Where I’m at

 

Yes, I am still alive.

No, I am not quitting blogging or recovery.

Yes, I am taking a new direction with a new blog.

No, I’m not leaving this one entirely.

Why the change?

…At some point, I don’t want my life to be about what I eat and how much I exercise. For lots of “health bloggers”, that’s what they need to blog about. That’s awesome. For me, sticking with that kind of a blog means sticking with a lot of focus on food and exercise, which is really not compatible with me eradicating (yes, that’s a SERIOUS word for an even more SERIOUS goal) my ED. I don’t want to be KIND OF better. I want to be so much better that I don’t really have any desire to reflect on what I ate for breakfast, unless of course it was remarkable or something. I want to be so excited about things that my work out isn’t the main focus of my day.

Yes, this is an identity change and no, I’m not really feeling comfortable with it. There’s something to be said for “faking it ’til you make it”.

Sure, a year from now I could be 102019019 pounds heavier, out of shape, and totally regretting not working out this morning. But you know what, I don’t think that will happen. Here we go… (you know when I break out the point form I feel like I’m on to something and just need to get it out):

  • I have not been working out first thing in the morning. I know there’s a quote along the lines of “I have to work out first thing in the morning, before my brain knows what I’m doing.” I think I was guilty of this, except it was before the part of me that wants to be healthy could speak up. This week, mostly because I want to feel better (but also because I thought I was getting a cold), I’ve been sleeping in, letting the day unfold, and exercising in the evening (if I feel like it). This is SUPREMELY uncomfortable for my eating disorder, but has given me more energy to do my readings, volunteering, and to figure all of this out. Today, I don’t think there’s going to be time for a work out. I was up at 5:00am. Coulda shoulda (NOT) woulda went to the gym. Too bad I spent the last three hours sorting out a lot of things I’ve been worried about and figuring a lot out instead.
  • I’m banking on the fact that this will get easier. I can refer back to a post about not bingeing and just having some chocolate from months ago and I could be frustrated with myself for being in the same place last night AND the night before, or I could realize that sometimes fighting a battle once is not enough.  I’ve had a chocolate bar two nights in a row. You know what? That’s better than picking at junk (or healthy food, or whatever) all night long and feeling bad for it. Maybe if I eat dessert every single day I’ll realize it’s okay and then I won’t feel so much emotion around it. What I know for sure is that what I’ve done in the past — restrict, binge, restrict, binge, etc. — has gotten me to a very crappy place. I have no choice but to try something new.
  • Giving up now would be easy. I feel bloated. I feel guilty for eating chocolate and for not going to the gym. But I’d feel worse if I let myself fall back into my disordered habits. They’re a distraction. Sorry, ED, I want to think about bigger things. I might be behind (fifth year of undergrad, still figuring it out) but I am getting back on track.
  • I put in my two weeks notice at lululemon. I know it’s an amazing job, FOR SOMEONE WHO WANTS IT. I know what I want: to go for it in terms of grad school, writing, and being someone different.
  • Without so much going on, I thought I’d feel empty. I think I’m starting to realize just how full life can be, if you let it! Someone told me you need to make SPACE for recovery. You need to get rid of the old things, wonder who you are, and then fill those spaces with something better.
  • We aren’t meant to be fat. Not working out won’t make you fat. Eating meals and snacks won’t make you fat. Everyone wants us to think that this isn’t the case, but that’s wrong. Stop living in fear. Read this article by someone with some letters after their name if you don’t believe ME.
  • So many of my friends open up to me about how they want to stop hating on their bodies, about how they are frustrated with their bodies, or about how they are sick of living in fear of food, bingeing, etc. — this makes me SO sad (don’t interpret this as me wanting you to stop, just know that it KILLS me to hear people down on themselves because you guys are SO FREAKING BEAUTIFUL). When do you decide that you are in fact happier, in control enough to feel “safe”, etc. friends? How do you define “success” and why can’t instead of deciding that you will be happy when you stop bingeing or when you get to a certain weight/can see your six pack, deal with the fact that you’re basing your happiness on your body. To each their own, but I am not going to sugar coat it for you: I think until you realize that how much you weigh or how you look is so petty and you need to redefine your happiness to be based on SOMETHING MORE than that, you’re going to be unsatisfied. Coming from someone who has been every weight under the sun, I can tell you that being thin doesn’t make you happy. Being “jacked” won’t bring you joy if your life is still empty. What’s your real dream? I bet it has nothing to do with how you look. Do you need a six pack to be awesome? No.
  • I hate this quote: “You’ll never regret a workout.” No, but you might regret not going out with your friends. You might regret making yourself sick. You might regret an hour lost that you could have spent studying, sleeping, hanging out with friends, doing whatever it is that REALLY makes you happy.
  • I have a vision of where I want to be: working out in ways that make me happy (trail running, spinning, doing yoga, maybe lifting weights, perhaps taking up cross country skiing)  a couple of times a week. NOT every day. NOT rain or shine. Something about this and the way society applauds this makes me feel guilty. And makes everyone feel guilty. I know it’s not going to be easy to fight, but I refuse to believe that we have to feel bad about ourselves or force ourselves to exercise. We could walk more, couldn’t we? We could take the stairs, couldn’t we? We could focus on eating more of the food that is GOOD FOR US and worry less about avoiding things that we think are “bad”, couldn’t we?
  • I see a fork in the road: one, I go down and am an Ironwoman (I think this might be me admitting the this is ED’s dream) and another where I am a journalist. Yes, life is not an either or all or nothing kind of thing. Maybe I am a journalist who competes in triathlon for fun. But I need to put my focus on the things that I want instead of focusing on what ED says is better.
My focus: not on the pounds I could gain from not working out or from eating an extra candy bar but on the freedom, the power, and the momentum that deciding to change gives me. On the possibility I am creating by giving myself the space and the freedom to decide that I don’t have to be an obsessive exerciser, a yo yo dieter, whatever and on the things I want: to work for the Gazette, to be a great friend, to be an inspiration because I don’t let any remnant of ED into my life, and to go to grad school for journalism. So exciting it’s scary.
When you feel like you want to give up, just remember that you are worth it. You deserve to be better. You deserve everything you’ve ever wanted. Easier said than done, but it’s important to remind yourself of that every single day.
a reminder from a friend, greatly appreciated
Sorry for the novel, folks. I had a lot to catch you up on.

 

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4 responses to “Where I’m at

  1. WOW! Great post Cheryl! Thank you for putting into words what I think

  2. This is really introspective, Cheryl, and I wish you the best of luck! When I read this part, specifically: “I’ve had a chocolate bar two nights in a row. You know what? That’s better than picking at junk (or healthy food, or whatever) all night long and feeling bad for it. Maybe if I eat dessert every single day I’ll realize it’s okay and then I won’t feel so much emotion around it…” what I hear there is a lot of fear, but as you get healthier that fear will disappear and I promise you a chocolate bar will neither be scary or impossible to resist, it will just be a chocolate bar.

  3. Cheryl,
    Thank you for being so honest and inspiring! you make me want to be a better person and follow MY dreams instead of doing what everyone else expects me to be.
    A couple of years ago I was big into restricting, eating basically carrots, rice, apples, and water at times…luckily it didn’t get to the point that I needed treatment but I did discover that even when I lost weight I wasn’t really happy. I thought that losing weight would make me happy and make the boy I loved love me back even more…nope……didn’t happen….all it did was make me sick, mentally and physically. I still find myself feeling guilty for silly things like drinking juice instead of water because juice has calories but I do indulge and have learned not to feel guilty for it.
    Thanks for your candidness! I really miss you and hope we can keep in touch. I’m still in London if you want to get together for a movie or a coffee!

    oxo, Marisa

  4. BEAUTIFUL! Brought me to tears xoxo love you

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