I feel like in society, there’s this idea that we can’t ask for help until all hell breaks loose, until we’re in complete crisis, until we’re having a major meltdown, until the shit hits the fan… However you want to put it, our pride can often stop us from asking for help until we absolutely need it. We wait until we’re at rock bottom before asking for advice, asking for a hand with our uni work, asking for a shoulder to cry on, asking for help to follow our meal plan, asking for accountability for something we may be struggling with. This isn’t even specific to eating disorders – I think to some degree, this can be true of us all at various times throughout our lives. Continue reading
Yeah, like I said in my previous post – I’m prone to becoming quite obsessed with exercise. I think I might still use it as a form of punishment if I overeat or eat something my eating disorder deems “bad”. And it starts slowly but quickly takes its grip on you and before you realise, you’re doing too much.
I wouldn’t say I’m doing too much at the moment, but I’m doing more than usual. And a lot of it is stress induced / boredom induced / eating disorder induced. When I first began to exercise again, I was allowed to walk the dog 20 mins a day. Then M, ze dietitian lady said only 5 times a week – because I’m (or the ED!) is so rigid in my (its) actions.
So now I’m walking the dog for 20-40 mins a day and swimming for 2 hours a week. Which I think is a pretty normal amount of exercise, nothing too obsessive there. Except for the fact that I still would freak out if I had to miss swimming (which I did today, and thus did some extra walking) or if I didn’t do any exercise at all in a day.
I know that it’s great to have a break from exercise at least one day in the week. I know that I don’t need to do as much exercise as I am to maintain my weight. I tend to do either too much or not enough of most things and the result is me being a big ball of stress. So here we are.
Don’t have much to comment on really, or encourage with but here’s my parting words: don’t overexercise! It screws up your brain. And the exercise monster can often be one of the most challenging monsters to beat in the long run.
Love, Rebekah X
The eating disorder life becomes focused on isolation. Eating alone. Exercising alone. Doing everything independently so people won’t realise that you’re not eating, or that you’re throwing up, or that you’re doing far, far too much exercise.
This week I have gone swimming 4 times, and I was thinking today as I lazily swam up and down the pool that I really should get into exercising more often with people. It’s probably an eating disordered thing that I generally opt to do it alone. I mean, swimming alone has its benefits. I find it quite relaxing actually. It’s lovely to shove the ear plugs in the ears, whack the goggles over the eyes and think – it’s so quiet and wonderful!
But having other people around can be a good thing every now and then too. Perhaps it’s a useful tool for anyone who takes their exercise too seriously, or is prone to becoming obsessed and addicted to exercise. So maybe it’s good to be accountable to someone.
I think even now I have to be pretty careful – when I started exercising heavily, I only did a few gym classes a week before that erupted and then I was somehow doing 30. I think I could still quite easily become obsessed with it. So in order to prevent that, I need to acknowledge it, be aware of it and cut right back on my exercise if my eating disorder is completely lapping up the attention.
But I’m mostly eating disordered free these days, isn’t that pleasant?
I think one of my other big fears in exercising with some people is that they also would take it too seriously, or be competitive (and oh man, is the eating disorder competitive!) and not just see it as a relaxing, slow paced activity. So yeah, I’m being a control freak and preventing that from happening in exercising alone. I’m not sure how one goes about solving that.
So be honest with yourself: are you doing too much? Are you isolating yourself for a purpose? Are you in control of your actions, or are they driven by your eating disorder and fears of weight gain? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – don’t let your eating disorder win!
Wordnetweb defines Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as “an anxiety disorder characterised by recurrent and persistent thoughts and feelings and repetitive, ritualised behaviours.”
A lot of eating disordered behaviours and eating disordered rules revolve around compulsions. A lot of my own food rules used to revolve around compulsions also, and these are things I have made mention of before. Rules such as eating only 1/2 a cup of yoghurt or 23 almonds; eating 23 bites of an apple or cutting out complete food groups. Suddenly, I started counting things all the time. I would count my steps, only walk over lines with my right food and stand in the shower for 180 seconds before getting out. I would go swimming and count my laps: I would weigh myself obsessively prior to and post exercise.
So I thought I had mostly kicked all of these habits until just recently when L brought it to my attention. As I mentioned in this post here, I have started swimming again. I was going to the pool and swimming half a kilometre twice a week, which is a far cry from the 2-3km I used to swim three or four times a week (never again!). But yeah, I was counting my laps. And sometimes I don’t even consciously do it, it’s just such a habit now that it seemed like no big deal. But it is (was!) a big deal. And so I had to do something to change it. Yesterday I went for a swim and decided I’d stay in the pool for half an hour. The first few laps I started counting but then I prayed over the top of the counting in my head and eventually I just swam, not knowing how many laps were completed. Of course it made me feel panicked, and of course it was uncomfortable but isn’t all change until we become accustomed to it?
For those of you without eating disorders: I hope this (in some small way) helps you to understand eating disorders just that little more. And for those of you with eating disorders – what compulsions are you still holding on to that you need to let go to continue to move forward with recovery?
Don’t let your ED win.
Quick post before bed.
This will probably seem incredibly irrelevant, but after I went swimming yesterday I went to Woolies to buy some groceries. I bought margarine for the very first time in my life and I had a bit of a giggle when I put it in my basket. As I mentioned once in this post, I used to have an epic fear of both butter and margarine. I wouldn’t touch it. I wouldn’t let it come near a sandwich. If it got on my skin I had to scrub it off until every fatty oil was removed from my skin. And it had been like that for as long as I could remember really. So my dietitian told me that getting those essential fats from marg or butter or oil were a must. Slowly I learnt to integrate them into my diet – and my first few experiences of buttering my own bread was very frightening and difficult.
Long – winded! But do you therefore see the irony in me purchasing the margarine yesterday? I felt so blessed and happy to be able to do that. Strange I know, but recovering from an eating disorder has made me feel grateful for so many things. BE EXCITED EVERYONE I EAT MARGARINE ON MY RAISIN TOAST AND I REALLY LIKE IT AND TOUCH IT AND DON’T FREAK. WOO!
I also bought a block of Lindt chilli chocolate which has been secretly stashed away until it is required by my belly.
So much to look forward to.
Update time! This may seem ranty and rambly and tiredly written and that is because it is all of those things. So read with caution.
I had a sleepover in ze lovely L & A’s household last night. We ate wonderful salmon for dinner,
watched an intense movie called ‘Get Low’, had a glass of wine and ate custard. It. Was. Happy.
Today I went for my very first post eating-disordered swim. Not sure how to explain exactly how splendid it felt to be in the pool again (without ED in my little brain!) – seriously felt so, so blessed to have the energy to do things like that again. I swam half a kilometre anyway which I think was pretty reasonable – I used to swim 2-3km in my crazy ED days. And I walked Bel Bel for an hour too – plenty of exercise methinks! And ate an extra choccie at supper time to make up for all those calories lost 😉
My ED won me over a little over this evening, however. I didn’t really intend on walking Bella for so long and at one point during the walk googled the phrase “walking for weightloss” on my phone. So yes. That was a little douchy, I will never let myself go back to my old eating disordered ways. I think I have come too far to do such a thing. And I think it would be a slap in the face to a lot of beautiful people who have supported me throughout this whole epic recovery period.
As I was walking along tonight, I was thinking about how when I’m an old woman (okay, in my 30s – so not too old) I really want to be able to teach my children healthy habits in regards to food and exercise. And so I need to make sure that I implement these and continue to change old habits so that I can pass such information on. It will be a responsibility of mine and I want to make sure that I’m in a position to be able to do that.
I’m off to do some journaling – it’s been awhile! Then sweet, wonderful sleep.
And I’ll be feeling the aches and pains of todays exercise tomorrow! Bleargh.
In this whole recovery period, I had not gone for a run. I have caved a few times and gone to the gym, but mostly I have stuck to walking Bella for my 20 minutes, give or take, each day.
M, my dietitian, challenged my rigidity. I was allowed to walk the dog 5 times a week and play touch footy with the church kiddies once a week. I had to bend my little controlling mannerisms. So I’ve done that.
And then this afternoon I thought to myself “dang, I could really go for a lovely run right now.” Completely not eating disordered. I just wanted to do it for the pure joy, basically. It sucked, as I expected. I was über fit from all that exercise I was doing and yeah – that’s gone right down the drain. However, this time I shall do it the right way! As in, in a way that is most pleasing to God. And not disrespecting to my body.
So I’m going to take it easy, but hopefully I can get my running mojo back v. soon.
And the less asthma attacks it involves, the better 😉