasing to eat when your brain sends the signal that your stomach is full. … All people who live their lives on a diet are suffering. If you can accept your natural body weight and not force it to beneath your body’s natural, healthy weight, then you can live your life free of dieting, of restriction, of feeling guilty every time you eat a slice of your kid’s birthday cake.”
― Portia de Rossi, “Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain”
At this point, the eating system of portion control is a form of disordered eating.  At one point it wasn’t; it was a support system, a supportive system.  Now, though… it is causing me to want out.  The stressors of my life – the constant state of counting portions or calories and killing off the parts of me that want to talk to my appetite, my hunger for food and sex and love and passion, my heart – this is disordered.  The confines, the dimensions in which the system of portions resides are no longer doing their job.  They are giving the flaws in my personality (obsessiveness, hypervigilance, overthinking) room to bash my brains in, turning these beautiful imperfections into tragic flaws.  I could be poetic and say the blackness has learned how to battle me here, but I think it has to do more with me.  This is not who I am.
2. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
― Hippocrates
I’ve bemoaned the man in the past, but here, he has a point.  Medicine and food are interrelated in the same way that exercise or taking care of yourself are medicines.  Right now, medicine is not my food, food is connected to fear, to self-hate, to avoidance, to blackness.  It needs to stop.
In speaking to a very wise individual, I have begun to understand that I am better.  I am more whole than I was seven years ago when I left the hospital at 135 pounds.  I am more whole when the world spun out of control and I lost 25 pounds at my first teaching job.  I am more whole than last year when my wife cheated on me.  I am more whole than I was 233 days ago, before I started writing every day.  I am more whole and therefore, I am more colourful.  My current issues with the confines of the portion-controlled system have more to do with me, not the blackness learning to battle, learning to use my tools against me.  It is because there is more colour in me, more passion, more connection to my soul, more care, more acknowledgement of love.
As such, the lines around me might need to soften and the dimensions of life expand, to ensure that I stay balanced, to ensure that I am the me version of me that I know is there.  This is what happened when we instituted the cheat meals (the uncounted portions) and when we moved more to portion counting than calories counting and when we explored the blacklist.  Just as these softened this lines, we will do it again, because that degree of softening is no longer enough – no longer enough for the soul that I have revealed and embraced and now, cherish.  It is time to let that colour become vivid.  I might need to trust myself to know when to eat and when to stop, to trust myself to be in control as opposed to an external system of eating (which had its benefits in the path of recovery, but as I said, are no longer supports, they are confines), even though I feel like I’ve forgotten how to do so.  That is scary, that I’ve forgotten.  I might need to trust my support system to keep an eye on me while I do it, just in case I take the plunge and falter.  I might to ask a lot of myself, if not too much.  I might need to be braver than I am, stronger than I am and smarter than I am, letting Winnie the Pooh be my guide.
These are only thoughts, only colours.  Tomorrow comes the lines.  Tomorrow, the VIVID will fight back against the blackness.

Day 199

9AM:

I know what yesterday’s post was: it was just the way that I think.  It is just the way that my head does business and that’s ok.  It cannot derail me, it cannot derail us.

It is the same as me knowing that when I don’t eat for long periods, I get irritable, but that’s something I can only realize when I’m around others.  It is the same as me knowing that when I am lonely, I want to be more alone, because it’s easier.  These are parts of me, perhaps parts of the ME version of me too.

They are not flaws, fixables; they are imperfections.  They are not the blackness or disorders – these are fixable flaws, those for which recovery is necessary.  These however, they are the moles on my back, redness in my face, beauty-marks that are part of me.  They are the parts of me that make me different, that make me, me.  It is ok that my head works this way, but it is not ok when it causes me the stress it did last night.  I will keep working on this, on accepting me for me.  Part of reclaiming healthy is reclaiming this acceptance, reclaiming the ability to forget about worrying about them, because they are me.

They are called beauty-marks for a reason.