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Life on a meal plan.

Well let’s get right into it, shall we?

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am currently on the long, scary, confusing and often lonely road to recovery.  After struggling with an eating disorder for going on 5 years now (and who knows how many more), and having “recovered” gained a hellalot of weight two years ago through an inpatient hospitalization program, I have found myself back in the life of meal plans and dieticians and weight restoration. Basically, I stepped out of the hospital and fell immediately into many aspects of my old lifestyle and coping mechanisms…. without hardly noticing. And with this came a chunk of weight loss. Sigh. This disorder is it just so bloody confusing, not to mention a tricky, sly b******.  I mean.. why… WHY.. am I seemingly so hesitant to keeping or achieving a “healthy” weight? When I really began to admit that I was entering a scary zone once again, I began working with a wonderful psychologist. Over the last year, I have felt an enormous shift psychologically (way more than ever achieved in the hospital…more on this in time to come). My depression and anxiety has been less harbouring, I no longer feel such a painful need for validation from others, and I do honestly even feel… get ready for it… compassion for myself more often than not (two years ago that word wouldn’t have even come into the relative zone of my thoughts, or not without a deep patronizing *scoff*). And yet, even with these wonderful shifts, my symptoms continue. My inability to eat an amount of calories that would have me gain weight continues. My inability to stop physical activity… continues. My psychologist recently said to me, “I know you would like the symptoms to go as well, unfortunately, wiring that has happened over a lifetime takes time to re-wire, and I know you can do it when you are ready.”  Sigh, again. But when will that be? Will I ever be able to let myself gain as much weight as I need to get my body fully functioning again!? What is this block and what am I afraid of!?

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I’m frustrated and becoming more and more disheartened, to say the least. I can honestly say I am eating ridiculously better/more than I was even half a year ago (aka past ‘fear foods’ are becoming much less scary and happening waaaay more often). To the eye of any one else, I really don’t think you would ever guess that I struggle with an eating disorder. I know many of you can empathize with this. It can be so, so difficult to be in a position in your recovery when you are eating a good, healthy amount in your day – what anyone else would deem as “normal”- and yet it still proves to not be enough for YOU.  When to others, maybe you look thin, but nothing near the worrisome state you were in the past, and so they no longer show concern or think you need to be eating more than you are. Many people – myself included before my hospitalization – do not realize how many calories your body actually needs. They do not understand the amount of work your body is having to do to restore what is going on INSIDE you. There is a lot of repairing that needs to happen, and maybe – like for me – you are still hyper metabolic from a past phase of weight restoration.  But since you feel like you are now eating what is “normal” it can be so easy to tell yourself for your ED to tell you that “You are fine! You don’t need to eat more! Look, no one is worrying about you. They all think you are fine because you are eating!” And then that begins a whole other set of psychological turmoil.

Even with all my improvement, I am still not eating enough to regain the weight I lost. I’m struggling every week to meet the amount of calories my dietician has set out for me.  Last week was week 20 since I started with my current dietician, and weight gain?….. marginal. Week 20. This is really embarrassing.

But I don’t want to make excuses. I am consciously not eating enough. And I am consciously staying active. When I know, if I were to really put my full dedication into restoring my health, I need to be sedentary, stick to my meal plan and continue adding calories. I wish I could. Really…I really do.

I no longer look deathly thin. I’m not as “bad” as I was before entering the hospital.  People see me eating completely normal meals (paninis! ice cream! pizza! frappucinos!). But I am not fully recovered – psychologically or physically. Overlying everything is the fact that I, like many women out there, have hypothalamic amenorrhoea.  After all these years, even after restoring my weight, my body is not functioning. I did not hold on to my “healthy” weight long enough (and maybe it wasn’t even enough even though “BMI” said it was) so it still does not trust me. I have, for far too long, chosen to disregard the seriousness of this condition because “its not like I want to have a baby NOW…” But that little itching voice in the back of my mind that tells me “this is not good” is beginning to creep further and further forward. I’m trying to tell myself that if I do not get my body back to its full functionality, I may will suffer from heart breaking conditions in my future. This isn’t something with immediate benefits, but rather, for my future… which can be so, so hard to find the motivation for. If I can’t find motivation to gain weight for any other reason, I need to do so to get my period back.

I want to say a huge thank you to a few women out there who, through their blogs, have shared their own journeys with amenorrhoea and/or recovery or who just continually put themselves out there to inspire others and create a healthier mindset on body image and health. These women (plus many more) have been a large inspiration for me and keep me striving towards doing what I need to do for myself.

http://www.betterwithsprinklesblog.com

http://www.myfoodnfitnessdiaries.com

http://www.lovedandworthyoflove.com

http://www.lord-still-loves-me.com

http://www.runningwithspoons.com

http://dailymovesandgrooves.com

Both Robyn from http://www.thereallife-rd.com and Niki at http://www.lifewithniki.com just posted wonderful and informative posts on amenorrhoea. Thanks ladies!

And so, I continue on. Every week, after leaving my dietitians’ office feeling ashamed and lost, I devote myself to just “trying again.” I will continue to “try again”… and again… and again… until I am able to do what I need to do. To be on my meal plan. To gain weight. To give my body what it needs in order for it to return to true health. Sometimes all we can do is just continue to try again. Continue to, week after week, strap on our gumboots….maybe for the 20th, or 200th week in a row… and know that one day, we will get there.

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COMMENT

  1. Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves | 31st Aug 15

    You are so beautifully self-aware, girl. I know EXACTLY how you feel— the frustration, the quasi- recovery, the lack of motivation… It’s all too true.
    What I myself had to learn is that each time I made myself uncomfortable (whether that was being sedentary, eating two desserts, letting myself sleep in rather than work out, eat 3 tbsp of peanut butter instead of 1-2, etc.), I made a huge leap in my recovery. You said it yourself— people don’t really know how much we really need to eat and rest recover. It’s a hell of a lot. Like A LOT.
    And since it’s difficult to just switch to staying sedentary and eating 3000+ cals, those progressions in recovery come with time for some of us. It’s ideal to get there ASAP of course, but for me, it has taken time and learning. It’s great that you’re getting professional help as well, but no one can force you to do this. Be patient with yourself, and allow yourself to be uncomfortable for a while.
    At first you might think, “Oh, after I gain X amount of weight, I can cut down a little.” But keep pushing past that phase, and you just might find yourself 10 times happier with X amount of weight on your body. For good.

    • mylittletablespoon | 1st Sep 15

      Ooooh Alison – thank you SO much. I really appreciate this. And we are most definitely on the same page. I’ve learned that forcing things to happen too quickly could actually end up backfiring, and it is those seemingly “small” successes that are truly going to make for life long changes. Just because we aren’t “recovered” immediately, or as fast as we would like, doesn’t mean we aren’t gaining strength and courage and learning UBER amounts every day. Every little step counts. <3

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