In alluding to my last post... I am in reset mode.
Even before this last weeks’ event, I could feel myself slipping into cautious territory. I wasn’t giving into symptoms so much that they were once again taking control, but the thoughts were beginning to gain strength. When school began, my routine completely shifted and control of my days was taken away… something I have greatly struggled with in the past. I found myself sitting – sedentary – for hours and hours a day. The ED voice does nooooottttt like thattttttt. Thankfully, my love for acting – for what I am studying – is far stronger than that bully and most days kicks its ass.
This being said, I know I’ve gone safe and have put myself into a comfort zone – one thatwill not enable me to get further in my recovery. I did start lowering my food intake “just a touch” to compensate the excess sitting. I’ve lessened the food risks and “treats” that had become frequent during the summer (when I was on my feet working all day, exercising and biking). I have not lowered my intake dramatically… I have not lost weight… but this is not what I want to focus on. I do not want to base my recovery solely on my weight and whether or not I’m “eating normally.” I want to base my recovery on what I still feel, what I still think, how I react to emotional situations, and by how often those awful friggen food thoughts are still plaguing my every waking moment. Elizabeth scripted it perfectly when describing, “neurotic eating.” Seriously, she said it perfectly. It really sucks always thinking about food. It. really. sucks.
And heck all this aside, I do need to gain weight. I am in recovery for Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. My body is not at its set point where it will trust me to function properly. So meal plan and weight gain and rest DO need to be in my focus. I’m really praying that by writing this it will help get it into my damn head so that I believe it…and do it.
But let’s take a step back here. After last week’s turmoil of anxiety/anger/depression/zombie numbness… I assumed that I really took a step back. And I did.. A bit. I know I gave in to the bullying voice and I gave in to my coping mechanisms. But now looking back I realized that actually, I did okay (maybe thats partly why I was feeling all sorts of awful). In the past, an event leading to even the slightest onset of negative core beliefs would have had me at the gym every day. Maybe twice a day. Salads would have been the bulk of my meals…. and all without even being aware of the connection.
But this week, I remained aware of what was happening, even if I was consciously not making the right choice. I did try to pull myself out of it, even if I did not succeed. And…I actually used strategies to keep my food regular. Wow. How did that happen? Yeah, the ED definitely hated that.
I thought I’d share some of the strategies that I – apparently – use.
2. Pack meals with you. Pack meals in the morning – in good quantity – so that when you are out, you will be far less likely to not finish your meal or change your mind. “But what I packed will go to waste if I don’t have it,” and “But I spent time making it at home,” work really well for me. I’m economic and hate spending money or wasting anything if I don’t need to.
Quinoa pasta with goat cheese sauce + roasted butternut squash + farmers market sausage + kale
3. Make plans to eat with others. I’m not good at this one. It can feel next to impossible when you are not feeling mentally willing to be around others. But I’m trying. Tell that ED voice that you LIKE to spend time with others. Trust that being with others will most likely help raise your mood, and thus, the urges to restrict will lesson. Friends always slap-chop that bully.
Dinner date with Ukrainian friend = homemade perogies, sauerkraut (!!) and farmers market sausage
4. Distract yourself. I know this one is a bit cliche, but really, when things feel hard, grab your laptop or your book or Skype with a family member to just take the focus away. And make it something you like. For me, I made sure to always have my play or piece of homework I am really enjoying with me.
Chekhov, Coffee, Carrot Cake. My three favorite ‘Cs.’
5. Ice cream. Ice cream is a strategy, right? If you are feeling full, it is the perfect choice. It’s not filling, it’s easy to get down, and come on, it’s ice cream. We won’t have many more months of wanting something cold, so get it now!
There’s always room for ice cream.
6. Bake! (if you enjoy it). Chances are you will feel proud of what you made and then it will be in your house…and it would be such a shame to have your creations go to waste. And you can feel good eating every bite because you know where it all came from (your loving hands). Plus there’s the obligatory taste testing. And the obligatory dance-kitchen parties. And its fall. PUMPKIN EVERYTHING.
Fall baking: Pumpkin muffins + Flourless apple cinnamon cupcakes
So… do I have goals going forward? Sigh. I don’t know guys. I am feeling pretty stuck. I’m not sure if I’m feeling ready or able to get out of this comfort zone and make the changes to actually move forward. Motivation is a fleeting thing.
But. Elizabeth also reminded me of an article of Robyn’s that I had previously read, and it once again gave me a good mental kick in the butt. I am not going to focus on the weight gain. I am going to focus on fixing my metabolism and balancing my hormones. Since right now I’m needing to just get myself refocused, I am going to be gentle on myself.
That’s about all that feels honest right now.
These are my goals. They may seem very small and simple right now, but that is how this is going to work. I’ve learned that the only way to make the healing process stick is to take it at my own pace.
Until next time…
Do you deal well when your routine shifts?
Do you have any strategies for remaining healthy when your mood and motivation is low?
I am 200% not a relationship expert. Let’s get that out right now…