I decided to write this post for a few reasons. Firstly, to show that even at a point where I am well down the road of recovery, I am still plagued by a lot of fearful thoughts and anxiety around food. Secondly, to show others in recovery (or approaching it) that they are not alone. I haven't talked with a lot of people directly about these fears, but I'm sure that many others have some of them, or their own equivalents. So...you're not alone, if you're one of those people.Read More
After struggling with bulimia for many years, one day something magical happened. I threw up. That's not the magical part, though. The magical part is that it was for the last time. Ever, I thought. I would over succeeding years have 3 moments of relapse (eating binges) but for all intents and purposes, this was the end of my bulimia.Read More
There's a reason why disordered eaters come off as anxious, crazy, and bitchy (whether male or female). It's because restriction wreaks havoc on the brain.
While the physical aspects of restriction (being skinny, as well as the less desirable symptoms detailed in this post) are obvious, there are some effects that are more subtle and mental in nature. Here are 10 things you might not know about food restriction.Read More
I'm going to tell you a personal anecdote. It involves boobs, but trust me, it never goes beyond PG-13.
Not long after I started dating my sweetheart, and before I was earnestly pursuing recovery, he gave me what he thought was a compliment. It was along the lines of "whadda rack" and basically implied that I had large breasts. Now, in retrospect I have learned that this is something he thought that women like to hear. Maybe some women do enjoy hearing things like this. But not me.
I didn't want to have big boobs. I didn't want to have any boobs at all. Having boobs meant that I was eating too much, that I was fat, that I wasn't trying enough to stay skinny.
So, something crazy happened to me when he gave me this "compliment". Inside of my head, all of these things are firing:
"I don't want big boobs".
"Are my boobs big?"
"I must have gained weight if my boobs are big."
"I am fat."
"I am fat and unlovable and I have failed at life by letting my boobs get big."
I know, ridiculous, right? I went from zero to crazy in practically no time. Of course, all of this is in my head, and instead of explaining this process to my partner, my response involved a terse and snippy remark that since I barely filled out an A cup thankyouverymuch, my boobs were most definitely NOT in fact large.
Way to kill the sexy mood, right?
Honestly, the situation is a little silly, but what it represents is not. Even if the idea that my boobs are big is ridiculous (they're not). I wear an A cup, which I don't always totally fill out. I do not have large breasts. But that's not the troublesome part of the conversation.
What is troublesome is that my eating disorder kept me from being able to enjoy sexuality.
Even if I don't have big boobs, I could have gone with that moment instead of retreating. I could have played along, even if it wasn't true.
What is troublesome is that my eating disorder alienated me.
Instead of having a human, adult conversation with my partner, I retreated into myself. This is letting the eating disorder WIN.
What is bothersome is that it affected my relationship.
Seriously? I'm going to let my eating disorder turn itself back on just because of a comment? I'm going to let my fears about having boobs cause a rift in my relationship?
When this conversation occurred, we both felt badly afterward but then it wasn't really mentioned again, until recently (and this is after a few years) when I was told that my response seemed vicious and a little too-mean.
It's true. My partner had no idea what was going on in my head, so for him, it felt like I was lashing out at him when he was trying to connect with me. It makes me feel shitty, even with years past, that I responded like that.
But to succumb to those feelings and think "I'm just a terrible person and I'll never be good enough" would be going right back into my disordered ways.
So here comes the big question: how do I never let this happen ever again?
As I see it, here are some keys to overcoming this type of eating disorder-fueled, relationship-damaging behavior.
In a moment like this, when fear hits hard, instead of being so battered by my thoughts that it feels like my only possible course of action is to hit back hard, I can tell my partner what happened inside of me when he said that.
In addition to being honest, I can hold myself accountable for my thoughts. Yes, he said something that was triggering to me, but I let myself be triggered. And I responded in a bitchy way. That part is not his fault. I'm still responsible for my own reaction, which was mean.
When my eating disorder is triggered, I tend to run away from connection (with a partner, or with people in general) as fast as I can. It's the emotional equivalent of locking myself in solitary confinement. To really move forward and not let things like this bug me, I have to fight that impulse and make a concerted effort to connect, even when it feels really really hard.
4. Sitting with the thoughts.
In addition to being honest about what is going on inside of my head, really taking the time to observe what is going on in my head. Instead of trying to push those thoughts away, letting myself at least entertain them. Reflecting on them.
5. Dismissing the thoughts.
Now that I have pondered the thoughts and let myself sit with them, hopefully by this point I'm smart and recovered enough to be like "well, that is ridiculous, let's move on". Easier said than done, but this is what I aspire to.
If I'm having trouble dismissing the thoughts or if the thoughts lead me on the winding path toward more destructive thoughts, it's time for distraction. A walk, a massage if I'm feeling rich, getting my nails done, heck, even going to the mall and just looking at shops. DISTRACTION.
7. Moving the eff on.
Acknowledge the thoughts, let them exist. Dismiss them, or try to. Distract yourself if you can't. Cycle through these steps again if needed. But ultimately, move on. Don't let stupid comments and conversations like this ruin more time in your day than they need to.
I choose not to let my eating disorder eat me up from the inside, and I certainly don't want to let it eat my relationship alive.
Sometimes the hard thing is also the right thing. These steps are not easy, but they are worth it, because the view from the real world is great.
Do you ever succumb to negative thoughts like this?
Let me set up a scene for you. I'm traveling and much to my dismay, I find myself on a lunch with three people I don't know all that well (if you're reading this and thinking "is this me?", let me just say right here and right now: it's not). The reason for my dismay? I don't like lunch and I don't like eating with people I don't know. But wait, it got worse.
Each of them orders, and as they do, the orders get more and more complex. One "can't do gluten", even though I had seen her drinking a beer the night before. Another orders a menu item and proceeds to edit every single component. I already wanted to slap her; even more so once she added a cup of hot water with lemon to her order. Another, apparently fearing fat, inquires about how each item is cooked and edits anything including oil or butter.Read More
I had a little food incident a while back. I had a setback. Basically, after eating a meal which consisted of a bowl of brussels sprouts roasted with olive oil and spices, I felt more satiated than usual, which resulted in over-googling calorie contents of brussels sprouts. I began googling how brussels sprouts make you feel fuller than anything else. Because I had eaten what I thought was a virtuous dinner of brussels sprouts but somehow found myself feeling bloated and over-full, as if I had eaten three slices of pizza.
I still have trouble with that "full" feeling. And I couldn't stand it, and I wanted science to tell me why I was feeling the way I was rather than give in to the little voice in my head that was whispering "Jessie, don't you miss throwing up?".Read More
I suffered from disordered eating for a very long time. My eating disorder began at around the age of 13, and it wasn't until my early 30s that I began to earnestly seek out and participate in the recovery process.
That's a really long time.
If I could go back in a time machine and change things, honestly, at this point, I don't know if I would. Because while I don't think it's awesome that so much of my life was spent in a sort of disordered eating haze, I believe that my disordered eating has played a big part in shaping who I am, and now that I am in a state of advanced recovery, it is giving me fuel to truly pursue who I want to be, and allowing me to help make the world better for others.Read More
Don't get me wrong. I have no delusions that full recovery would mean that I am free from worry about food forever. Because honestly, even people who don't identify as disordered eaters get crazy about food sometimes. In a way, that is a relief. Being only normal-people crazy about food seems do-able to me. If it's ok to be sort of crazy about food sometimes, then I believe that I can fully recover.
"Full recovery" doesn't mean I will never have an ill thought about what I ate or never think about food as anything other than fuel again. For me, "full recovery" means living in a way that food doesn't dominate my thoughts and dictate how I act. But that having been said, I also consider full recovery a moving target. At a future point, I may need to redefine what recovery is. But for now, this feels good.Read More
Being able to talk about eating disorders has been huge for me, and I know that it has been helpful to readers. So I decided to be brave and to talk about a huge part of disordered eating that people really don't talk about--the effect on intimate relationships.
I hope that by sharing some of my story and getting vulnerable, it will be helpful to others and help them feel less alone.Read More
In the movie version of my life, eating disorder recovery would probably go about like this:
- A: Movie-me hits "rock bottom", realizes she has a problem.
- B: Movie-me enters a recovery program, thinks she is not like the others but through trials, tribulations, and maybe a montage or two, overcomes adversity and finds full recovery.
- C: Movie-me reunites with lost love; screen fades to credits while we walk hand in hand eating ice cream, never to count calories ever again.
In real life, recovery has not been nearly so easy, nor has it involved even one joyous 80s song montage. In fact, in a lot of ways it has sucked and been really hard. This post is dedicated to people who may be entering recovery--I want to tell you some of the hard stuff, not to discourage you, but so that you can know you are not alone when it comes up, and so that you can keep on going.Read More
When I was little, I wanted to be my big sister. She was the strong one. She was the pretty one. She was the brave one.
She was also a big bully, and since I worshipped her so much, I was probably an easy target. She was older than me and bigger than me, and she used that to her advantage. Hair was pulled, toys were taken. Various acts of childhood terrorism occurred.
But she had her tender moments, too. I remember crying for some reason or another one day, and how she came into the bedroom and didn't say anything--she just brushed my hair and patted my head for an hour.
She is a good sister.
Happily, when she grew up she found the best possible profession: a personal trainer and fitness instructor. Suddenly, it's as if a childhood of bullying was merely her apprenticeship: now, she could boss people around, tell them what to do, and it made them healthier. She excelled at it: they lost weight/got strong/met their fitness goals. Honestly, she quickly became kind of a local celebrity.
A little over a month ago, VERY unexpectedly, my big, strong, beautiful sister was diagnosed with advanced-stage ovarian cancer. Now, to the uninitiated, ovarian cancer is something that can get really scary really fast if you start reading about it. Side effects. Decline of health. Survival rates.
She had a surgery, but there was still cancer. Overnight, her world was transformed. Her primary setting will no longer be the gym: it's going to be chemo rooms, doctor's offices, and she will be doing lots and lots of paperwork. She's going to be tired, she's going to lose her hair, who knows what else.
Through all of the words, all of the information, all of the procedures, one word keeps coming back front and center to my mind:
Why my sister? Why should someone so young (the average patient for ovarian cancer is 55+) get cancer? Why someone so obnoxiously healthy? Why not me or my other sister or my mom? Why didn't the surgery remove all the cancer? Why didn't they try harder? Why?
I'll tell you the truth. Even though I know that cancer doesn't discriminate, that Patrick Swayze got it and so on, I still don't understand. It feels mean and not-fair.
It makes me alternately sad, mad, confused, and frustrated, and even though it's not even me suffering, all of the emotion, confusion, and general not-knowing has all of that has been a trigger to my eating disorder.
When things feel out of control, my eating disorder is the place to return to, the place where I can have control.
So far, my ED-tendencies have primarily manifested as control issues. I have been keenly aware of when it's time to eat, what I am going to eat, and I have to use certain plates. That type of thing.
For example: I go to the hospital with my sister for a quick and easy shot that she needs. Seeing the cancer center at the hospital makes me want to cry, because I know this is her "home" for the duration of her chemotherapy regime. Right after we leave the hospital, all I can think about is what I am going to eat for lunch and what plate I am going to eat it on. I am so caught up in calculating how many calories this lunch will add to my total for the day that I am a crappy conversationalist to my sister, and isn't that the whole point of me being here, to be with her? so it makes me feel bad, and then that makes me focus on food again for control, and the cycle keeps going.
I know that it is a good step that I am able to recognize that this is happening. But then again. Even though I am painfully aware of what is going on and can see it happening...the maddening part is that it is STILL happening. Even being present and noticing these things doesn't stop the disordered thoughts from creeping in.
Honestly, the cancer is not about me. It's my sister's struggle. That is part of what makes it difficult: it hurts to feel so helpless. It's like I want to suffer if only to take some of it from her.
But here's the thing: returning to my eating disorder isn't going to kill the cancer inside of my sister. It's not going to help her in a single way, and it's definitely not going to help me. In fact, it could actively keep me from helping her.
My sister having cancer is enough of a blow: I don't have to let my eating disorder win, too.
I can ask "why" over and over and over and over, but I would miss out on so much, and I don't know if there is really an answer for it. It's really nothing more than fuel for my eating disorder to try to take over my life again.
So instead of dwelling on the what-ifs and whys right now, I am choosing to recognize that they will not help me in any way. I'm not avoiding information about cancer, but I am not compulsively googling survival rates based on patients who have nothing to do with my sister.
I am trying to take care of myself, which can be very hard especially in the face of "but I should be helping HER" thoughts.
Maybe right now, there is nothing I can do other than be there for her. But by keeping myself strong and continuing on the path of recovery, I will be better able to be there both physically and mentally for my sister in whatever ways she may need in the months coming up. If I let myself succumb to the comfort of my eating disorder, not only will I not be able to help her, but I will be making myself sick, too.
Going back to my eating disorder is not worth it for all the whys in the world.
Do you have experience with a crisis triggering your eating disorder?
Some say that people who are prone to eating disorders are like loaded guns. It’s like they are born with weapons of mass destruction inside of them, silently laying in wait. The ammunition is always there, but it takes the right chain of events to pull the trigger.
Looking back, the shot heard round my world to start the revolution of my disordered eating sounds downright stupid. It was a comment about my ankles.Read More
Terrible confession: I've always been secret big believer that romantic partners can “save” me from my eating disorder. Of course, this is completely untrue and, since we’re being honest, kind of unfair. Truthfully, what passes as "cured" (for the moment) is actually just the all-consuming power of a new love to occupy time that had previously been dominated by an eating disorder. Like many of the exciting parts of the first flush of love, though, it doesn't last.Read More
How many of you in eating disorder recovery have found that after you ditched the behaviors with food, far from becoming better, your life just became massively empty, with the days seeming to have too many hours?Read More
What if--just like that--I stopped being someone with an eating disorder, and just decided to be someone with a not-eating disorder who happens to be going through something weird with food at the moment? To shift from someone with a chronic disease to someone who is just dealing with a cold that they know will pass?Read More
I identify as "mostly recovered". To me, this means that while I have ditched a lot of the unhealthy food behaviors that characterize an eating disorder, I still have work to do. In particular, that work has to do with breaking my own habits and rules.Read More
Do you believe in miracles?
As a general practice, I don't. In spite of my love of unicorns, sugar, and bright colors, I tend toward the sensible side of things. There's part of me that doesn't want to dream too big, doesn't want to let my hopes get too high, doesn't want my heart to be too open, because not if but when I am disappointed, it is going to hurt. In some ways, living like this is not so bad: I do in fact save myself from disappointment. But I also keep myself from living to my fullest potential, because I dull myself from feeling not only the lowest lows, but also the highest highs.Read More
Cleaning or arranging a small laundry room is a daunting experience for many people but if your organization skills are of top-notch quality then you can make a small room look larger than you think. Having a laundry room with confined spaces will restrict you from keeping all the dirty clothing, detergent drifts and the lint piles.
If one can organize the laundry room properly then within a petite space one can keep a lot of stuff without making it look grubby. So you will be facing a lot of storage challenges in the beginning but after you find the perfect storage solution you can blend it with some creativity and renovate the place.
So here are some clever laundry hacks which you can use for maximizing the cramped spaces.
Keep it outside for drying: If you have a small laundry room then one problem that you are going to get frustrated about is the scarcity of space when you can-drying the clothes. There are several options which you can opt for. Here you can use the curtain rod of your bathroom and put all your clothes there for drying. There are many ways which you can consider when it comes to drying your clothes outside the laundry room. You can easily install a small piece of the rod at cabinet’s bottom or you can pick the drying rack which will look really fancy and can easily solve all the issues related to air drying. You can also purchase the gypsum board ceiling hangers. It will help you to conveniently store everything there without consuming a lot of space from the cramped laundry room.
Do not leave any space: If the laundry room is very small, one way to manage it is by using all the little spaces. So you may have to sacrifice hanging of those cool artworks there and replace it with some wall storing supplies.
So you can install the storage racks on the wall for keeping the dryer sheet, storing detergent or the orphan socks. You can also put the hooks for hanging the lingerie and small items for drying.
Install shelves in the unused corners: Shelves can be your savior if laundry space is very small. There are many places from where you can get several options on the wall shelf that you can easily install and create a new space.
A lot of containers: Purchase several storage containers like jars and basket where you can keep all the laundry supplies which are spreading around. Candy jar, old vases and apothecary jars can also give you great storage solutions.
For storing large items you can opt for baskets and jars. When space is looking neat and organized it will make your working experience better.
Utilize the doors: Most of the people overlooks the storage spot which is present on the backside of the laundry room door. You can find several storage solutions which are particularly designed for the closet.
You can also think about the supplies like shoe storage above the door or for any other supplies. Even if you mount a small hook on the door still it will provide you with additional space for hanging the laundry hangers or bags and for drying the delicate items.
Don't forget the bookshelf: Bookshelf which is not for the laundry room can also be installed there if the place is running short of space. Using the bookshelf can help you to keep the baskets there along with the arranged clothes.
In the tiny room, you can also add some more furniture from your garage or attic. For wrangling up all the supplies which are present in that space you can make use of storage cubes, kid's room bookshelf and the side tables.
Pedestal drawer: Install the pedestal drawer near the unit of dryer or washer. These drawers will fit perfectly with the dryer and washer. Make sure that your dryer/washer is supporting the addition of this drawer.
It is very easy to access them and they can raise the units easily. All these drawers also come with areas for storing a decent amount of the dryer sheet, laundry supplies and detergent. So if you are purchasing the new dryer/washer one must opt for the one where you can install the pedestal drawers.
Stacking upwards: When you are stacking the clothes and arranging them make sure you are putting it in the upward direction so that you can use the unused space in the air.
You can use the shelf ladder which will look tall and will also narrow down the space needed for storing stuff. When you are keeping all the things away from the floor it will trick your eyes and make you think that the room is big.
A little makeover: Instead of making the laundry room look dreadful you can easily renovate it. By renovation, you can also add new machines with better features and storing capacity. It is the time for giving up your old ways of storing things and try to utilize the maximum space without making it look congested.
You will have to consider the position of the laundry room in the house and make the effective changes accordingly. Try to change the flooring, walls, design and the entire feel so that the laundry room is not looking gloomy but all. If your laundry room does not have any windows then it might give out a foul smell so try to bring natural light into the laundry room by painting the walls with vibrant and light colors and install a small fan for proper ventilation.
In order to increase the durability of the floor, you can replace it with the resilient ceramic tiles. To modernize the look you can also opt for the gypsum board ceiling tiles.
A divider is all you need: If you want to keep the folded linens in an organized way in the neat stacks then the divider will help you to do it efficiently. Board partition wall can help you a lot for arranging all the stuff in a good way.
Apart from having the right storage solutions, you will also be needing proper organizational skills. Do not keep a small laundry room in a messed up position. If needed you will also require to cut out a few clothes that are old or is hardly used. You can also opt for the cedar wall paneling, for giving a new look to the entire laundry room.
You know how "everyone's Irish" on March 17? Well, I have a theory that everyone has an eating disorder around the holidays. And I choose to find comfort in this: as someone in eating disorder recovery, the holidays are the time of year when everyone is right there in it with me.Read More
A lot of people who don't know better are dismissive of eating disorders. In particular in the case of restrictive disorders, the reaction is often along these lines: "why don't you just eat a cheeseburger / pizza / sandwich?". You can insert several different foods here, but it's often a high calorie density food, and likely one of the foods most likely to scare the size-0 pants off of a disordered eater.Read More