WOW, it’s been nearly two months since I’ve blogged. I can’t believe I let so much time slip away without writing on here. Despite my being somewhat shocked at the time lapsed I know exactly why I’ve stayed away. Before I get into that I just want to give a couple of updates.
- NEDAwareness Week – jeez that feels like so long ago. For those of you who don’t know that was the last week of February and the first few days in March. My intention for that week was to blog every single day and that didn’t happen. What I did instead was a post on social media (Instagram, Facebook) every day. I chose different themes or things I wanted to highlight every day of that week. I just wanted to say that because this is primarily an eating disorder recovery blog it feels really weird to me that I don’t have a NEDAwareness Week post. I did actually start one and it was going to be a list of resources and awareness type info on eating disorders. I will still take the time to do that because it feels really important to me to have that on my blog. I just didn’t get it published as soon as I intended.
- College Acceptances! My last post was all about how I got accepted into the University of Montana. That was the very first college I heard from of the ones I applied to and getting in was a huge deal for me. It still is – but two months ago I was terrified that I may not be good enough to get in anywhere. Since then I am pleased to announce that I have also been accepted to the University of Oregon and North Carolina State University! I am still waiting to hear from a few more schools but so far I have yet to receive a rejection letter and that’s pretty unbelievable.
- Still going strong with being behavior free! As of right now, I am at 7 months, 2 weeks, and 1 day since the last time I binged/engaged in an eating disorder behavior.
- Almost DBT graduation time! So I have my final individual therapy session at Portland DBT Institute next Monday. After a little over a year of learning tons of skills, I am ready to transition back to my beloved therapist who I’ve been working with for almost five years now. I have yet to find the words to describe my appreciation for my DBT therapist. I’m in amazement of how much progress I’ve made since I began at Portland DBT. I know that ultimately I did the work but there’s no way I could have done it without him. For that and so much more I am extremely grateful.
- My dance class/community got asked to collaborate with Fat Girls Dance which is a body-positive dance group in New York. So every couple of weeks I will be re-posting our video for that week on my social media accounts!
- Lastly, I am currently in the 4th week of my final term at PCC! Pretty surreal.
Alright, so those are the major updates on a brief note. The other significant change is why I have been away from blogging the last couple months.
*** Content Warning ***
The next section discusses weight loss/management & navigating food and exercise processes (NO NUMBERS OR SPECIFICS I PROMISE!) I’m just trying to be honest about my journey. But I recognize it could be misinterpreted or triggering to some and that’s why I wanted to give a heads up.
Even though I have been behavior free for a long time now I was not quite where I wanted to be in my recovery. Up until January or so I still wasn’t exercising regularly. I was still at the weight that bingeing got me to. Despite all of my efforts to not care about weight and focus on radically accepting my body, I couldn’t shake the feeling of wanting to lose weight. Not because the number on the scale means everything because IT DOES NOT. But because I know my body and I know that this is not where my body is meant to be. I know that I look the way I do because of my eating disorder. Now that I’m doing so well mentally I wanted that to translate to my physical health.
Stepping back into the world of dance was terrifying but I have completely fallen in love with it again. I have found a dance studio, instructor, and community that provides me with all of the positive aspects of dance and none of the negative ones I feared. But dancing once a week didn’t feel like conquering my exercise fear. So I started looking into other ways to move my body. I tried getting back into Zumba but found that I wasn’t actually enjoying it. I felt like I had to do it if I wanted to become more fit. I started to think that maybe I would never heal my relationship with exercise.
That worry led to restrictive thoughts and urges that got louder by the day. I emailed my doctor and told her I wanted to see a dietician because I was genuinely afraid that I would start restricting again. I wanted to get more active and have a more balanced relationship with food as well as be in good health. I wanted to lose weight and knew that the only time I ever successfully did that was years ago when I was struggling with restricting, purging, and obsessively exercising. I made contacts with a few dietitians and noticed a sense of hope coming back.
But then I made the dreaded call to my insurance… I’ve seen several dietitians in the past so I didn’t think it would be an issue. The lady told me that they only cover dietician services for eating disorders if the diagnosis is anorexia or bulimia and it’s deemed medically necessary. She also told me that they cover Weight Watchers. I was furious. I felt the hopeful feeling slipping away. I wondered if and when I would get the help I wanted and needed to continue progressing in my recovery.
I decided to reach out to my sister for help because when it comes to nutrition and fitness she’s what I have so often strived for. She has never dealt with an eating disorder. She has always loved being active but has never done it in an unhealthy way. She fuels her body because she knows it’s important and also so that she can live the life she wants to. She gave me some really helpful pointers with both food and exercise. I’d do okay for a few days and then I’d start losing the hope and motivation. The end goal felt so daunting and I just thought oh I’ll never get there what’s the point in trying.
I started telling all of these feelings to one of my best friends who has recently been working really hard on changing his health. He validated my feelings and told me how much he could relate to what I was going through. He gave me pointers and specifics on what has and has not worked for him. But more than anything he just completely understood how I felt – which seemed to be what I needed most. He has made an immense amount of progress and I have found it so inspiring. To see how far he has come and to hear that he dealt with similar thoughts and feelings, in the beginning, gave me so much hope. He told me to try and push past that inner critic and to just accept that it is a slow process. But one that is very much worth the hard work.
Although I got wonderful advice from my sister and one of my best friends I also knew that what may work really well for them didn’t mean it would solve all of my problems. So instead of trying to be my sister or trying to be my best friend, I tried to find myself in the middle. The last few weeks I have gotten in a weekly routine with my dance class as well as working out a few times a week at home. I alternate between cardio and strength training while absolutely having rest days. Ever since I was little I have always preferred carbs/starches to fruits and veggies. I FINALLY after nearly 21 years figured out how to find that balance. I eat so many more fruits and vegetables daily than I ever have before. But not because they’re healthy or good foods but because they taste so good! I just had to figure out a solid combination that genuinely worked for me. But I also love and quite honestly adore Nutella and I absolutely still eat that. I still eat pizza and all of the foods I have always loved. I just do so in moderation and I do that with a balance of fruits and vegetables. I have found that eating a wider variety of foods gives me more energy and just overall makes me feel happier. Exercise has been amazing for waking myself up when I start to fall asleep doing homework or just to relieve some stress.
I was really scared to share all of this. I always strive to be as honest and raw in my writing as I can be and that is what I tried to accomplish in this post. What I’m doing could be interpreted as dieting or weight loss and that’s why I was so hesitant. But everyone has different processes and this is mine. I was worried that some of my readers would think I’m hypocritical for trying to change my health when I encourage so many people to love and accept their bodies for exactly the way they are. What I want to make clear is that none of my values have changed. I still practice body acceptance every single day. I DO NOT AND WILL NOT have a goal weight because that’s not why I’m doing this. The reason I’m doing all of this may have started out as wanting to lose weight. But since it has transitioned into truly healing my relationship with food and exercise. Those are goals I have been working on in treatment for several years and have never felt as stable and comfortable in my routine as I do now.
Turning my life around after binge eating disorder has been one of the hardest and scariest tasks I’ve ever tackled. But it is absolutely doable. It is a process of trial and error. But once you find the rhythm that works for you – it’s just such an incredible feeling. I have finally found stability in all aspects of my recovery and I am truly so proud of that!
Recovery IS possible.