After all this time.

I can’t believe I didn’t see it before.

I’ve talked about these voices (I mean self critic, I’m not hearing voices). Let’s just be clear, it’s my inner voice that I’m talking about. But this self critic who has been holding me back, the one I’ve deemed my dad’s voice, is really myself. And I know that, but I’ve trained myself into being the biggest and worst bully of them all. All of those people who harassed me and made me believe I wasn’t good enough, has really trained me to be my biggest bully. I am my biggest bully. WTF.

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What (almost) just happened?

First of all, getting married, while in recovery from an eating disorder is bullshit. I’m going to write more about this in another post when I have more time to think about it, and also insert some really positive words of wisdom.

What it has done though, has allowed me to reevaluate where I am in my life, and what I could be doing better at.

What transpired was my first dress fitting. My undergarment wouldn’t fit. I was mortified and upset. I breathed through it, decided I was going to loose 10lbs, and ran my mind through circles. Okay….. I have to pre warn you that I didn’t spiral so bad, it just felt like it. I just felt this sense of urgency. In less than 100 days I will be getting married. Fuuuuuuckk.

The re-evaluation was just an evaluation of where I was at mentally, how I was spending my time and what I was eating. I also started working out… this week it’s been 2x, but more recently I’ve just been trying to move my body more in general.

So what happened, or almost happened but didn’t… I didn’t give up an I encouraged myself along the way. I said you’ve got this, you can to this, to myself over and over.

I don’t mean to go off topic for a second, but remember how I wrote about my picking problem before? —- well anyway I was laying on the ground, doing a leg exercise, my belly popped out. I kept exercising, but noticed an inperfection on my belly, where I had something that seemed pickable. I started to touch it, and then what happens next totally surprised me…. I stopped. I looked at my belly and said picking will not make this better, and it doesn’t temporarily make anything better. I mean, logically we know this.

I just feel really proud of myself in those moments and it suddenly became really easy to be nice to myself. It feels good to be loved by myself.

It’s a small victory, but pretty impactful in the process.

I FORGOT ABOUT FOOD

I forgot there was a bag of chips in the cupboard.

As someone who has been so obsessed in the past, and would know everything that was in the cupboard at all times. —I can’t believe how much I’ve recovered and how much I’ve changed.

I remember living with my friend who had food in her house, so much so it was overwhelming. She would forget what she had and would buy more. So much so that she would have several unopened and opened bags of chocolate chips in her cupboard. But I knew, I was obsessed with food. Always thinking about it, always knowing, always always always.

A few weeks ago, I opened the cupboard, and saw a bag of chips in there. I had forgotten I had them. It was a pivotal moment in my life. It was suddenly as if the gates opened and the light shined through. It was a moment to celebrate!

Invincible

Up until now I thought I was invincible. Or that death was this far off thing I didn’t think would happen for me. I don’t think that I’m going to die anytime soon, but as I grow older… the more I see time slipping and the people I thought would never leave this planet are.

My dad is in the hospital. With the flu. There is a slight chance he will recover and if he does, it seems as if he has less than a year to live. After all this time, after all of this created drama in my brain and now feeling like I have to cater to him one last time??? To give a little perspective, he’s 87. His chances are like 50/50 at this point, and if he does recover, he’s got like 6 months left.

I bought a plane ticket, I leave a week from Thursday. I’m going there, to see him. He won’t know who I am, he won’t know why I’ve come, but I’m doing it anyway.. why? So that in 10 years I won’t regret it. I’m not sure he will make it until I get there. I don’t really know what else to do.

Sneaky grateful moments

It’s funny how my last post was about the changed girl, and then today I’m writing about something unexpected that came up that made me feel crappy at work.

Actually it’s been an off week, period, because of my period. Sorry if that is TMI, and not sorry at the same time because it’s totally a real thing for me and I shouldn’t pretend like I don’t get my period.

I couldn’t believe what happened on Monday and I was left embarrassed and on the verge of a panic attack. I had forgotten to turn in a paper to receive some money that I needed for my job. There is a process, a process which I’m familiar with and had used several times, over and over again. It was a surprise to me when I went upstairs and things had changed. I wasn’t able to formulate sentences about what I was asking for (Not really un-common for me). But my usual process usually looked like me putting a paper that I had signed from my boss in someones box, and then I would go to the front desk and their would be money in an envelope. I had forgotten to do the step where I put the paper in someones box, and when I went upstairs, I explained the process in which got miss understood for a different process. I am probably not making any sense…. Anyway, what ended up happening was 3 people were telling me something that I couldn’t identify with. What really happened, was I realized that maybe I forgot to turn the paper in. I put up my hand, stated I was feeling frustrated and that I needed to walk away. The result for me was: I felt stupid, unprepared, didn’t know my job and everything I strive not to be. I don’t like looking like I don’t know how to do my job. I literally stated to someone I worked with on my way back to my desk that I “was stupid” and with out anyone knowing I went into a back room and cried.

*On a side note: After hearing myself say “I am stupid” out loud to someone, made me stop in my tracks. At that moment, I wasn’t sure if I was going to laugh at myself or cry because it sounded so silly. I chose the latter.

Who is this girl?

It was triggering and un-expected. It was also a miss-understanding and a mistake. I haven’t had a melt down in a while, and I haven’t felt so negatively in months about myself. While I was in the back room crying, I could feel my body fill with anxiety. I took some breaths, and talked myself down. I really was okay. I had to remind myself that they were not intentionally attacking me, and not intentionally making me feel stupid. They were explaining a process that I knew, I just didn’t use. Also… because of being in that moment, and being confused, I couldn’t find my words.

Having practiced new patterns, positive self talk and self soothing… I am now able to recover from these moments quicker, and they happen less and less.

I am grateful for that.

 

The next best thing.

Last week my counselor gave me this language to describe this over arching thing most of american’s are going through “Weight loss culture” and it struck a chord with me.

I maybe have touched on it before, but I don’t think I dived into the depth that I was ready for yet. I’ve actually had something saved on my google drive for about a year that is titled “The next best thing”. The next best thing, for me was whatever the new thing was for me I would follow, to accomplish the weight loss goals I was after. The goals, of course mean weight loss.

I talked about the unrealistically about this previously. But the bottom line is, no matter what you do, or how much you do it, and or how much weight you’ve lost.. You may never be satisfied with how you look… We are obsessed with this idea that we are NOT GOOD ENOUGH AS IS. We are trained to think that way, and get stuck in this weight loss culture obsession and get sucked into the “next best thing” or trend.

For me these trends would be the end all to everything: every eating problem I’ve ever had, every weight loss issue, everything and all of it. I WOULD BE CURED.

Here I am, 227lbs, highest ever 279lbs and I KNOW those trends don’t work for me. I have fallen for Weight Watchers, Solutions (a weight loss clinic), Nutritionist, Fitbit, My Fitness Pal, other running apps such as C25K, a personal trainer, HTC (for a hot minute), juicing, joining and dropping out of gyms several times a year, paleo, vegetarianism, and more.

Some of these ideas I’ve catered to briefly but have not fully fallen into their trap. Some, I’ve committed to for a significant amount of time and have had a lot of success with. Either way, I understand the commitment piece, the HIGH of accomplishing goals (weight loss), being rewarded for it, and then when you are no longer loosing, the disappointment and let down of being unsuccessful long term. I understand the BATTLE to stay committed, the mind games… and other things that go along with this addiction.

I read recently that Americans have spent 60 billion dollars over a year on gym memberships, weight loss products, trainers, apps, programs and more… If 75 million people are working towards loosing weight that’s an average of $800 a year! This culture is such a misconception. It has been a way for people to feed your insecurities while making a profit. If it works for them, then it will work for you! Plus, they know they can make money off of it. THEY KNOW PEOPLE WANT IT, SO THEY MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO CAVE INTO THEIR RESULTS, to make a profit. Poor fools like me (probably you too) fall for it every time.

What we don’t focus on is, what works for us? What works for you? What does your body want now? How do you want to treat yourself? How do I want to treat myself, and what works for me?

Always, more to come!

 

Mindfulness

I have been challenged to be more mindful lately. IT’s something I’ve been trying to incorporate into my life over the past few years.

Coming from a life that was pretty disengaging, into a more engaging one, is a consistent struggle.

I’ve had moments of mindfulness in my days, and this is what it has looked like in the past 24 hours.

Yesterday I took the day off, after being off most of the week for being sick. I already had the day pre-planned off… I spent the day doing some self care, shopping and getting my hair done. I came home, cleaned the house and worked on a painting. I am including it below, but will describe it and where my mind wandered and how I pulled myself back.

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I had the background of this painting painted, and hasn’t known what to add to it because it hadn’t seemed complete. It dawned on me a few weeks ago, but I had been fighting the urge to do it, and I think it’s because there are a lot of positive words on there I wasn’t sure I was able to own up to.

As I was doing it, I had to look up positive self affirmation words. For someone who doesn’t talk to herself positively, it can be challenging to think of positive words. The words I had a hard time writing were valued, gorgeous, eye-catching, desirable, able and pretty. Those are words I have not practiced saying to myself, or feel true. I felt uncomfortable and embarrassed.  I do have to say, I checked out briefly, I was watching tv, and our cable guy came to fix our cable box.

 

I AM… Whatever I say I am.

Before I even knew what I knew when I wrote the last few blog posts I started changing the way that I was thinking. I mean… Come on, who wouldn’t want to stop that vicious and violent cycle running through your brain?

I started a painting series that is called “I AM”. (Painting has always been apart of my self care, and my own process.) I started creating this series before Thanksgiving and it came to me as I was seeing all of the signs around be say things like “Be Thankful” or “Be Grateful”. I grew up in a church that used affirmations to create change with in ourselves, so if you say something enough in your brain, you start to believe it, and then the goal is you become it. It’s a little cheesy. Anyway, when you read signs like that, it says “be ___________”, whatever that blank line is, it says BE that… Like you are not already that? Or you hadn’t been all along, or you are not right now.

My idea around the “I AM” seriese that I’ve been creating… is that when you read it as “I am Thankful”, it’s more action oriented. You don’t have to be it, you are it. It’s affirming you are “_____________”. I started to play with this a little more as a tool to help change some of my negative spiral thinking.

I had them all over my house for a while, and then I pulled them back and put them in my craft room so I can see them when I enter. It’s like a wall of positive self compliments. What’s better than that? I had some paintings that I painted that were all of the negativeness from my brain and body, and I replaced them with the positive ones. I will post both pictures. 🙂

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Parallels of two

I am not sure If I’ve written about this before, but with this food addiction stuff I’ve always felt like I was two people. The girl, the human struggling to be Rachael, and then the addict, something bigger and almost outside of myself that wants me to stay in this victim, shaming place with food, and my body.

Recently I have found even more parallels between these two that I wasn’t really expecting. Because I’ve been doing these patterns on and off for so long with weight loss and gain, I became really good at understanding what those felt like. It was late one night and I was on lots of cold medicine, but I saw the parallels between how I felt as a kid with my father and how I felt when I was totally out of control with my food and the spiral thinking.

Growing up I was always walking on egg shells and was always trying to make my father happy. I was always waiting for him to get angry, I got good at predicting his yelling, though it never stopped the way that I felt when it happened. I felt rejected, hurt, let down and left always dreaming for more. I quickly learned how to check out, and disassociate. It didn’t matter what you said back to him, he would make it your fault, he would harass and bully me.

I remember one time as a child, my mom was being yelled at, and I jumped into defend her. I remember his yelling switching to me, and me feeling all of those things I just mentioned which I did quite often in that house. I remember going into our computer room, locking the door, and sitting in the closet with my arms wrapped around my knees. My body felt shaky, or anxious and I felt like I did something wrong, or that I was the bad guy. I felt ashamed, I was to blame, and like I did something bad. Which eventually translated later to “I am bad”.

Of my lowest times, when I felt like I hit rock bottom with my food and body stuff… I remember I was about 240-250. I cannot remember exactly how much, and it doesn’t really matter the number, but it wasn’t my highest. I was in college, alone in my room, and I was sitting up against the wall, in the furthest corner in my bed, with my arms wrapped around my knees (as much as I could with a bigger body). I remember feeling full to the brim of food, anxiousness, uncertainty, starving for help, on the verge of a panic attack, scared, stress, fear and… well you know the feelings when you’ve lost control.

Both experiences, all though were different, were similar in how I was reacting. I essentially, just kept this abusive person with me all along with my body and food. I mean he did tell my mom once that I needed mental and physical help with my weight. That didn’t help my perception of myself and my body, at all.

Sorry for this long post… I promise I’m almost done. When I decided to stop the dv with my father, I stopped talking to him for a while. Because he couldn’t hear very well, he argued with me in email, IN EMAIL. I can’t remember what I said to him at the time, but it pretty much said “I’m done”. I tell people now that I stopped talking to him because I was tired of being abused as an adult. I was tired of having my expectations of him be shattered all of the time. I was tired of feeling like, maybe this time will be different and then allow it to continue to happen. I was exhausted physically and mentally. I had to change my perspective and approach in our relationship if I wanted anything from it, and of course my expectations. We can’t change anyone but ourselves.

I had attended like 5 alanon meetings, let go of my expectations. I grieved for months, and maybe still do today to an extent about what I would not get from him. It was hard, and since then I have taken the emotional piece out of our relationship and approach things tangibly, and factually. I let him know what is happening in my life, and do not engage any sort of emotion with him. Once, he yelled at me on the phone. I said… “Dad you can be angry, but you do not get to yell at me”, then he told me why he hated talking on the phone. I learned my lesson, while standing my ground at the same time.

A lot of this food and body stuff will shift in time, as I let go of the control and the dv aspect of it. I am seeking a new relationship with myself which includes building on positive thinking, being in the moment more with who I am. All of this is hard, and new to me, and I’m sure there will be plenty of grieving.. And I’m ready for it.

Day 3

I really have to prep my day better with food. I am also coming down from the sugar and the carbs pretty hard.

I have been crazy cranky for two days now in the afternoon. And I think if I pack my morning and lunch with MORE protein, I will probably feel better through out the day.

Today I had a smoothie for breakfast, and a giant “Italian chopped” salad for lunch, and then I had some nuts with some cranberries for a snack during the afternoon with some kombucha. I became so cranky that I was really having a hard time focusing, and my head was hurting and I was growling… Well not literally growling, but complaining about everything. It was a busy day, and I didn’t have much time to dedicate to the work at my desk until about 4:20 or so. I stayed there til about 5:15, came home and layed in bed for about twenty minutes quiet, and with my eyes closed. At some point, around 315 I went to get a n/f 8 oz decaf latte. I don’t know about you, but for some reason coffee is something that can calm me down pretty quickly, it’s a really bizarre phenomenon. Coffee is the one thing that I can sit down, close my eyes and when holding it I tend to breathe better. It’s not so much about the coffee, as the ritual and the familiarity in that piece.

I got up after my little nap, did the dishes and ate some veggie burgers, veggies and about 3/4 cup of rice. I felt so MUCH better after dinner. I am pretty sure I just need to eat more, since I’m eating less calories at a time. It really just all looks different when you are eating better foods.

My water intake has been less than ideal, but I’m still drinking it.

I wanted to also bring up something that I admitted to my counselor yesterday. This idea that I think fat is bad, because it’s been ingrained in my mind for so long from being called that and treated so badly when I was younger. I have also been really obsessed with what other people eat, all of the time. The first day, I could tell you all about what other people eat, and then today when we were out celebrating a co-workers last day in her position I was glancing around the table and eyeing all of the people’s food.

My eyes stopped at several people’s plates, and I closed my mind. I breathed. I said… Rachael, it’s not something you need to worry or care about. I opened my eyes and focused on the people around me and the conversation, and engagement. The conversation I had with my counselor was more about if I’m judging myself with my own eating habits, that’s how I’m treating other people. The better I treat myself, the better I treat others. Less judgy and more open and positive.

Anyway, I’m so sleepy and I need a shower before bed. If you have jumped on board with me to eat better, and cut out the crap. Comment below with what has been working well for you! ❤

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