When I graduated from my six-week Eating Disorders Program on January 6th, I knew much more about metabolism and normative eating.

I had a fresh, liberating understanding of what “normal” eating is for me. For everyone. We need a minimum number of calories for our bodies simply to function.

That number is always ignored by the diet industry. Though I no longer count calories or weigh food or even weigh myself, I know that my body needs 1,400 just to exist.

Because of my broken arm, I’m not doing any exercising. Not yet.

Risking a fall isn’t an option right now…

Furthermore, exercise is an activity I must work back into in a safe way, since I have used exercise as a form of purging. That kind of thinking, exercise in order to control weight or change body shape is no longer an option for me. It’s not healthy or realistic. It’s a specious way to try to control your weight. You can’t. Your genetics determine your optimal body weight. That’s a whole other story.

A meal plan, journaling and recovery are my goals right now…

I follow a meal plan, which is simply a guide specifying the number of choices that will appropriately fuel my body at my age ~ 63 ~ and height ~ 4-feet and 11 inches. (I believe I’ve shrunk!)

Keeping a daily eating behaviour journal is now second nature for me. As my hand and arm heal, I’ll begin to fill in some of the feelings associated with my choices.

It’s a vital part of my recovery…

I have millions of choices ~ anything I want ~ and I’m enjoying exploring and savouring foods, often new foods, and eating more than ever before. Guilt-free. Like most people.

We need food. When I’m not hungry, but mealtime comes, I use a variety of coping strategies. “Food is Medicine for your body” works really well for me, because my old norm was to restrict. To starve. Then binge. It was a vicious cycle.

Now, I’m able to stop that cycle… 

I am beginning to understand and recognize feelings of hunger. I eat five times each day. Three meals and two snacks, including a mid-afternoon and evening snack.

It’s great…

However, that’s only my eating. A beginning.

I am still struggling with body image issues, so tomorrow at 12 noon, I’ll begin working with a registered psychologist on this vital phase of my recovery. I’m still seeing my psychiatrist, Dr. Bob, but he is not professionally equipped nor is he interested in dealing with body image.

My new psychologist, who specializes in Body Image, Self-Esteem and other adult and rehabilitation issues, will pick up the ball. She recommended I buy The Body Image Workbook, An Eight-Step Program for Learning to Like Your Looks by Thomas F. Cash, Ph.D. I did and this morning, I’m doing a series of self-tests to determine the extent and unique “look” of my particular body image issues. They date back years, by the way. I cannot ever remember liking my body or being comfortable with the way I look.

Self-consciousness is my alter ego…

I have completed this profile and will find out how to interpret them tomorrow.

In the meantime, I religiously follow Psych Central Associate Editor Margarita Tartakovsky‘s insightful and enlightening Weightless blog and her frequent World of Psychology posts. Margarita has helped me enormously in my recovery and I’m overwhelmingly grateful to her.

I urge you to read her blog if you harbour any body image issues ~ and in our youth and thin-obsessed culture where glamour rules ~ it’s hard not to feel overly self-critical and unhappy with our looks. We forget to look inside, where all the good stuff is.

Here, in the near future, I hope to broach other issues relating to mental and emotional health of all kinds.

Now then, enjoy the rest of your weekend and if you’re in my neck of the woods, stay warm!

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