Day 347

12PM:

Aaaah, the things the uninitiated don’t know…

The eating disorders you inadvertently cause.  The selfconsciousness you unknowingly perpetuate.

No lunch for the vegan.  Lunch for the vegetarian, lunch for the halal, lunch for the allergic, lunch for the picky (no tomatoes?).  But no lunch for me…

All I got was an “oh?!?”

You even asked about dietary preferences and I took the chance with a small breakfast.  I hoped for the best and was unprepared.  Stupid me.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t the mistake that got me, it was the reaction.  I could have brushed it off, had you not brushed me off.

But you don’t know the blackness, you’ve never seen the underside.  That is how you could give it power.  Inadvertently.  But that’s because I’m expendable, isn’t it?

Restaurant industry might be transient, but so are teachers in schools.  I’m expendable; if you treat me as such, it will empower my black bits.  But I will also act expendable.  Want to use me up?  Want to treat me as a cog?  See the blackness you will spawn.

Oh yeah, and the topic of the day was Mental Health and Well-being.  You think I am mentally healthy and well?

Day 266

6PM:

These might all seem like separate things, or even worse, redundancies. Two-hundred and sixty-five days of over and over, dropping one thing and going to the next, picking up one catch phrase when it better suits and putting down an old one, or again, even worse, being redundant and repetitive and (dare I say) edu-speak-ish.

Fuck off.  That is not the case.  These ideas do all fit, they fit around recovery.

Recovery is creating an environment – through lines (structures, respecting your true nature and not shoulds, working through blacklists and exposure therapy, safeguards, routines), support systems (literary and asking for help from the warm-blooded – familial and therapeutic) and tools (regular exercise, expressing gratitude and appreciation, writing a blog, happy lists) – that starves the blackness inside, taking away its power, taking back the things it stole as flaws (taking your thoughtfulness, contemplative nature and warping it into toxic hyper-vigilance and overt control, anxiety and over-thinking, an eating disorder or alcoholism to cope and depression, low sex drive and thoughts of self-harm as a result; taking your self-awareness and bastardizing it into self-doubt and fear, whereby you run and cheat and lose your you version of you) and reclaiming them as your own beautiful, amazing and loving imperfections, and in doing so, allowing yourself to find vivid in recovery one day at a time, reclaim healthy, manifest as the you version of you, your true nature, your Uncarved Block (healthy veganism, thoughtful gentleness, IANs, creative attentiveness and loving care).

Without the breaks and brackets (and questionably avoided run-on sentence):

Recovery is creating an environment that starves the blackness inside, taking away its power, taking back the things it stole as flaws and reclaiming them as your own beautiful, amazing and loving imperfections, and in doing so, allowing yourself to find vivid in recovery one day at a time, reclaim healthy, manifest as the you version of you, your true nature, your Uncarved Block.

See, it all fits – perfectly imperfectly.

Day 249

11:30PM:

Why am I afraid of putting on weight?  Why am I so concerned about the person in the mirror as opposed to the person inside?  Why did that voice creep into my head?

I never really had weight-related issues, nothing totally out of the ordinary: feeling self-conscious as a pre-teen and wearing a T-shirt in the swimming pool, hearing Grade 9 girls talk about the best body parts of other people in our classes.  I remember these things because I am me, not necessarily because they were scarring.  In fact, I only started having weight-related issues, thinking about the abs in the mirror or the definition on my chest when I started losing weight.  Like the weight loss triggered some abnormal, never-reverseable (at least that what it feels like now) switch in my head, that the blackness turned on and uses against me, uses to cloud the me version of me.  I read an interesting article from the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders a while ago about this, about weight loss triggering an eating disorder – not sure if it is me, but it is interesting nonetheless:

“The role of genetics on eating disorders is of particular interest to researchers. Our knowledge at this point indicates that genes load the gun and the environment pulls the trigger. We are far from knowing specific genes that cause eating disorders. There are a number of genes that work with environmental triggers. Dieting and loss of weight may influence the development of anorexia by turning on a gene that may influence an eating disorder. There are many cases of transgenerational eating disorder and twin studies which make this connection. There is probably a 5-6 greater chance of developing an eating disorder if an immediate relative has an eating disorder” (http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/general-information/).

But again, I am not sure if this was my case.  Chicken or the egg?  Trying to understand the roots of an eating disorder, of this arm of the blackness, is troublesome.  At a certain point, who the fuck cares?  Some things I will never be able to understand, some puzzles will never by put together and for perfectionists that’s a hard thing (also for me, who tries to find patterns and parallels in a lot more than I should).  However, to a certain point, it is important to care about the causes, in so much as it enables an understanding of triggers, potential pitfalls and warning signs.

Here is that certain point.  As such, this is what I know:

  • I have spent the majority of the day worrying about my bloated stomach, about the food I’ve consumed (it is weird to be hungry – actually hungry, as the impatience and “watching-the-clock” demonstrates – and worrying about bloat at the EXACT SAME TIME).
  • It is a tool of the blackness, that is what I know.  The rest of it, after this long, I cannot understand.
  • I also know that it doesn’t seem to matter (yet) how many times my wife tells me that weight gain might be good, that it might actually be my set-point weight, that my body might be telling me that I’ve spent most of the last eight years starving it of nourishment, of health, of happiness.
  • It just seems permanent, but that is too far ahead.  Right now, I know that the blackness is screaming louder than ever about my bloat, about my definition, about my appearance.  Right now, I need hope that it won’t do that forever…

The inspiration for this post was a page I came across from Greatist, about Neghar Fonooni from Eat, Lift and Be Happy.  I have included that article at the end of this post because it is what will give that hope…

“This is my ‘reverse progress’ photo. In 2009 I was 120 lbs, 12% body fat. I was ripped out of my mind, and also ACTUALLY out of my mind.
I counted every last calorie and worked out about 2 hours/day. I was in an abusive relationship, lacked confidence, and only felt good about myself when I was lean. I weighed myself every single day and allowed that number to dictate how I felt about myself.

Today, I weigh roughly 134 lbs, and probably am about 17-18% body fat. I don’t actually know, to be honest. I workout 15-30 minutes per day, and once a week I do a longer strength only session, allotting more time for rest. I enjoy red wine on the regs, and while I eat a nourishing diet, I don’t stress out over food. When I travel, I indulge in local cuisine. I am active, strong, and fit. I’m not RIPPED and I honestly DO NOT care.

Why? Because any time I want to get shredded again, I know what to do. I know that I’ll need to tighten up my diet, and I know that I’ll need to be patient; leaning out will take a significant amount of time. I just don’t WANT to do that right now, and that’s okay.

I call this “reverse progress” but I actually think it’s real progress. I’m happier now.

Being lean isn’t my top priority. If it was, I’d work for it. My priority right now is being the best mom and wife I can be. My purpose is to teach women how to love and embrace their bodies, and should they want to be leaner, show them how to do it without going crazy.

I’m sharing this with you because I want you to see that fitness professionals aren’t perfect. We aren’t always shredded and we shouldn’t just show you our highlight reel. Sometimes I’m leaner than others, and that fluctuation is normal. It took me years to be okay with that, and to accept my body just as it is, 10 pounds up or down. I could look at that picture from 2009 and feel badly about myself for gaining weight, or I could look at the picture from a few weeks ago and feel proud of myself. I choose to feel proud.

In the picture on the left I was miserable, and today I am free as a bird. I’ve chosen not to let my body fat % dictate how I feel about myself, and fully accepted my body and all of it’s beautiful imperfections. I hope you will too.

xoxo
N”

Thank you Neghar

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 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.