No Diet Day–Should it be every day?

This will be a short post because I’m already a bit late for my afternoon run — it’s a speed sesh so maybe being hurried to get there will start the workout on the right foot? I didn’t want today to go by without putting a post out though, as it’s International No Diet Day.

no diet

In honour of that, maybe check out this article by Health at Every Size advocate Linda Bacon over at the NEDIC website.  She advocates for learning to trust our bodies, which goes in line with the kind of intuitive eating and self-acceptance/love approach that I myself get behind. I especially like the part where she hits the nail on the head when it comes to the element of control that dieting so alluringly offers:

“As long as things go well, the dieter can maintain control. But if anything gets in the way or changes, she can’t. The reason is clear: Dieters don’t rely on the normal signals of fullness to regulate their eating, so there are no brakes in place.”

…I know that when I have gotten sucked into restriction, or obsessing over/tracking my every meal, judging it, etc., there’s been a sense of control and power that I have–and it felt good. It’s nice to feel like you are totally in charge. And what thinking we need to get really strict about our food does all the time is convince us that we are otherwise out of control monsters who will binge at the first chance.

And unfortunately, after restriction, that’s what happens. I still have foods that were formerly “forbidden” that I have to remind myself–it’s OKAY–or else I end up overeating them to the point of feeling like crap. My experience tells me that I am not in fact a madwoman around food, but the more I think that I eat too much or eat the wrong things, the more likely I am to go ahead and go “off the rails.”

My hope is that some day, it won’t be the exception or the one day of the year where we don’t diet–but that we’ll learn to feed and take care of ourselves in a way that doesn’t require us to feel like failures or to give all of our energy to controlling ourselves.

two diets

 

Remember: we are not crazies. The diet industry likes us to think that, so that we keep paying them for programs. And trackers. And diet coaches. And unless these products and people teach us long term habits that make it so we don’t require them, I’m weary. Our bodies are on our side!

There’s my two cents!
What do you think about ditching diets?
Do you make a point to avoid diet talk / dieting / buying diet books, or do you just go with it?
Does controlling your food work with you? Tracking? Monitoring? 
Have you given up on diets? What have you found?
What keeps you dieting? 

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on nachos and storytelling

This week, I was out with friends and something icky came up. A (lean) friend was eating nachos and in response to my (probably offside) comment about their all-star dietary choice for dinner, they responded that since they weighed ___ lbs (a low number), it was okay.

Of course, this innocent person didn’t mean to offend me, but I was put off by the comment because my immediate thought/reaction was to say something along the lines of “Good thing I had dinner, I don’t weigh ___.”

Looking back, I could blame the innocent here for saying that eating junk food is okay when you’re smaller. But it’s not their fault—that’s commonplace in our world, whether it’s true or not (my thought is that the idea that you can “get away with” things because you’re skinny is blind to the fact that you can be skinny and seriously unhealthy). Alternatively, since I don’t know exactly what anyone else eats or does behind closed doors or what’s going on in their minds or bodies, I can focus on what I can actually control: my own thoughts on the matter and my own actions.

blame

So back to the idea that if you’re skinny, eating something “indulgent” is okay, which suggests that if you’re not, it isn’t. That sounds a heck of a lot like the dieting mindset rearing it’s ugly head.

In the past, dieting has mostly left me angry. I spent the majority of my high school and university years obsessing about food and exercise and weight or thinking about how I shouldn’t be obsessing about those things—not exactly freedom or health, in my opinion. There’s irony in the fact that the weight I’ve gotten to that has made my body happy (i.e. to get my period back, mainly) is pretty much right where I was when I started down the road of my disordered habits.

So, on the outside, that weight might look the same. But when I think about all of the learning I’ve done—about myself, my self esteem, and not just my physical body or exercise and nutrition—I know I’m not at all the same.

For instance, one thing I learned is that, like with the nacho example, putting conditions on when you can or can’t eat something is a recipe for mixing up my relationship with food and myself (whether or not that holds true for other people, I don’t know). You weigh too much to eat nachos = you don’t deserve nachos = you don’t deserve things = a recipe for feeling like crap. In that mindset, I know that when I do eat something that I think I shouldn’t, I’m going to feel like crap about myself and that I’ll quite likely end up overeating. There’s also a big problem with that thought process given that no matter how small I’ve been, I still didn’t qualify myself as someone who should be allowed to eat junk food.

Slipping back into the weight loss mindset sets me up for failure: I don’t eat the food I really want when I really want it and then I end up overeating on my own; I work out two times in one day and then feel sore, spiteful, and hungrier than ever.

So if I’m frustrated about putting in effort/worrying about my weight but still weighing more than other people who I feel like worry less than I do, what really needs to change?

I think in the past I’d have argued that I’ll get over it when I get smaller, but that’s not proved successful. The real issue isn’t that I’m bigger than those people—my body is healthy and for the most part, I’m more accepting of it now than I ever was when I was smaller and fighting against it—it’s that I’m pouring so much energy into worrying about it. It’s the mindset and the behaviours that suck. It keeps coming down to this: It would be okay if I weighed this much and I was enjoying nachos without needing to write a blog post about them, or doing the workouts that I really like, or relaxing in this body.

I think I’ve got an answer, and it isn’t to change this body to one that I think will deserve those things—to a body that can go to yoga one day, run the next, and lift weights the following instead of worrying about which workouts will mean the most fat loss, or to the body that can share a piece of cake and not go off the rails and eat chocolate chips compulsively the minute she’s alone—it’s to do those things now and trust that my body will take care of itself.

If I can resist the idea that if we don’t blame and shame and control our bodies, we will be overweight slobs (I think believing this this is the main reason I spent so long buying into the diet industry), I can start trusting my body. If I give up the dieting mindset, I have a feeling, paradoxically enough, that I will eat better and move more—and in ways that I actually enjoy. I know what a healthy lifestyle looks like, and even though it’s hard to resist the messages that seem to bombard me that I should be concerned with my weight or that I need to pour tons of energy into controlling my body, I’ve always liked a challenge.

Heading into Christmas, I don’t want to resent thin people who eat what they want. I don’t want to tell myself I can’t have a cookie and then eat 12 standing over the sink when I get home.

During my recovery, I can remember being frustrated with my old habits and feeling stuck and having a dietitian say something that shook me out of it along the lines of, “That’s the way it’s been for you for a really long time. But that’s your old story and it doesn’t have to be your story any more.”

It’s time for a new one.

emvrace change

What’s your old story when it comes to dieting or your relationship with your body? What do you want your story to be?

 

As if

First, a flashback (skip to 1:08ish for the title reference, please!):

Second, here goes…

This week’s been filled with fun and plenty of things to keep me busy, but I’ve been having a hella time sleeping. Last night, after lying in bed for about an hour, I said to hell with tossing and turning and got up and wrapped up the Christmas presents under my new tree. Is it strange to wrap gifts at 2am? In November?

While I wrapped, I listened to a podcast where Geneen Roth was talking about one of her books—“Women, Food, and God”—which really changed the way I looked at my eating issues back when I was first introduced to her work. Geneen writes in a way that takes the words out of my mouth but also has a knack for getting at something deeper. I’d go so far as to say she awakens consciousness to things I might never have considered on my own or perhaps just puts down on paper the things that many of us are awesome at avoiding.

At any rate, I’m feeling absolutely inspired by her and the book, which I paged through today for old time’s sake. One of the dog-eared pages I came to talked about the concept of living “as if” and I really think, given my posts yesterday, that it applies. Though her reference to “The Voice” might not make full sense, think of it as the beliefs and chatter in your mind about yourself (your inner critic) and reflect on this:

“I tell those who haven’t experienced themselves without The Voice that they need to live as if. Live as if they are worth their own time. Live as if they deserve to take care of their bodies. Live as if the possibilities they long for actually exist. Living as if creates a bridge to a new way of living. It allows you to see that something else is possible. That you really can walk, talk, and eat as if you deserve to be here.”

I think what she suggests here is extremely powerful.

If you’re like me, that’s a refreshing idea. If you’re convinced that you’re overweight and the itty bitty shitty committee that sometimes shows up in your thoughts drives your actions, you’re in a tough spot.

If you’re like me, you realize that that belief is absolutely misguided. Maybe you even know where the voice came from—for me, I can remember a painful time when someone who I love called me “fat and lazy”—and you’re actively trying to flip the switch to a more positive frequency.

But maybe like me, that’s tough. Seeing yourself in new light—as awesome at your core and inherently healthy—can take time. I know that in some areas of my life, I’ve certainly been able to flip that switch. Take, for instance, relationships. It’s easy for me to recognize that I deserve to be surrounded by amazing people who make me feel good and to spend less time with people who bring me down. Done and done. It’s not so easy to convince myself that, in the case of my body, my default is fit.

While it’s tough, it’s not impossible. And it’s happening, albeit slowly. I can catch myself heading into a negative headspace. I can recognize my thoughts for what they are. And while building self-esteem takes effort, the work is rewarding in and of itself. Who wouldn’t want to feel healthier and happier?  I’d suppose that if you’re reading a blog called Happy is the New Healthy, you’d be all over that!

So how about we do a little reflecting on hypothetical situation: What if you were always going to have this body—at this weight, with those thighs, and that jean size?

  • How would you eat?
  • How would you talk to yourself?
  • How would you exercise?
  • What would you stop doing?
  • What would you start doing?
  • What would you do more of?
  • Less of?
  • What would you wear?
  • What would shopping be like?
  • What would your pantry look like?
  • Where would you spend your money?

My guess is that, particularly if you’ve been dieting or “holding yourself back” you might start with an answer like “I’d eat cake all the time!” Sure, permission to eat freely might sound like permission to binge. But at the end of the day, weight or no weight, bingeing sucks. You’d start to eat the things that genuinely move your body towards health—knowing that food either makes you healthier or makes you sicker. Perhaps the talk of thunder thighs or pudge would change into appreciation of your curves or muscular build or at least into acceptance. Maybe you’d hop off the elliptical and lace up your hiking boots to move your body in a way that you’d love. Maybe you’d stop bingeing, restricting, talking about dieting with your friends, or comparing yourself to other people. Maybe you’d start taking care of your body (check-ups, adjustments, hygiene, etc.), getting more sleep, or going on dates. Perhaps you’d wear clothes that fit you and that flatter you—not baggy duds to hide yourself or things that are too tight and make you a cranky sausage. Would you dread shopping or would you find stores that sell things that you could swear were made just for you? Maybe you’d keep foods you’re certain you could never have around for fear of demolishing them in your kitchen. Maybe you’d stop buying magazines offering how to lose the last 10lbs, diet supplements that promise to be the missing answer in your weight issues.

Maybe you’d start to live a whole different life.

If those questions shook you up, I encourage you to start doing some of the things that I listed (or if you thought of something that you’d do if your weight didn’t matter)—maybe not the cake one. The things that you’d do for the sake of being healthy and happy—the stuff I listed as the answers—are the things that I absolutely must do if I want to be healthy and happy. Anything else is trivial. What would happen if you asked yourself the first question as it applies to the things you do daily?

At the end of the day, whether you’re 20lbs overweight, underweight, or exactly where you think you belong, you’re not healthy if you don’t take care of yourself. Regardless of what your body looks like or weighs, you’re wonderful. You deserve everything good and lovely in the world. Using food to make yourself miserable—fat, skinny, obsessive, etc.—distorts that. It gives you a problem, something you can wave in your face as proof that you’re not so amazing.

But you are amazing.

Whether or not you have weight to lose or gain, giving up the idea that that weight is a problem is a big deal. It offers you the chance to make a radical shift to how you approach yourself and your day to day actions. It takes you from a living against—problem-focused—approach and creates the space for you to instead live for.

Rather than an excuse to be fat and lazy and all things people like to assume not being attached to your weight mean, letting go puts the focus back on our actions. It gives you the right to do what’s healthy for healthy’s sake. Sometimes our weight can distort things. Consider the skinny fat person who eats like crap and never moves. With weight as a distorting lens to judge whether or not they’re healthy, they’re winning. Without it, they’re shit out of luck.

Weight is just an outcome—and as the skinny fat example suggests, it’s just a part of the picture. It’d take a certain kind of person to suggest that appearance trumps everything else and I’d like to punch that kind of person squarely between the eyes.

Lose the lens. Take some responsibility for taking care of yourself and be proud of the fact that you’re doing it.

All of this is asking you to take a step. To start to live for being healthy and happy and fit and strong rather than to live against being fat, sad, out of shape, or weak. Instead of avoiding the things that you think will bring you down, go after the things that will lift you up. Instead of avoiding whatever it is you’re scared of in life, create what you want.

Are you ready to live “as if?”

Finally, some more cheese…

Tis’ the season

November 1 is one of my favourite days of the year. At least in Canada, there’s nothing between now and Christmas, which means my Christmas obsession is less frowned upon. It also means Christmas music is semi-acceptable, anything and everything that can be red or green should be (festive socks, anyone?), and that it’s time for me to start digging out the Christmas decorations.

I noticed a few posts around the blogosphere lately talking about how to approach the holidays. With a few months of paleo-esque eating under my belt and about 23 years of experience doing what doesn’t work, I think it’s time to share my strategy for special occasion dining and my thoughts on how to approach the most wonderful time of the year!

Just like you can be sure your Aunt Edna’s going to make an inappropriate comment about why you’re still single, the holidays guarantee one thing: there will be goodies. Cakes, butter tarts, candies, pies, eggnog, hot chocolate, loaves, cookies–name it and it shall appear.

Chances are, you’re going to be facing some of your favourite treats and this time of the year is the only time you’ll see ’em. While there are plenty of advocates for aiming for perfectionism and avoiding all things tempting–we’ve all heard the advice to snack on an apple or a bowl of soup before heading to a holiday party–I’m going to advocate something different. As someone who’s had the soup, the apple, and a plate of cookies anyways, I can tell you–it doesn’t matter if you’re “full”–if your favourite thing is in front of you (and it’s not really “food” so much as delicious foodlike stuff), you’re going to find room for it.

For years I aimed for perfectionism when it came to holiday dinners. I’d eat white meat turkey, no gravy. I’d skip my mom’s delicious candied sweet potatoes in favour of eating a huge “ceasar salad” (romaine with reduced fat dressing)that I’d fix for myself—and of course receive looks for eating (and I get it – why would I fill my belly with boring old salad when I could be eating all kinds of once a year dishes?).  During the meal, I’d have no problem holding it together.

After, it was all bets off. I’d volunteer to put things away so that I could eat more turkey—the good dark meat that I really love. I’d leave some sweet potatoes in the dish so I could eat a few. I’d lick the spoon after I finished putting the mashed potatoes into a Tupperware. It was like since none of these were on a plate, none of these counted.

I’ve mentioned this phenomenon before—and I call it “sneaking” because Geneen Roth writes exquisitely about this kind of eating without eating. FYI, if you’re like me and you catch yourself nibbling on things as you put them away, prepare them, pass through the kitchen, etc., you’re not alone. But also FYI: you are eating that food. And if you’re eating it, why not just sit down and own your decision?

This year, I’d challenge you to eat what you really want—in full view of your family, friends, and yourself.

The worst part of the “sneaking” isn’t the food itself. If you’re like me, you’ve obviously been doing okay with your weight regardless of whatever weird behaviors you’ve had with food. The worst part is by far the damage you’re doing to your self esteem. When you sneak that food that you’ve told yourself you “can’t” have, you’re reinforcing that it’s something you shouldn’t be doing.  If you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing, you’re going to feel bad. There’s no way to win here—except going in with a different mindset.

On that note, I encourage you to stick to your guns when it comes to eating well during the holidays. By no means should being gentler with yourself mean eating cookies for breakfast lunch and dinner—but it does mean that eating a cookie should be a treat. If it’s not a treat, why would you do it? If you don’t actually want it and want the world to know that you’re gonna eat it, could you skip it? Is it really feeding you in a way you’d like to be fed?

I know that there’s a lot going on in this post but I thought it was worth posting. I found this handy chart on the Whole 9 site yesterday. I like how it forces you to slow down before you eat something that you know is “off track”. I like how it doesn’t refer to these kinds of eats as “cheats” or make them seem like “bad” foods and it makes the decision to eat something that isn’t moving you towards health one that you totally own and do because you genuinely want to.

At Thanksgiving dinner this year, instead of snarfing my normal ceasar salad white turkey combo, I ate intuitively and added a tasty but totally whole food treat into the mix. Leaving the ceasar salad (and all its funky fat) out of the mix left more room on my plate and in my belly for the brussel sprouts, squash, cranberries, and bacon with maple syrup dish I threw together for the whole family to enjoy. I had some of my mom’s sweet potatoes, skipped the gravy on the turkey (she tosses flour in to thicken it up), and I served up some pumpkin pie and chose to skip the crust. I had some candy corn to round things out.

Verdict? It worked for me! This Thanksgiving was one of the first holidays I didn’t binge. Guess what? I’m the same awesome Cheryl I was a month ago—if not more so! I haven’t “let myself go” but I’ve let myself be—there’s a big difference!

I’m looking forward to all the festivities this year. I can remember obsessing about what I would or wouldn’t eat at parties and often I’d go out, come home, and binge. I’d let the food take away from the fun. It’s supposed to be about the company, the family, the friends, the fun–the food is just a bonus. Keep it that way.

If you take one thing away from this, please take this advice that a friend of mine mentioned in one of his talks earlier this month. It’s not so much about  what you do between Christmas and New Year’s—it’s the New Year’s to Christmas stretch (the rest of the year) that matters. Make most of your choices move you towards health (because food that you eat either makes you healthier or it moves you away from health–there’s no “neutral” or “sideways”) and you’ll be golden.

This post about your Christmas eats on Naturally Engineered’s blog echoed this:

“One day out of the year is not going to break you, it’s a lifetime of chronically bad eating which wrecks our metabolisms or makes us sick. So, if you’re having trouble coming up with paleo recipes or trying to afford all of the food you’re buying for your holiday dinner, don’t worry about it. Do what you can, and make do with the rest.”

Amen to that.

This post is just a jumping point and luckily we have 53 days of festive time for me to keep writing. I’ve got a whole lot of thoughts on on “paleo-ifying” your favourite treats. Hint: while I think almond flour is pretty awesome—and I’ve made some pretty tasty treats that don’t call for flour of any sort—a cookie is still a cookie, candy is still candy, and a treat is still a treat!

On that note, I’ll leave you with this.

Brownies don’t bring bliss

Recall my presentation this afternoon on stevia? It went pretty well. It helps when you bribe people with brownies…

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Lucky for me there were leftovers. I gave the staff I see every day on my way to class the leftover “good” brownies (the ones from the box with sugar) and ended up with a couple of the stevia “brownies” left. In the mix: applesauce, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, dark chocolate chunks, vanilla and flour. I took the recipe from a site I searched out on google even though it didn’t get the best reviews. Simple. Not really dessert, if you ask me.

More like snack…

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I was hungry before my hair appointment today so I went for it and had one of the goodies. I liked it, even if most of my classmates were not quite as into them. 🙂

In the past, a brownie for a snack never would have happened. Today, it did. And if it had happened in the past, you know what would have happened? Not the “bliss” I’d expect (the emotional soothing) but probably self loathing or a binge. While the brownie didn’t bring me bliss this afternoon (I don’t think even the best brownies in the world could do that), a couple of things did:

  • getting rid of my mullet

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  • a really good smoothie for dins (pumpkin, yogurt, soy milk, flaxseeds, pumpkin pie spice, and spinach, topped with oats)

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  • an evening at Starbucks with an impromptu study partner (a friend from the gym who has a knack for bringing my stress levels down and making me laugh)
  • a mocha (’nuff said)

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  • finishing a project that’s due tomorrow
  • getting my last source for my article that’s due tomorrow (thank god for helpful people and admitting that you’re a student journalist in a bit of a pickle/rush!)
  • TMI warning!!!!! … a visit from Aunt Flo, NO PILLS/RING/ANYTHING required 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
  • not letting myself get stressed right now even though I “should” be

a little extreme, but you’re laughing. and it’s true.

  • tomorrow being Friday!
See what I’m getting at here?

Your take-aways from this post:

a) Focus on the positive.

b) Eat brownies.

c) Liberate yourself. Cut your hair, run in your sports bra, do something that makes you different.

d) Put spinach in your next smoothie.

e) Smile.

🙂


What brought you a little bliss today?
Have you ever baked with stevia?

Dear diary: The best binge of my life

A really great binge.

Is there such a thing?

As liberating as writing a few posts this week that I think really show how far I’ve come in recovery has been, I feel a bit of resistance. And a bit of stress with starting summer school. And that’s played out in chocolate cravings and some night time eating that is fine, but that probably should have raised a bigger red flag for me.

Anyways, it is what it is, and even though yesterday was perfection–my yoga class was fun, I hung out with a friend after, etc., I still fell into some bad territory last night. Or good territory, depending on how you look at this all (if you can follow along, you’ll see!).

Since I don’t have a deceptive bone in my body, I’m going to lay it all out:

  • went to bulk barn
  • ate some chocolate in a relaxed manner
  • got past the point of tired, got past the point of eating for pleasure/hunger, got to the point of “am I bingeing?” and stopped
  • went back to the kitchen, continued eating “I’m definitely bingeing”
  • went back to the kitchen again, tossed the rest of what I was bingeing on (telltale old dieting habit: I’m too out of control to have it around? <– that’s bull!) but ate more in the process
  • went to bed
  • felt sick
  • got up and threw up

Now, here’s what was different. NORMALLY I’d have been a WRECK over this. Does my reaction, which wasn’t to beat myself up, to plan a diet, to continue eating, to cry myself to sleep, to write epic blog posts or journals, mean I don’t care? That I’m giving up on recovery?

Hells no.

I think it means the opposite.

That binge/purge didn’t serve me at all. Not one bit. It was a waste of money, time, and energy. But it was a lesson!

…that I need to be more in touch with things: I should have went to bed. I should have done my laundry so I didn’t see it and feel bad when I walked in the door. I should have organized my notes before going out for the night so I don’t have that lingering feeling of being a slob. I should have sat down and breathed when I got in the door. But I can say should have til I’m blue in the face–it is what it is.

Today, I went back into one of my favourite recovery books — “It’s Not About Food”  and read some of the dog-eared pages:

  • “At the heart of every eating disorder…there is a cry from the deepest part of our souls that must be heard. It is a cry to awaken, to embrace our whole selves, to see past the limitations we have put on ourselves by defining our bodies or our eating habits as good or bad. … It is a call from the part of us the holds our desires and passions to grow, heal and fulfill our dreams.”
  • about trusting your process
  • reading that recovery isn’t linear
  • The authors describe recovery as a mountain with thousands of paths to the top (where things come to a head and you are tossed back and forth between the ED side and the recovered side). They use the mountain as a guideline and I see myself in it. It was helpful to read about the stages I’m not alone:
    • “The fear that you will gain a million pounds comes roaring into your life.”
    • “As you start to put your eating, your food, and your weight in the proper perspective, all the feelings that you had been overeating or underrating over come up and out. These are the feelings your have numbed with food. These are the emotions you have pushed down with obsessional thinking…It is an illusion to think that the food has made them go away.”
    • “Many times you have all your feelings and you are still overeating or starving yourself. To make matters worse, eating the food or controlling the food doesn’t numb you anymore. … Your thoughts are filled with how fat and out of control you are. You think how easy it would be to just go on one last diet, and yet you know that isn’t the answer. … As painful as it can be, this is one of th emost powerful parts of the whole journey. It will teach you about yourself and lead the way to knowing how to live the rest of your life with peace and self-love.”

The authors also offered some valuable reminders: “You will eventually eat like a normal person. You will weigh what you were meant to weigh naturally. You will know and speak your own truth.” Amen to that.

And while I see myself in that struggling place where you have behaviours and emotions and so much going on, I also connected for the first time with a stage later in their process:

  •  “Even though you may still over- or under eat or obsess now and then, it doesn’t happen as often and it shouldn’t worry you because you know that you have the tools to turn things around. You are also more trusting of yourself and this process: you know that this happens snow and then and it’s okay.”
Because today, I feel okay. I feel good. I feel like I’m going to have a great weekend regardless of that fact that this happened. I feel totally different than I ever have after a binge. I didn’t clean out my cupboards, I didn’t meticulously plan my food, I didn’t decide to only have one treat a day this weekend, I didn’t decide to do double workouts every day, I didn’t compulsively clean my apartment, I didn’t do any of the things that I used to do to try to “deal with” last night. I don’t have to.  I don’t feel like crawling into my pyjamas and hiding from the world today. I feel like getting out there and being awesome. I reminded myself: even if I gained weight from that, that weight is part of my recovery. My weight is not the issue–it never has been and it never will be (because I’m not going to forget these lessons any time soon). This all brought the realization that I don’t need to binge and purge again–it does NOTHING for me. And that carries over: I don’t need to worry about my weight — it does NOTHING (positive) for me. My ED is no longer serving me. If that’s not a huge statement, I don’t know what is. It’s like I knew that, but I had to prove it via a binge. It’s definitely worth it because it showed me just how useless my ED behaviours are. Let ED slip back in? Not an option. Let him win this weekend and make me miserable? Not happening–ED is not even a contender in my life anymore–that’s what this binge showed me! 
I kind of have this sentiment to ED: NANANANABOOBOO YOU CAN’T CATCH ME!
Turns out, I don’t need to binge!
That’s all.
If you’ve recovered, how did you know you were done with ED?
Thoughts?

Unexpected epiphanies

Wowzer. I didn’t have any intention of this being a post about realizations or anything bigger than a bike ride this afternoon (45km ish with a friend :)!), cleaning, and what I ate today. Funny how blogging can spark insight…enjoy:

I think I blogged before that I’m feeling a bit stuck in my routine of eating the same things over and over again.

Kashi berry crisp, all bran buds, and grapes with yogurt!

My breakfast bowl was a little different, which is a start.

I spent the morning working on making my apartment presentable (it’s not disorganized mess — I have lots of things to go to my mom’s place for the winter like my boots/coats/etc.). I closed my closets for the first time in 2012! Yahoo. I also made it to the bank, which has been on my to do list for a while. Check! Then I stopped at Bulk Barn.

Things got out of hand…and there are treat bags that I can’t help but reveal.

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gluten, dairy, soy, almond/peanut free for Angela (it's my version of chicken noodle soup since she's sick :(!): think dried fruit (bananas, papaya, pineapple, and mango), dates, and skittles

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My road trip dream: yogurt covered pretzels, pretzels, chocolate covered almonds, mixed nuts, papaya, banana chips, and chocolate rosebuds

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Everything I think my mom will like! 🙂

You’d be surprised to know I went on this bulk barn blitz AFTER lunch (another turkey sandwich with cheese, sprouts, mayo, and an apple — back to boring). I couldn’t finish my lunch, though, which brings me to a weird realization I had (that probably led me to feel “brave” enough to buy MYSELF a treat bag!). Get ready for this.

  • In the past, I have ALWAYS finished my plate. I cannot remember the last time I left anything on it. I sometimes think I’m just really good at knowing how much food I want, but I think it’s a remnant of dieting days where I would literally need everything on my plate (I also wouldn’t share food then, because every bite meant so much to me) or of my recovery days where I think I cleaned a heftier plate to prove I was recovering. — NEWS FLASH: You don’t have an ED if you decide not to finish something. You also should feel fine to finish things and to go back for more. The goal is to feel satisfied–not stuffed! 
  • This epiphany made me realize that I really can leave behind old habits.
  • In the past, I also would go out and buy road trip snacks for the people I was travelling with, trying to buy things I “don’t like” anyways. Often, I’d end up eating them with my friends/family and I wouldn’t even be having what I wanted, PLUS I’d be serving up a hefty dose of guilt in the process (it’s hard to ENJOY something as a TREAT when you hear a voice telling you that you shouldn’t be eating it). — NEWS FLASH: We all deserve treats. If we allow ourselves to eat food and to enjoy it without telling ourselves we shouldn’t, they will be more satisfying and will serve their purpose as a treat–not as a reason to beat ourselves up, not as something emotional, etc. 

All this thinking made me realize: I can go away this week and I can worry about what I’m eating. Or I can truly try to channel that healthy girl I know I am and find the voice that empowers me to eat in a way that is normal, balanced, and healthy and that doesn’t use food as a distraction, a means to beat myself up, etc. I can change. Evidenced by the empowerment I felt by just deciding that I was full and didn’t need the entire plate at lunch or by the simple act of making myself an uber appealing treat bag, I can change. I can be the healthy girl I want to be. I am her! My goal for the week is to eat things in moderation. Candy on a daily basis, most likely. American junk food that I wouldn’t let myself ENJOY in the past (though I’d end up eating lots of it in bingeing fashion). Things like white bread and white potatoes (which the blogging world has a tendency to label “bad” but really are not the devil) and butter, full fat cheese, and whatever else comes up along the way. I’m not going on a junk food eating bender here. When I allow myself that flexibility and see myself succeeding and eating as a balanced person would, I feel so powerful. I know in my heart that I will crave vegetables and fruit and nutritious foods and that I will eat them–so no worries that I’m going to die from a nutritionally related disease next week, kiddos! The thing that I think people often forget that I’m trying to remind myself: I eat to live. The food I put in my body is fuel. If food is holding you back, could you just let go? What would happen if it didn’t have power? Might you not weigh what you’re supposed to (more, less, the same) without stressing about it? Might you not have more time and energy to spend working on things that matter and to seek out experiences? Because really, what are we here for if it’s not to live?

And I apologize for getting all philosophical, deep, recovery-like on you there, but I hope that made sense. I also hope I can take it and apply it.

So for dinner tonight, when I was seriously craving peanut butter and cereal, I went with it. And along the same vein as I realized above, feeling guilty about not eating veggies won’t serve me. Feeling bad about eating a lot of cereal in a day also won’t. Recognizing that at the end of the day, I fuelled myself and didn’t binge, didn’t use food as an excuse, didn’t let it rule my life: that’s healthy! So probably is my fibre intake…

Anywho, it’s time for me to finish packing and then to go get my zen on. I’m really excited for this trip…

Bring on the Tasty Cakes.

Bring on the family bonding (I miss my Grandma and uncle, I can’t remember the last time my mom and I took a road trip).

Bring on the pretty drive.

Bring on the time to read.

Bring on the time to sleep.

Bring on the bike rides in the hills.

Bring on the happy!

Have you had any of these realizations before?
What would be in your treat bag?
Have you had tasty cakes (I think I need a supplier)? 

Sunday Sharing

Morning!

I’m going to go a little bit diary on you, so forgive me if you can’t follow!

Today I slept in because last night turned into a later (fun!) night than I thought it might. It also involved more m&ms and beer, and me having to tell myself “it’s okay even if you had eaten the whole bag, which you didn’t” and stopping any bingeing inklings. Because the truth is, m&ms are fine, and even a half a bag is OK if it wasn’t in a bingeing setting. I do NOT do this on a daily basis and the risk with it is that I let it drive me to restrict, to overeat, to alter things in any way. Instead I’m looking at how I kind of wanted to keep going with eating them as a signal: why? Why do I want to sabotage myself when I start to feel good? With my old belief, I get it. I would be restricting soon and I would then be eating as a “last chance” kind of thing. But the truth is, if I can believe that “I am perfect the way I am” and that “My body will take care of itself in terms of weight” and just keep trying to do this til I make it, forgiving any little “mistakes” and seeing them as learning opportunities/insight, I don’t have to feel bad about anything. So I’m not, which is refreshing! I know normally the day after I go out, I feel bad—even if I haven’t binged. But when I look back on my m&m indulgence from a place of curiosity…hmmm…and see that I was a) hungry b) tired and c) tempted to use them as a way to sabotage, I don’t have to feel that guilt.

So anyways, ranting done. I started today off with my trusty bowl of cereal/nut butter spoon and now I’m just doing some lazy sitting stuff while I work up the energy to do my training! I know I’ll feel energized after a bike ride (which I think I’m doing inside since it’s a bit chilly and I rode outside all week) and maybe some yoga! I’ve got Sunday Funday to look forward to and then I think I’m heading to Sarnia for the evening.

I wanted to share the guest post I loved about injury on Carrots n Cake. I am clicking over to WY I Run  because I can relate to the insight on injury oh so much! I might not have had a hip stress fracture (though I was sure I did), but with my spending three months off and coming back slowly I can totally relate to this stuff! I also really liked the post on Drop it and Eat it about what happens when you change your relationship with food (it might as well be with yourself, I truly think our relationship with food mirrors our relationship with ourself a la Geneen Roth) — while it’s “thrilling, liberating…refreshing” as the post says, it’s also “frightening” — so true! I think, and the post takes a similar view, that at some point you realize that it’s not worth it and that since you are in control of your own life, you just have to get excited about the potential, not scared of the possibilities. 🙂 Amen to that!

Frustrated Friday

This is going to look normal enough, but that’s what makes it frustrating.

Breakfast yesterday was typical–apples with cereal, soy milk, and some raisins…

A short run at a decent pace…

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Me being a goof…

A typical peanut butter and carrot sandwich for lunch…

Greek yogurt and a banana for an afternoon nosh (on top of studying at Starbucks, of course)…

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A giant salad for dinner…

Unphotographed but still normal — an apple after a particularly sweaty (and awesome) yoga class.

A bowl of salty pretzels in response to a craving…

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…but what you don’t see is all the frustration and all the “nibbles” and “tastes” I had along with this (think grapes and berries galore, chocolate covered almonds, handfuls of cereal, etc.), or the evening “mini binge” I’ll get into in a bit…

Facts:
This is a stressful time.
I have a history of using food to distract myself.
I am recovered.
I am strong and fit.

Writing my post about recovery writing yesterday coupled with anxiety over going home (or not going home) this weekend in combination with end of the semester work, my mystery shoulder pain, and other little stressors was a lot for me. I started to have thoughts like “I’m too fat for summer” and “I’m always going to be injured and out of shape” and even “If I could lose weight things would be fine” until I realized all of the things I know as truths: I’m in the process of finding my happy weight by letting it happen as a result of eating in a balanced way and exercising in an enjoyable manner, I am not doomed to be injured forever and there are tons of active things I could do with a hip, shoulder, whatever injury, and if I lost weight my assignments, fears about the future, and dirty apartment wouldn’t miraculously disappear–I’d just be lighter and probably hungrier.

Still, even after a productive day (a short run, lots of homework and blogging, seeing some friends, grocery shopping, yoga, etc.) I should have dove into bed. Instead I dove into old habits and dug into a bag of pretzels and chocolate chips. Throw in some chocolate covered almonds and you have what I consider a mini binge—delivered standing over the sink and with a hefty dose of anxiety and guilt. There is absolutely nothing wrong with those foods but there is something wrong with swallowing them whole, telling yourself you shouldn’t be eating them, and with giving them the power I did.

I was going to keep this to myself but I had an epiphany and I remembered that keeping things a secret out of shame just reinforces that something was shameful. This little slip isn’t something I need to be ashamed of. It is something I need to admit. It doesn’t mean I’m not recovered or that I’m letting Ed back in my life, because I am recovered and I intend to stay this way.

So for this epiphany, which comes in two parts:

1. Ed is like an ex boyfriend who wants me back and is pissed that I’m not interested. He gets particularly riled up when I’m getting happier than ever (who am I to like myself or to want to share my recovery tips?) or when I’m stressed (understandable).

2. This one is a bit harder to articulate but I’m going to try: Jenni Schaefer talked about a counter Ed during her recovery and I think I have a counter Ed on my hands. Last night my heart and my head told me to go to bed. But counter Ed told me that doing so, when I was kind of hungry, meant that I was listening to Ed (ie giving Ed the power to say I couldn’t have pretzels before bed). The truth is, I need to listen to ME. Not to either Ed. This is my life and I can decide to eat or not eat something and I don’t have to worry about proving anything to anyone by my choices.

Take that Ed. I’m going to enjoy a day of eating what my tummy wants, exercising if it feels good, and focusing on the right things: finishing assignments, seeing friends, and smiling more.

Do you know what I mean when I refer to counter Ed?
Have you ever dealt with anything like this? Tips?

Back on track

Goal for today: get back on track.

Progress so far: check.

I rolled out of bed in time for swim, feeling a bit icky from last night’s binge.

Swim was pretty easy, and that’s alright. A challenge for me, forcing me not to “feel lazy” or to push harder as a way to punish myself or “make up” for last night, something I know would start a cycle I am not willing to go back into right now.

By the time I was ready for the day, I was hungry hungry!

My phone died so you’re getting a dose of cleavage (ha, I wish) with breakie shot of my overnight oats with cocoa, soy milk, yogurt, coconut, chocolate chips, and a banana.

The ladies at my coffee stop offered a shortbread sample and I couldn’t say no today…

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After working at the Gazette this morning, I had a dietitian appointment. My stomach was killing me and I was feeling so emotional about last night but the appointment helped. She reassured me that I did everything right but asked me how I could stop it in the future and ensured me that this doesn’t have to mean relapse and that I don’t have to let this get me down or affect me negatively. That’s what I needed. We also talked about my anxieties over how differently I’m eating (even though it’s healthy, it’s different and that is a challenge) and about what the real anxieties I should be focused on are: school, life, etc. are the stuff that I need to realize matter, not that I am eating less meat. Those are what are overwhelming, not my urges to eat chocolate. Also she reminded me that I should honour my hunger today and not get into that pattern of restriction.

So I took some medicine for my tummy, which is still angry. Note to self: bingeing makes you feel like crap emotionally and physically. It’s really not worth it. At all.

I had an apple when my stomach started growling and when I got home—all I wanted to do today was lay down—I eventually got hungry for lunch.

I made a tuna salad (with sun dried tomatoes, onions, and light mayo) bagel. It was just right with alfalfa sprouts and a bit of cheddar cheese melted on the bagel.

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The last bit I’ve been working away on one of the assignments that’s due tomorrow morning. The kicker’s this: I left my mac charger at the Gazette office and really don’t want to go back and get it right now because I’m off campus. So I can grab it tomorrow morning and rely on the battery reserve. It’ll be good for me cuz a break from it all and some forced productivity probably isn’t a bad thing. NTM, I can read everyone’s blogs and check my Facebook and twitter (essential things, folks) from my phone/iPad. Oh spoiled brat much, huh? I just have to save enough to print this stuff to hand in!

With that, I’ll leave you guys! Tonight I had plans to go to yoga and to fro yo. Last night, I binged. The two aren’t related. Tonight, I’m going to yoga and out for my friend’s birthday fro yo.

Back on track.

How do you shake off a slip?