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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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.

 

Waiting for the Bad News…

This morning I awoke to the strangest smell wafting through the house and upstairs into my room.  I was still groggy so I couldn’t quite indentify what it was yet.  It was savory, salty, and had just a hint of a smoky texture.  Suddenly I realized what it was.  Bacon.

source:

Ugh.

Ummmm….excuse me, BACON??!!  I’m a vegetarian so I obviously don’t eat bacon but I still kind of like the smell.  Does that make me a bad vegetarian?  FAIL.

Guess it’s going to be one of those mornings……

I thought I would start off this week by posting one of my hardest challenges for the month of May.  This month is going to be a HUMONGASEOUS challenge for me though and I’m kind of scared about what’s going to happen.

Right now I am waiting on the results from my doctor.  Last Sunday I spent a good 30 minutes with this bad boy to figure out just what is wrong with my knee.

Has anyone ever had to take an MRI??  They are actually kind of scary.  For a straight 30 minutes I had to lay strapped to that bed completely stationary while I listened to this continuous whirring, buzzing, clicking, banging, and beeping that the giant machine made.  Thankfully I was only getting tests done for my knee though so I didn’t have to slide all the way inside the tube.  I’m not usually claustrophic but I’m pretty sure that if I did all that noise and cramped space would have totally freaked me out!  I’ve also heard that the bigger the area you are getting scanned the longer you have to stay in there.  Thirty minutes was bad enough but I can’t even imagine a whole HOUR!!!

Moving on….

Anyways, so my knee has been having some serious problem for the last….don’t yell at me….year.

It hurts like hell some days.  It stiffens up when I walk.  I have trouble balancing on it when I stand.  It frequently gives out on me when I move and sometimes it feels like the very fibers are tearing inside of it.

For a while I ignored it. Ignored it. Ignored it.  I didn’t want to go in and get it checked out because I was terrified that the doctor was going to say that I couldn’t exercise.  If you read my last post then you know just how difficult it is for me to give up exercise.

But after months of it not getting better and having extreme pain I finally decided that ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH.  I need to take care of my body and give it the rest and respect and love it deserves.  It’s going to be a long hard haul to get it healed but I know I need to do this.

Without a doubt this is going to be the hardest thing I have ever done.  I have been so enslaved by exercise that I haven’t been able to take off even ONE DAY in a year.

Yes, I did exercise on Christmas.  I have my ways.

But I know I need to do this.  If I can just make it through however long the “rest” period is going to be then I will once and for all finally be able to break this vicious hold.  I will finally be able to trust my body and trust that it will not gain weight and that it is not just going to end up all mushy and that everything is going to be okay.  This is pretty much the last step in truly breaking free from my eating disorder.  It will allow me to finally live my life to the fullest and enable me to do the minstry work I know that God has planned for me.

So, even though I have just started out in the blogging world, I’m asking for a small favor.

Will you guys please help me through this?

I’m going to need tons of support, tons of positive affirmations and information about how not being able to exercise is not going to kill me or make me fat.

I will post the bad news as soon as I hear back from my doctor.

Thank you so much.