This means I haven’t been walking my dogs or lifting anything heavier than 10 lbs. for weeks. I’m immobile. For the first time in years, my favourite exercise, walking my dogs, is verboten.
I don’t enjoy solo walking. Furthermore, the weather has been anything but walkable, so I’ve stayed home and fallen off my eating plan for my eating disorder.
Then, at my annual physical last week, I had a chat with my GP. I stepped on the scale backwards, so I couldn’t see the number. I didn’t have to. Although weight is one number you don’t need to know, I know I’m heavier and I don’t like the way I feel. I hate it.
My doctor didn’t recommend a diet, which for anyone with an eating disorder is a dirty word and a dangerous pursuit.
“Just get back on your eating plan and get out and walk, without the dogs if you must, but not too much,” she advised me sternly.
She knows how easily I can get obsessed and addicted to exercise, my form of purging.
It’s exactly one year since I left the eating disorders program than helped me to be start eating again – not bingeing or overeating – just eating normally, to re-establish a healthy relationship with food.
It saved my life. But it’s easy to let things slide, especially over the holidays. I’m not bingeing, but I’m not being careful enough with portioning. That’s a problem. I need to refresh and be more observant.
It’s hard to admit that I’ve relapsed, though it’s not the end of the world. I’m not bingeing and starving the way I used to.
Still, I want to stop the process of this relapse before it’s too late. It’s very easy to start eating calorie-reduced foods, to start eating too many salads instead of protein, carbs and proper portions of fruits and vegetables. Once I start to restrict, everything falls apart. That’s my pattern.
I admit that for the last few weeks, my thoughts have been drifting in the diet direction. I considered returning to Weight Watchers, which would be calamitous for me. I’ve started to obsess again, which my husband detests. I’m asking him if I look “f*t” – using that awful dirty little three letter word.
Yesterday, I went to see my psychologist, Kimberly Watson, Ph.D. It’s a visit not covered by my insurance and will cost me dearly, but the investment is worth it. Kim has a way of buoying me up and giving me exercises and advice that always helps me to get back on track and stay on track. Although I had emailed her that my appearance would shock her, she saw very little difference since our last session in September. Self-image is so fragile.
She stressed, however, that I must back on my plan. And I did. Yesterday and today, thus far. One minute at a time. I pulled out all my notes and my strategies and re-acquainted myself with what I learned last year.
“You drifted,” she said, “like a canoeist who has her eye on her destination. Then, a current comes along and you drift slightly off course. You get back on course. Remember, no matter what your weight, bodies fluctuate. You’re still you.”
She told me, when I saw her yesterday to just “hit the reset button,” and follow my eating plan.
Having an eating disorder is like have a bipolar disorder. Both are psychiatric conditions. Both are part of your psychology and neither go away, although you can recover. They’re always there. I take medication for my bipolar disorder with psychotic features or whatever the latest “label” for it is. You have to live with it and deal with it every day and every moment of every day. An eating disorder is exactly the same. You have to eat normally to live well.
Within the first year of finishing an eating disorders program, the rate of relapse is highest. You start to count calories, eat “diet” foods and obsess about the scale. I don’t want to be one of those statistics.
You haven’t heard from me lately because I’ve been so busy working, which is a blessing.
A year ago, my bank account was in the red and we were sinking fast financially. Today, we have a surplus and all our bills are paid. This is progress, so I’m not going to allow the eating disorder destroy me. No way. I’m getting it out of my life.
So, on this hopeful note, I wish you a healthy, productive, peaceful, and good new year. Happiness comes in fits and spurts. It’s not a static state. We are never constant emotionally. Moods always changing with the circumstances of our lives.
Take care and be well. Have a healthy, safe, productive, fun-filled and peaceful 2013. One more thing. I’m going to hit the reset button and blog more often this year.
Cheers and speak soon,
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Last reviewed: 3 Jun 2013