Friday, December 13, 2013

An explanation.

It's not you. It's me.
Nope, this isn't some happy little Christmasy post. It's actually kind of sad (for me at least). 
It's an explanation. And a goodbye of sorts.

I've had to say goodbye to friends before. Sometimes its a move, someone's dad got a new job in a new city. Sometimes it's going off to college and the gradual process of growing apart. Sometimes it's a fight or an argument. This isn't any of those times. I feel like it would be easier if it was. I feel like it would be easier to say "I'm sorry that you're moving 1000 miles away and that our friendship won't be the same" than to say "I'm sorry, but I can't handle this right now. I'm not strong enough". I've tried several times to get around doing this. I've tried deleting my Facebook. I've tried deleting my Pinterest. But that didn't really help because it didn't get to the root of the problem. The problem was still there, in real life and online, and I had to face it every day.

I know that I can't completely remove all the triggers from my life. Sometimes I think it would be easier if I struggled with drugs or alcohol than with food. At least then I could avoid the thing that triggered me. But no, I have to eat. I have to face my trigger multiple times a day- and there's no way on earth to completely avoid it. I can see a dietitian and a therapist and try to come up with ways to manage the triggers, but that's all I can do- manage them. I can't completely avoid them. To make things harder, we live in a society where weight loss and looking a certain way is praised. We live in a culture the promotes the idea of "skinny"- at all costs. Please know that I don't blame any single one of you for buying into what culture says about beauty. But, I don't have to listen to you promote it.

A year ago, I weighed 20 pounds less than I do now. Looking back on pictures from last Christmas, I look quite scary. In a lot of ways, I'm "better" now. I'm "weight restored"- thanks to two months of drinking Ensure like it was my job. But, I still have a ways to go. I still struggle with the decision of what to eat, how much to eat, and what I should or shouldn't do after I eat. I still have that obsessive little voice in my head telling me that I need to loose weight. I'm not "fully recovered". I don't know that I'll ever be in a place where I'm fully comfortable with how I look and how much I weigh. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to eat "what I want, when I want" without worrying about it. But, I do know that I can keep progressing towards that goal. I can keep fighting with every fiber of my being. Progress, not perfection. But, I've come to the point in my recovery journey that I can now see that surrounding myself with messages of body hatred from culture isn't healthy for me. Sure, some people can buy the latest fashion magazines and read fitness articles and not be affected. Some people can go to the gym and work out and not be obsessed or triggered by it. But, I'm not there yet.

I hope this comes out grace-filled and nonjudgemental, but I'm afraid that it won't be interpreted that way. I've made the decision that I can no longer continue to surround myself with triggering people. If you post (or continually talk about) about weight loss, working out, so-called "healthy eating" or "clean eating", "good food vs. bad food", shaming others for not working out, or anything of that nature, I can not be around you right now. A comment here or there is okay. I can deal with the occasional post. I get that sometimes these topics come up as a natural part of conversation. But if literally everything that you do is discuss these topics, I cannot continue to jeopardize my recovery in the name of friendship.

Would you tell a recovering alcoholic about how you went out drinking the night before?
Would you tell a recovering drug addict about how you occasionally use cocaine?

Some of you are very near and dear to me and this makes me really really sad. But I really really want to stay out of treatment. I want to be able to get a job and have a family of my own and live a life of freedom! I know that there is no way that I can remove all triggers from my life. There are things I can't control (like Facebook filling up my newsfeed with diet and weight loss ads, for example). But for the few things I can control, I have to control them. I have to put myself and my recovery first right now. So if you have been unfollowed or unfriended, if I suddenly stop responding to your messages, please know that I still love you. I still wish the best for you.
I hope that someday you'll realize that you are so very worthy and you're not made more or less worthy based on a number on a scale.

I hope that someday you'll see your beauty and you'll understand the idea of health at every size. 
I hope that someday you'll know that being skinny won't solve all your problems and being at a healthy weight (or even overweight) isn't the cause of all of your problems.
I'm sorry.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

nope. don't want to hear it.

I feel like I'm surrounded by a world of dieting and fitness.
It's sickening really. It's sick what people will do to their bodies in order to achieve the ideal.

How many calories are in that?
Oh my God, I just ate two cookies. I feel so guilty.
I skipped my workout this morning and I think I'm going to gain five pounds.
Oh, I can't eat there. Their fat content is too high, you know?
I like salad. Really. I don't like dressing.
Skipping breakfast is a great way to cut calories.
I can't have desert. I've eaten too much already.
I'm so happy! I've almost lost 10 pounds...this week!
I work out three times a day.
You know it's a good workout when you puke.
I really shouldn't eat that.
That food is bad for you.

You know, if I said half of these things, I'd be called out for engaging in disordered behaviors. But, because it's in the name of dieting and good health and fitness, it's somehow...okay (No one seems to notice that the word DIE is in DIET).It's somehow okay for someone who is "technically" overweight or close to it (I don't totally trust BMI scales, I've been lectured far too much about them. It's about HEALTH guys, not a number) to try and subsist on the caloric requirements of a six year old. 1200 calories may be the "magic number" that MyFitnessPal tells you, but that doesn't mean that it's enough for your body to survive on for the long term.

There are no good foods or bad's food, guys.
Food isn't clean or dirty (unless it falls in a mud puddle)'s food, guys.
(Sidenote: I read this article last week, and you ought to take a look at it, too)

I feel like I've spent the last year being told  that "no one food will make you fat" and that "it takes 3500 calories ON TOP OF WHAT YOUR BODY NEEDS to gain one pound". Guys, I've spent thousands of dollars...thousands of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Alabama's dollars...learning this, and your posts on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and Google News make me forget. I get distracted and side tracked and it's toxic. It's toxic to read these.

NO, I don't want to know how to burn 100 calories in 10 minutes.
NO, I don't want to know how you can turn a banana into "ice cream" or zuchinni into "spaghetti".
NO, I don't need to read about the new meal replacement shake you've discovered.
And NO, I really really don't want to hear about how you lost 25 pounds in 2 days on NutriSystem.

Sidenote: it doesn't really can restrict and exercise and do all that nonsense, but all you'll end up with is lost hair, a slowed metabolism, and a bill for rehab. been there, done that.

Eating should be about nourishing and feeding our bodies.
Exercise should be about helping our bodies grow strong.

Listen. I'm not trying to say that everyone who diets or works out has an eating disorder. Please don't take this post that way. Eating disorders are serious, psychological illnesses. But, from one gal to another- quit the diet talk. It's okay to try to eat healthy and give your body what it wants.
It's okay to lose weight if it's recommended by a doctor for health reasons. 
It's okay to eat salad and drink green smoothies and work out daily. 
But don't let it become an obsession. Recognize that yes, sometimes your body wants salad- but sometimes your body wants a cookie! Sometimes your body wants to run five miles, but sometimes your body wants to rest. Stop the obsession. Stop the compulsions. It's okay to indulge every once in awhile. It's okay to take a break. It's not going to kill you to eat a cookie (unless it's a peanut butter cookie and you're deathly allergic to peanuts...then I'd avoid that one).

It's part of finding free. Getting free from the diet mentality that controls and consumes us. Getting free from the self hatred and the body hate. EMBRACE WHO YOU ARE. We're not all meant to be skinny...but some of us are. We're not all meant to be fitness fanatics...but some of us are. We're not all meant to be short or tall or whatever. We're meant to reflect the image of God- and image that comes from within, from the heart. Rather than obsessing about the shell, let's look at the heart.

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Christmas Bucket List

I feel rather silly doing a Christmas Bucket List. I mean, I don't have kids, so it's not like I have an endless list of Christmassy things to do with them- like going to see Santa! There's a few special Christmas traditions that my family has (like decorating our tree, going to see the Christmas lights, going to Christmas Eve service) that I really enjoy, but as I get older, I really want to start creating memories and traditions for myself. In this awkward stage of life, I CAN still create traditions. Yes, Christmas is about Jesus and family and all that- but it can also be about me exploring what holidays look like as a big girl! And that? That's exciting!
  1. Bake Christmas cookies.
  2. Watch all my favorite Christmas movies (Eloise at Christmastime, Charlie Brown, typical ABC Family fare)...and then some!
  3. Set up my Christmas tree in my apartment.
  4. Make a Christmas wreath.
  5. Decorate my mantle (with stocking!)
  6. Move Charlie in.
  7. Read Ann Voskamp's The Greatest Gift.
  8. Find and buy a nativity set! 
  9. Make an ornament for my tree.
  10. Bake a meal- a real one (not including chicken fingers!)- and invite someone over!
  11. Drink lots of hot chocolate.
  12. Make a Christmas playlist- and play it all season long!
  13. Wrap cute presents for the family.
  14. Try the whole gingerbread house making again.
  15. Get a soy Gingerbread Steamer at Starbucks!
What's on your Christmas bucket list? Any fun exciting things I need to add to mine?