I Will What I Want

Not exactly a novel idea right? Yet it seems to be something we (myself included) forget. “Ugh, this is impossible, I’ll always be this way. I can’t overcome it.” Well gee, not with that attitude my friend!

I genuinely believe we can make things harder or easier on ourselves just by our outlook on it. If you decide it’s going to be impossible to love yourself and just give up on positive body image, you’ve nailed your coffin as far as I’m concerned.

I recently hung out with a friend who has suffered from depression and her own ED (strictly anorexia.) We have been friends since sophomore year of high school when we both became “home-schooled” and try as we might, we just clash. We used to clash because we fed off of each other. We were both drastically underweight and in the midst of exercise and food comparison. Now, after all these years, we still clash. Why? Because I may still have leaps and bound to go until I’m completely free of my shackles, but I am nowhere near where I used to be. She is. She is exactly as she was all of those years ago. She avoids food, is always hanging out away from home so that she cannot eat, and exercising to burn calories. She even said to me, “I know this is something I’ll just always have. Jesus gave me this and I must always live with it.” Excuses. Nothing makes me more upset than excuses. It shocked me how, as a devoted Christian, she used the Lord as an excuse to let her stop eating any time something minor happened. Because of this, we had to cut ties. I pray for her and still think she’s an amazing person, but to have such a source of negativity and the opposite of what I need in my life right now. Selfish, right? Well it’s about time we are a little selfish. People (I think women especially) feel the need to give and give and put everyone above themselves all the time until we reach a breaking point.

But guess what? Unlike my friend I refuse to believe I can’t beat this and I refuse the idea that I must always live with this. I get so down on myself sometimes when I have skipped exercise for a week and been a hermit and maybe overate way too much, but that doesn’t help me move forward. I look back and remember that girl I was. I remember being afraid my heart would stop beating in the middle of the night and I’d never see my family again. I remember sobbing and profusely apologizing to God for wasting so many blessings on me.

But I’m not her. I have lasting health effects from knowing her. I am a completely different person thanks to her. Someone I’m proud of. I definitely still struggle with self-love and feeling worthy but I have come so far and am so grateful for the journey. I remember feeling like I could never change but day by day, small changes would happen. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and realized I made me feel this way, no one else did. I decided that the fight was worth it and that I was going all in; And guess what? I’m winning.

Decide. Right now. I want you to decide that you are worth it, your life is so worth it. It is hard but it is possible and damn it is an amazing world. One that you can’t enjoy with your friend Ana tagging along. She’s a party pooper, the one judging you from the corner of the party bus by herself. She doesn’t want to go on the journey with you and thank God for that, kick her off at the next stop and party on my friends. Because you are so worth it. You are beautiful and funny and intelligent and so so special. No one else can be you, how freaking cool is that?! Just decide. That’s all you have to do.

Sorry this turned into a rambly post! I just had a lot of random thoughts come to mind after seeing my old friend. And with that, I encourage you to read the much wittier, funnier, and eloquent Snack Therapy’s post Worth the Weight.

The Number 1 Best Diet Advice!

…STOP believing everyone else’s diet advice!

Seriously.

(Disclaimer: This is about to be a rant.)

Last night I was scrolling on FB, ya know because once you’re in college it’s cool again, and I saw an old acquaintance posted one of those articles that fill up 80% of my newsfeed. 44 Ways to Look Better and Get in Shape Now. I kid you not. This was written by a young girl who was a passionate vegan and health fanatic. Great. I’m genuinely happy you have an interest in health, fitness, well-being, whatever! But this article had SO may false things in it I cringed reading it. Rolled my eyes and felt two things; 1) Thank God I’m not gullible enough to believe everything I read anymore. 2) I am so angry/upset for the girls (and guys!) reading who felt they were getting genuinely good advice, such as my old acquaintance. I love that health is “In” right now and more valuable than a pair of Louboutin’s but why, why, and WHY does everyone feel the need to throw their two cents in!? If you are not a registered dietician, personal trainer, microbiologist, anatomy major (? that’s totally not a thing is it), have scientific research and studies to back up what you’re saying, THEN DON’T SAY IT!

Here is what I DO know as a dietetic major  (I’m not including anything about exercise because that’s not my specialty and I am not including certain specifics that I have not studied yet in my RD coursework. Why? Because I’m not qualified and only know what works for me!)

1. Sleep. Seriously. Robyn over at The Real Life RD will tell you, if you do not have adequate sleep so many hormones are thrown off, even if it’s one night. So why oh why would you try to eat less or exercise and stress out your body and endocrine system even more if you haven’t gotten such a basic necessity? Let’s face it, if you’re tired, you probably won’t have a great workout anyways. Also, I eat MORE when I’m tired or sick because you’re body is fighting to keep things balanced and needs approximately 7% more energy (CALORIES) to fight off anything attacking the immune system and trying to maintain homeostasis.

2. Do Not Deprive Yourself. This almost always leads to binge-like behaviors and if it doesn’t immediately, it will. I don’t care if you’re good at restricting yourself right now and for the passed four months you haven’t touched chocolate or fries or whatever you think it really “derailing your progress.” I know better than anyone (AND studies have PROVEN) that the longer you deprive yourself the harder and stronger the binge-tendencies come. It is a vicious cycle.

3. Eat Enough. It’s funny; Years ago when I was in recovery for my ED and I finally started eating ore and more I lost weight first. I finally turned on my metabolism and even eating over 3,500-5,000 calories a day (gradual build-up! talk to an RD for how to do this safely and properly) I wasn’t gaining weight and that is WITHOUT exercise! No I easily eat 2-3 times as much as my friends, have more energy, and am not overweight. When you give your body energy constantly it realizes it can use and expend the energy. If you are under-eating even a little bit constantly your metabolism will start holding on to everything and slow down to preserve homeostasis and keep your organs running.

4. Don’t Cut Out A Macro Group! Why people think this is a good idea is always beyond me. Carbs give us energy, protein replenishes muscles, fat slows down the sugar being released into the blood stream and 80% of your organs are made of fat. Your brain literally can’t function properly without it. Lipids compose 40% of the organic matter in your body! Plus it keeps your heart healthy, nails strong, and hair shiny!

5. There is no one way. I know people who are satisfied eating one dessert a week, I need at least a little bit of chocolate every day to stay sane. After 5 years of veganism I had to give it up because it just wasn’t healthy for me. Statistically very few people can maintain a strictly vegan diet long-term healthfully (which I hate as I turned for ethical reasons, so I get it, it’s hard! But you have to listen to your body, it knows best!) I could never give up grains, but if being paleo feels good to you, go for it. I personally don’t like labels, they feel restrictive and make it a part of who you are. You are NOT your diet. Stop believing what everyone else says and do what your body tells you to do, it’s really smart, I promise.

6. Focus foods. This is another one Robyn hits perfectly. I don’t tell myself I can’t have a certain food. Two days ago I ate the most insane cupcake, that’s an out of focus food. Most of the time my body craves “clean” foods like veggies and beans but when I want a cupcake, I’m getting the damn cupcake!

So? Thoughts? What do you think about the sudden influx in nutrition experts taking over the internet?

Spread the Love!

I just wanted to do a sort of blog roll of the blogs I find that are not only not triggering, but help me realize balance is attainable (and different even for all of these amazing women!)

Snack Therapy Oh my gosh I love this lady. She says all the things I want to, but funnier, wittier, and just plain better. Just look through some of her hilarious yet true and empowering posts and you’ll laugh and cry and just feel amazing.

PB Fingers Julie is awesome and I have been reading her blog since 2010. She relatable, so sweet, incredibly creative, and healthy. Like for real healthy. She exercises and loves veggies but is not afraid to eat some cheesecake/ice cream/mac and cheese/whatever the hell she wants! She is beautiful inside and out and I love her upbeat attitude and crafty ideas. Also super weird? I lived in NC for 12 years and she lived in FL. She moved to NC and I moved to FL in the same month! SO weird! I love looking at her old blog posts and new ones and realizing I am in both of those areas all the time, it’s fun!

A Healthy Slice of Life: Okay, so I’m not a mom, but I love reading her funny little tidbits and healthy living posts. She is so honest and relatable and her daughters? Absolutely beautiful! I love her posts about her kids oddly enough! (Probably because I just love kids and she is a wonderful writer!)

The Londoner: Ahhh Rosie. This girl appears to live the dream and yet she is so magnetizing/friendly/witty/funny that you aren’t jealous or despising he for living some wildly awesome life. She doesn’t act superior and she is upfront and honest. Her fashion kills me, it is so on point and amazing and the photography is just stunning.

Hummusapien: Alexis is a really amazing RD who is blazing trails. She inspires me in my field of study (also dietetics) to think bigger and more creatively. She is also realistic. She indulges in moderation and doesn’t beat herself up if she misses a workout or eats some ice cream. She’s a total babe and hilarious writer. My only gripe is that as someone who is transitioning away from veganism after 4 years of feeling just sick on the diet, she is super pro vegan. I just don’t believe the same diet works for everyone. She doesn’t shove it down your throat though and isn’t a full vegan herself.

The Real Life RD: Pretty much the same deal as far as being an RD and pushing the vegan thing. I think it is just harder for me because I loved the ethics of this lifestyle and miss it and still struggle not being a vegan. She also will eat eggs or dairy once in a while and isn’t preachy but definitely advocates mostly plants! I adore her heartfelt posts on self-love, the misconception that we need to eat less and move more all the time and other myth-busting posts. She’s a totally superstar who’s back in school , running her nutrition business, and her blog; Somehow she still makes time for relaxing, food prep, and friends and it is totally inspiring.

Bleubird Blog: This is such a wonderful family blog with beautiful pictures and the most gorgeous family! I’ve followed it for a few years and love the different post styles she does!

Basically all of these women do what is best for them and live their life according to how they feel happy and balanced. They’re all so different but awesome and I’ve loved watching some of their blogs take off over the years! Give ’em a click!

Enough is Enough

I think everyone has that moment. That desperate, “I just cannot take this anymore.” Are you strong or stupid if you keep pushing past this limit?

I used to think I was being strong and independent when I tried to deal with my ED by myself. Even now, I have been purge free for 3 months, I struggle with binging. My natural hunger cues have just never come back and I definitely fell into depression moving home with my parents, at community college for a semester with like two friends around, dealing with this new (and ever expanding) body I’m in. I still hate myself, like all the time. I put on this façade that I’m great, happy, confident, self-love and body-acceptance. And I am. But for some reason it applies to any and everyone but me! I still stare and hate myself. I pick apart every little piece of myself. “God, could my thighs be any bigger, why are my boobs so small, why am I so short, why is the shape of my face so chubby/rectangular, why are my eyes so small and brown,” it goes on and on every day.

And so every day I obsess. I obsess over food and fitness and my flaws and everyone else’s lack of flaws. I am a child of God and believe He made everyone perfectly in His divine image and yet, I can’t convince myself that the same is true for me. I still compare myself to other women, especially the sickly skinny ones whom I can tell are crawling in their skin with their own self-depreciation and I get jealous. No really, I get upset that I no longer weigh seventy-something pounds, have chunks of hair falling out of my scalp, am constantly freezing, angry, dizzy, and emotional. Apparently it is worth it to me. At least I would look good in clothes and be fashionable again, because apparently in my new body I can only wear leggings and t-shirts, though I love stalking fashion blogs and sites. So I restrict and binge and obsess and am still paralyzed by my orthorexic tendencies. I pride myself on days I subside on fruits, vegetables, and raw chocolate only.

This is a real illness my friends. This is something I comprehend and try to change every day and still cannot convince myself that I have an ounce of worth. Because of this I have decided I will be going to an in-patient facility at the end of the semester. I never went during my anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia, exercise addiction cycles but this new depression that has accompanied the orthorexia and now binging is too great a burden to bare. I can’t fix myself. My parents have tried what they can but like anyone, they have their own issues. They don’t know what to do or how to help; even I don’t at this phase. Therapy isn’t helpful anymore.

My point is that I may hate myself, but I value the life God gave me and will not waste it any longer. I have been blessed with immeasurable gifts and graces and love and will not waste the gifts I have on this Earth. I will do what I have to in order to recover and become the successful and positive woman I am capable of.

Tips:

  • Tell someone. This is so scary, I know. But the people that love you just want to help. They will not judge you and will support you.
  • See a dietician/therapist (I had both for 3.5 years during my weight restoration and recovery) I think this is vital. I have friends with ED’s who are exactly where they were 4 years ago because they honestly think they’re ok.
  • Find a healthy way to cope. Knitting, tennis, piano, my dogs, work. This is how I cope. Find what distracts/helps you.
  • Delete social media. Seriously the biggest thing in my opinion! Especially Instagram! All it is is bloggers and thinspos and fitspos and beauty and unnattainable leisure. How do you NOT compare yourself?! One thing I firmly believe is bio-individuality. We all need different amounts and types of food, exercise, rest, etc. This helped immensely in recovery from anorexia and bulimia for me (and especially exercise addiction.)
  • Do you need to go to a resident facility? I do, ad I’m excited. No really, I researched this place, called them and talked to them and feel confident in their values and approach. Google ED treatment facilities in your state and do some research. Think you can’t afford it? I bet you can! I am a college student and have parents going through a pricey divorce and my sister just had a baby($). I get it, but check with the facility about which insurances they take. Most of these facilities want  you there and take a lot of different policies and agencies. They want you to get better and work hard to make it affordable.

This ended up being a random and very rambly post so I apologize! But these tips are truly what have helped me come as far as I have! Wishing you all love, light, and happiness! You deserve the best!