You guuuuyyyyyyz. It's been quite a month, this August.
First, it was the 10 year anniversary of CakeSpy. It's kind of staggering to even believe it, actually.
But there was a whole lot more going on than just my business/website's anniversary. I also bought a house in Philadelphia. I also moved to Philadelphia from Asheville, which had been my home for the past two years. I also turned 36, which seems like a pretty Serious Age.
I'm also still kind of reeling from a Big Breakup a few months ago. I'm getting on with my life but after a number of years with someone there's quite a bit of adjusting to do.
So, here's where I need to share a little secret: while I am an adventurous soul and love trying new things, I don't always do so well with change.
In a way, I think this is part of why I suffered from anorexia for so long. Because less than being about the food, it was much more about the control.
To put it in simple terms: the world is a big scary place where people leave and things change and jobs shift and SHIT GOES DOWN. However, in an anorexic world, you can keep things "clean" by controlling what you eat. You can trick yourself into thinking it keeps your life simple and under control.
Of course, that's total bullshit. It's the worst possible kind of lie that anorexics tell themselves: that they are in control.
This couldn't be further from the truth. Actually, the longer they try to control things, the more rigid they become with food, the less in control they really are, and the less in touch they are with the world around them.
Anorexia then begins to control the anorexic.
So, here I am with all of these big huge changes. Many are good. I'm absolutely thrilled at being back in a big city. I've already met some mega cool people, tried a bunch of new food, and gotten lovingly competitive at a number of different yoga classes.
But still there are the feelings of uncertainty. Like, I have had a dual income for the past few years, can I really handle owning a house? I've also had someone to call me pretty and watch movies with me and let the pugs out when I haven't been around. Can I really do all of this on my own? Does the fact that I had this breakup, plus the fact that I am divorced, mean that I am flawed in some way and incapable of finding lasting and true love? What's wrong with me? Even though the breakup was fairly amicable, I still kind of feel like a loser at times.
In the face of all of these ups and downs, it would be so easy to turn back to the tried and true structure of my anorexic tendencies. To count calories and only feel safe if they're at or under a certain number. To avoid socializing so that I can make sure to have time to exercise like a demon. To get really, really thin. To get so thin that I don't feel anything.
But here's the thing. I haven't done it. I haven't done any of it.
The good thing is:
I haven't done these things. I haven't restricted or counted calories.
When I moved, I was prepared for a little bit of disordered-eating regression; it happens, and usually I find it's a good decision to give myself a little room to accommodate it rather than fight it.
But I've surprised myself by not falling into old patterns. Actually, I've amazed myself by just not having the energy to count calories or adhere to a strict diet. I've been getting a lot more exercise than usual by just doing stuff like cleaning my patio or running up and down my stairs or moving furniture, and when I've been getting hungry, I can't be bothered to worry about counting calories.
For example: the other day I went out grocery shopping and upon the thought of walking home, I was like "dude, I need a cookie". So I bought a cookie and ate it and the walk home was ok and I didn't feel the murderous rage that comes with Deep Anorexic Hunger.
Or at another moment, my sister left a to-go container of leftover nachos at my house and I ate them the next day because I was hungry and they looked good. No voice screamed inside of my head "YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO EAT NACHOS BECAUSE THEY WILL MAKE YOU FAT".
These things might sound like nothing at all to someone who's never suffered from disordered eating, but to an anorexic, this is huge. Spontaneous eating is something I have always dreamed of, and here it is, happening in these unexpected little moments.
So, anyway. The takeaway I would offer here is that if you are a disordered eater who is going through a time of transition, it can be very tough. It can challenge your recovery and tempt you to go back to old habits.
Don't take that awful ED bait, yo. Be kind to yourself, and give yourself room to adjust to your new surroundings as the transition unfolds. Sometimes, by offering yourself compassion and space, you might find that you give yourself room to grow in positive directions.