Woe is Knee!! (and foot)

Today I had my long-awaited appointment with the orthopedic department.  I’ve been having some SEVERE foot and knee pain for quite a long time now.

At first the pain wasn’t so bad.  It would come and go every couple of weeks and was, at best, bearable.  But then it kept progressing and getting worse and worse and worse.  There were numerous days where the pain was so intense that I literally could not walk on my right foot without intense, searing, burning, constant pain.  When I was done working my shift at the restaurant, I would often arrive home completely defeated and often in tears.

It. was. hell.

It actually got so bad that about 3 weeks ago I made an incredible important decision in my recovery to further BACK OFF ON EXERCISE to alleviate the pain.  You can read about this here.

This past month has been the absolute worst. I have been in excruciating pain every single day.  I have dreaded getting out of bed and going to the gym and I have dreaded going to work.  Every day was physically and mentally exhausting.  I can’t even begin to tell you just how bad the pain is.

I just wanted to give up!

And so I anxiously counted down the days until my appointment.

AND FINALLY IT CAME!

Surprisingly I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be about the appointment.  I had talked it over with my dietician about the possibility of being in crutches or having a boot.  Mentally I have been preparing myself for a long time for the reality that I will not be able to exercise.  And for the most part, I was OKAY WITH IT.

After much prodding and poking and yanking and stretching, I finally got my diagnosis.

Are you ready for this?

I sure wasn’t.

*Deep breath*

The verdict was:  NOTHING.

That’s right, you heard me correctly.  The doctors found that nothing was wrong.

No broken bones, no stress fractures, no torn ligaments, no frayed muscles, no inflammation, no bruises, no nothing.

It turns out that my pain has been caused by overuse, not enough rest, being on my feet all day, and not having proper support.

Did you catch that?

OVERUSE.  NOT ENOUGH REST.

Those are key words.

The doctor told me that what I need to do is ice the injury, buy a better pair of shoes, do physical therapy and get some orthodics for my right foot.

To be honest I was actually a little disappointed.  I know this sounds totally crazy, but I was actually kind of looking forward to being put up in a cast or a boot for a couple of weeks.  I have been in pain for so long that I have been craving the rest and the relief.  Also?  For some reason I feel like I can’t take a day (or a month) off of exercise until I’m literally given permission a professional.  I feel that I would be breaking the rules and being bad and lazy and unhealthy.

Bullcrap. In case you couldn’t tell that’s my eating disorder talking.  Don’t listen to it.  Anorexia is full of lies.  Now that you’ve been introduced, let’s move on.

~*~*~

I can’t help but be extremely GRATEFUL that there is nothing seriously wrong with me.   I don’t have to worry about taking time of from work heal.  I can still exercise.  I don’t have to worry about eating.

Nevertheless, this long and painful ordeal has taught me some important lessons about taking care of my body:

 

1.  Get an injury checked out right away

Okay, confession time:  I have been having this pain for over a year.  I know, I know that’s like really bad.  Please don’t yell at me…  But the truth is that I was SO SCARED OF NOT BEING ABLE TO EXERCISE that I could not walk into the doctor’s office.  It took me MONTHS and many many days of pain until I was finally ready to begin taking the steps to get it taken care of.  I believe the first appointment I made for my knee was finally in February. 

2.  BACK OFF OF EXERCISE

–I can’t stress this one enough.  I wasn’t until I cut back on my exercise that the pain started to decrease.  And as a result, I have never felt better.

3.  Rest

Since developing this pain I have been resting more than ever too.  There are so many mornings when I will just sit around in my PJs and hang out on the computer.  I understand now that my body needs this rest and I need to heal.  Sometimes sittin’ on your butt can be the best medicine.

4.  Don’t Push It.

I’ll admit that I am still tempted to keep pushing through the pain.  I’m kind of hardcore stubborn that way.  But I am learning that more times than not, going beyond your limits will only make it worse.

5.  Being injured will help you appreciate your body more.

–Oh man, this one is so big.  There is so much about our bodies that we take for granted.  Not being able to walk or run for so long has really taught me how important and valuable my body is.  I may never be able to walk without at least some pain but I am so grateful for my body the way it is now.  When I’m in the gym I no longer focus on burning off a million calories and being super skinny.  Now I’m more passionate about gaining strength and muscle mass.  I get so giddy when I see my muscles developing and knowing that I DID THAT.  i am learning to be so much more appreciate and loving of my body as a result.  I can honestly say that now when I look in the mirror, I like what I see.

One last thing that truly goes without saying:

 I am thankful for this injury.  I know that God directly allowed it to happen because I would have never cut back on my exercise any other way.  Without I would have died.  I would never wish that this pain hadn’t happened because it was that powerful in terms of my recovery.  I don’t ever want to forget it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Okay to Have a Nothing Day

It’s 12:00 am.

I’ve been on the computer all morning just doing pretty much NOTHING.

Reading blogs, watching TV, checking and re-checking emails a million times.  And then checking them again and finding nothing (why doesn’t anybody like me???!?!?!?!?! wahahaha!!!!!!!….*sniff*)

I’m still in my pajamas.

I haven’t even taken a shower yet.

The only exciting thing I did all morning was make breakfast.

I’ve pretty much just been sitting on my butt on morning.

I used to hate days like these.  The mere thought of lounging around in my pajamas for most of the morning would send me into such a fit of anxiety that I couldn’t even allow myself to sit down for more than an hour at a time.  My morning routine used to be as follows:

1.  wake up.

2.  immediately jump in the shower and spend an hour getting ready.

3.  meander downstairs.

4.  eat a leisurely breakfast at the table.

5.  wait like 10 minutes for my food to digest.

6.  Strap on my sneakers and go for a walk around the neighborhood.

My eating disorder was so powerful during this time, that I wouldn’t let myself rest for even just a few hours because I was so afraid that my “inactivity” would cause me to gain weight.  This went on for about a year and I found that even in the coldest months, I was STILL pushing myself to get out the door and go for a damn walk in the freezing cold.

Even in February.

I distinctly remember one time that I was furiously banging my feet on the cold ground every couple of steps because they had started to go numb due to the biting, frigid cold.  I had to actually stop in King Soopers and thaw out on the way back because my feet were screaming in pain.  By the time I got back home I could barely feel my toes and collapsed on the couch in exhaustion.

All of this because I HAD TO EXERCISE.

EVERY DAY.

Did I mention that my eating disorder is a bitch?  No?  Well it is.

My point is that I used to be so obsessed with exercise that it consumed every moment of my every day.  I didn’t get a chance to enjoy a lazy morning because the very next thing I had to do was exercise.  In fact, I had to hit rock bottom before I could even begin to start recovering and letting go of exercise.

Now I have learned that it’s okay to spend some time lounging around in the morning sitting on your butt and just doing nothing.  I don’t even worry about going out for a walk in the morning any more.  I like to preserve my morning and lie around being, well, just being lazy.  But that’s okay.  I get up extra early every other day to work my butt off at my job so I think I am more than entitled to a few hours of relaxation.  Eventually I will get up, heave myself into the shower and get ready but right now?  I’m choosing to just stay right here.  My body needs the rest.  I need the rest.  It’s good for me.

So, it’s 12:00 am.

I’m still in my pajamas.

And I don’t care 🙂

How To Be Healthy the non-ED way

You probably think this is going to be one of those posts where I give you all kinds of awesome diet advice and tell you what to eat, how much variety you should get, how many calories to ingest, and how to exercise and how MUCH to exercise right?

Because we all know that people who have struggled with eating disorders are complete experts on this kind of stuff right?

Right?

WRONG!!

I think one of the most ironic and hilarious aspects of the eating disorder is that even though it makes you into a total health-freak and convinces you that you are the healthiest person on the entire planet, in reality you are ANYTHING BUT.

In fact it takes years and lots of blood, sweat and tears to undue all of the lies and deception that the eating disorder has ground into your brain.

Unneccessary information like, “It’s a sin to eat late at night because it will make you fat,” and “Carbs will make you fat,” and “Sitting does not burn any calories,” all get shoved in there and become the cornerstone for your daily living.

Now that I am actually moving further forward in my recovery than ever before I actually reject any and all diet or exercise advice that I may see plastered throughout the world.  I flip past the articles in magazines, I scoff at those hateful “Dr. Oz,” and “The Doctors,” shows (although that may be because I just hate doctors in general 🙂 ), and I block diet advice when my coworkers feel the need to preach.

The point is, I don’t need the world’s FALSE INFORMATION to fuel my eating disorder any longer.  I am quite happy being free from it and I don’t want it back.  Ever.

It didn’t help me to be healthy one bit, and it actually kind of ruined my picture of real health.

But through my recovery here is what I have learned about how to be truly healthy.

How to Be Healthy

1. Eat dammit!!  Sorry for the language but I cannot stress the importance of this.  You are doing your body no greater disservice than by starving yourself.  Your body was not designed to be starved.  It needs food to keep everything (your organs, your bones, your brain) functioning properly.  It will rebel if you do not eat enough.

2.  Eat well balanced meals.  Each meal should consist of some type of carb, fat, protein, milk (or non-dairy beverage), fruit and veggie.  Having all of these in a meal helps keep you fuller, helps repair the damage done to your body during the day, fuels your brain cells, and gives you great energy.

2.  Get enough sleep.  Your body needs sleep in order to recharge and rejuvinate for the coming day.  It also keeps you sane.

4.  Don’t overdo exercise.  Overexercising only hurts your body.  That extra hour on the treadmill?  It’s only further breaking down your muscle fibers, and putting your bones at risk for osteoporosis and stress fractures.

5.  Take a day off.  Your body can only go so long at maximum speed before it breaks down.  And trust me, it WILL break down.

6.  Make time for yourself.  Sometimes you just need to separate yourself from the world especially if you are stressed out.  Do something non-exercise, non-ed related that you truly love.  Go to a quiet place and read a good book, pamper yourself with sweet smelling body sprays, watch a good movie by yourself, window shop, take pictures, draw, anything that makes you feel good.  A main part of recovery is learning how to care for yourself again.

7.  If it hurts, kiss it better.  This is probably the second most important step in being truly healthy.  If you feel pain while exercising STOP IMMEDIATELY.  Pain is a signal that your body sends you when something is wrong!

8.  Invest in relationships.  For a long time one of things that kept me in my eating disorder was my lonliness.  I had stayed behind and gone to a community college instead of going off to university so all of my friends went away.  I was utterly and completely alone for the next 4 years but I couldn’t make any new ones because My exercise obsession and my fear of going out to eat held me back.  It wasn’t until this year when God finally brought some amazing friends into my life, that I realized how much more I valued having friends than having an eating disorder.

9.  Dress for Your Body Now.  When my exercise obsession got out of control last year, I completely lost myself.  I became extremely isolated and downright miserable.  I also stopped dressing up and wearing cute clothes because I was constantly going to the gym.  The only thing I ever wore was my workout gear.   I had also lost so much weight that those were pretty much the only clothes that fit anymore.  And even if I went out to try and buy new clothes I would always leave in a horrible fit of tears because I had no idea which size I would fit into when I was healthy again.  It was awful. 

You know what’s even worse????  I am a huge lover of fashion so it killed me that I couldn’t dress up!!!

I remember clearly that the day that I knew I was truly recovering was the day that I started dressing myself up again.  I had been seeing my dietician for a couple of weeks and bemoaned the fact that I couldn’t wear anything nice anymore.  She gave me some great advice that I will never forget.  She told me that one of her clients had started buying clothes from a thrift shop that fit her body now.  Then, when she grew out of that size she would simply resell the clothes to the thrift shop and get new ones.  It was the best advice ever.  I immediately went out the next day and bought some clothes for myself.  It was when I started to dress up again that I started to truly like myself again and started wanting to take care of myself.  Now I make sure to always look cute whenever I am out and about and just bring my gym clothes with me.

10.  Love Yourself.  In order to be healthy and happy you have to truly love yourself.  Do this by literally telling yourself to your face that you are beautiful, that you are worthy, that you are amazing, and that you are special.  You need to hear this everyday.

There’s one more important thing that I am going to mention here.   It may not apply to you and that’s okay, but it was is the reason for my recovery.  Give everything to God, and trust him with all of your life.  I would be dead if it wasn’t for Him.

Slave to the Machine Part 1

Throughout my long and hard battle with anorexia, perhaps the most painful, destructive, damaging, life-changing, and vicious part, was my battle with exercise addiction.

Now, I was the last person on earth who I would ever even think to develop an addiction to exercise, let alone to an eating disorder.

As a kid I absolutely HATED exercise with every fiber of my freaking being.

I participated in many sports but honestly sucked at each and every one.

I was aggressive in soccer but couldn’t really dribble a ball or score a goal to save my life.

I had no hand-eye coordination in baseball.

And even though I’m 5’9”, I was downright pathetic at basketball.

I even remember “running” the mile in 6th grade and cursing every step of those 4 laps.  Never mind the fact that I pretty much walked the entire thing and finished in 14 minutes.  Pitiful.

Yeah.  Sports and me just never got along.

The only sport that I really, finally got into was cross country running in high school.  At first I couldn’t run 5 miles without practically passing out on the side of the street in a fit of uncontrollable wheezing.  But then I gradually started to get better and found that I have great endurance.   I can literally run for 5 or 6 miles straigth without ever stopping once.  But I’m still slow as a snail in peanut butter.

+= Me

And I never came in first, or fourth, or thirteenth, or….not last.

So you can see why exercise was the last thing on my mind….

 

Before inpatient, I wasn’t totally obsessed with exercise.  I was doing a lot of exercises in my room at night and going for walks around the neighborhood, but I wasn’t doing more than about 30 minutes a day.

Ironically, I blame the obsession on my inpatient treatment, or more specifically, on the quack doctor who told me that I should be doing more exercise.  I specifically remember sitting in his office and listening to him evalutate my “status.”  Well, when I told him that I didn’t really do that much exercise this idiot had the gall to tell me that I needed to do more exercise.

LET ME REPEAT THAT: 

A doctor told an anorexic that she needed to do more exercise.  Seriously?  How stupid can you get?

**Side note:  I find it absolutely hilarious that all of the so-called doctors at this place put me in the category as a normal eater because my diet included fish, yogurt, tuna, and lots of veggies and fruits.  What they were too stupid to realize was how little of these foods I was eating.  It was utterly infuriating that these mail-order physicians thought they had the right to tell an obviously anorexic person that she was a normal eater.  DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT DOES TO AN EATING DISORDER???!!!  IT’S LIKE A FREAKING CHALLENGE!  ONCE YOU TELL A PERSON WITH AN ED THAT THEY STILL EAT A LOT, THEY WILL STOP AT NOTHING TO PROVE YOU WRONG!**

Thanks to that doctor, I developed an obsession that consumed me for the next 4 years of my life.

And it nearly killed me.

 

“Slave to the Machine” is a 4 part series about my obsession with exercise.  Part 2 will be posted later in the week.  Feel free to email me if you have any questions or want to discuss anything about this series.