mental health

To my eating disorder….

I didn’t have a date to Senior Prom.

We broke up the night before.

I barely graduated from high school with a 2.6 GPA.

And I didn’t go away to college that fall.

I dropped out of the school musical, quit dance, and started skipping classes.

I dodged invites to hang out with friends so I could go home and let you run me ragged.

Literally.

I lived off watermelon, ice chips and guilt.

You crowded so much of my mind that I don’t have as many memories as a 25 year old should.

And I spent entirely too much time wishing I was thinner, better, smarter.

Or at least thin, good or smart ENOUGH for you to let me go outside and play.

You took everything; wrung me out until all that was left was the blonde hair on my head and just enough eye movement for them to roll back inside my head at the thought of having to hold a conversation.

You took everything, and left me with nothing.

Wait, let’s try that again.

You took everything and, because of that, I know what it means to FEEL like nothing.

And I know how much I have now, and all of the good things you have been replaced with.

I went to community college to live at home and be near my family and doctors.

I got a job that only had me working 4 hour shifts so I could eat all my meals at home.

I started dating someone and slowly started to believe he wasn’t lying when he told me I was pretty.

I graduated.

I got a full-time big girl job.

I got MARRIED.

To someone that wasn’t you.

I purchased a brand new car because I was saving my money and not spending it on diet pills and laxatives.

I went on trips for fun because I had time and wasn’t spending it all wishing I was good enough for you.

And I told everyone what you did.

I started with my family.

And ever so slowly, it began to build.

I told everyone I knew about the harm you caused.

I was surprised to find out how many others you had already gotten to.

You’re quick and you’re mean.

And for years I was hopelessly, tragically and unhealthily in love with you.

But people fall out of love, and I had never been so happy for those feelings to fade.

And I warn you; let this be your only notice.

That every time you try to get under someone’s skin and make them feel inferior, I will be right there to list YOUR flaws and YOUR motives.

I will beat you to the punch.

I will make sure everyone knows how wonderful they are.

So no, this is not a “thank you for teaching me” note.

This is a FUCK YOU, we’re perfect, letter of intent.

Intent to continue living in freedom.

Intent to destroy you.

Sincerely,

1 of 70 million

 

 

 

mental health

When your fitness app membership ends

This morning, feeling incredibly uncomfortable with myself, I logged on to my MyFitnessPal account (yes, I still have the app; it’s become somewhat of a metaphor for hoarding something you will never use again; yet here we are). Turns out, my membership (the month-to-month one that allows you to view and set goals based on macros) lapsed when my debit card closed for fraudulent activity.

For a moment, I stared at my screen, praying for the macros to suddenly appear without having to enter my credit card information again.

In my mind, as long as the opportunity was there, I was doing no harm by utilizing the macro services as I worked to transition into intuitive eating.

But I didn’t take into consideration a lapsed membership.

The last time something shut down without my prior knowledge, I ended up in rehab (my family’s treadmill broke). So naturally, I considered all the terrible things that would inevitably stem from this incident:

  • I would gain 10 pounds because I would have NO IDEA what I was putting in my body
  • I wouldn’t be able to eat out because there was really no way to track what was going off my plate and into my digestive system
  • I would have to eat the same thing every day, consisting only of foods where I KNEW the macros by heart (#calorieaspergers)
  • The entire world would combust

Then I considered a rare alternative: what if nothing happened?

What if I left the app alone, shut it down, and went on eating the way I had been, learning more each day about what my body likes and dislikes, and how it responds to various foods?

Even more, what if I didn’t update the app with my new credit card number?

What would ACTUALLY occur?

Chances are, nothing major (unless you count saving $9.99 every month).

Your body is not going to change just because you enter everything you eat into an app.

Your PERCEPTION of your body isn’t going to change if you consistently depend on entering every bite into an app with a very generic way of determining the needs for your body.

You know what knows your body’s needs better than an app?

Your body itself.

GASP!

Is it crazy to think that you can live without the crutch of a macro calculator everywhere you go? It shouldn’t be.

I understand if you can’t bring yourself to delete your macro calculator or food tracker app, I get it.

But little steps are a thing for a reason.

Try tracking less, and then not tracking; don’t delete the app, just don’t open it.

Day after day, it gets easier. You will get closer to freedom, and your body will get better at alerting you of when it’s hungry and what it’s hungry for.

That’s called intuition, and it’s a real thing.

So is recovery….

mental health

#FearFoodFriday trends

While I was reviewing my previous #fearfoodfriday posts, I noticed a trend:

  • Simply Balance blue corn with flax seed tortilla chips
  • Tostitos roasted red pepper chips
  • Bolthouse Farms salsa ranch dressing
  • Archer Farms sweet potato potato chips
  • Sun Chips sweet potato and brown sugar
  • Minute Maid pink lemonade

All of the items are processed; they are not fresh fruits or vegetables, meat that needs to be cooked or organic ANYTHING (actually the first one technically is but whatever).

So what is with the stigma against processed food? Well, if you were to ask Dr. Google, you would “learn” that packaged foods are “highly addictive”, have “unhealthy sugar levels”, are “difficult to digest” and contain “high levels of refined carbohydrates”.

And yet I was taught 6 years ago that no food is bad….

Because it’s NOT!!!!!!!!

YES, the food listed above probably isn’t going to give you the best “bang for your buck” (aka the most food for the calories blah blah blah), but the purpose of recovery isn’t to stay away from food because you’re afraid, it’s to understand that no food is going to hurt you as much as your disordered thinking.

So what if we reevaluated the cons of the above foods and made them make more sense and appear less taboo?

“highly addictive” – that’s call being DELICIOUS; and if you’ve never had an issue with not being able to stop eating once you start, you’re probably not going to come face to face with that problem now.

“unhealthy sugar levels” – yes, if you drink the entire container of pink lemonade, you are probably going to have hella energy and experience an INSANE sugar crash later on; good, naps are healthy.

“difficult to digest” – all of our bodies work differently. Some bodies can’t digest lactose, some can’t digest gluten, and some have no problem digesting anything. Having chips with a meal is not going to trigger an inability to digest anything ever again, that’s as unrealistic as thinking you can get all the nutrients you need and still lose weight while drinking cayenne pepper and maple syrup.

“high levels of refined carbohydrates” – I have not met a coach that has told someone to stay away from pop tarts before a workout because they’re processed. Especially if you are a competitor or generally looking to “make some gains”, allowing your body to take in refined carbohydrates is going to allow those carbs to be more readily available for your workout because they are fast-digesting. Which means yes, white rice is going to be JUST AS fine to eat as brown rice.

*insert audible gasp here*

And all that sodium that people say are going to be detrimental? Sodium actually serves a crucial role in the functioning of your organs and keeping your electrolytes up (electrolytes help you rehydrate faster after losing water and minerals through sweat).

So should everyone try to eat mainly unprocessed food? Maybe.

But maybe it’s all personal preference; and I am not going to be the first one to try and take gummy bears away from a 5-year old because they come in a package and are made of sugar.

It’s all about listening to your body and taking its cues into consideration; your body knows what it needs, and it knows what to do with the food you provide it.

Yes, it really is that simple.

mental health

Timing

“Timing is a bitch”

We’ve all heard it, thought it, blamed it for everything that didn’t go the way we wanted it to.

But what if timing isn’t a bitch?

What if timing knows exactly what it’s doing, and only grants you what it knows you’re prepared for?

The other day, Gregg said he was glad that we didn’t begin dating before we did (his actual words: “until you got your shit together”). And looking back, even though all my 12-18 year old self wanted was to be with him, I had a shit ton of shit (#sailormouth) to conquer, other relationships to test and self abuse to cease and, had we started dating as two preteen hearts, who’s to say we would be together and married today?

I didn’t officially enter treatment (like, the heavy duty part) until I graduated high school. And sure, maybe if I had gone sooner I wouldn’t have zero memory of my high school experience or I would have been able to enjoy the hot lunch everyone always raves about (ahahahaha). Had I entered treatment before the timing was right, would it have stuck? Would I have been in the right mindset to make the decision to stay in treatment and not go to college? Would I have gone to Arizona State and lost out on the opportunity to make things work with Gregg when I got out?

And finally, had I never got laid off from Target, I never would have gotten the chance to work where I currently do, with the coworkers and friends I adore and the opportunities I have been able to experience.

Your recovery will happen when you are fully prepared to take it on.

You will start and finish college when you are supposed to.

Your life with take the exact path it is meant to take.

Timing’s not a bitch; timing is annoying but knows EXACTLY what the eff it’s doing.

And it doesn’t have time for your doubts.

mental health

Loosey Goosey

My husband and I have eaten out quite a few times over the past week, much more often than I am used to.

And I always hated when people would say “oh I just don’t have time to eat at home, I’m always on the go. It’s just easier to eat fast food”. To me, that was crap. I have never had any problem prepping my meals and making sure I bring food with me wherever I go so I always know what is going into my body at any moment of the day.

But that’s because I am a crazy psychotic previous eating disorder/anxiety addictive personality-type human.

Gregg doesn’t care; he believes in eating when you’re hungry and whatever you are hungry for. Usually, it’s Chipotle.

So have I put on some weight over the past week from eating out?

Perhaps, but that’s probably because I’m not eating the same damn thing every day and my muscles are ECSTATIC and loving every minute of it.

When you eat the same thing every day, your body is always getting certain nutrients.

However, that means your body is also consistently lacking in specific nutrients.

When you start adding in foods you spent so much time depriving yourself of, your body enters a very specific mind-fuck.

So yes, my body was confused when I allowed myself to eat out for so many meals. However, my body was also in ABSOLUTE HEAVEN at the sight of waffle fries and Dairy Queen and bread (SO MUCH BREAD) that I could literally FEEL THE FEELS as my muscles came back to life.

Our bodies weren’t built to sustain themselves on chicken, rice and asaragross every single day.

Our bodies were built to absorb nutrients and utilize the food we supply it to create energy and allow us to lift heavy weights and laugh and sleep well (yes, you still need food at rest).

Your body knows what to do with the food you provide it.

So if it just so happens that you don’t get to eat every two hours or you forget to bring your perfectly-proportioned breakfast to work with you, a donut will suffice.

Your body would be just as malnourished living off of kale as it would living off of donuts.

So start conditioning your mind to focus on spending time with your friends and family, even if meal time is the only event everyone is available for. Memories will always be more important than macros, and recovery will always be more important than addiction.

And puppies will always be more important than no puppies.

These are just the facts of life.

mental health

Imagine That You’re Wrong

Imagine for a moment, that you’re wrong.

That you’re not ugly or fat or stupid or incompetent or un-funny (????) or any other inconsiderate feature you use to characterize yourself.

Image that you’re wrong, and you are actually as beautiful as everyone says.

You are funny and self-sufficient and intelligent and amazing.

Imagine that you love and appreciate the body and mind you’ve been given; that you feel the same way about yourself that your significant other or best friend does.

Would you treat yourself different?

Would you allow yourself to shamelessly indulge in ice cream if you cared for your body the way it begs to be cared for?

Would you stop ferociously adding numbers together in your head to try and track the calories in the finger of frosting you just swiped?

Would you treat yourself with the same respect that you treat everyone around you?

Would you stop saying “oh whatever” every time someone complimented you?

Imagine that all the good things people say about you are true.

You’re a force to be reckoned with

How would you go about life with a newfound sense of self-care and ambition? Social media and diet culture make it so easy to hate and shame our bodies with the click of a button or a scroll or swipe. We’re surrounded with reasons to diet and workout beyond our body’s health and ability. And is it really wrong of us if we never learned any different?

Yes.

It’s wrong and unfair of you to treat yourself so poorly when you’ve done so much and come so far. And maybe that coworker that told you you looked nice today wasn’t just saying it to make conversation.

Maybe they said it because you look nice today.

And that doesn’t mean you look like s*** every other day of the week.

Well maybe, I guess I don’t know you.

Juuuuuust kidding.

NO!!!! They say it because they actually believe it and want you to believe it to. My husband tells me I look great all the time and it’s just become second nature for me to say “thank you” that he doesn’t even believe it anymore; he knows I don’t believe that I’m beautiful and it upsets him.

Imagine that people are complimenting you because they actually think you’re amazing.

Would you treat yourself differently? Better?

I hope so.

 

 

mental health

It Would Be Easy

It’s so easy to scroll through social media and wish you were thinner or prettier or “better” in some way.

It would be easy to add in a ton of cardio, or to do a little bit of cardio after your workout and then go for a bike ride or run to compensate.

It would be easy to stop eating; to stop fueling your body and start laying around all day waiting to like yourself.

But that’s not what recovery is about.

Recovery is about learning to love and be okay with your body at every stage. You have to put in the time and effort to be okay with the lumps that form when you button your jeans, and to appreciate all your body does for you without googling “how to get rid of armpit fat” as if that’s something worth your concern.

It would be easy to give up and retreat back to your illness; into your eating disorder or anxiety or addiction where everything is comfortable and familiar. That part is easy.

What’s difficult is making the decision every day to workout in a healthy way, and to eat even when you don’t feel like you deserve to. I think about being sick again, and realize all of the muscle mass I would lose that I had eaten so much to gain.

You would be giving up your strength.

You would be giving up the ability to have ice cream because Mother Nature decided to remind you that you are, in fact, a woman. You would be giving up hiking and going out with friends and jumping on the trampoline with a 4-year old that insists she can jump higher.

You would be giving up the opportunity to let her know that she is beautiful and strong and, if she eats and loves her body, one day she will jump higher.

You would be giving up freedom.

All to look like someone on social media that doesn’t even look like they do on social media.

Everyone takes a different path, and you can’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 6, that’s not fair. You can’t compare your 200 followers to someone else’s 20,000. Every story is important and every story is different; that’s why it’s so important to share.

So stop comparing yourself to someone else’s highlight reel, and utilize those on social media to lean on and connect with for body positivity and encouragement, to share our journeys and to remind each other that recovery is a daily battle.

But you’re worth it, I promise.

If you have the strength and ability to sustain an eating disorder, then you have the strength and ability to move beyond it

– Joanna Poppink