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.

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This is Recovery

This week marks a huge gain in my personal recovery from my eating disorder.  A couple of weeks ago, a couple of months ago, even a year ago I never thought that I would have the strength to overcome this great of a struggle.

I cut back on my exercise. 

Confession:  I have not missed a single day of exercise in over a year.  Nope not on the Fourth of July, not on Easter, not on my birthday, not on Thanksgiving [which I still we can all argue is totally understandable 😉 ], not even on Christmas!  I have my ways….

For the past month I have been fighting with my body.  Not a day has gone by that I haven’t slewn hurtful and hateful words at my reflection, bemoaning my hips, my butt, and my stubborn tummy bulge.  To make matters worse, my weight has continued to increase at each weigh-in.  This is extremely frustrating for me because, according to my nutritionist, my body was showing signs that it was maintaining weight.  Even though the gain is minimal, I’m still freaking out!  Aughh!!!

I also lost my job during this period so the lack of activity brought on intense feelings of anxiety.  I tried cutting back on my food to keep the weight from going up, pushed myself harder in my workouts, and lifted more weights, but nothing seemed to work.

Last week was the final straw.  Sometime last year I contracted some kind of injury in my right knee and right foot because of my overexercising.  I’ve done some xrays and had one MRI done, but the doctors didn’t find anything other than some bone cysts on my knees.  I’m awaiting the results about my foot.  These injuries cause me extreme pain on a daily basis, and make it very difficult to even just walk or stand.  Well, last week my knee was throbbing in such intense pain that I came home in tears.    The extra walking was obvisouly not doing any good for my body and I hated it!  I decided enough was enough.

So the next day I cut back on my exercise.  Now, I’m not talking another measely 5 or 10 minutes like I was doing before, which although was a huge step for me, was really doing nothing.  I mean I cut out a huge, ginormous, massive, sizeable chunk of my exercise just like that.

Poof!  Gone!

And you know what?  I didn’t even feel guilty about it.  In fact I have never felt more free or more happy than I have in a long time.

And you know what else?  I did it again on Sunday, and I did it again today!!

Considering that before I would freak out about missing even just 5 minutes, this is HUGE FOR ME!

Instead have decided to do what I want to do with my workouts, not what my eating disorder wants.  I’ve discovered that I really love lifting weights!  I get so excited seeing my muscles develop and feeling them get stronger!  I also love how sore I am the next morning!!  Today I did this great weight lifting session and I swear, I have never felt more energized, worn out, and happy all at the same time!!  Awesome!!

To be honest, I’m not exactly sure exactly how I arrived at this point.  Basically I have just given up.  Nothing I’m doing is working so what is the point in even trying to lose weight anymore?  And truthfully, I don’t want to have to struggle with my body forever.  I don’t want to have to keep putting it through a grueling and boring exercise routine every single day just to keep my weight down.  If this is where my body wants to be then I just have to accept that.  But I am done fighting.

 

The new freedom I feel is so incredible!  I am finally, finally, FINALLY taking care of my body and treating with it love and respect.  It was a long and painful journey but I am finally on the road to true recovery.

 

Workout Rockout

If you have ever seen me working out at the gym, then you know I’m crazy.  The second I climb up on the elliptical, I clip on my Ipod, turn my music up full blast and take off.  Now you may be thinking, “Well sure, I do the same thing.  I LOVE working out with music.  What’s so strange about that?”

That my friends is where the similarities end.  You see, I am a rare breed of exerciser because…………………

I like to sing while I workout.  And not just sing, I usually dance too, and flail my arms about, and pound the handles of the machine in time to the awesome beat of the drums.

When I exercise, it’s more than just a time to burn off some calories and break a sweat.  It pretty much becomes a private audition for American Idol.

Yea.  I’m pretty much like that guy.

Except I’m not a guy.

And I don’t sing out of tune.

And I promise I sound a WHOLE lot better.

But it’s not like I do it on purpose.  I just can’t help but sing along to the tunes jamming on my Ipod.  The second I hear the music start up I just get all excited and fired up and completely lose myself in the music. I’ve tried holding it back  but I find that I just cannot keep quiet.  Before long I’m belting out tunes like I was all alone in the choir room, but unfortunately, I’m not, and about a thousand other people are working out right next to me staring at me like I’m a complete lunatic.

source:

I would love to see myself on camera sometime when I’m working out.  I’m sure I look like a total weirdo who has completely lost her mind.  But you know what?  I really don’t care.

When I rock out to the songs on my Ipod it motivates me to exercise.  It pushes me to go harder, faster, and longer than I would if I was tunes-free.   Not to mention by the time I’m done I’m sweating like a pig and my hair is drenched with sweat.  So much for straightening my hair beforehand….

Um…ICK.

Also, singing is my passion.  It is freeing, liberating, and if I may say so, something I am pretty darn good at doing.  I always have a song playing around in my head no matter what.

So what about you? 

Do you like to sing while you work out?  Or are you one of those people who are totally creeped out by your vocally-gifted challenged workout buddies?

Top 5 Favorite songs this week:

1.  Red–“Outside”

2.  Red–“Faceless”

3.  Red–“Feed the Machine”

4.  Glee–“Don’t Stop Believing”

5.  Evanescence–“Tourniquet”

I love you Gym, I hate you Gym

If I were featured on the Dr. Phil show, this is how my story would go:

I have an abusive boyfriend.  His name is Gym.  The thing is, Gym never used to be abusive.  In fact he used to be quite good to me.  He made me beam with pride and accomplishment when I could run my cross country races without stopping once to walk.  He cheered me on when I challenged myself to go beyond my limits and succeeded!  He was always there to lift me up and made me feel good about myself when I was having a rough day.

But somewhere along the lines, Gym’s attitude changed.  It all started when he teamed up with one of his best buddies, Anorexia.

Anorexia is a real bitch. 

She completely warped my relationship with Gym.  Suddenly Gym started getting really nasty.  He would constantly hound me, telling me that I was never good enough, and that I could never be good enough.  He said that I was fat and ugly, lazy and completely worthless.  Desperate to stop his relentless tormenting, I tried to appease him by spending even more time with him.  But it was never enough.  A half hour turned into a full hour, and then two hours, and then three hours.  Yet he still demanded more.  In just a few months time I quickly found out that it was no longer any fun spending time with Gym but I still couldn’t break off the relationship. 

 There were a few times I considered escaping, but Gym immediately swooped in reminding me in a low, crooning voice that he owned me and without him I would never survive.  Deep down, I knew that he was right and reluctantly ran back into his embrace every time.  Sometimes when Gym was feeling particularly mean and upset he would invite Anorexia over to further harrass me.  Anorexia told me that I was fat, that I didn’t have any muscle tone, and that I didn’t deserve to eat that day because I hadn’t spent enough time with Gym.  They would hold me down and scream profanities and names in my face until at last, with tears streaming down my cheeks, I was forced to obey.  Those were the most painful moments of my life.

I’m sure you’re familiar with my boyfriend.  You’ve probably seen him yanking me along like a chained slave.  Day after day he forces me to spend time with him, never at once listening to my urgent pleas for rest.   There are some days when I don’t mind being around him at all though.  He can still be really sweet and encouraging, especially when he sees the progress that I have made in my fitness goals.  Those are the characteristics that I like about him the best.  However, other times he is a grueling army sargeant and demands that I continue to stay with him even though my knee is crying out in pain from being injured.  I hate that side of him.  No, I loathe that side of him.

I must warn you that even though Gym does have a lot of good qualities, he is still very sly and cunning.  He can turn the simplest thing into a huge issue or completely warp the truth.  He is also an expert shape-shifter.

Sometimes he looks like this:

Other times he looks like this:

Or this:

Most days he appears in this form: 

Unfortunately, right now he’s  looking a lot like this:

He can be really ugly at this stage so I know I need to be careful.

The hard thing about our relationship is that most people approve.  I cannot tell you how many strangers have applauded me and told me how great it is that I am spending time with him.  I kind of want to strangle them because last year Gym almost did this to me:

No, I’m not kidding.  I told you he was scary.

Only my family and my friends truly know just how dangerous Gym can be.  They continually discourage me from going to him and just can’t understand why I won’t leave.  I wish they could understand…

These days Gym and I have ammended our relationship a bit, although he is still slightly controlling.  He is a lot kinder to me and has allowed me to cut back on the amount of time that we spend hanging out.  He understands that my body just cannot endure that kind of stress and abuse any longer and knows that I need to treat myself and my body with respect.  I’m glad that I have finally understood this about myself and can slowly begin to develop a more healthy mindset.  

 Eventually I would like to break up with Gym altogether because I don’t think he will ever change.  He can still be very hurtful and critical, especially when he sees other girls who look a lot leaner and fitter than myself.  But you know what?  I truly don’t think I will miss him that much.  In fact I’ve actually had my eye on another hottie for a while.  His name is Fitness.  He’s quite attractive too.

Disclaimer:  this is not to criticize any of you who adore working out.  I myself LOVE it!  I love the way it makes me feel and how strong I am getting.  But unfortunately my eating disorder has made my relationship with the gym very unhealthy.  This story is an example of that.