Posted in Anxiety, Eating Disorder Recovery, Recovery, Renfrew, treatment

Joys/Worries of Unexpected Progress

I continued a recent instagram post ( Just_Do_Today ) due to the unexpected progress I have steadily been experiencing.

I was weighed last night at Renfrew. My therapist kindly covered the numbers because last week I told her I don’t like looking. “Please move your hand. I don’t want to be afraid of the scale anymore.”
I briefly looked and stepped off. I was surprised. I was disappointed.
But 5 minutes before this weigh in, I was completely content with my body. So why would I allow a meaningless number to change that now?

Fuck you ED. I now knew the godforsaken number and felt as though I had taken back control.
Did I love the number? No. But I’m not afraid of it anymore.

It’s my dad’s bday today and he wants to go to a buffet for dinner (ED thrives in these places).

Knowing this, my mom asked if I wanted to bail. But these are the little things ED takes away from me–an evening with my family, sitting around laughing and bonding. Since I don’t have the funds to buy an extravagant present he deserves, I really want him to be surrounded by his family in his favorite restaurant. He would appreciate that.  ED,  you are losing your grip on me. I am taking my life back. Food does not control me. I control my life.

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This morning I woke up with nagging anxiety. I grabbed my journal and asked myself the questions that my therapist suggested when these fears come up.

“Do I have plausible evidence to support this worry?”

Answering this usually lessens the fear’s intensity. I realize how unlikely it is to happen. Instead, the feeling is being triggered by something similar happening to someone else, or old insecurities playing out in my brain.

But sometimes I have a hard time disputing that I’m experiencing a “gut feeling”…(although, 9 times out of 10 these fears are simply caused by anxiety)

That’s when I ask:

“What would I do if the worst case scenario actually happened?”

I wrote about the strong woman I am, and how hard I fought to become her. I’ve worked too hard and too long to crumble under an undesirable circumstance. I can do one of two things: work to prevent it–and if that is impossible, repeat to myself that “Everything happens for a reason.”

From waking up with worry lines, I was now driving to work with a mile wide smile. As I realized this, I turned the music up and sang  a little bit louder. I  touched the rosaries hanging in my car (I am not a very religious person, but this action has always represented my gratitude for the current situation and trying to have complete serenity for my future).

I haven’t always gone to my journal when I should. Especially when my irrational worries arise. I can’t ignore the little twinge inside me that tells me it’s the right thing to do. However,  I’d convince myself that another coping skill will suffice. This”easy way out” sort of thinking usually leads to symptom use because I’m not dealing with my emotions. Then ED will slither his way into the rest of my day. The importance of picking the right coping mechanism was something I specifically remember learning at Renfrew! At that time, I’d never dream of ignoring the twinge that told me the right coping skill to use–I was so thankful for it! And since then I have lost sight of it’s importance.

I wondered why it is so much easier to do “the right thing” while I’m in Renfrew.

It has now been two full weeks without symptom use.

I have used the proper coping skills when I needed them. I have tackled planned and unplanned challenges (two big ones listed above in my Instagram post). I have been practicing very kind self-talk.

Finally, I’ve managed to take back control of situations ED has been hopelessly controlling before entering back into treatment.

Last night at the buffet, I repeated “slipping up is not an option” over and over again to myself. Regrettably, this is a line that hasn’t always worked in the past. But, last night I took it very seriously.

Why do I feel so much stronger in treatment? Is it truly because I’m surrounded by women that think and feel and fight the way I do? Is it the accountability of having to check in multiple times a week? Is it because I am forced to make myself a priority on these days.

I still worry about messing up. And I worry about discharge day. But, I have to take it one breath, one moment, one meal at a time.

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At Mt. Laurel Renfrew, surrounded by some of the most amazing people I have ever met 🙂 (don’t know how they would feel about being posted, so it’s just happy and healthy me)
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Posted in Eating Disorder Recovery

“Normal-People” Problems

This term was coined by my boyfriend when I was talking to him about the cupcakes at my job.

One of my recovery goals is being able to say yes to the treats that people bring into work. I am proud to say that I have normalized these instances; however, knowing when and why I accept the treats can still be difficult.

I used to feel embarrassed eating in front of others. I feared spiraling into a binge any time I tasted something remotely “unhealthy.” I hated the attention I got from saying no. I’d hear  comments like: “You’re better than me,” or “Wow, I don’t have that kind of willpower,” or “You eat so healthy.” Some people would be condescending; some seemed annoyed; but the worst were the ones who worshipped me…As they enjoyed the cupcake, I sat there empty-handed empowering ED. “That’s why I look like this and you look like you,” they’d say. My eating disorder was glorified.enhanced-21636-1442921279-1.png

During the course of treatment, I learned to eliminate the terms healthy and unhealthy. My brain underwent complete rewiring. Food itself cannot make us fat. All food falls into 1 of 6 categories (fat, starch, dairy protien, protien, fruit, and veggies) even desserts (all of my old forbidden foods have a category that they fall into.) When I now consume one, I will mentally place it in that category and go on with my day.

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We can eat anything in moderation. I love this and I often argue with people when they call something “unhealthy” because it triggers a nerve in me.

How do I argue something that has become common knowledge? If you ask 100% of people, they would probably consider a cupcake “unhealthy.” But I know they are wrong. A cupcake is a not unhealthy, it is a “sometimes” food. It is unhealthy to NOT eat a cupcake if you crave it because thats what causes mental deprivation and leads to binges. So in the long run, one cupcake is nourishing to your brain and your soul 🙂


My ability to say yes guiltlessly really depends on the day.

To be honest, my initial reaction to a “sometimes” food walking in the door is to say no. I already packed all my meals and snacks for the day. If I eat this unplanned treat, I feel a little less in control. It’s easier to avoid it. But I know my immediate reaction is just ED trying to creep back into my life.

So I have to take a minute and reevaluate the situation. The first thing I do is ask myself if I crave a sweet or just want to say yes because I’ve denied these foods for so long. Just because I allow myself to say yes now, doesnt mean that every time I actually want it.

Using taste preference helps to figure this out. I do not particularly like whipped frosting, so I will turn down one of those cupcakes. Buttercream, on the other hand, reminds me of the delicious baked goods from my childhood and I definitely want to enjoy one!

I take one. I eat it slow and am very proud to be normalized like the rest of my co-wrokers.

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That is the goal, but it doesnt always go that smooth!

Recently during a birthday party, my favorite cupcakes were brought in. Today for some reason I was having trouble allowing myself to eat one. When I finally decided to take a cupcake, I consumed it so fast out of guilt. Now I was full and the cupcake was gone. I debated taking another. (It is okay to go for seconds, but in this scinario I was full and contemplating a binge, not enjoying the taste at all). It’s just sitting there. It’s not an option to move it out of sight. I keep starring. I go for it. Dammit, I ate that one just as fast! I’m feeling overwhelmed guilt and disgust now. I feel like giving up and continuing to binge. There’s frosting on the bottom of the containter. It looks so good. I want to take spoonfuls of it. So I do. Finally, the box is moved out of sight. Now–I’m absolutely miserable.

That. Was. A. Disaster.

I want to use symptoms and get rid of all the food. But I don’t. I wait. I cry in the bathroom. A couple hours later my stomach ache has gone away. A few days later and the cupcakes have been digested. Without symptom use, they are now completely out of my body.

Okay, so it wasn’t a COMPLETE disaster. At least I tried! I simply had to do the next right thing after a slip, and I am proud of how I handled it. And guess what!? I dont look any different after those two cupcakes (give or take some extra frosting).

At the time, it’s hard to see past that moment and not give into a full blown lapse. But, those instances do happen. That’s what recovery is all about. And I have to have faith that I will learn the balance.Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 8.52.15 AM.png

A week after my episode with the buttercream cupcakes, another person brought in the exact same box.

I stare at them and wonder if I should have a “re-do.” I can eat it the right way this time.

I allow myself to remunate over this idea. I may have gone about it the “wrong way” last time, but I didn’t deny myself the treat and I still remember how good the cupcakes tasted. I don’t neccisarly need to have any this time because I don’t really crave them again. Suddenly, I realize, it’s okay to say no to my favortie snack.

To rationalize this even further: if I had allowed myself one cupcake last time and one cupcake this time–I would feel way less guilt. But in the end, it’s all the same amount! 

Therefore, I politely said, “No thank you, I enjoyed these cupcakes the other day. I will pass today.”

I talked to my boyfriend later on. I was proud of the way I handled it all: my ed, the cupcakes, saying yes, saying no. I am learning that IT’S OK to eat a cupcake, but I cannot have them everyday. He laughed: “Knowing when to say yes and when to say no—

that’s a normal-people problem,” he said