The Chaos Inside

2 07 2010

Whew it’s been a while since my last post! I attribute that to full time work 🙂 Anyways…

We all get in our routines, right? We just get used to doing our thing, and then when it changes, it’s like…”Holy smokes! What do I do?!?!?” And this is what my job becoming full time did to me last week. It wasn’t toooooo bad at first, but I did have to rethink a few things in my schedule. No big, right? You would think! But apparently, this wasn’t so. I thought I would handle it just fine…at first, everything seemed cool. But then, the stomach aches began which leads to a lack of appetite…which leads to a cranky me. Let me tell you a little story.

Last Saturday, neither my mom nor I had commitments till about 2 in the afternoon, (Dad had a free day) so we decided to hit up the farmer’s market. Lets back up…I woke up that morning with a bit of a tummy ache, and no appetite, but I don’t have the option of just not eating. So I tried to find something lite, but I never enjoy eating when I’m not hungry. And man, I just wanted to be hungry! Anywho, so I started out a little bit cranky and not feeling totally well, but the day would just improve, right? Riiiiight. So off to the farmer’s market we go, a little later than planned, but with enough time to peruse as we pleased. We wandered the market, then hit up the mall for a little quick shopping, then decided we ought to head home in order for mom and I to be where we needed to be on time. And on the way home, mom would be buying me lunch. Except, I still wasn’t hungry. And the Enemy whispered lies in my ear, tricking me into believing them based on how I physically felt. And it all went downhill from there.

I thought I could handle a smoothie, but I knew mom and dad would NOT be satisfied with a smoothie for lunch. But that’s what I wanted. The parents said they’d be fine with Subway or Wendy’s…except that was NOT appealing to me…but I could get veggies at either one. They were willing to swing by Starbucks on the way to Wendy’s, and I needed to tell them if that’s what I wanted. But I didn’t know what I wanted. Inside of me raged a terrible battle between what I wanted (the intuitive eater), what I thought I should have (the nutrition-minded eater), what I could have (the restrictive JERK), and just forgetting about the whole thing (the lets-deal-with-it-later eater). Holy smokes! Can we say internal conflict?? And I was stuck. I felt SOOOOOOOO angry. When my dad asked me why, I told him I was tired of all this crap, and for the first time in quite awhile, I broke down about the whole thing. Whew.

I ended up choosing a smoothie and some crackers, then a side-salad at Wendy’s. And when we got home, I went for the hardest, most intense bike ride I’ve gone on in awhile. Therapy!

In case you didn’t know, I meet with a counselor weekly, per the request of my doctor. This week when we met, I told her about this situation, and she helped me identify those four different voices. And she’s so stinkin’ right (**as a note, she gave them different names…but I can’t remember exactly what she called them…ha!) We talked about how each of those voices can be helpful in the right setting, and at at the right volume. She compared it to a symphony. You need the violin, the flute, the timpani and the trumpet, but if one plays too loud, or at the wrong tempo, it messes the whole thing up. These voices are the same way. In the right parameters, they’re great – even helpful at times! But when they get all fired up, competing for first place in my mind…bad news.

Then, my counselor talked about how we have to embrace these voices, and essentially, keep them under control. She told me about her children, how when they all fight, it’s stressful and frustrating, but she tries to quiet them, and, above all, loves them anyways. You see, it’s important to listen to what my body wants (the intuitive eater), but on that Saturday, the others overpowered her little voice. It’s important to consider what is best, nutritionally, simply because I know I require lots of different nutrients. Last Saturday, confusion gripped that voice. It’s important to be thoughtful of what I should eat because I know I shouldn’t eat ice cream for two of three meals a day, BUT that voice can’t be in charge. Man, it sure tried to last weekend. And finally, sometimes I know it’s best to wait a bit before eating, but not to the point that the screaming voice on Saturday wanted (total abstinence from eating!). All of these things have their place, but when they try to take charge? When mutiny become their game? No good. I put my foot down! And anyways, who would actually want to hear the timpani pounding away above the beautiful violin melody?


The Lies He Tells

19 06 2010

To be 100% honest, sometimes I get downright discouraged by my eating disorder. I’m not gaining weight very quickly, my bones aren’t as strong as they ought to be…I just don’t feel normal!!!! ARGGGGG!! So it’s times like these, the moments when I feel weak, that the Enemy tries to speak the loudest. And he’s a terrible liar, yet, like that bad boyfriend , he’s very convincing. And sometimes, I start to believe what he says. So what does he say say? Well. Here’s a list (in no particular order:

1. “You’re fat!” This might seem cliché, but it’s true. I usually hear this one when I’m not feeling great – tummy ache or lacking appetite – it’s like I get kicked when I’m down! But when I hear this lie, the mirror lies too. No outfit I put on looks “right”. I see bulges where none exist. I become irrational. I don’t think about the fact that my clothes fit fine, fit just like they did yesterday, nor do I think about the fact that I exercised and ate what I normally do…which isn’t typically as much as I should eat…so it doesn’t even make sense that I’d be fat from one day to the next. Stupid lies.

2. “Don’t eat.” What the heck? Why on earth would I listen to stupid “advice” like that? But I have, and sometimes I still come close. I face this most often when I’m upset about something. It’s like the Enemy tries to make me think that somehow, by not eating, whatever I’m upset about will be resolved. Ha! Right! Good try! It’s not gonna work that way.

3. “Oh, just have something light.” Pick a salad, or a smoothie, or really anything that won’t have much caloric impact! Maybe celery? HA! This is one I’m dealing with a lot, even now. I’ve trained myself VERY well to choose the lowest calorie item, so often, I just default to it. But what if I want a slice of pizza? Woah, there. I bet you…ummm…a pan of brownies?…that there’s a salad or soup or something lighter sitting right next to that slice of pizza. It’s like a test. In that moment of decision, the Enemy launches a full-scale attack, zinging lie after lie after lie at me. Guess what? It’s getting easier to ignore him and have what I want rather than what he tells me I should have. YAY!!!!!!!!

4. “You’re not good enough” Not good enough for what? I don’t even know. It’s just one more of his stupid lies.

Here’s a little story to send you on your way:

I had a bone scan last week, and the results were that my bones are weaker than average. It’s reversible, but I have to be very intentional about calcium and vitamin D intake. A couple of days after the diagnosis, I was getting ready for work, and making a sandwich for dinner. I put some of this and a little of that, a few slices of turkey and…hmm…CHEESE!! So I grab the block of cheddar out of the fridge and begin to slice. I can never actually slice it evenly, so it ended up being a few odd-shaped pieces, but anyways, I heard this nastylittle voice inside of me say “Oooh think of the calories…are you sure you want that cheese?” I reached to take it off when a BIGGER voice gently spoke “But there’s calcium in that cheese. You need it,” and guess what? I kept that silly cheese on my sandwich. And you know what? It tasted good!! Take that, liar!


12 06 2010

People Pleasing. It’s a disease. Or a disorder. Something like that! At any rate, it’s something I for sure struggle with, and most likely, one reason I struggle with this terrible friend, Ed. I definitely find myself thinking “if I look _____ then ______ will like me more”…oh heck…let’s be blunt. It usually goes more like this: “If I look thin enough ______ (insert male name) will find me more attractive.” There. I said it. Ouch. So I basically used to torture myself to try to be thin enough so some guy might find me attractive. Sheesh, when I put that in writing it sounds really really terrible.
Trying to please people really can have a lot of negative effects. For one, the trait can push someone in developing an eating disorder. But also, being so concerned about what others think also leads people to dress in ways that aren’t them, talk differently than they would, and in general, act foreign to themselves. No bueno.
Here’s a few things I’ve decided about people pleasing. This isn’t to say that I’ve mastered them, or even come close, but thought comes before action sooo……..

1. It doesn’t matter what other people think. The only stipulations for me are when people come to me with concerns about my weight/health or anything the Doctor/other health professionals tell me
2. If I try to please people, I won’t be satisfied. Who am I doing any of these things for anyways? Do I wear my hair like that because I like it or because ______ likes it?
3. Those who demand a certain appearance from me aren’t true friends. It fits with my last post about Ed being like a bad boyfriend. There’s encouraging friends to take care of themselves and take pride in their appearance, and then there’s abuse.
4. Not to be cliché, but…is it more important that I please men or please God? Seriously. Where does my motivation come from? Even in gaining weight, am I working hard because I know it’ll make everyone else happy, or am I working hard because my health and well-being depend on it? And, do I do any of these things for the glory of God or for the glory of men? Do I eat healthy and take care of my body so those around me will be pleased or because my body is a temple of the Living and Loving God? Ok, enough questions 🙂

Now just a note…my goal isn’t to completely disregard what anyone else on the planet thinks of me, but rather to work on putting it all in perspective. Read the rest of this entry »

An Eating Disorder is like…(#1)

9 06 2010

I have two primary ways of thinking. #1. Song lyrics. Yes, I think in song lyrics. Or at the very least, I respond to various situations with some snippet of a song. *cough-geek-cough* #2. Metaphors. To help my limited brain understand things, I often (involuntarily) relate with a metaphor. As you very well may be guessing right now, Eating Disorders are no different for me.
I spend time trying to figure out my Eating Disorder. Why now? Where did it come from? What’s the purpose? Whats the point?!?!? Why is it so hard to shake? Why do I keep coming back to it? Here’s the metaphor (well, if you wanna get picky, it’s probably a simile…but anways…):

An Eating Disorder is like a bad boyfriend. When you set out in the relationship, things couldn’t be better! “He” makes you feel so good about yourself – you’re loosing weight, you’re happy, you feel safe and accepted…what could be wrong with this? So you continue this way for awhile. The weight continues to come off, and you feel awesome! You’ve never been down to this size…but it’s not quite good enough for him. He, in his crafty way, tells you you’re beautiful, but you’d be even more beautiful if you weighed just a few pounds less…and a few pounds less…and just a couple more…
Something changes. It doesn’t feel quite right anymore. You’re getting hungry, but you know “he” wouldn’t want you to eat. Or at least not eat too much. You might gain weight. So you restrict yourself, and deny your body the fuel it needs. Then, at some point, whether it’s your own realization of the problem at hand, or your body just has had enough, or maybe someone takes you by the hand and yanks you, but at any rate, the relationship comes to an end. And “he” is upset, calling after you “I’ll always take you back, babe…” But you’re fighting him, and fighting hard. You work to gain weight back, work to understand that your body isn’t healthy this way, and try so hard to understand that you’re beautiful when you’re healthy, not when you’re skeletal. You thrive and improve in this new understanding. But then something happens.
This something could be almost anything. An emotional response to a significant event, heavy stress, lots of homework, anything that changes how you feel. Insecurity replaces the safety you had been feeling, and all you hear is that voice of your abusive lover reminding you that he’ll always take you back. And you go back.
At first it’s great! He makes you feel loved and safe. But it doesn’t take long for his abuse to begin again. You see, you’ve gained back a couple pounds since the last time you saw him, and he notices. He wants that “fixed”. And you can see the pattern forming.

It’s so easy to go back to an Eating Disorder mentality. It’ll always “take me back”. It’s a familiar way of life, and it gives a false sense of security. In that moment of weakness, the voice of the enemy (as mentioned in the previous post) tries to sweet-talk me back to my old self. But this is no longer who I am. At first, it was hard to counter the voice of the enemy. But as my strength, supplied by God, increases, so does my resistance to that horrid Voice. He says “But this is who you used to be! Remember?” And I say “But it’s no longer who I am.”

Proof that I think in song lyrics:

I am not who I was
I am being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy
And I’m dearly loved
I am new

Jason Gray

The Voice of the Enemy

2 06 2010

Pretty sure we all have some type of voice(s) in our head. This doesn’t mean we’re schizophrenic…we just have active and alive minds! Anyways, its with this voice that we (or at least I) make decisions, justify choices, and logic my way through whatever. Sometimes one of these inner voices yells at the car that just pulled out in front of me. Other times, it’s reaching out to a hurting person when I don’t have the guts to actually speak up. At any rate, my inner voice says a lot. Unfortunately, this voice has spoken quite loudly about my eating disorder. The voice sounds different, though. It’s not the usual “me”…it’s morphed…it’s like its not me. *enter eating-disorder-voice* This is the voice that tells me what to eat or, more often, what NOT to eat. It’s the voice that says “you’re fat” or “if you eat that, ________ bad thing will happen”. It’s the voice that tells me to stop eating weather or not I’m actually satisfied. The voice convinces me to abuse my body. The voice lies. It’s the Enemy (notice the capitalization). I truly think that the Enemy finds our weakest point, then launches a full-scale attack. And it’s vital to find a way to counter the attack.

Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, authors of Intuitive Eating, developed a method to eat, listening fully to our bodies. They list ten principles to help their clients learn this, and one deals directly with the voice.

Challenge the Food Police: Scream a loud “NO” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating under 1000 calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. The Food Police monitor the unreasonable rules that dieting has created . The police station is housed deep in your psyche, and its loud speaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments. Chasing the Food Police away is a critical step in returning to Intuitive Eating.(

So how do I deal with this lying voice, the “Food Police, the voice of the Enemy? It’s a daily battle, that’s for sure! Often, I just try to block it out…ignore it. Maybe that’s not the best way, but for now, it’s working. Sometimes, I argue with it. It feels like that age-old cliché of an angel whispering in one ear while a demon whispers in the other. Sometimes, I flat-out tell it no. Here’s what that sounds like:

Good voice: Mmmmmmm that milkshake sounds SO good right now!
Bad voice: Oh, but think of all the calories…the sugar…the fat! You’ll regret that later, you know you will. Why even bother? Why not just avoid it? Go home and have something hhheeeeaaaallllttthhyyyyy.
Good voice: But…I want it. It sounds good. It’s what my body is ASKING for. So guess what? I’M GONNA HAVE THE MILKSHAKE!! TAKE THAT, HA!!

Ok, maybe that was a bit dramatic, but you get the point 🙂

I can’t ignore the fact that sometimes, I let the voice win, or at least let it partially win. That’s when I choose a salad over a sandwich, or when I choose a glass of milk even though I really wanted a milkshake. The funny thing is, more and more often, I feel worse about letting the Enemy voice win than having that milkshake or whatever. I get frustrated and annoyed. And this is a huge step! Basically, I see it like this: The Good voice and the Enemy voice are sitting on one of those old-fashioned scales (you know, the ones with a bowl on each side, and the goal was to balance them??). Before I started fighting the Enemy voice, it tipped the scale significantly. The Good voice hardly could keep the Enemy from totally dominating the scale. But, little by little, the scale is tipping the other direction. As the Good voice grows stronger, the Enemy grows weaker. The Good voice isn’t dominating the scale YET, but it’s made quite the progress. And herein lies my victory for today.

The Dread Pirate…Burger?

29 05 2010

I think the first post is the hardest. Do I write about a specific eating disorder topic, or do I write about a specific challenge I’m currently facing? Hmmm….hmmmm….I think current challenge. Here goes!
The Challenge:
Food Fears. That’s right. You didn’t misread. Food fears. Fear of food. Yep, that’s me! There are certain foods I’ve labeled as “bad” for one reason or another. Perhaps it’s too fatty. Maybe it’s loaded with sugar. It might even be a heavy, sturdy, fill-you-up-and-keep-you-full dish. Some of these fears are unexplainable…I don’t even understand them! So then how does one go about dealing with such issues?
The Solutions:
1. Face the fears head on
This is one of the hardest things for someone with an eating disorder to do. Plunge head first, specifically mouth first, into a juicy burger? Insane. Slurp a huge milkshake? Crazy. But, if the person in question here is stable and feeling well enough to do it, this idea can be infinitely useful. Why? Because the next morning, when they get up…their jeans still fit. They’re not suddenly huge. BUT…as I’ve experienced, one can’t always just jump in.
2. Find a less threatening food
It seems so weird to talk about food like this…threatening, scary…what the heck? Food is good and it’s generally good for you! This is how food is perceived by those with eating disorders, though. If this doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry. It’s still confusing to me. But back to the point here…
A less threatening food is one that isn’t as scary. Maybe it’s not totally comfortable (we can’t just live on apples, after all), but it’s not the ultimate…not the big kahuna.
Here’s a story for an example:
I decided the time had come for me to try eating a burger. I set up a date with some friends, and we were excited! This marked a huge advance in my recovery. When the day came, though, I honestly felt nervous. And I didn’t feel well…the last thing I wanted to eat was a greasy burger. So instead, those same friends and I went out for milkshakes and fries. We found a happy medium. And guess what? My jeans fit just fine the next morning. The key here is to push gently, and be excited for the little steps of progress made.

So what brings this food fear up today? And why am I picking on burgers? Well. Some friends invited my family over for a BBQ tonight. Although I don’t know whats on the menu, I’m guessing burgers will be involved. Usually, we bring something to an event like this, and I always ALWAYS opt for something healthy, comprised mostly of veggies so I know there will be a “safe” food on the table. But when mom asked what we could bring, we were asked to bring chips. So not only do I have no idea whats on the menu, I have no control over my blessed veggies! But guess what? I have to face this head on. It’s not the end of the world if I don’t get some green salad tonight. And here’s a couple other things I’ll be trying to remember:
1. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean I have to eat it. I only have to eat what sounds good and tastes good.
2. It’s okay to have a fun night – a “splurge” night.
3. My pants will fit tomorrow!

Tonight, the goal is to not let a burger ruin my evening…and who knows…maybe I’ll actually LIKE them!