Wednesday, June 26, 2013

You Be You & I'll Be Me


A switch has been made in my brain. I'm not exactly sure when this happened, but I noticed it yesterday for the first time... ever. 

When I first came home from treatment, anytime anyone brought up their diet or health-related-food-talk in general I would instantly become triggered. If I noticed my mom was eating a banana instead of a brownie it automatically meant she was trying to lose weight. Every single time I turned on the radio or the TV, I was bombarded with a new ridiculous diet ad. The girl who sat next to me in class would also constantly talk about how she wanted to lose 10lbs for spring break. 

At that time I was hyper sensitive to all food talk - healthy or unhealthy. The less I knew about your diet the more likely we were to be friends. My meal plan became the only food related business I wanted to hear about and that was more than enough because it was all I thought about. 

Just last week a good friend of mine was sending me pictures of a few of the healthy foods he keeps around the house and before I knew it, I was annoyed and asking him to please STOP. The treatment center I went to did an outstanding job of desensitizing me to "fear foods." Although I understand eating Reese's peanut butter cups instead of an apple is not the best choice for my health, I still pick the Reese's because I CAN for the first time in probably 15 years.  

In my head when people tell me about their new healthy eating resolutions, it makes me feel like my new exciting relationship with unhealthy foods is somehow 'not good enough' or wrong. I have spent a good year developing this new relationship with food, so if I am made to feel like it is somehow incorrect I automatically get defensive.

Slowly, however, over the past 8 or 9 months since I have been home from treatment, those thoughts and triggers have somehow disappeared. Last night while discussing healthy eating again, I realized that my eating habits will always be different from those of others - eating disorder related or not. I don't think a perfect relationship with food exists, so to compare my diet to anyone else is a waste of time. 

Yesterday I also read a post from a fellow recovery blogger about her experience on the Whole 30 Diet. At first I was a little confused about why someone who previously struggled with an eating disorder would attempt to do something like this, but as I read the post I realized it wasn't about ME. She is doing what is right for her at this point in her life and she is seeing huge benefits - yay for her! Who am I to negatively judge a healthy lifestyle change in some else's life? (I told you something in my brain has switched... who is this Kelsi?)

  This post would not be complete without a quote, so here is my quote for the day:
"You be you and I’ll be me, today and today and today, and let’s trust the future to tomorrow. Let the stars keep track of us. Let us ride our own orbits and trust that they will meet." -Jerry Spinelli

I seem to need a continuous reminder that my recovery is about doing what is right for ME regardless of the nonstop diet talk in today's society. Most of my life has been spent attempting to become an exact replicate of those around me, but that only got me into serious trouble over the years. I might even be your friend if you choose to discuss your diet with me now. Separating myself and realizing that I am eating in a way that is healthy for me at this point in my life is all I need to focus on today. 

You be you and I'll be me.


Progress.

20 comments:

  1. Hey there, I think you are not the only one who felt this way right out of treatment. I used to be beyond sensitive, to the point where it would impact what I put in my body because what i read. there was even a point where i couldn't be around my sister because i got so triggered when gasp she had egg whites instead of eggs. in reality, I had to talk this out and work on it in length with my therapist and I am glad i did. everyone eats differently, healthy or not, good or bad, whatever other label there is out there. one thing that helped was having that difference clear in my mind - the fact that I can eat it but don't have to eat it to prove recovery. IF that makes sense... have a great day lady!

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    1. Yes that makes perfect sense. I think with time we just realize that our ED thoughts are irrational and we don't have to listen to them anymore. It sounds really simple (even though I know it's NOT). Like you said, after working for a long time with your therapist and facing those scary situations it does get easier. I'm learning... Have a great day, too! :)

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  2. Perfection! I've been feeling the exact same way...I hope I can have this outlook someday :)

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    1. You will - I didn't think I could ever do it either. xx

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  3. I think that not judging any situation is a huge part of recovery. The 12 step program has helped me to have an open mind on this, "I need to find what works for me, because what works for others might not work for me." There are people who don't have fear to eat, and keep eating. Their natural food choice is all unhealthy food. Then, they need to eat more healthy foods, and they have to work on eating healthy foods. My food issue is different from those, and I accept that I can't do what they are doing. We accept who we are, and who they are as well. The bottom line is that the real problem is not foods. When we start to come to the middle ground for food issues, we start to recovery emotionally and spiritually. It took time for me to see this, and put my ego down saying, "well, if people are restricting, they are not doing right. If they are removing certain foods from their diet, they are not really doing life." It's their journey. Mind my business... hahaha. xoxo

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    1. YES, I love that you said the real problem is not the food itself. It is absolutely an individualized thing and most of us have a hard enough time looking out for ourselves, let alone other people. I'll mind my business, too! :)

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  4. That quote has gone straight on my wall :)
    Its knowing that this IS possible, that you CAN feel okay around food and eating and diets and stuff again - is a massive reassurance. x

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    1. Glad you like the quote! It definitely is possible. My relationship around food is far from perfect, but it does get better everyday. xx

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  5. This could not be more helpful or relevant for me right now - I’m seriously struggling with eating/food/exercise comparisons, but reading your thoughts has been seriously helpful x

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    1. Great! I'm very glad to hear this helped! <3

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  6. Diet talk or any good/bad food talk is still super hard for me to hear. 3 years later -AHH!) However, if I removed everyone from my life who engages in it, I would have no one left. I come from a family where almost everyone is weight conscious and/or dieting to some degree. When they talk about it I smile and nod. I don't really feel like encouraging something I disagree with but I'm not going to argue with them either.

    I have to accept that their path is theirs and mine is mine. However, that doesn't mean I approve of what they're doing or that I don't wish they were making a different choice - I simply disagree that they are doing the right thing for themselves(of course, they might think the same thing about the way I eat and how I could "give up" on the perfect body or perfect "healthy lifestyle"). But it is still their choice to make. I also think we have the right to set boundaries with people about what's acceptable to talk about, and some people with eating disorders might benefit from telling others to stop talking about their diets while they are recovering. I think that may have helped me, honestly. Still, I admit I spend way too much time judging other people for their food pre-occupations (even though I lived that way myself for 8 years...) and it would help to keep the mindset that what they do doesn't matter. :)

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    1. I always look forward to your comments, Lindsay (because I'm a nerd haha). I think you and I have very similar views on the recovery process and it is so nice to hear from someone a little further along than me. Thinking about what others must think of me for "giving up" on the perfect body or lifestyle is something I struggle with. I'm glad you brought that up. It is difficult when we live is a society that places so much emphasis on physical appearance, as you know. You are also right that we would be very lonely if we removed all of the diet-talkers from our lives, so why not make peace with it? :)

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    2. Thanks Kelsi! :D :) (Fellow nerd here) I always look forward to your posts, and I agree we have a very similar view on recovery.

      The "giving up" thing is really hard in this society. And at this point I have actually become so distant from my eating disorder I have to keep myself in check sometimes and remember my past when the somewhat cocky thoughts pop up ("I don't really need to eat as much as I do...I could easily take off just a little weight without resorting to anything extreme") but then I remember that's how it started out before. I have to remember I am NOT someone that can participate harmlessly in diet culture, and that I have to make peace with this is how I am and that's how they are. The upside being if I ever have kids or even if I become a therapist/teacher/mentor others in some way in my work, I can at the very least offer my perspective and have a healthy influence that way. :)

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    3. That is brilliant. Making peace with who you have become is something we all strive for. It seriously gives me (and many other people, I'm sure) so much hope knowing that you can be that distant from your eating disorder. Some people think that you can never fully recover and the ED will be with you forever, but I don't necessarily believe that is true. And YOU are living proof that it is possible to fully recovery. YAY for you! :)

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  7. Ive felt the exact same way. I think we all have our own definition of whats "healthy". Recovering from an eating disorder teaches you a lot, and I actually believe we may be more truly knowledgeable about what is healthy. I hate when people put foods in categorys , diet talk, shaming certain foods. Your right in the way you feel, so true when I finally developed my healthy eating, it was the same. took me progress to get there, to be able to even eat these foods period..so don't say a word! I remind myself too,that my healthy plan is MY healthy plan. Another thing is people need to mind their own business when it comes to judgement and what other people are eating! Commenting- the nerve of people! That's one thing I would never do to anybody is make any comment on what their eating.

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    1. Yes, it is always helpful to remind yourself that your meal plan is YOURS and then do your best not to let others interfere with that. It's not always easy separating yourself from the diet talk at first, but I think it does get easier as we progress in recovery. The comments are never helpful, like you said, but we can choose to let them affect us or simply move on with our day. It's such a mind game!

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  8. Hi, Thankyou for writing this- it's just what I needed to hear. I've had bulimia on/off for about 10 years, bad 10 years ago and only a couple of recent relapses. I haven't purged for about 6 months but have a bad habit of chewing food and spitting it out. This last relapse seems to have caused a lot of water retention when I began to eat properly. I'm guessing the chewing and spitting is just as bad as purging. I've not done this now for 3 days and have noticed a lot of fluid

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  9. Sorry, continued... Can I ask how long it's took for the fluid retention to disappear? Thank you x

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    1. Hi! I'm sorry it took me so long to respond!

      Fluid retention was something that took me a reallllyyyy long time, unfortunately. I think the body needs time to adjust to everything and it (again, unfortunately) just needs time. Now that I am at a healthy weight, however, I am proud to say the more water I drink, the less bloated I feel. It's funny how fluids become your best friend after weight restoration. Unfortunately, it does take anywhere from six months to a year after full weight restoration for this to occur. Keep up the good work! You do have to go through those uncomfortable times before you adjust.

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  10. Thank you for such a detailed reply! X

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