Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Photos

For some reason I thought it was a good idea to go through all of my favorite pictures from this year. It's unbelievable how much things have changed. I can only hope 2013 brings half of the change and progress I have seen this year.


Serious Progress.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bye Bye 2012

I seem to be having a difficult time writing my end of the year blog post. When I look back at this year, it’s nearly impossible for me to believe everything that has happened and how dramatically different my life has become.

How are we already in the final hours of 2012? Just yesterday I was running around downtown Traverse City bringing in this eventful year. As I watched this video from last year's ball drop, I quickly began to feel a lump in the back of my throat and tears building up behind my eyes. 2012 will, without a doubt, be the most memorable year of my life. Not necessarily the best memories a girl could ask for, but they will be with me forever.

If I take myself back to 365 days ago, I find myself in a state of despair; unsure of what my future would bring, but completely sure I was in need of a dramatic change. I didn't make any resolutions last year. What was the point? I had given up on everything and everyone, especially myself.

 Honestly, deep down I believed my illness had gotten too out of control to ever be cured. In many different ways I was unreachable and in a constant state of emptiness. As a cry for help, I quickly hit my own rock bottom in early 2012. My life was spiraling out of control and I didn't have the power to stop it. 

It seemed too daunting for me to make a list of my best moments from this year because only one or two good things stick out in my mind. Yes, my life has definitely changed for the better, but it feels like I've been to hell and back. Nothing about recovering from an eating disorder is easy, enjoyable or short lived. This is a battle I will be fighting every single day, potentially, for the rest of my life.

However, after all of the tears, temper tantrums and an ungodly number of frozen meals consumed, I wouldn't trade this year or my eating disorder in for anything. Without the experiences and the friendships I have made over the past 365 days, I wouldn't be anywhere near the same person I am today. I wouldn't have this opportunity to start my life fresh; I have a clean slate. I would still be wondering aimlessly through life, hoping someone would save me. Instead, however, I finally have the power to change all of that and find out who I am.

Finally, after a year guilt and despise, I can truly see my eating disorder as a blessing in disguise. My one and only resolution for 2013 will be to constantly remind myself of the progress I have made- it is my favorite word, after all. :)


Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Cheer

Two days before Christmas Eve, my mom and I went out in search of something to wear on Christmas Eve. After finding the dress I'm wearing in the picture below, I grabbed four difference sizes and made my way to the fitting room. One of the most helpful shopping skills I have learned during weight restoration is to pull a range of sizes off the rack, try each of them on and go with the one that fits the best- without looking at that stupid number on the tag. Let me repeat that. DO NOT look at the tag. 

I gave in and looked at the size, which turned into me secretly spending the next ten minutes crying in the fitting room. The size that fit me best was the biggest one I pulled off the rack. I know better than this. A few months ago I published a post called Size What? and was able to think more logically about the whole shopping experience.

After talking to my therapist yesterday, she reminded me that I have a choice. Option one is to allow my body image and size of my clothes be in control of my life. Or, option two, I can choose to shift my focus to the things that actually mater in life. Luckily, somewhere between the crying in the fitting room incident and Christmas Eve dinner, I found a way to ease up on those self critical thoughts and found myself actually experiencing the joys of Christmas.

In years past, I have spent the entire Christmas season in misery. I hated the Christmas cookies, the singing, the family gatherings, the shopping, the stress, and most of all, the fact that everyone around me was feeling the Christmas cheer except me. My life was completely consumed in calorie counting and restricting. There wasn't any room left to simply be happy. Eating disorders have a sneaky way of doing that. 

I'm not really sure who the girl in these pictures from the past two Christmases is anymore. Sure, there's a smile on my face, but it's lacking something. That smile is a lie.

For the first time, maybe ever, I feel like I truly experienced Christmas this year. I ate Christmas cookies with my breakfast and a cheeseburger for dinner- who am I? With the option to eat whatever I wanted, my thoughts were no longer obsessive. This year has been one of the most difficult I will ever experience, but I feel like all of my hard work paid off on Christmas day. Finally, I understand why everyone gets so excited about the holiday season.

Maybe I will actually listen to my therapist this week and pick option number two; LIFE. Regardless of my dress size.


Friday, December 21, 2012

I Feel Fat

Me- "I feel fat today."
My therapist- "Fat is not a feeling, Kelsi, you know that. How are you really feeling today?"
Me- "Are you deaf? I said, I feel fat."

Every single week, my poor therapist has to have this same exact conversation with me and every single time she tells me fat is not a feeling I get annoyed. How can it not be a feeling? I'm bulging out of my jeans, therefore I feel fat. It's really quite simple. 

Okay, I tend to exaggerate things a little. Logically, I know that I have eaten the same number of calories today as I did yesterday and the day before, meaning my weight has not changed. Even though I still have these "fat" days quite frequently, my weight magically remains stable each week. My healthy brain also knows that my body image is distorted and I don't really see what my reflection shows.

For years, I have used food or the lack there of as a way to cope with my emotions. I was never able to accept the fact that I can't control everything that happens during my day, but I could, however, control the number on the scale. For years I was content to focus on that stupid, meaningless number instead of whatever emotions I'm having. Trust me, at the time it seemed like a brilliant idea. In the short term my problems disappeared, but long term, well, you all know what happened. 
Today I decided to try a new coping skill.

As ridiculous and silly as this might seem, wearing my brother's shorts almost instantly put those pesky "I feel fat" thoughts to rest. First of all, how can I even take myself seriously in these things? I can't stop laughing. Second, although my brother might be a good eight inches taller than me, he is nowhere near overweight. We actually rip on him all the time for being one of those lucky people who has a hard time gaining weight. Jerk. I definitely think his waist is smaller than mine, which also goes to show how distorted my thoughts really are. Third, I feel comfortable in these. This just might be my new favorite coping skill.

As disappointing as it might be, I know I can't wear these shorts everyday for the rest of my life or even in public for that matter. However, even if it's just for a little while, the shorts allow me to stop and think about what is really going on with my emotions. Like many things in recovery, this is another first time experience. I might not like the emotions I'm experiencing, but simply feeling them is still progress because they are no longer being numbed by my eating disorder. Thank you shorts.

I wonder what my therapist would do if I showed up to our next appointment dressed like this. 


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Griswald Holiday Stress Reliever

Much like the week before Thanksgiving, I'm beginning to get anxious about Christmas, New Years and the week in between. There's something about food centered holidays that makes me want to curl up in bed for the week and not come out until every last Christmas cookie has been eaten.

Last week a comment was made to me about how the holiday season should be easier for me this year, right? Wrong. I think the opposite is true. This year potentially could be more difficult than ever. Yes, I have reached a healthy weight and I continue to stick to my meal plan, but that isn't the magical cure. At times, that expectation to be perfectly fine around food is the most difficult part for me to deal with.


After watching Christmas Vacation for the 12th time since Black Friday and laughing equally as hard each time, I realized that my holiday season stress could be much worse. Looking back, I can think of a few holiday meals that have been similar to the Griswald Christmas dinner, but nothing has ever been that bad. As I have discovered on this recovery journey, laughter really is the best medicine and sometimes a little silliness seems to temporarily relieve some of my anxieties.

This might not be my most profound progression post, Clark Griswald is involved for goodness sakes, but sometimes a little stupid humor can help solve my problems. 


This is my favorite of all time, I couldn't leave it out.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Sometimes smiling is the greatest act of defiance,
and sometimes asking for help is 
the most meaningful example of self-reliance.
Sometimes the best medicine is 
to laugh until you cry,
and sometimes the greatest wisdom
comes from accepting you will never know why.
Sometimes just going to bed is the best 
antidote to trials and tribulations,
and sometimes just being blessed 
to get up and face it all,
for one more day,
is worthy of a celebration.

One of my very best friends sent me this poem last night and without talking to her for quite sometime, she knew exactly what I needed after this whirlwind of a week. Sometimes, I think we have a telepathic connection with those that are closest to us; like they can read our minds. No matter how far away they might be or long it's been since you've spoken, they can still feel when a little pick me up is needed. Okay, maybe not, but a girl can dream.

I like the word sometimes. My mind tends to only see things as black or white, right or wrong, perfect or useless, smiling or crying, chocolate or vanilla, all or nothing, and not a single shade of grey in between. Sometimes, however, those grey areas can be life saving. Sometimes accepting imperfection and finishing somewhere in the middle is exactly what is needed to keep moving forward.

Recovery is not perfect, but sometimes, that's okay. 
I will have bad days, but sometimes, that's okay.
Mistakes will be made, but sometimes, that's okay.


Thanks Kaila :)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Accepting Flaws

Your flaws are what make you, you. Why would you want to be just like someone else? Life would be boring if we all thought alike. Blah blah blah... It often feels like statements similar to these have been obnoxiously pounded into my brain over the past few months. 

As much as I want to believe these statements to be true, I have a difficult time with it. During my childhood I often found myself picking out flaws and shortcomings in others as a way to fit in with a certain group of people. If I strayed from the "norm," I would quickly become the target for those harsh words and endless ridicule; or that's what I thought to be true and those beliefs have stuck with me into adulthood.

Five years ago, almost to the date, I received a phone call from my dad saying they were bringing home a dog for my brother, Larsen's, Christmas present. They felt it was necessary to give me heads up because they didn't want to give me a heart attack. In high school one of my best friend's family knew me as the "dog hater" and I was typically greeted with "what's up dog hater?" The shedding, the slober, the stink, and the endless need for attention- it drove me crazy. My parents knew bringing a dog home would be a serious adjustment for me.

After spending just ten minutes with our new dog, Muzzy, I knew my dog hating ways had been forever changed. She was the sweetest, cuddliest, and most adorable puppy ever. It was love at first sight.

As the years have gone by, Muzzy has become my dog, much more than my brother's dog. She loves me more and it's obvious. She used to get in the front seat of my car as I was packing up to drive back up north to school and I would tearfully have to pry her out of my car. She definitely put an end to my dog hating ways.

Somewhere along the way, however, Muzz has turned into the most neurotic and bizarre dog in the entire world- not exaggerating. German short hairs are supposed to be bird dogs, hunting dogs, fearless dogs; not Muzzy. Something as simple as setting a magazine down on the counter creates enough noise to startle her, sending her downstairs in a scurry, and gives her the shakes for at least hour. Sometimes we joke that she is afraid of the wind, but it's not really a joke. Getting a drink is even too frightening for her. It's routine every afternoon to sit with her while she gets a drink, just to make sure the scary drink monsters don't get her. 

This picture perfectly describes her personality as she has gotten older. She's out of control.

Back the original point of this post, this dog has some serious flaws. Completely different than any other living thing on this earth and I still have more love for her than anything in the world. In fact, if it wasn't for her ridiculous routines, our bond wouldn't be nearly as strong as it is today. 

After a 48 hour stay at the vet's thanks to a nasty stomach bug and a night of cleaning up after her, I am thrilled to pick her up this afternoon. I have missed having someone jump in my bed at 5:30 every morning and protecting her from the scary drink monsters. I have missed her quirkiness. 

If it takes a neurotic dog for me to believe the "your flaws are what makes you unique" statements, then that's what it takes. For the first time, probably ever, I think I understand. Figuring out who I am and what makes me, me has been scary, but if this crazy dog can do it, I'm pretty sure I can figure it out, too.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I Really Hope You...

I really hope you find the strength inside of you to love yourself. No one deserves to not be happy in their own skin, to not love themselves or be able to find fulfillment in themselves. To define your self-worth by a number on a scale? I can’t even imagine how empty that must be. I sincerely, truly hope that one day you can find those things and realize that being skinny won’t automatically make you love yourself, or find you happiness. Fat? It’s just an adjective. Melting away the fat won’t melt away all your problems. Being thin doesn’t mean you no longer have room for all the self-hatred you seem to carry around. It just means you’ll be unhappy and hungry — and who wants that?

I certainly don't want that!
Hmm maybe I need to read this 400 times a day?


Monday, December 10, 2012


This past week has been a difficult one for me.

 Although I have been home from treatment for a few months now, I still find myself trying to move forward. Looking back, it's easier to see the tunnel vision goggles we were all wearing during our stay in treatment. At the time it was necessary to have our entire worlds flipped upside down; instead of denying the idea of having an eating disorder, we were suddenly forced to talk about them 24/7. There was no escaping it. Eat your meals, talk about your feelings, and you will be set free. We were completely disconnected from the real world and, for me, a tremendous amount of comfort quickly developed.

As time continues to pass us by, I feel that comfort blanket slowly uncovering me and exposing me to the real world again. It feels like I'm in a strange limbo world, being forced to let go of my eating disorder supports and learn to mingle back in with the normal eaters. Where do I belong? It can be an incredibly lonely feeling to start letting go of people and situations that once brought comfort, but sadly, no longer provide healthy progress.

Without a doubt, I am the world's biggest worrier. Always developing the worst possible scenario in my head can be crippling. As I learn to let go and find my voice in recovery, I often feel an overwhelming sense of worry about what the next step is and the consequences I might face. I worry that if I continue to do what's right for my recovery, it will harm others. I worry about making the wrong decision. I worry about the discomfort change often brings. I worry that the people around me don't see the progress I've been making. I worry. I worry. I worry.

This photo and list of worries below made me chuckle. Such simple advice, but it definitely hit a soft spot for me.

Courage, cleanliness, and efficiency (I'm skipping horsemanship- kind of difficult without owning a horse) will be the only things I allow myself to worry about today. Just for one day. It takes courage to make the right decision, which will help clean up the clutter in my brain, and ultimately allow me to recover in a more efficient manor.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012


The number of responses and amount of love from my "50lb" post has been overwhelming. I was literally sweating, like pitting out my t-shirt, after I published that. THANK YOU, every single one of you, for your kind words of encouragement. Not surprisingly, I shed a tear with each new comment. You have no idea how much that meant to me. 

Eating disorders tend to be swept under the rug in today's society and somewhere along the way, skinny became the new glamorous. I can't think of a single woman in my life who is 100% content with their looks or thinks they would be happier if they dropped 5 or 10 pounds- how did this happen? It breaks my heart.

For the first time ever instead of lying, manipulating and letting down the ones I love (thank you, eating disorder), I can finally come clean. No more ignoring what has become the number one cause of death among all mental health disorders. Ten years have gone by with this heavy, heavy burden and dark secret weighing me down. As terrifying as it has been, it's out in the open now and I couldn't be happier.

Scary thing is, now that I can talk about it, I might never shut up. 


Thank you all again, from the bottom of my heart, for all of the support. I would not be this far along in my recovery without the acceptance and love you have shared with me.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I've been debating whether or not I should even publish this post for days now, but here it goes. I'll make it short and sweet.

My weight was down a little bit this week. I was excited about it; actually, my eating disorder was happy about it. At first I couldn't even bring myself to tell anyone because I was ashamed. After all of this hard work, how could I possibly be excited? It was unbearable.

For a few weeks now, my therapist has been after me to delete all of my Facebook pictures that are triggering, which is just stupid. Just about every single picture on my Facebook is during the time of my eating disorder. I don't think I should be expected to delete my entire past. I did, however, manage to untag myself from a few during the worst of it. 

Years went by and I didn't think anybody knew. I didn't see myself as sick looking, so that meant, in my brain, nobody else would either. Other girls with eating disorders stood out like a sore thumb to me; I wanted to be as thin as they were. Even when I entered treatment, I didn't think I was thin enough to be there. The reason I'm sharing all of this is because of these two pictures:

As difficult as it is to see the first image, it's also one of the biggest steps in recovery I've taken to date- I can finally see how sick I was. There is a 50lb weight difference between the two pictures. Doesn't even look like the same person. BUT, it's the biggest motivator ever. My therapist's favorite saying is,"you're as sick as your secrets," which is the reason I'm choosing the post this today. This is a personal and somewhat terrifying moment, but it's also a pretty important one. It deserves to be shared.

With my weight back up to where it should be, I am proud to say, I am thrilled about it. I never thought I'd say this, but a 50lb weight gain has never looked better. :)