Thursday, October 11, 2012

Obesity in America

Have you ever considered the word "Obesity" as a word that should be categorized with HIV/AIDS, the Bubonic Plague, Malaria, Polio, Hepatitis B, SARS, smallpox, measles, cholera.....?

Well, the words aforementioned are all notable epidemics, if you didn't catch on. And, if you haven't caught on that OBESITY is joining that crowd of deadly epidemiological threats, you should probably "listen up".

Now, most of you who read this blog know that I am not an advocate for weight loss as much as I am an advocate for healthy body image and the prevention of eating disorders. However, these statistics are alarming and duly notable. If you are obese, I am going to assume you may have trouble with healthy body image. I am also going to assume you may have trouble with things such as anxiety, depression, physical health, interpersonal relationships, etc. By posting this information, I am not suggesting that all Americans need to strive for a specific runway model size. No, not at all. What I am suggesting and more so urging is that Americans take control of what they have control over: their overall health and wellbeing.

Because we are a society that thrives on and lives by a code of instant gratification, we want what we want when we want it and WE WANT IT NOW. We don't have time, nor make the time, to be mindful of what we fuel our bodies with. We take out, we microwave, we eat junk and we eat it on the run, and we order out of fast food windows. Often times, we don't marinate and we don't buy fresh. When we do, we still eat way too fast for our taste buds and our stomachs to enjoy what we've treated them with. We just overstimulate and overstuff and we don't even take the time to like the foods we think are so comforting and satisfying, i.e. whoppers and tacos... yuck! I dare you to eat a whopper really, really slowwwww and I dare you to NOT taste the 5 day old, stale grease that disgustingly coats the roof of your mouth and your tongue. Bleh...

America, we are a fast-paced, instant gratification seeking society. And we are beginning to be a seriously obese one at that. 

Did you know that by 2030, 42% of Americans are projected to be diagnosable as obese with countless others being diagnosed as MORBIDLY obese? 

I'm not suggesting we all starve ourselves and become super models, ok? I am instead strongly encouraging everyone to realize the follow statement:

Recovery is not a perfect road...

This blog was written on July 31, 2012 & speaking of Sunday July 29th 2012. I previously posted this blog, but then deleted it when it caused an unpaid practicum employment spot to be taken from me. I decided maybe it was better to delete it and avoid disclosing my imperfect road due to the consequences I experienced. However, I don't agree with the deletion of the blog. I agree and support everything I wrote in this blog and I stand strong by it. Hence, this re-posting...

I have to come clean...

Sunday night, I became unclean...

I have been (had been) clean from Mia (bulimia) for almost a year and a half, until this past Sunday night...

I have been eating carelessly lately. And, I have gained a couple pounds. Gaining a couple pounds by eating too much dessert isn't what has made me unclean.

Sunday I went to the store to buy a couple dresses and flowing shirts so I could "hide" and "mask" and be okay with the couple pounds I have gained. I was okay with it. I found a couple super cute things and I settled for buying the mediums; I actually felt pretty okay about it.. more okay about it than I thought I would.

I came home and ate a big salad for dinner. I felt okay about that, too. Then I remembered I had some red velvet cake ice cream made by the one and only Ben and Jerry's in my freezer. I thought about the ice cream for a while before I ate it...

I thought about the night before when I ate 1/3 of the carton. To be duly noted is that before I ate that 1/3 carton of the pint of Ben and Jerry's, I had dinner at Blue Martini. I had martinis at Blue Martini, too. I was there a while and got home at about 10:00pm. Before I got home, I stopped at a gas station next to my place. I got a bottle of wine, a clif bar - white chocolate chip, my fave, and as soon as I spotted the red velvet cake Ben and Jerry's, I had to get it.

Recently, a co-worker of mine raved about this ice cream. He and I both have professed our love for red velvet cake! Yum! When he mentioned the ice cream and how delicious it was, I had to get it when I saw it at the gas station.

I got home and decided to just open the wine. I spoke to my fiancé who reassured me that my gaining a couple pounds was A-okay and said I was beautiful. It had been a couple hours since I had the Blue Martini meal, and for some reason, I decided that, YEAH! Its okay if I gain a couple pounds - I will eat!

So, I didn't start with either thing I bought. I warmed up a lean cuisine I had in the freezer. It was about 10:45pm at this point, and I wasn't really hungry. Then I had the clif bar... then I had 1/3 of the ice cream... I was all fired up about being fine, just the way I am... I didn't care.

Then I woke up the next morning - disappointed, feeling guilty, ughh...

I was going to do better today. I decided that, and then I stood up. My head pounded with the martini + wine induced headache I had. There went the spin-class plans I had... not a great start to my "being good" day. I ran some errands eventually. I finished my LAST assignment of the school semester (thank goodness). I ate dinner - another lean cuisine. That lean cuisine filled me up...-said no one ever... I had a bowl of soup, too.

Now we get back to the point at the beginning of this post: "Then I remembered I had some red velvet cake ice cream made by the one and only Ben & Jerry's in my freezer. I thought about the ice cream for a while before I ate it..."

I actually didn't really like the ice cream. It wasn't that good, at all. I love red velvet cake. I love Ben & Jerry's ice cream, but that ice cream was just, ehhh... not impressed.

The point - I didn't even want it. I had thoughts of bringing it into work and giving it to my co-worker who said he loved it. I didn't want to eat it. But, I couldn't stop thinking about it. So, I just took one bite and put it back. And then I took another bite and put it back. And then I put the rest in a bowl and finished it. The whole time, I still thought "I don't even like this".

I finished the pint. For the first time in almost a year and a half, I thought [she thought]: Get rid of it. NOW.

I paced. I walked. I told myself not to. I think I may have even laughed. I reminded myself how long it had been since I haven't. I reminded myself of my #1 ground rule - never, ever again. Ever...

I did it.

I did it and I stared at the toilet. I stared blankly at the red velvet mess I made in the toilet. She was there. She did it - she got rid of it.

I flushed and I walked away without her...

I vowed to myself to never, ever do that again. But, you know what, I had a little accident. I had a momentary set back. I did it...

Just because I did it that night did not mean I had to go back to her; it didn't mean she had to come back to me. Just because I tripped up did not mean I had to make a slow motion fall to my face. I caught myself, I regained my balance, I planted my feet, I wiped my face and lifted my head, and I walked away.

Just because she came back does NOT mean she will take over. I am too strong for her now. And that I will NEVER forget.

I am too strong for you, Mia. Nice try. You lose. I win.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Character over vanity...

" “Fat” is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny?
I’m not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain…I went to the British Book Awards that evening. After the award ceremony I bumped into a woman I hadn’t seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? ‘You’ve lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!’ ‘Well,’ I said, slightly nonplussed, ‘the last time you saw me I’d just had a baby.’ What I felt like saying was, ‘I’ve produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you. Aren’t either of those things more important, more interesting, than my size?’
But no – my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate!
I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons." - J.K Rowling ♥
--Thanks to J.K. Rowling (author of Harry Potter if you don't know and live under a rock) for reaffirming and reassuring all who read this (I hope) that there really are far worse things in life than being "fat" or overweight or not the size of the average but not-so-average-American supermodel for that matter.
I'd rather be passionate, caring, kind, philanthropic, giving and overweight than rude, inconsiderate, negative, conniving, selfish and "skinny".
Priorities, y'all.
Healthy does NOT always mean skinny. And, besides, character over vanity.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mindful Eating - How to & Why to...

Food. What a beautiful thing yet, it can be so full of suffering for some... 

Those of you that know me and this blog know that historically, food has been something I have used to satisfy my mind rather than my appetite. I have also used it to try to fulfill an emotional void... key word: try, because that doesn’t work, by the way.

Food is something funny in our society. It’s funny because it is everywhere and seems to have multiple purposes. Think about it. When was the last time you celebrated, mourned, watched sports, had a “girls night” or “guys night”, had a meeting, attended a seminar or training, greeted a new neighbor, lent a hand to someone who has recently experienced loss... what is a common denominator in all of these varying events and circumstances? Yep, you guessed it... food.

I think a lot of us tend to lose appreciation of the food we consume. We simply skip the appreciation part, and we move right onto consumption. For a lot of people, their food consumption is on-the-go and moves quickly. 

Question: When was the last time you sat down and slowly ate bite by bite, morsel by morsel... when was the last time you actually experienced your food consumption? Ever? Do you even know what I mean by having a “food experience”?

Well, I have a project for you. It is a project I have done several times, and something that is always good to go back to and do again.

A Mindful Eating Experience


Step 1: Set yourself up with a plate of food. It can look like mine above, with a variety of foods, or it can be one meal you absolutely love.

Step 2: Sit down. Get comfortable. Get quiet. You may even want to play some serene and relaxing music while you prepare to truly enjoy and actually taste your food.

Step 3a: Eat one bite, one morsel at a time and do it slowly. Take note of the texture, the smell, the taste, the intensity, the bitter, the sweet, the sour, the savory... take note of every single aspect of each and every bite. 

Step 3b: Notice how you experience the food differently this way. Notice what you notice about the food items that you might not have noticed before. Pay attention to how this experience of eating is different from most times you consume the same or similar food items. Were there food items you didn’t enjoy as much as you thought you would? Were there food items you enjoyed more than you ever have before?

Step 4: Notice how you experience satisfaction. Notice how you feel as far as becoming full or feeling as though you have had enough and feel satisfied. Did you eat more than usual? DId you eat less than usual?

Step 5: How do you feel after your mindful eating experience?

I encourage you to take notes during this time. I encourage you to do this as often as possible. And, I encourage you to remember your feelings and your experience when you are in a time where you might feel more out of control in your eating, or when you feel you might be eating to quickly or to “on-the-go”. 

I challenge you to consider how you can take this experience and use the memories and what you have learned about what being mindful can do for your overall experience and enjoyment with food.

Don’t just eat food. Enjoy food. 

Enjoying food is a whole lot more fulfilling the chewing and swallowing...

---> Stay tuned for the next blog on my own Mindful Eating Experience!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy - my go-to approach in treating eating disorders... this is why

This blog is a discussion post I submitted for a class in my graduate program called Counseling Theories and Practice. I thought some might find it of interest... Our professor posed a question:

-What is the main theory you would choose as a framework for practice? Why?
a) How does this theory reflect your beliefs about human nature; what makes people "tick"?
b) How does this theory reflect your personal style, qualities, strengths, and values?

This is how I answered:

    The theory I most gravitate towards when thinking of my goal as a future Eating Disorder and Body Image therapist is Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy. Eating disordered thought revolve around faulty thinking, catastrophizing cycles, and self-destructive emotions. The words “should, ought, must” are staples in the vocabulary of a disordered eater. Because of their irrational beliefs and standards, they set themselves up for failure; when they do fail, it is an utter catastrophe in their eyes.
     I fully agree with the statement in the text on p.251 that "people's cognitions are the primary source of their difficulties." In order to get someone to think more rationally, distorted thoughts have to be identified, evaluated, disputed and changed in order to facilitate a switch in perspective from irrational to rational in order to improve resulting emotions and behaviors. Albert Ellis developed an easily approachable solution that a therapist would initially teach a client to use so the client can continue on to self-treat throughout their lives. This, of course, is the ABCDEF Method in which irrational belief systems are disputed and the client can recognize that they ultimately have the choice. 
     I like that REBT goes further than that though as well. REBT recognizes that frustration tolerance is key to being able to cope as it stresses that life will not always go as planned. No kidding, right? This is needed to avoid catastrophizing and becoming easily disappointed. For example, in the eating disorder world, one might attempt to restrict. This makes for high levels of anxiety in their pursuit of “being good”. Once the restrictor fails to restrict by overeating or “binging”, extreme, awfulized and catastrophic beliefs take over which cause depression, anger, disappointment, guilt, etc. I thoroughly believe that if an eating disordered individual is taken through the steps in the ABCDEF model, they can restructure by disputing their irrational and catastrophic beliefs which will allow them to recognize they have a choice in how to label their beliefs. In turn, they can build a more rational belief system and develop new feelings and behaviors which can ultimately stop their eating disordered cycle.
    One of the three levels of insight described in the text states, "The insight to see that we choose to upset ourselves" (p.255).  REBT also recognizes that we, as individuals, always have a choice. Once a client can recognize their irrationality and distorted beliefs, they can choose an alternative and rational thought. Once someone is able to process their phenomenological view and how it may involve some irrationality, they can become their own therapist and dispute faulty thinking and live a much more serene and positive life in the present and future.
    My idea regarding human nature is certainly that all people are innately good. I am a firm believer that societal standards and negative life experiences can make any person lose sight of rationality and an ability to self-control. I believe that when one sets absolutes (shoulds, oughts, musts) about themselves or their lives, they are setting themselves up for failure. Failure, irrationality and recurring awfulizing thoughts make people tick, and jerk, and spaz... Once the sight of logic is lost, so is the nondefeating, appropriate and rational mind.
    As a future eating disorder therapist, the theory of REBT reflects my values, strengths and qualities in many ways. On a personal level, I have suffered through an eating disorder and I know very well the irrationality surrounding it’s perpetual cycle. My strengths are reflected in the sense that I will have the ability to be patient with a client in this disputation process. I feel as though I am good at educating clients and pointing out self-defeating thought processes empathetically. My personal style, in fact, is based around education. I thoroughly believe that if a client has not learned something in therapy, simply talking about their problems and faulty beliefs won’t make a bit of difference. In fact, it could make them worse off. Education is needed to promote recovery or problem solving. And, education and awareness are needed to promote prevention of relapse or future problems.
    Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy; although it is similar to cognitive therapy, I prefer the structure involved in the disputation process of REBT. I will bring disordered eaters into recovery with this theory, of this I am certain.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sorry, I am NOT sorry my legs are bigger than my arms!

Ever heard of "skinny jeans"? Sure you have...

Well, just how "skinny" do you have to be to fit into some of these "skinny jeans"? Here, I'll show you with the help of Dr. Dae Sheridan (

This photo was taken at a JC Penney's department store. And these are your average "skinny jeans" displayed on your average mannequin.


Do we NOT see what media, advertisements and society is doing to our psyche?!

What might your average teenage girl think when she walks down this aisle at JC Penney's? She'll probably think - "hmmm, I think I'd like a pair of those "skinny jeans"!" So, this same average teenager will likely grab her size and try them on. What do you think happens to the average teenager who tries on these "skinny jeans"?

I will tell you from my historical point of view because, like many other teenage girls out there, I had definitely been there before!

I will likely grab what I think is my size, probably about a 6, and I will grab a room. In this room, I will be faced by a horribly large mirror with horribly bright lights. I will probably be analyzing how horrible I feel about my lower half as I undress, even before attempting to try on these "skinny jeans". I'll slip in one leg, and I won't be able to pull it over my quadricep. I probably won't even attempt to include my other leg in this "try" cause I quickly know the result. I will pull them off and think, ughhh... I am not skinny enough - why can't I ever fit into these skinny jeans!? Everyone is wearing them, but I can't. I am too fat.

You know what historically came after that?

Guilt ----> Sadness ----> Unworthiness ----> Disgust ----> Low(no) self-esteem ----> Eating Disorder

Those, like me, who just so happen to have legs bigger than their arms will try to fit into this "skinny jean" style and end up feeling disappointed, feeling like there is something wrong with them, feeling inadequate and guilty.

Then they will diet, feel bad about themselves, think they are fat, etc, etc... you know what comes then? Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, wickedly low self-esteem... all thanks to society and its ridiculously absurd, media blasted, seriously unrealistic "skinny jean" standards!

Sure - some girls are naturally this thin. *SOME* - a few girls are naturally this size. 
And, to touch base on the other side of the equation, there are definitely girls out there that are depressed and feel unworthy just the same because they CAN'T gain weight... But, COME ON MEDIA... if I can easily recognize both sides, can't you!?!

These advertisements are for the general public; they are not just for *some* girls who are that size. Last time I checked, the average, general American girl has legs quite a bit larger than her forearm. 

Media, fashion, advertisement companies, magazines, modeling companies, etc... can you PLEASE acknowledge the general pubic in which you are trying to sell to. There is way more than one size - can you PLEASE lay off the "skinny jean" side.

Newsflash: America is full of Americans, not mannequins most likely mass-produced in China! And, OUR LEGS ARE BIGGER THAN OUR ARMS!!

SORRY, I am NOT sorry my legs are bigger than my arms!!

**Sign a petition HERE in regards to JC Penney's and other stores using more realistic mannequins!**

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

When I needed her, showering was the perfect excuse...

Showering was the perfect excuse...

I usually ate before I showered. If I ate before I showered, I'd be able to sneak away and use the noise of the shower to her benefit. The bathroom fan was perfect as an extra buffer to her quick, but grotesque release.

I particularly remember coming home late to my BBW (previously mentioned-long time HS/college sweetheart). I'd usually have to-go food for he and I, just the way he liked it. I didn't like it. I knew before I placed the order what was likely to happen...

I'd get home. Sometimes I helped prepare his plate. He'd be anxious and ready to eat; he had already smoked undoubtedly. Then it was my turn. I'd smoke marijuana as a quick and hot inhaled escape. I always wanted to escape. I wanted to escape from my feelings. I wanted to escape from the ones I already had and from the feelings I knew were coming. I'd smoke so I wouldn't feel so guilty about eating the food I'd brought home. Likely, I had eaten something around the Outback Steakhouse during my serving shift. I probably wasn't even really, literally hungry. I certainly wasn't thinking "Eat to Live!" Nah, the alternative.

I'd initially plan on eating half, eating less Outback bread, no dessert if I brought it home... Those plans sometimes (most times) go right out the window along with the smoke bled from the blunt. I would eat too much. I would, in the least, feel like I ate too much. Regardless, between the munchies and my ruthless mind, thoughts of eating most likely continued...

This is where purging came in to play... If I "got rid" of some, I'd have room for more. Or, if I got rid of some and refrained from giving into the compulsions of continuously consuming led by such a ruthless mind, I would win. I wouldn't be in trouble. I wouldn't be bad. i wouldn't be fat, guilty, disgusting, ugly... I would have escaped it. I already mentioned, I always wanted to escape. So...

I wouldn't always purge, but when I did, showering was the perfect excuse. I'd wait to shower until after I ate. As mentioned, I could get away with a lot with that background noise; she got away with a lot.

I can't quite describe it; those of you don't know Mia may never believe it anyway. But, I will try. Its like this panic. This panic that you know you have the answer in calming. This panic was led by a voice, figuratively speaking. This voice set a panic inside of me - in mind, in body. She, her, Mia... she would encourage me and tell me just do it. She would tell me it will fix everything. She wouldn't let up and she would definitely not let me get up if I made it to my knees, not without doing it.

Sometimes I'd make it out alive. Sometimes I would die a little more inside. Either way, I was guilty, and I felt that way. I either ate too much. Or I ate too much and threw it up. It was always lose, lose.

She surely served her purpose. That is certainly why I kept her around for so long. Wait... did I keep her? Or did she keep me?

Lets be honest. If you won't, I will. I kept her around. I never sent her an initial invite. I definitely didn't throw her a welcoming party. But, once I got to know her, I needed her. I wanted her.

You see, I lived a life of living to eat. But, it wasn't because I wanted to live that way. A part of me wants to say I don't know how it got to be that way, but a part of me knows I could write 10, 20 blogs that give pretty decent reasons and lead ups to eventually inviting her in. I didn't have control; I couldn't grab onto control with food. I wanted to so badly, but I couldn't do it. She helped me control. I finally found a way to control food. She was ugly and she was destructive and she was mean. But, I loved her. Like the best friend you always want to be around, I didn't know how to live without her after a while.

So, surely, she served her purpose. And that is certainly why I kept her around for so long... for 8 years so long.

Besides, who was I without she. At some point, I had forgotten. My life before her was a blur and life without her was something I could no longer imagine. Like life without a lover, friend, family member... I couldn't imagine life without her.

So, when I wanted her around, when I needed her around, showering (and maybe a little bit of pot) was the perfect excuse.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

She's Gone...

I'm watching the fights
(although I don't like the fights).
I've had a couple of drinks.
I've prepared some homemade guacamole;
And, fresh salsa with mango & cilantro.
I made sautéed chicken and rigatoni;
spicy arrabbiata marinara sauce.
I put out the dips,
with some tortilla chips;
And, I got honey roasted peanuts
for the guys.
The moral of the story is:
She's not here.


Who is she?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Do It Anyway ~ Mother Teresa

I just love this more than words can say:

NO girl/woman is better than another!

Like your curves or your sleekness all you want. I encourage it! Like yourself; LOVE yourself!

EVERYONE and EVERY woman should LOVE themselves.

with that being said...

Curvy girls are better than skinny girls!?!?

I was absolutely appalled at myself today when I found that I "liked" this page on Facebook. Please duly note, I am NOT advertising or endorsing this page by posting it's link. In fact, I am doing the OPPOSITE.

--What I do endorse and strongly encourage is two-fold:

(1) EVERY single woman should love themselves. If YOU don't love yourself, how can anyone else love you? In fact, if you don't love yourself, how can you love anyone else?

(2) EVERY single woman should respect other women. If we don't respect each other, why should men, our bosses, our kids or anyone else? Lead by example ladies - you, and you, and you, and I - we are NO better than each other.

--What I challenge is for every one of you to look into what you "like" and endorse, in life and on Facebook. If you are a fan of the mentioned page or any like it, I challenge you to make the choice to respect your gender - unlike it!

Kindness goes a much longer way than judgement, ladies & gents.

Curvy girls are NOT "better than" skinny girls --> coming from a "curvy" girl.
Curvy girls are NOT "less than" skinny girls, either --> still coming from a "curvy" girl.

This page and others like it are nothing less than ignorant and disgusting BULLYING.

STOP being a bully. STOP being judgmental. STOP being a...

Let's start a new trend - repeat after me:


Thursday, June 21, 2012

I just want to eat -- food is NOT the enemy.

Food is something I still think about during a lot of my time.
What to eat, what not to eat... when to eat, when not to eat... I still think about food and eating it a lot.
The main and amazing and humbling difference now is that I don’t ever even consider purging it. Never. I will never again force myself to purge. It is a firm and solid pact I have made with myself. Ya know why? Because, if I ever go there again, I really don’t know what would happen. I don’t know what cycle or whirlwind it would cause. So, I just am never, ever, ever doing it again. Ever.
I still, however, think of eating when I know I don’t need to, when I’m not at all hungry and sometimes even when I am fully aware that I am full, or if I know I have already eaten enough calorically and possibly then some for the day. The thoughts of food still linger and build in my mind. I’m not gonna lie - it still, to this day, is bothersome sometimes.
Sometimes like...
When I have an “event” coming up, I think about what not to eat. I think about making sure I am “good” and I think about trying to be sure I make the effort or time to make it to the gym. I think about what not to eat, what to burn and what to avoid so that I can look my “best”.
When the “event” is over, I think about freedom - freedom from having to be mindful and keep myself in check. After an event, finally, I am free. I can eat whatever I want because I don’t have any pressure to “look good” for anything. I have leeway because I don’t have any “event” that I HAVE to “look good” for right now or soon to come.
But, Freedom - freedom to just eat, to Eat to Live... I haven’t gotten there yet. 
But, like I say on the information panel of my blog:
I am a work in progress. Just like life, some days are better than others, and I have to work to succeed. This work is necessary and worthwhile! I think it is possible to go from Living to Eat to the healthy alternative, Eating to Live! This is my testimony and my story.
I am not going to lie to you, fans. I am not going to lie to myself either. Honesty and integrity are key for someone trying to recover or maintain recovery from an ED. So, I will be honest with myself here and therefore, I will be honest with you, too.
I am not there yet. Sometimes I am, but not always.
I find that when I have the best and most “normal” Eating to Live freedom is when I am able to get to the gym on a semi-regular basis. If I can do spin and get my cardio in maybe 3 times per week at least, I can eat to live. I guess this takes away most of my fear about gaining? Makes sense... 
I will also admit that when I work out, I am not thinking “Yes Jessica, this is so good for your heart and your health. Great Job!” 
When I work out I think, “this makes it all okay... this makes eating okay... everything will be okay... even if I gain or am not “perfect”, I am making an effort and thats all I will require from myself.”
Hmm... I guess the statement is semi-healthy. Yes, I said semi-... I know part of that statement is irrational and catastrophic. But, the other part of it, the leniency is my requirements of myself, is fantastic coming from me! That is marked improvement from a couple years back, trust me.
I still realize that when I can’t work out, I end up feeling slightly hopeless sometimes, honestly. I think instead of allowing myself to maintain this depressing feeling of hopelessness, I translate it into self-approved and self-directed, OK’d-apathy. When I feel like it doesn’t even really matter what I eat this week because I can’t try to work any of it off, I admittedly am practicing purposeful apathy. When I think, “well, If I can’t work off anything I eat, well then what the hell? I might as well just take a “break” and eat”
---> meet my coping mechanism = Apathy.
Sometimes I still eat to “cheat”. Sometimes I still have “cheat” days... days that I think, “hmmm... what is really good? What do I normally not eat. I should just go ahead and eat that today. I’ll just eat it today and not care... tomorrow I’ll care... next week I’ll care again.”
But, I do care. I care everyday. No matter how hard I try to play apathetic, I care.
I will wake up in the morning and look in the mirror - I look sideways in the mirror - I examine what the food I ate “did to me”.
You know what’s amazing though? You know what keeps me on that recovery trail? 
My gosh - it is AMAZING how forgiving my body can be. It is amazing how forgiving my body can be when I punch apathy in the face, start caring again, and treat my body with a little respect.
Well, guess what
...your body will forgive you, too. 
No matter what, your body will never leave you. Your body will never abandon you and your body will always forgive you. Always.
Weight is not permanent. Anyone can gain a few pounds, sure. But, everyone can also lose those few pounds, too. Both are just as possible!
Food does NOT have to be my enemy, and it doesn’t have to be yours. Even though I think of food often and you might, too, food is not the enemy. 
Even though food still takes its toll on my thoughts some days, I KNOW that food is NOT the enemy. 
Food is NOT the enemy. 
I’lll tell you the truth, I might be my own enemy and you might be yours sometimes. But, food has never been and it will never be the enemy. It’s just food.
I can wake up and fear that the food I ate will have overnight made me into some terribly horrendous and unworthy, grotesque monster. But, the mirror doesn’t lie folks. Before I looked in the mirror, I was lying - I was lying through catastrophic irrationality. Because even when I might be bloated from eating a “bit” too much the day before, I still never have found any grotesque monster staring back at me in the mirror [unless maybe I forgot to take off my dramatic eye-look make up :)] And, even if I do gain a couple pounds from being “lax” and taking a “break” and “cheating” and eating “forbidden” foods... eating healthy and well and doing some normal work outs can bring me right back to me. Avoiding the cycle and the pressure and the ridiculousness of being crazy hard on myself can shift me right back into “normal”. can bring you back, too.
**There are 2 things I think ALL sufferers or people who are just plain hard on themselves when it comes to their bodies and/or food consumption need to BELIEVE:


OK- wait... one more really, really important thing:

Your weight is not your worth because your worth is immeasurable. is NOT the enemy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Talking to, hearing from & forgiving ED - the empty chair experience.

I just left the class in which I had a chance to speak to her. I spoke about this proposed conversation during my previous blog entry, Talking to ED via the empty chair. [I never do this, but I would prefer for the readers to read that blog entry before this one]. As you have hopefully read in Talking to ED via the empty chair, I told you I was going to talk to her. I was going to tell ED that, although I appreciate her for all of the incomparable things she has done for me, I hate her.

In case you didn't know, I refer to my eating disorder in the third person - I explain this more in another blog that I will quote from below [Blogging in the 3rd person]:

"It is easier for me to speak of her as someone separate from myself because I feel she is truly another person. Her obsessive tendencies compared to my go with the flow attitude; her depressive outlook compared to my positive, self-actualizing outlook; her fake smile compared to mine aglow; her timid voice compared to mine in confidence ...its all so different. Like a she compared to a ME."

I still have so much anger towards my eating disorder, towards her. I desperately want to let that anger go so I can truly let her go. I want to be ME, I no longer want to even know her. I need to tell her that I hate her and I need to forgive her. I need to do this so I can allow myself to completely let go of her. She no longer serves me and I no longer want to serve her.

Well, today was the day I spoke to her using the empty chair technique I mentioned in Talking to ED via the empty chair. Although I did speak to her openly and truly, I have more to say. I have more to say and more to let out; I want to involve my readers.

Before I get into what I have to say to her, I have to first thank my readers. After the exercise I will summarize and expand on below, I immediately felt a need to write about it. I immediately felt a need to write about it so you could experience it with me. I feel connected to my readers and I feel that my best therapy comes from opening up to you - whoever you are. And for that, I could never thank you enough.

A preface to the Empty Chair:

Before I began to speak to my eating disorder, my group members and I sat in a circle. My faux-therapist brought up that he felt I may have some unresolved issues with my eating disorder and invited me to speak to her, to tell her how I feel. He asked me to speak to the chair he moved in front of me as if it were her. He invited me to tell her exactly how I feel, right now, today, in this moment... to tell her.

Maybe you won't be surprised, but it is easier for me to get my complete thoughts out in writing rather than aloud. The following is what I told them, and then some. The following is what I have been wanting to tell her for quite some time...

Empty Chair - commence:

It's been a long time since you completely consumed me. I have been clean from you for well over a year now. When I talk about you, I almost always praise you. I praise you for all you have done for me. I praise you for the first hand knowledge I have because of you. Because of my experience with you, I know the inner workings of and the inner struggles caused by being consumed by you.
I know the reality of you and I know the realness of the pain and torment and guilt and shame and exhaustion that comes with you. I know what its like to have to hide you from the world; I know what it's like to be deathly afraid of your reveal; it is terrifying to know that someone might catch on to you.

Because of this, I know what it is like to live in a complete and elusive facade. 
Because of you, I am able to truly understand and relate to those who suffer or have suffered from a disorder like you. This experience and my ability to truly understand is something money cannot buy and textbooks cannot teach. I have an advantage now because of you. And for that, I endlessly appreciate you. I appreciate having known you and I believe you were in my life for an indisputable and divine purpose, reason and cause...

I am so humbled by the knowledge and purpose you have brought to my life. I am truly so thankful for that.

I hate you.
As much as I appreciate you, I still hate you... 
I hate you for the standards you put on me.
I hate you for the pressures you put on me to be perfect - whatever that means.
I hate you for setting me up for failure with those standards and with that pressure. You set me up, every time.
I hate you for the shame and the guilt, the sadness and the anger and all the cyclical bullshit you put me through.

I hate you for trapping me in your vicious cycle for so long. I hate that when I wanted to escape, you drowned me with your bullshit. You drowned me with your wicked thoughts and your horrible feelings of unworthiness. I hate that I was never good enough for you and your standards.

I hate you for my sophomore year of college in which you encouraged me to starve in preparation for your binging and purging. I was happier barely eating, by the way.

I hate you even more for the day I will never, ever forget - the day I snapped.
I hate you for this day in which you ate and I didn't. I remember what you ate. I remember what you were wearing. I remember looking at you from what seemed to be outside of my own body. 
I snapped and I lost control. I snapped and I lost myself to you. I lost control; you took it from me. I hate you for the first time YOU ate - binged - and I suffered. I hate you for this first time in which I purged. I hate you for the temporary euphoria and incomparable control you provided me with during this first purge. 

I hate you even more for abandoning me afterwards. You took your euphoria and my control with you; you left me there, on the floor of my bathroom. You left me in shame and disgusted. You left me completely confused and totally devastated, feeling paralyzed, exhausted and broken. I hate you for leaving me there alone with my tears. I hate you even more for coming back - I hate you for your continuation of this brutal cycle for a period of 8 whole years.
I hate you for all the precious time and times I lost because of you.
I hate you for the friends I lost. I hate you for all the moments I lost out on with the friends who stayed.
I hate you for the relationship you helped ruin with my then loved-one and boyfriend. I hate that you kept me from my ability to be intimate with him. I hate that I felt so unattractive that I couldn't possibly allow him to be close to me, to touch me, to love me, nothing. Because of you, I was incapable of loving or being loved. I hate that I hated myself because of you.
I hate you for making me lose so many moments, days, experiences with my sorority sisters. I hate you for making me lose relationships with my sisters, particularly with my little sisters, in my sorority. I hate that I wasn't there when I should have been - you were the culprit of my sell outs. I hate you for making me not want to leave the confines of my house because I was exhasuted or felt disgusting because I had binged and/or purged or because I felt the obsessive need and the urge to do so. I hate that I neglected my sisters and my responsibilities of my sorority because of you. I hate that I was incapable of true or lasting connections and bonds with my sisters because I was consumed by you.

[*To my sorority little sisters, Hillary and Shannon, whom I am no longer close with but will always adore - I am so sorry. I am sorry I didn't keep up with you and keep a close relationship with you... I regret it. I wish I could have remained more apart of your lives, especially your recent weddings. You are both wonderful, and I love you. AOT Love.*]

I hate you for the way you made me feel. I hate that I didn't want to get dressed or socialize because of the exhaustion and disgust in which you made me feel. I hate you for the weight I gained and lost, gained and lost, gained and lost... I hate you for not allowing me to feel comfortable in my own clothes or in my own body - ever.

I hate you for the alcohol I drank and the pot I smoked in attempt to cope with you. I hate that even when I decided that I wanted to avoid or get rid of you and be strong, I allowed alcohol and pot to enable you to easily walk right back into my life. I hate all the times I smoked to feel better about your binge. I hate all the times I drank to feel better about your purge and the depression, hopelessness and loneliness your binge-purge came with.
I hate you for the unhealthy relationships and the one night stands I have had because of you. I hate that I lived to seek approval - I hate you for all of my approval seeking behaviors and all the consequences and the guilt and shame that came with them.

I hate you for encouraging me to steal [Bulimia and petit thievery]. I hate you for encouraging me to lie about it just to keep you a secret and remain living in the facade you forced me to create.

I hate that I was never-ever-ever good enough for you. I hate that I still, at times, do not feel good enough because of my history with you.

I hate you for the continuous body checking behaviors I participate in because of the fear you have instilled in me. I hate that I fear what the mirror will reflect back at me. I hate that, every morning, the first thing I do is look in the mirror. It's as if I am scared that overnight, I may turn into some grotesque kind of alien. I fear that no matter how 'good' or 'bad' I was the day before, I might look in and see something completely ugly and unworthy.

I hate you for the fear I have that when someone looks at me, I wonder what might be wrong with me. I hate that you made it so hard for me to ever take in and believe a compliment.

I hate you the most for making me believe that I am unworthy. I hate you the most for teaching me and demanding that I base my worth on my weight and on my appearance. And I fucking hate that I still do that... I still base part of my value and my worth on those things.
For all of these things, I hate you.

Deep Inhale...

                        Slow Exhale...


I told her...
Wow - as overwhelming as all of the above is to say and think and read - what a relief.
Finally, I told her...

-So, here is where my therapist stepped back in:
"Why don't you switch chairs with your eating disorder... Would you be willing to sit in her chair and tell yourself what you would want your eating disorder to tell you?"

From ED to ME:

(I imagine ED would speak to me in the familiar, sweet voice that belongs to one of the sweetest women who I have ever known - Mrs. Vicki Wasson. She calls me Sweet Jessica, and so shall ED.)

Sweet Jessica, I am sorry.

Sweet Jessica, you are good enough; in fact, you are better than that. The good things you do and the caring, thoughtful person that you are is better than good.

Sweet Jessica, you no longer have to listen to me or get trapped in my viscious cycles. I release you.
 Sweet Jessica, I'd like for you to forgive me. I want you to forgive me not because I deserve it, but because you do.

Sweet Jessica, I will never bother you or control you again; only remember me for the passionate purpose in which I have served you.

 Sweet Jessica, I want you to forgive me. Please forgive me.

Goodbye, sweet Jessica.

My reaction to her words:
I wasn't sure what my reaction was at the end of this empty chair experience. I wasn't sure at the time and I wasn't ready to figure it out yet. I wanted to reflect on it and I wanted to get more out - I did that here, with my readers.
When I told my group my reactions, I simply said it felt good to hear her say I didn't have to listen to her anymore. My words from her to me were different in class today. After reflecting and getting out all of my feelings of hatred that I have or have had towards her, I feel as though her reply would be genuine as reflected above. I feel as though she would be empathetic and release me.
I prefer the feedback I got from her above. I believe the feedback; I believe her. I believe that I no longer have to be afraid of her or of my past with her. I feel as though she would release me from the bondage in which I was tied under for so long. I feel as though she would know that I am worthy and that I do not deserve her or her sufferings.


I forgive you, ED.
I forgive you not because I think highly of you, but because I think highly of ME.
I forgive you not because you deserve it, I forgive you because I deserve it.
I forgive you...

*Special Shout Out to my love and future husband, Galo - my number 1 fan. I know, in your eyes, my beauty is unfading and true. I love you.*