Thursday, June 30, 2011

What it feels like to NOT want

Hi guys!
  First off, I want to tell you that something's been going on with my Blogger for weeks now-- I can't comment on anyone's posts.  :(  It's a bummer, but I am reading them!

  My post tonight was inspired by how I've been feeling lately.  In a nutshell, I feel... unrestricted.

  It's been almost a year and a half since I began this journey, and even though I have had set-backs, it's amazing how far I've come.  The Summer has always been an extremely stressful time for me.  BBQs, parties, and beach-getaways are basically protocol for every weekend.  To some people this sounds absolutely amazing.  To me, it's usually disastrous and leaves me full of anxiety for three months straight. 

  The reason for my anxiety is this... for over a decade my lovely and very thoughtful (not) eating disorder called the shots on when I got to have to fun, and when I didn't.  My oscillations in food intake and my body image dictated the things that I *let* myself do.  For example, maybe I was starving (from the non-stop restricting) on a random Thursday and it led to a huge binge.  After the episode, I would feel like such crap that I would basically sit and home all weekend trying to recover from the 'fatness' that resulted from my eating.

What if there was a party on Saturday that all my friends were going to?  Well, most of the time, I would miss the party.  Because it was more important to me to feel good about my body and my restriction, and feel 'confident and thin', than it was to enjoy the company of my friends.  In fact, if I felt fat, I felt almost 'unuitable' for other people-- as if, I was too disgusting to be around my friends.  If I somehow was convinced of going out, I would feel so terrible about myself the whole time that I completely expected to have another binge at the party.

Actually, even the parties and get-together that I felt 'good enough' to attend were messed up by my ED.  Through out my ED, I meticulously planned my intake around big events so that I was 'allowed' to eat like a normal person.  I would restrict myself the entire week so that when my friend's wedding (for example) came up, I could eat all the yummy foods.  The problem was, every time I got in these situations, I ended up gourding myself until I felt absolutely terrible.  So, my desire to be normal always ended up being very abnormal. 

I never knew how to enjoy food when I was out.  I just got so excited about all of the foods that I didn't allow myself to eat, and I had to have them all- right then and there.  Because I knew when I got home I wasn't allowed to eat any of those things.  And usually, after I returned from the parties, I would feel so awful about what I ate, that I binged for a few days afterwards (and restricted until the next time I was 'allowed' to really eat).

The funny thing is, looking back, I think that I spent more time in my head, thinking about what I could/should/would consume, than actually having fun and enjoying my time with my friends.


But, I am happy to report, that things have changed.  It's weird, but completely right, at the same time.  It's weird because I can't remember ever enjoying my Summer weekends this much and not having my intake be the #1 thing on my mind.  It's so, so, right because this is how life should be, goddammit!!

Lately, I've been finding myself being extremely care-free with what I eat.  This, coming from the girl who always had a fit about which restaurants shw was comfortable enough to eat at; the same girl who didn't even TASTE peanut butter (fat fat fat fat) until she was 21 years old because she was afraid she'd love it and want to eat it all the time. 

However, since I threw all my 'eating rules' out the window, I literally have no restrictions.  When someone asks me where I'd like to eat, I don't freak out and try to pick a place with low-cal options.  Instead, I lean toward "whatever everyone else wants".  WHAT?!  Shut the front door!

I have never been a go-with-the-flow person when it comes to food.  I was always the picky one.  The one with the annoying eating habits that everyone else had to plan around.

Well, that person is no more!  And even more interestingly, I hardly ever binge at parties, or spend entire weekends thinking about food and my intake.  Now, I don't feel the pressure of foods choices because I allow myself to eat sensibly and fully at all times.  If I want chips with my sandwich, I eat them, but stop when  I'm full.  If I want dessert, I have some, but don't gourd myself on it.  This way, when the weekends come up, I'm not SO excited and obsessed with the food that I'm going to be 'allowed' to eat, because I'm always allowed to eat that food.

The point is, when we stop making food such a BIG DEAL, we take away its power.  This concept is almost child-like in it's simplicity.  When we stop making lists of foods that are off-limits or restricted, those foods aren't as appealing anymore.  (I even left some ice cream in the fridge for a week because I forgot about it.  This would have been nearly impossible a year ago because the icecream would haunt me and tempt me until I ate the last bit of it.)

Somehow, through this year and a half of ups-and-downs, I've learned to not be controlled by food. 

And it should be no big surprise that I now enjoy every one of my weekends having fun and not worrying about what I'm going to consume.  And even better?  I've grown closer to my friends, and my fun factor has hugely increased. ;)

Lots of Love, and I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I Went To The Pool: A Short story

Last week I went to our apartment pool by myself.  I was surrounded by about 10-15 insanely skinny 20-something year old girls in tiny bikinis.  They were playing in the water, flirting with the boys at the pool, and looking like they were having the time of their lives.

And THE thought came to my mind...

If only I were as skinny as them, I would enjoy life so much more.  I would be so much happier and more confident with myself.

I left the pool that day with negative feelings toward my body.  It made me feel like a failure.

A week prior to this incident, I was hanging out with some family members.  A girl that I know had lost an immense amount of weight.  In fact, she looked sickly.  I spent the majority of the weekend berating myself about how if only I had been going to the gym consistently and not eating as much, I would look just as good as her.  I was jealous.  I was jealous that she ate more than I did all weekend, but she looked waif-like.  I was jealous that she looked thin and maybe border-line sickly/skinny and I looked healthy.  I kept thinking...if only I was that thin, I could be so much happier. 
To top it all off, I was mad at myself for being jealous.

Fast-forward a week after the pool incident, I found out from someone close to the girl that she most likely has an eating disorder. 

Every ounce of jealousy that I had felt melted into a big puddle of pity.  All I could think was 'how stupid could I be to not see that?  To think that she was happy and thin?  To think that she was just blessed to be so skinny, yet be able to eat everything under the sun?'

And then I thought to the pool incident.
How many of those girls had been starving themselves to 'look' that happy in their bikinis?
How many of them were really proud and comfortable of their tiny bodies?
How many of them thought they were fat?

The truth is, even when I was much thinner than I am now, I was never happy with my body.  I have always thought that I look bigger than I want to look.

At my thinnest I was SO extremely unhappy because I was STARVING. 
I constantly went between restricting and bingeing and it.was.exhausting.
Every event in my life, for the past decade, has been overshadowed by thoughts of food/restricting/bingeing.

It's been months since I've binged or restricted.
Yet, sometimes I still get pangs of jealousy when I see people around me losing weight, or looking thin.

Sometimes, it's great to be reminded that what you think is going on may really be an illusion.  I should have never been jealous of the other girl's bodies because I don't know their stories.  I don't know if they are suffering from an eating disorder, or what else is going on.  The fact is that I am NOT jealous of their possible eating disorders or the other things that they are dealing with.   

The grass is not always greener on the other side, and I know that because I've been to the other side.
The other side sucks!

I wouldn't accept a million dollars for going back to my eating disordered ways. 

It's not worth it.