Well as some of you may know, I have been recently struggling with a setback/minor relapse with my eating disorder. The thing about eds is that they are a slippery slope. For me, if I let it slowly creep in, before I know it I’m in over my head. One thing that I constantly struggled with while having my ed is always pushing myself or “one-upping” myself. I always had to burn more calories than the last workout, workout a little longer than the last session, eat a little less during the day than the day before, go longer without eating than I had lasted the previous day, etc. etc. Sadly, the list really goes on and on. It was always a competition with myself. I felt that I was proving my strength and willpower if I could just push myself a little harder. And then a little harder…and a little bit more…and just a little more…
This was a regular part of my life, in the past. Everyday was an exhausting push to just get through it. If I made it to the end of the day and got ready for bed, it was a great feat for me. I was miserable, too. And as much as I convinced myself that I was happy at this point, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Long story short, I ended up really kicking my ed’s ass. I really started to recover and gain all the weight that I needed to back. I ate foods that I never thought I’d eat again (and didn’t freak out about it!)…I stopped working out, in order to let the weight stay on and to not push myself or get unhealthy with my workouts again.
But then I hit a point where I had gained more weight than I was comfortable with. Granted, I was right in the range my dietitian wanted me to be in, but to me…it wasn’t a comfortable place for me. I wasn’t comfortable with my body. I knew that warm weather would be right around the corner and there was no way that I’d be comfortable in summer clothes with the way my body was/the weight it was at. So, I started to panic. But lucky for me, my ed is still always on fringes, waiting for me to go back to it. It’s always lurking in the shadows, waiting for the moment when I feel bad about myself and know that resorting to my ed will yield the results that I want….losing weight, toning my body, looking thinner.
So, I started dieting (i.e. restricting) again. I also started working out a lot too. Now, at the beginning I really didn’t think I was going to get out of control and I really didn’t think I was headed back to my ed…but I let my guard down. I started to feel the results…my pants that had all become tight finally started to feel looser on me. And then, the benefits of the weight already coming off of me in such a short time, fueled my ed thoughts and I kept pushing myself more and more. Before I knew it, I was back in full restrict mode like the past. Constantly pushing myself and trying to out-do what I had done the day before. It is a never-ending cycle…and one that you can never really win…because it’s never just “enough”.
Quickly, I started seeing it effect my life. I am all too familiar with all the negative impacts of eds and all those negatives were showing their ugly head. I started getting irritable, tired, very low-energy, crabby, distanced from friends and family, isolated, etc. etc. It was just enough for me to get by throughout the day. I just got a promotion at work and this was definitely not going to allow me to focus on my new responsibilities and learn my new duties, when all I could think about is food, calories, weight, etc. I had no time to think of anything else. Not to mention I was really unable to focus on anything because I was so food deprived.
I had quite a few talks with my husband about what was happening. My ed always messes up relationships and my marriage is the greatest to suffer. He didn’t want this to happen again…for my ed to come back in and take over control. He said I wasn’t “me” when I was in my ed. And he’s absolutely right. I am an entirely different person. I am dead…numb…unable to fully enjoy things or life, in general.
So, I finally realized I couldn’t do this again. I couldn’t let myself lose full control again. I still was in a position where I could stop this before I let it get too out of hand. So, I decided I had to fix this. I had been reading a lot of healthy eating blogs and have found that there is such a thing as finding that healthy balance. You can still eat food and be healthy. You don’t need to stop eating. There is a balance. And there is also a way of having a healthy form of exercise without letting it get out of control and unhealthy. So this is my goal…to find a healthy balance for my life. I love exercising. But I really can’t do it properly when I’m starving my body of the food and fuel it needs to keep going. I also love food. So I can allow myself to learn more about foods, try new recipes, and still be healthy.
So, to the title of my post. The other day, I was at work and I had made up my mind that I was going to really push myself to work towards healing and recovery…not letting ed take over my thoughts and actions. It was 8:57…and I was STARVING. I knew that I was going to eat something, I needed to. I had a yogurt waiting for me. But I faced another one of my “oddities” associated with my ed. I could never eat anything before a new hour was on the clock. So while I was hungry at 8:57…I wouldn’t let myself have that yogurt until 9:00. If I did, I gave in and was weak. It was the hardest damn thing for me to do…but I opened that yogurt at 8:57 and started eating it. It was a small thing, but it made me feel like I was regaining control. I chose to eat. And I made the choice to fight a “rule” I had set for myself. It felt really liberating.
Yesterday, I ate decent (and granted, my idea of “decent” right now is from where I was to starting to eat when I feel hungry, instead of ignoring my hunger or popping sugar free candies to fight off the hunger) and as a result I decided I would go to the gym after work. I have always wanted to run a half marathon. That was a goal of mine that I had from way back when….but I never could get to a place where I was healthy enough to even come close to training for it. I’d overwork myself and not properly re-fuel myself…I’d start a running routine and then have to stop right away. But it was a goal I had really wanted to reach…it was my way of proving to myself that I could do it and that I was healthy enough to finally be able to do it. I thought of this goal on the drive in to work on Thursday and realized I still had that goal. My hubby had trained to run the distance (and successfully did so!) but never ran in an actual half marathon. We decided we wanted to train together and do it as a team this time around. I am really excited about it and want to make sure I really work on getting and staying healthy. So I took the first step after work yesterday and started to run again at the gym. It was a trust testament to how out of shape I am…I couldn’t run much at all. But it is something that I am going to keep working on. And I know that if I keep myself motivated, I can do it.
Another part of my recovery is the blogging world. I have found so my inspiring people and good examples of what healthy balance looks like. It also gives me hope that it really is achievable! I am so thankful for all of the examples that I have and ideas for finding healthy foods and balanced eating. It is definitely giving me the motivation I need!
So here’s to working toward finding that healthy balance. It’s going to be a long, hard journey…but it is something that I can achieve.