Live and Learn

6 Sep

Still here.. (how many times am I going to say this)

I need to make more time for blogging because it really does do so much for me but I’ve been a busy little bee. I had to move out of my summer apartment (all by myself for that matter), spend the next 4 nights “homeless” (staying at my boyfriend’s place and a friend’s),  go home for only a WEEK during which I took my baby sister to college (WTF), and then move into my sorority and start rush practice and rush… sooo yeah, clearly blogging had to take the back seat.

I’d like to use this post to reflect on this summer. When I started the summer, I had a few goals in mind. I wanted to regain a balance with my eating, meaning no bingeing, no restricting, and roughly following the meal plan that my nutritionist provided me with. I was hoping all of this would come fairly easily and the weight I had gained would come off. Unfortunately, I didn’t lose the weight I wanted to and the bingeing and restricting didn’t stop quickly like I had hoped it would. There was a point at the end of the summer where I felt defeated and to be honest, sort of pathetic. How could I have such trouble with something thatseems so simple.

[skip this next paragraph if you don't care about my philosophy about what food should be hahah]

Really though! When you think about it, eating is a survival mechanism. Food is something that our society has turned into more of a pleasure or luxury than a survival mechanism. I wish we viewed eating as something that we need to do instead of something we love to do. That might sound stupid but life is full of soooo many things and sometimes I wish food was just something to eat so that we are able to have energy to go on with the rest of our day/lives. Obviously, that is what it does for us but the way we view food in general contributes to how complicated eating has become for many of us. Wow that was a confusing paragraph..*tharrry* (Gilly voice)

Sorry for that tangent… My point is that I did feel angry at myself for letting food become such a complicated issue for me. But to my surprise, I came to a realization at the end of the summer that I hadn’t completely failed those past few months, and that I actually made tremendous progress. No, I didn’t immediately stop bingeing/restricting and no I didn’t lose weight like I had hoped to. But I DID make huge progress in ways that I wasn’t able to see until now.

“Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience. “Victoria Holt.”

This summer, I did some serious thinking…. Ok fine, I always tend to overthink and analyze situations, but this summer I focused on getting to the core of why I was engaging in these behaviors and what was truly at the root of the problem. I was the girl who was convinced her eating disorder was only a result of physical desires but the reality is that there is SO much more to it than that. By finally admitting that to myself, I have been able to identify what situations tend to trigger behaviors and what I can do to prevent them.

Also, I decided to become a pescatarian. I am the last person to want a label, and I will never restrain myself from eating meat if I feel a strong desire to, but I’ve been toying with the idea for a while and realized I actually don’t like eating meat. I don’t like chicken or steak anymore and I always just feel wrong eating it for ethical reasons. I feel like becoming a pescatarian is perfectly healthy for me because I’m educated about nutrition. Also, it truly has nothing to do with my eating disorder. I know that eating meat is healthy and I don’t judge anyone else for doing so because I did for so long! Since making this decision, I have had a healthier approach to food than I’ve evr had. I’ve been able to look at food as nutrition that I NEED to have energy and look healthy and I’m more concerned with getting in the nutrients I need than eating the lowest amount of calories possible.

There were a good 2 weeks where I was doing SO well. I felt like it wastoo good to be true and I was practically waiting for a slip-up… and yes a slip-up happened as a result of long days because of rush. But the difference is, instead of beating myself up and freaking out, I am choosing to realize that I messed up when I was stressed, and now I’m going to go back to how I was before. It doesn’t seem impossible like it used to, and I don’t feel anxious about it.

Most importantly, I feel like I’m finally starting to figure out who I am. I believe a huge part of my eating disorder stemmed from being unsure of where I fit and who I am, but I’m finally starting to realize what I care about and what my passions are. It feels absolutely amazing. I will definitely be posting more about this soon…

For once, I feel like I’m actually close to finding that balance.

So I hope you’ll stick with me as this crazy, unpredictable journey continues…. There are bound to be bumps in the road, but I know this time around that I am going to have some great things to write about, and hopefully some helpful posts for the people who happen to read this little blog of mine :)

I love you all so much!

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13 Responses to “Live and Learn”

  1. Mom September 6, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Sounds amazing! Love it all and especially the progress you have made!
    Love you bunches!
    Mom

  2. Dana September 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    I have to disagree about food just being a survival thing! Food can be pleasurable as well. That’s like saying sex is only a survival mechanism haha…for real! You can ENJOY food and food is pleasurable, there is nothing wrong with that. The problem comes when you over indulge EVERY SINGLE DAY. You know? It’s truly all about balance…In my opinion at least.

    About your weight..Honestly? I would just stop weighing yourself or concentrating on your weight in general. Your body may want to be at a higher weight then you would like and if you want to truly recover and not cont. struggle with your weight then you have to learn how to accept that at some point. Obviously, bingeing for emotional reasons on a regular basis is not a good thing but if you go out and eat one two many fries once a week..That, I think is kinda normal and theres nothing wrong with that. Again, my opinion!

    Vegetarian thoughts….It seems like its not ED related but I would just be careful. It seems like behind all this is your want to control your weight and lose some weight? Correct me if Im wrong but that sounds like what you are kinda hinting at. You think the vegetarianism will help you get your weight back to “what you think it should be” ?

    Just some things to think about :)

    xx

  3. Shelley (findinghappinessandhealth) September 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    hi!! ok a couple responses to you :)

    a) you’re totally right! I guess i’m just saying that i think we put tOO much emphasis on food in general..but it should def be enjoyed and I guess I should have worded all of that differently.

    B) I actually NEVER weight myself, I just know I haven’t lost weight because of my clothes and how they fit, etc. I also do eat some french ries and things like that without considering it a binge. I guess I don’t feel comfortable fully explaining what a binge is like for me, but I can assure you it is bigger than what you might be imagining. I do think my weight is meant to be higher than I thought after my ED, but I also know that I am a little higher than my natural weight right now.

    C) I am kind of upset that you think that me being a vegetarian has anything to do with my weight… I actually think it is easier to lose weight to some extent WHILE eating meat. I haven’t enjoyed eating it for a while and all I was saying was that since making the transition, I have felt really good about myself and food.. I’ve been eating more and just feel energetic and less anxious about food in general.

    THanks for the concern Dana! You’re a good friend but I promise I’m doing better than I have been the past 2 years

    • Dana September 6, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

      awe im sorry I didnt mean to upset you! I was just trying to make you think so you were 100% sure that it WASNT your ED fueling it. But we talked about this previously and I totally believe you that its not fueled by your ED. I must have just worded things wrong as well!! I KNOW you are doing well!

      xx

  4. Danielle Spellman @Squirrel Snackin' September 6, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

    I became a pescatarian too and I don’t like labels either, but I fully support your decision! :) I felt once I was educated enough about nutrition that it would work for me, plus I don’t really enjoy meat at all. One of my downfalls with not eating meat though was being low in iron and becoming anemic. Once I figured out the foods I needed, I was just fine in about a month. :)

    • Shelley (findinghappinessandhealth) September 7, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

      i love it so far!!! I feel great and have such a good attitude about food..it’s weird. I am looking at your blog and I feel like I can really relate to you..glad you commented :)

  5. Sarah September 7, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    Hey Shelley,
    This was a great post. I think you were incredibly honest and I could see you questioning your motives for things as you were writing! That’s awesome, that’s what we have to do to stay in recovery. While we are still the ones in the eating disorder we also need to be able to step out of it and evaluate what we are doing and why we are doing it. I think doing so makes our motives A LOT more clear to us!
    As far as binging goes, I can definitely relate. My nutritionist once told me that if I feel like my eating is impulsive and out of control than it is appropriate to call it a binge. It doesn’t really matter the amount of food that is eaten, it is more the feeling we have as we’re eating it. Of course there is a healthy amount of control and an unhealthy amount…obviously restricting is NOT healthy, but at the same time eating more than your body is comfortable holding and feeling unable to stop is also unhealthy. It’s so rough to find that middle ground!
    It’s great that you’re so interested in becoming vegetarian. I have thought about it a lot myself because, like you, I can’t stand eating animal products while still knowing how mistreated many animals are. It just doesn’t seem ethical to me…I’m not the type of person to know something I disagree with is occurring but do nothing to change/protest it myself. I feel like when I eat meat I am supporting an industry that I don’t believe in. It’s so frustrating though because my nutritionist has told me that going vegetarian right now would be a BAD idea. She says I need animal proteins more than anything. Soooo, hopefully one day i can be one of your fellow vegetarians :),
    Keep taking on those challenges, girl! You CAN do this!!
    xxx

  6. Sara K September 7, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    I love that you’re blogging again, and I’m 100% supporting you :) Change takes time; and relearning healthy habits takes a whole lot of learning about yourself as well- as to what has contributed to using eating/food as a coping mechanism (whether not eating enough, eating too much etc) and such. You’re coming far and don’t beat yourself up for not 100% fulfilling your goals this summer :)

  7. Rebecca September 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    Hi there, I used to read your blog way back in the old days and it was so nice to see a post again :) I’m commenting now to say how much reading about your own struggles helped me with mine and ALSO to say yayyyy on the progress you’ve made! It’s big that you were able to bounce back from that slip up and ESPECIALLY that you’re finding out who YOU really are – that’s huge! You may not be exactly where you want to be with eating/food/your body, but the progress you’ve made is obvious in how you realize the worth of things in life outside of food.
    Eating is necessary for life, of course, and I don’t think it should be turned into a “hobby” or a pastime, but there is something to enjoy in nourishing yourself, and it definitely shouldn’t be a chore.
    Again, congrats on your progress and don’t get too too stressed :)

  8. Kelsey September 7, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    it really does sound like a healthier approach and a much easier balance that clearly feel right for you. you should be uber proud for letting yourself discover more about your own body, this summer in particular. i tend to hyper-analyze everything too- situations, beliefs, ideas, reactions etc. but the important thing is to remember that we are always learning and we can never expect too much from ourselves- no matter what anyone says or feels. love you girl. xoxo <3

  9. cardiopizza September 9, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    Glad you updated! I remember the rush of a new semester…so busy! Enjoy it though! I definitely miss those days…the sorority especially.

    Great post!

    I feel like going through my stages of disordered eating and thinking has shaped me beliefs now and how I view myself (in a positive way now). Going through tough situations definitely brings learning and enlightenment (Thank God). I can sense that is what’s happening to you.

    The binging is hard and I really think it has to do with emotions as well as your body’s response from the years of restriction. From what I’ve seen with others who have gone through something similar, it seems that the more one restricted and had an eating disorder, the longer it takes to regulate normal hunger mechanisms. So hang in there! I know it’s rough. Knowing triggers (like you said) also helps. Stress and unpredictable situations definitely trigger me. I didn’t binge for a year then after a car accident I had a two-week relapse. Luckily I got a hold of it, but I still have to be mindful.

    Keep us updated! :)

    P.S. I LOVE Gilly and so want to be her for Halloween lol

  10. Marissa September 22, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    I know I don’t really comment at all but I have been/love reading your blog :) you’re always so insightful and really do seem to be doing so well. Don’t get yourself too down about “slipping up” during rush – I TOTALLY understand.. (being in a sorority also) that working rush is so irregular since it’s so time consuming and tiring and being a little unhealthy is completely justified!

    and i totally get what you mean about the going “in and out” of blogging.. it’s so hard to do it while we’re at college! gah!

  11. zoe September 22, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

    oh love, i feel like you just took a snipet out of my brain. or my journal. i feel like i am always waiting for the next slip up. i think it comes down to trust issues. trusting oneself takes a lot of patience, forgiveness, and laughter. continually thinking in stark black and white terms leaves little room for learning. it’s only fail or succeed, something life is not about. life is purely lessons — learning from both good and bad and not judging the outcome from either end of the spectrum.

    i am glad you’re redefining your relationship with food and your body and your health. i also urge you to be cautious in becoming pescatarian. maybe i am speaking purely from personal experience (okay, i am but i am doing so from a place of love, concern, and compassion) but labeling while recovery can sometimes be a slippery slope. i definitely believe in your abilities to be open and honest with yourself though. and you’re right — labels are totally not legit (hah, so eloquent).

    also, while i understand and agree with you that food is meant for survival, it is also meant to be enjoyed. not every meal will be something like five stars but isn’t viewing food as only a means for survival and only as energy falling into black and white thinking? if i works for you, then i say go with it. but if you find yourself stressing out too much over what food choices will be optimal for survival and energy, just breathe and remember once more how enjoyable food can be.

    sending you positive vibes <3

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