Is there something WRONG with me!?!?

5 09 2010

Disclaimer: This post might get a bit mushy for some of you…so feel free to continue reading, but you can’t say I didn’t warn you 🙂

If you haven’t read the post “Just Not Enough“, you might want to check it out before reading this. I’m borrowing the basic idea from that post that Satan has whispered lies to me to make me believe that because _______ hasn’t happened yet, I must not be _______ enough; to make me believe that something is wrong. To be blunt, what I’m getting at is that this time of year can be tough on single (college) students. We come back to school and in addition to observing new classes and new students, we watch new couples happen. Yes, I just went there.

The school I attend has a reputation for people getting married quickly…slogans like “ring by spring” plague the campus, and I’ve even heard girls say that if you don’t have a boyfriend within the first few months of school, you’re out of luck…all the good guys are taken by then. WHAT? That’s crap.

In my two previous years of college, this period of the new semester has proved to be slightly challenging. My mind is overrun with the why’s and why nots, and the how comes revolving around why I’M not involved in this shebang. “Is there something wrong with me?? Am I too fat? too ugly? too annoying? not good enough? What’s the deal!?!?” And here’s the thing. We assume it’s us. We assume that the issue lies solely within ourselves.

But I’m done with that kind of thinking; done with assuming there’s something wrong with me because I’m not currently dating. As I go into this season of watching people couple off, there are three things I plan to remind myself of regularly.

#1. Maybe I’m just not ready yet. I may think I am, but really, what do I know? This is a bit hard to swallow sometimes because it’s personal…no one likes to think they’re not prepared for something they really want to be! But it really can’t be ignored. It’s like picking up a painting before the paint is dry. I need to use this time to grow so I can BE ready!

#2. What if HE’S not ready for ME yet? I have to be honest…I really like this thought. What if by being patient, I’m doing my future mate a favor by giving him the time he needs to be ready? What if I’m so cool that he just needs more prep time? Ok, I’ll quit flattering myself now 😉

#3. You know what I realized? I haven’t used song lyrics for quite awhile. So today, I’ll leave you with a song. It’ll explain #3 better than I ever could.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

There’s nothing wrong with me. There’s nothing wrong with you.


Aaaaaaand GO!! One step at a time, that is.

30 08 2010

And just like that, my summer came to a screeching halt.

At this moment, I’m sitting at my desk in the bedroom of the apartment I’m sharing with three other lovely ladies. I hear the sounds of the Star Wars Wii game my roomie and her friend are playing, as well as my other two roomies laughing about something down the hall. Oh yes, and there’s the endless lullaby *cough-cough* of traffic out on I405. Class starts tomorrow, and in about 40 minutes, I have an all-apartment meeting. Ladies and Gentleman, school is back in session. Well, almost…class actually starts tomorrow…but you know what I mean.

Besides the obvious change of just being back in school, this time is a pivotal transition for me. I’m living with new people. I’m completely shifting into a new schedule. I’m around different friends. I have a new professor or two. Instead of being busy with work, I’ll be busy with homework and music practice. I’m shopping at different grocery stores. I’m buying my own food. I’m spending my own money. And I’m recovering from an eating disorder. Holy smokes! This semester is a HUGE change for me already. It almost feels like I’m teetering on the edge of a cliff…and basically, there are two possible outcomes.

I could regain my balance. Ideally, I’ll adjust, adapt, figure out my schedule, manage all the stuff going on, and everything will be cool! I’ll continue to heal, and get better at eating like a normal person. I’ll shop the sales at the grocery store, buy foods that are nourishing, healthy, and tasty, and hopefully have enough money. 😉 I’ll exercise moderately to stay healthy and combat stress. This is the hope, the preferred situation. On the outside, I think “well, of COURSE this is what’s gonna happen! Obviously!” But at the very heart of myself, I have to acknowledge the other possibility.

I could fall down. I could freak out, have serious issues in working out my schedule, feel constantly stressed, and never really feel relaxed. As a result of the chaos that’s beyond my control, I’ll reach for something I can control – what I put in my mouth, and how much I exercise – and things would just go downhill. I’ll become worried about grocery money, and perhaps buy less, or at least less nourishing foods…cheap food. In an attempt to deal with stress, I’ll exercise more than my body can handle from not eating enough, and I’ll be cranky, tired, and in general, not well. And what does this grim picture do to me? Why, it scares me like…like…psh, I don’t know…like something really scary! ANYways, this is obviously NOT where I want this semester to take me. It’s just not worth it. So what am I gonna do? Well.

I’m going to keep an organized schedule. It will be flexible, but I essentially want to establish “work time” and “practice time” and “free time”.

I’m going to take a few moments to breathe when things feel overwhelming.

I’m going to have FUN! I’m going to get out more! Oh my gosh, what a concept! Gone are the Friday or Saturday nights of curling up with my cuddly computer (whaaa?) instead of chillin’ with friends or going to soccer games, or taking walks to the water front. Sure, we all need those lazy evenings sometimes, but the key word? Sometimes.

I’m going to EAT! And I’m going to listen to my body for instructions on what, how much, and when.

I’m going to surround myself with people that make me feel good.

I’m going to wear clothes that I’m comfortable in.

And I’m going to look to the Lord for my help. He’s looking out for my good. He carries my when I’m too pooped out to walk. He places the right people in my life at just the right time. He’s pretty cool!

Now, these goals are quite huge. So I’ll take them all one step at a time. No matter how much “busy” or “go” or “ahhhhhhhh!!!” there is, it’s all just one little step at a time.

The Africa Bar and its Results

20 08 2010

Last week, I posted a status about eating an “Africa Bar” every night. Here’s the post to explain the Africa Bar!

I had a doctor’s appointment last Friday. It acted as a pre-school year checkup, and I also took it as an opportunity to ask the doctor if it would be feasible for me to go to Africa next spring. He laughed. Not a mean laugh, or an “oh-man-that’s-pretty-funny” laugh. But a “you would ask me that!” I answered his questions about the trip, and explained where I’d stay and who I’d be with. He cautioned me about the diarrhea bugs most people get while in a place like that, and told me that someone would be coming to the office later that day to get treatment for malaria…they had just returned from Africa. But overall, he said that he’d like for me to be able to go if I want to. BUT. I have to to be at a healthy weight. And I have to much more confident about body image and all that entails. And I’ll go in for another checkup in December. We’ll talk about in more then.

But in the meantime, what the heck am I gonna do to make sure I get an affirmative answer in December? I’m going to eat an Africa Bar every night. This is what my Doctor told me to do. (He also told me to go eat one of those ice cream bars from Costco…you know, the ones dipped in chocolate and almonds! He’s an awesome doctor 🙂 ) Now, before you google Africa Bars, I’m not referring to some special brand of protein bars. There isn’t even really a specific thing that an Africa Bar is. It’s whatever I decide for that time. Perhaps it’s a scoop of ice cream or a cookie, or maybe a protein shake. The principle of the Africa Bar is to eat something in addition to my regular meals that boosts calories. While it’s ultimately in the name of health and wellness, my motivation for the time being? Africa. The (hopeful) result of the Africa Bar? Africa.

There’s a catch, though…or at least the Enemy, the Eating Disorder Voice, would like me to think so. It’s placed a huge log in front of me that I’ll either jump over, or trip on. What might that be? The fit of my clothing. Another result of the Africa Bar.

I know that the clothes I bought recently might not fit when I’m back at a normal weight. I get that. I can accept that. But here’s what I’m struggling with right now. Some of the clothes I wore before anorexia hit hard are fitting now like they did back then. And this is hard to swallow. This voice is screaming “What’s your problem?? These clothes should fit fine! But whats that? They don’t? Ooohhhh. That’s bad. You must be fat!” Shut up.

There’s really no easy fix for this. Nothing to just make me feel better. But there’s a few things I can remember. Things like the fact that my body changes shape over time. The fact that I’ve got more muscles than before. The fact that I’m different. But there’s one more thing. Tee hee 🙂

I had a meeting with the wonderful Body Balance team yesterday. They’re always such an encouragement, and they for sure didn’t let me down this time! We talked about the practical side of things, the things I mentioned in the previous paragraph. And then came the hands on help.

#1. I’m going to get rid of some of my old clothes. Yep! Those old clothes that are uncomfortable or make me hear the eating disorder voice, that might cause me to trip…they’re getting the boot. As I’m packing to leave for college in a couple days, I’m going to go through every item of clothing I own. Some will get packed, a few things will stay at home in my closet, and the rest? It’s going in a big black garbage bag and going straight to the thrift store. And then? I’m going shopping! We might see a slight style change during the process 🙂

#2. I need distraction! Yes, there’s a time for being responsible; for doing my homework and practicing, and working. But guess what? There’s also a time for having fun. And here’s where YOU come in! I need you to be persistent in getting me to come along if you invite me to come do something. Don’t easily take no for an answer! I need to have fun, to be active and, well…act my age! I’m done with being glued to my desk every moment that I’m not in class!!

I think I hear JC Penney’s calling my name…. 😀

It’s Called Grace

7 08 2010

Hello, Friends!

Yesterday, all my troubles did NOT seem so far away, and it honestly felt as though they were here to stay. It ended up being one of those days where I felt sorta cranky, had no appetite, and didn’t really want to go to work. Oh, and I felt like I weighed 200 pounds. My jeans were uncomfortable. I wanted to put on yoga pants and hunker down to work on my cook book collage. Or maybe go for a kick-butt bike ride. But, as I’m sure you’re able to guess, none of those lovely ideas were options. So, I put on a different pair of jeans, and ignored the calls of my cook book collage and bike, and headed out the door to go to work.

My mood improved, although I still wished I didn’t have to be at work. Literally the moment I logged on to my computer, the phones started ringing and people started pouring in the office, so I didn’t have time to think about my woes. The rush of people calmed down, and I grabbed the key to the big ice freezer so I could restock the store’s freezer. And it hit me. I still felt mildly cranky. My appetite? Who knows where it went. But I didn’t feel like I weighed 200 pounds any more. And then it hit me again. Grace. The only explanation for why I felt the way I did, why I felt better, is Grace. Not a hormonal shift, not getting my mind off my woes, not pure distraction. Nope, Grace.

See, God knew exactly what I needed yesterday.

“This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”
1 John 3:19-20

My heart was in a state of confusion. It knew that I didn’t weigh 200 pounds. It knew I wasn’t huge. But because of all the chaos inside that voice of reason, of rational thought, couldn’t break through. *trumpet bugle* INTERVENTION! Of the divine sort 🙂

You all know how I think in song lyrics, right? Well, here’s a phrase from a song that just came to mind:

“I called, you answered, and you came to my rescue…”

It’s so true. My Prince of Peace came riding up on his beautiful white horse, doused me in grace, and rescued me from despair! Cliche? Maybe. True? Yes!!!

I Didn’t Know How…

31 07 2010

You know what the weird thing about an eating disorder is? The mind set takes over, 1,000,000 % and makes you forget pretty much everything you once knew about how to eat. I don’t mean that you forget how to put a fork to your mouth or pick up a banana, but all of those internal cues? Gone. Hunger signals? Non-existent. Cravings? What cravings? And eating what your body wants? Ha! Everything becomes calculated. Calories are measured. Foods are chosen based on the lowest calorie content. Intuition is a thing of the past. These last few sentences were sort of boring, yes? That’s how an anorexic person’s eating is! Here’s what I didn’t and in some cases still don’t know how to do well when it comes to eating.

~ What do I want to eat? What am I hungry for? Often at this point, a couple of meal choices come to mind…sometimes a lot of choices. Then the struggle begins. I might think through what I’ve eaten so far that day to decide what food groups I might have had enough of, or possibly, not enough of. Perhaps exercise will come to mind…have I worked hard enough to eat ______? I try to take a deep breath and think “what do I WANT?” This is still a struggle.

~ How much do I want to eat? Ooooooh this is a biggie! I’ve become accustomed to eating pretty small portions. And to be honest, seeing a huge serving of almost anything but salad pretty much freaks me out. Badly. I think that fear of loosing control comes in there. Anywho, too often, I’ve told myself…forced myself…to stop eating before I actually had eaten enough. And when I served myself, I’d rarely put a normal on my plate. This too is improving, but still…it’s a work in progress.

~ When do I eat? So here’s the thing. I convinced myself that having a snack between meals is a bad thing…snacking leads to being overweight in each and every case. False. Now, almost every day, there’s a battle at about 4 in the afternoon between my rumbling tummy and that stupid, idiotic voice telling me that snacking makes you fat. Sheesh. Who knew eating could be so hard??

Here’s what happened to me when I started ignoring my body’s eating cues. For starters, it became easier and easier to override intuition in order to choose what I thought would be the best (and by best I mean healthiest) choice. I could go in to a restaurant and ignore the entire menu, except the soup / salad page. Boring, right? Yeah. Then, as I ignored hunger signals, they just quit showing up. So I wasn’t getting hungry as often, and when I did get hungry, I would choose super healthy things, then not let myself eat enough. You know what that spells? T-R-O-U-B-L-E!!!! Or in my case, loosing 15 pounds in 3 ½ months. Yikes. I adore analogies, so here’s one that I heard about ignoring hunger.

When a baby cries, what does any loving parent do? They go to the child, offering comfort and love. They try to figure out what’s wrong, and do something about it. If they can’t figure out the issue, they still console their child until the crying stops. By doing this, the child knows that when they call out, mom or dad will come to them and take care of them. But what if the child cries and no one comes? Day after day, when they need a diaper change, or a bottle, or even just a little lovin’, they are ignored. What happens? They quit trying. They become complacent and quiet; they withdraw and don’t even ask for anything anymore. It’s not worth being ignored.

So when your tummy rumbles, or you feel weak and shaky, what do you do? You feed yourself. You grab an apple, or a granola bar, or a burger…whatever sounds good that will quiet your hunger. You solve the problem. But what if you ignore it? For me, ignoring it meant that my body quit trying. It became tired of being ignored, so it just didn’t bother asking for food, unless it REALLY needed it, and I mean desperately. My body didn’t like being ignored, so it didn’t put itself in that position anymore.

The part about babies makes me think of my nephews when they were little and helpless. I would never abuse them like that. So why would I do that to myself?

Day by day, I’m learning how to eat like a normal person. I’m starting to pick up on hunger cues, and actually choose foods I want, even if it’s not the #1 healthiest pick. It’s all one little step at a time. Or as my good friends at Body Balance say, “One bite at a time.”

What Am I So Scared Of?

23 07 2010

Oh man, I’ve been getting ideas for posts faster than I can write them! I’m a bit behind right now, but hopefully I’ll catch up with my ideas soon!!

This morning, I decided to check my weight. I didn’t really think I’d gained any, but I’ve been surprised before, so I didn’t know what to expect today. I stepped on the scale, it’s screen lighting up bright blue. Thinking…thinking… thinking…aaaaaaand……..crap. I’ve lost weight. Not a huge significant amount, but the couple pounds I gained a few weeks ago are gone. GRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!

Why is gaining weight so difficult for me? What’s keeping me from gaining weight? Fear. Okay…so what’s the object of fear? What am I so scared of? We could talk about all the little issues, all the emotional things, but the heart of the issue, the element that’s fueling the fires of my fear? I’m positively terrified of getting fat. Seeing that in type looks so ridiculous, and makes me feel incredibly superficial. There are child slaves and hunger in third-world countries. There’s an oil spill in the gulf. Unrest in the Middle East. And my biggest fear through all of it is getting fat?!?! Wow. Oh, and I’m afraid of getting fat by way of taking care of myself? Double wow.

The weird part is that in my mind, I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna get fat. I know how to eat healthy (really REALLY healthy). I exercise regularly. But my heart doesn’t understand that. Satan has whispered his disgusting lies into my heart, and because my fear is such a deep-rooted one, my heart unquestioningly believes.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12

Another thing. Gaining the 8 or 10 pounds that I need to will by NO means make me fat. Those few pounds would put me just a couple pounds short of my weight at this time last year, which despite my (heart’s) popular belief, wasn’t actually fat. So why is it so hard now? Why am I seemingly unable to gain the weight? Well first, refer to the verse right above this paragraph. Did you read it again? Okay, now you may continue 🙂 Here are my top three ideas about why it’s so stinkin’ hard for me to gain weight:

Idea #1: I’m afraid my clothes won’t fit. I had to buy smaller clothes when I initially lost the weight just so I could actually wear something that fit. When I get back to my normal weight, perhaps those clothes won’t fit anymore…but isn’t that normal? I mean, sheesh! It would make sense for those smaller clothes to be a bit small in 10 pounds. But it’s a hard pill to swallow when your jeans are suddenly really tight. When that t-shirt is now only suitable as an undershirt.

Idea #2: What if I loose control?? I mean, what if I gain ten pounds, and it suddenly becomes 15…then 30? This is a pretty frightening thought that goes right back to the fear of getting fat. Which is something I’ve already addressed. Take a deep breath. You’re not getting fat any time soon.

Idea #3: Okay, guys, I think this is one of the biggest points. * deep breath * I’m afraid of being judged because of the weight I’ve gained by the people I haven’t seen all summer . I’m afraid they’ll look at me and be like “Wow, what happened to her?” or “Ooooh she put on a little weight.” But the thing is, the people who would say or think those things don’t know my story. They don’t know what’s going on. Actually, they probably won’t even notice. I’ll probably just look healthier! But my unseen Enemy is trying awfully hard to convince me that everyone will notice, and begin whispering and pointing and laughing and judging and…shut up.

I’m getting really tired of Satan telling me lies.

Just Not Enough

15 07 2010

Guys, I’m kinda nervous to actually be posting this. I feel like it’s a bit more…in depth or personal maybe, than other posts. But I’m gonna be brave and post anyways!

In a post a couple of weeks ago, I discussed the voice of the Enemy, mostly what it says to me. While it says a lot to me (or at least a lot more than I’d like it to), one thing I’ve been thinking about more and more is its lie that…I’m not enough. While waiting to get on the train the other night, I decided to look at some old notes I’d saved in my phone. The following is roughly half of what inspired this post:

“The voice gets louder when I feel inadequate for some reason. For example, if I feel that a certain guy isn’t paying attention [to me], or likes another girl, I automatically make the conclusion that its because I’m not good enough…pretty enough…vivacious enough…thin enough.”

Why the heck am I telling you this? It’s so personal! It’s so revealing about myself. It’s so risky! But it’s so true. And that, my friends, is why I’m telling you. Not because I’m looking for extra attention or pity, not because I think it will look good and dramatic in type. Nope. The point of writing this blog is to be open, honest, and transparent, so by writing that note that I found in my phone, I’m doing just that.

The lie is that I’m not ______ enough. (You can fill in the blank with almost anything.) See, not every guy in the world has to “like” me…or even SHOULD like me. And in my mind, I know this for absolute fact. Hello!! But the Enemy has tricked my heart…has tried to overrun it with lies and deception. Being a people pleaser doesn’t help. So when I feel rejection (real or enemy-conjured) my head doesn’t think anything of it…at first. But then the Enemy whispers those lies to my heart and tricks it into believing. My head then falls for the lie because I feel so strongly in my heart, and bam. Suddenly, I’m a terrible, ugly, boring, fat chick. Huh WHAT??? False.

Just as a side note, it’s not only in the world of guys that the Enemy tricks me into feeling not _____ enough. When I mess up at work, or when someone gets upset with me, or even when I just flat out don’t feel well, I’m likely to hear that little yet pervasive whispered lie. Yuck.

By now, you’re probably wondering what the other half of my inspiration for this post is. A super-cool friend of mine just posted a new entry on his blog (thebrainrack) that talks about our image of God, and how a poor image of God essentially deceives us into thinking we can do things on our own. He used a quote from a book, and a mini-portion of that literally almost whacked me in the face, giving me the rest of my necessary inspiration.

“Under the bondage of the serpent’s lie, we try to achieve through our own efforts what God wants to freely give us. We have a God-shaped vacuum in our hearts that only God can fill. But we try to fill that vacuum through our illegitimately seized knowledge of good and evil. Instead of innocently trusting God to meet our innermost needs, we trust our own assessment of things and our own ability to get the things we deem “good”. We live by our knowledge of good and evil rather than by trusting our loving God.”

Woah. Based on this, when I listen to and believe the lies of the Enemy, I’m basically telling God I can do it on my own. * Ahem * what was that? Have I read the Old Testament? Have I read about Israel and the cycles of disobedience and repentance? Have I seen countless people in this very world try to just do things on their own, without the help of their Savior, and fail? The answer is yes, to each and every question. So why on earth would I do the same thing? Because Satan is a liar, and a darn good one at that. He makes me forget about all these past examples; gives me a false sense of power and security that I can do things on my own…then drops me. He makes me think that being thin – by not eating – my problems will be solved or I’ll feel great about everything that comes my way because I “look good”. Since when was overly thin a good look on anyone? You see, Satan is the worst bad boyfriend. The ultimate liar. I think I want to slap him now.

I am enough because God made me. I am enough. God still has much work to do in me, but for the time, I am enough. And you are enough. Nothing the Enemy can do could ever change that.