Monday, August 1, 2011

Being Honest With Myself

This is a really hard post for me to write. A lot of my recent posts have been all bubbly and happy, and part of me is like that right now. I've got most of August to look forward to before I go back to school, I had a great birthday on Wednesday and life is pretty good for me right now. But another part of me feels enslaved--to ED--and also robotic, like I'm just going through the motions of my life without really feeling anything.

I think it all started on my birthday. It started out really well, but as the day progressed, I started feeling a twinge of guilt. I woke up early, like 6, because my mom and I were going to the IKEA grand opening. So I didn't get a chance to do my normal morning workout. We ate out at Panera for lunch (I got the strawberry poppyseed salad and barely ate any of the chicken). I was exhausted by the time we got home because we'd been practically running around the store for 2 hours trying to find the things we wanted to buy. So I only ended up doing 10 minutes of a cardio circuit and 10 minutes of yoga. Then my dad got home and we all went out to eat at Pei Wei. I got my usual Vietnamese chicken salad rolls, and ate two out of 3 of them, but also some edamame and some of my dad's brown rice and peanuts. And then later at home, we had some birthday gelato and I got a little bit extra. I felt horribly horribly fat and guilty. But come on, it was my birthday. I have the right to indulge, and they weren't even big indulgences. But I still felt bad.

Since then, I've been feeling like I'm eating more, even though I'm not really. I mentally beat myself up if I eat a few extra pieces of cereal or some raisins. I even restricted yesterday on purpose by only having some fruit at snack. I know I should be fueling myself more, especially since I played an hour of tennis yesterday, but I just can't. It feels...good to give in to ED. I feel like I'm strong and in control when really, I'm slipping, slowly but surely. I don't think I'm losing weight (I haven't weighed myself in a month I think) but that might be an ED trick. I noticed this week that I had a slightly lighter period than usual, but I didn't really think much about it. I'm on birth control, so I don't know if minor weight loss or undernourishment can cause changes in menstruation.

I think I'm giving in to ED because my recovery seems to be going no where. I still exercise on a daily basis, always at least 40 minutes. My calf has been hurting a lot lately, but I ignore the pain. The thing is, exercising isn't even that fun anymore. I feel like a robot programmed to do it every day, but I'm getting burned out.

I've been doing okay body-image wise. Not the best, but not too bad either. I've been feeling for a long time that if I could just lose 5 or so pounds, I would be a lot happier about how I look. I mean, I weighed that much for at least two years prior to ED. Why isn't it an okay weight now? I know that my BMI would be at 16 if I lost only a few pounds (BMI is stupid, but still), but I just feel so uncomfortable where I am right now. I can't imagine how I'd feel if I was at a healthy weight, even at the very low end of the scale.

So honestly, I don't even know where my recovery is going right now. I'm still eating fairly normally, but I sometimes worry that my metabolism is slow because I don't eat 1800 calories or whatever it is that's supposed to be a healthy number for maintenance. I don't think I could ever eat that much food. Don't get me wrong, I'm nowhere near a dangerous level but I'm wondering if all this exercise plus not quite enough fuel is slowing down my metabolism. I really just don't know. Here's the thing: I definitely don't want to give up all the progress I've made over 2 years, but I'm scared to let go of ED. So it's a balancing act, and I don't know which side will win out...

Have you ever had to be honest with yourself about something that's hard to face?


  1. Good post. I like it when we bring up raw and difficult topics because it shows the "REAL" side to recovery. Not that doing well and staying positive are bad things--they are amazing and necessary/vital to our recovery!! :D It is just that it is also good to dish out our difficulties too. Recovery isn't easy.

    Recently, my struggle has been meeting 1,500 requirement for my meal plan. I feel that the number is so triggering. I hate setting up what I have to eat today. I hate having to tell myself that I have to eat 3x a day with snacks. I hate the feeling that comes to eating more.

    It's a hard battle for me right now. And I am feeling the same way as you do; can I really do this????

  2. It is super hard. I'm not sure how many calories I eat per day, just know that it can't possibly be enough for the amount that I work out (and I truly like working out, it's not ED driven, at least not usually).

    As far as the calories go, you'd be surprised at how much you can eat and not gain. Like, metabolisms are weird like that. Even if you started eating like that, you probably wouldn't gain. I went on a cruise for my honeymoon and ate a ton... didn't weigh for 3 weeks, I was scared to. I finally weighed... I gained 1 pound. Yeppers.

    The reason why we get all guilty about extra raisins or cereal or something is because of ED. when I'm not struggling I never felt guilty about those things. It's like an endless cycle. I think ED just plays mind games with us all.


  3. Being honest with ourselves is VITAL.
    I am so sorry to hear about your struggles and I know all too well what it's like. I feel like I am so far from recovery right now and I have to keep reminding myself that my struggles today are not taking away the strength I gained from my victories prior.

  4. I'm so proud of you for being honest with yourself, Ash- I know that's not an easy thing to do, especially when it comes to an eating disorder! For the majority of my recovery I too felt like I was stuck somewhere b/w recovery and the eating disorder- it's a really rough place to be, and something I think most people battling an ED can relate to. You're definitely not alone!

    I can tell you this, though- I have been fighting the ED w/ everything I have the past month or so, and it has been so worth it. Eating more and letting go of compulsive exercising is super hard, but when it comes down to it, my worst day in recovery is better than my best day in relapse. Recovery is scary, but you don't sound happy when you're giving into the ED- you deserve more than to be controlled by calories and the scale. You deserve to be able to enjoy your birthday free of guilt, and to not go through the motions of life w/o feeling anything. Recovery brings pain at times, but it also brings happiness and self-discovery and freedom.

    The interesting thing is that as I'm eating more, my body image is actually improving. When you don't restrict your mind has the fuel to think more clearly, and one is more able to reframe distorted thoughts.

    Have you considered going back to a therapist or dietitian? It might help. If that doesn't feel comfortable to you, would you consider reading a couple recovery oriented books? Two I would reccommend are Life Without Ed and Goodbye Ed, Hello Me by Jenni Schaefer- she is a recovered anorexic and bulimic and very inspirational.

    If you try really fighting for recovery and giving up behaviors and it's too painful, you can always go back to the ED. But if you go back to the ED, it is so much more difficult to choose recovery and to choose to get better. And I've found that once I really got the hang of recovery, I don't want to go back to the ED. I've found what people mean when they say "recovery is worth it", and so can you.

    I don't mean to lecture or pressure you, Ash, I just care about you and want you to be happy. I'm not saying that what works for me will work for you, and I think everyone has to make their own decisions when it comes to ED and recovery- but I just want you to know that recovery DOES get easier after awhile and that if I can do it, so can you. You've made incredible strides, and you can continue to do so.



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