24 thoughts on “Understanding My Eating Disorder, Day Three…

  • December 1, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Wow- it’s really interesting to hear what it feels like to do an eating disorders program! You seem to be taking it all very sensibly and not trying to cheat or bend the rules as I was used to seeing people do when I was a researcher. Good on you! I guess you reached a point where you said to yourself “I must fix myself”… or else. Is that right? I have interviewed hundreds of women and a few men who came to an Australian hospital for help with eating problems but never got anyone to open up much along the way- I got lots of info BEFORE they started treatment and plenty afterwards, but rarely during. It’s good you have a nice social worker who seems like a real human being- not someone who spouts out formulae. We had a great social worker on our program too, although some found her too feminist, which made me giggle. I’m interested to hear more tales along the way- so keep up the blog! You might encourage me to do an article for “Reporting on Health” as I’ve been stuck for a while for a topic.

    • December 1, 2011 at 12:26 am


      Thank you for your encouraging words. I am utterly spent so I must go to sleep right now, but I will keep going if you think this is worthwhile. And I will try to comment more thoughtfully and in more depth tomorrow.

      Good to hear from you “Down Under.”


  • December 1, 2011 at 4:05 am

    Learning normative eating patterns should be key at this point. To eat as in per bite rather than to graze or nibble. Also re-direction from delve down into eating and the distress it causes and return to a more relaxed attitude towards eating.
    All of It must be exhaustive. Take care of yourself!

    • December 2, 2011 at 7:11 am

      Hi Jessica,
      I am really working on this. The weekend will be very challenging when I’m on my own, but I have my plan. Yesterday, we did Weekend planning. Every meal is planned. I have an event tomorrow and I’m a little worried, but I even have a plan for that.
      And yes, when I get home, at night, I’m simply so tired and I just check my email and go to bed. I am trying hard to understand and actually DO normative eating. It is very foreign to me. Almost like going to a strange city where the culture is completely different to anything I have ever known. Even the language and way of speaking is different. In order to avoid triggers.

      I am so bloody open. It’s a problem in groups and I am being constantly criticized. Feeling rather frightened and a little low. But I’ll get over it, I guess. I am struggling though.

      Hugs and I’m so happy to hear from you. I miss you and all your wisdom. Thank you for writing. You lift my heart and my hopes.

  • December 1, 2011 at 7:29 am

    i was diagnosed with ednos 2 yrs ago. my family dr.
    and my psychiatrist think i have anorexia, of which i’m not convinced. i am touched by your courage in going through treatment, and sharing it
    for others; a very brave thing on your part! thank you, and god bless!

    • December 2, 2011 at 7:05 am

      Hi Mara,

      EDNOS is, I am told, what most people with eating disorders have. No one is clear cut. From what I’m learning, our behaviours spill between all three major eating disorders. Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge-Eating Disorder. We change and evolve, at least I do. Yesterday, was so hard, I was ready to quit. Today, at 7:03 a.m. I feel better and I just took my first Motilium tablet, so I hope breakfast won’t make me sick. This is the toughest treatment I’ve ever been in.

      I’ll report back next week. Thank you so much for your kindness and support.


  • December 1, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Dear Jessica and Mara,

    Thank you, tonnes! For your comments. Must run, now. Back downtown, but will respond when I come home tonight. These are long days. I love you for your support. I need it. Not much here, except for my husband Marty and I am driving him crazy.

    Next week, we’re going in for family therapy.

    Other than that, no one really “gets this” except you and I am so grateful to you. Thank you. Thank you. Profoundly, thank you.

    Sending hugs and love,

  • December 1, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Looking forward to seeing you at the concert, and giving you a big hug. We’ve sold out both shows at the GG Studio, which is so exciting for us!

    Take good care.

    • December 2, 2011 at 7:06 am

      Yes, Julie,
      We, too, are looking forward to that concert.
      Hugs, and cannot wait to see you.

  • December 3, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Sandy, as a dietetic intern, I spent eight weeks learning about eating disorder treatment, from outpatient to residential, and you’re right, it IS like entering a foreign culture, one where everyone knits, eats a certain way, and shares a common lingo. Good luck with the weekend – they’re hard for everyone.

    • December 3, 2011 at 12:42 pm

      Thank you, Hannah…

      I’m happy to report that so far, so good. I even bought some wool. Now, I have to remember how to knit.

      It’s one minute at a time and a lot of self-talk. Everything is planned. Which is good.

      Just wish I didn’t feel so nauseated every time I eat. The Motilium hasn’t yet kicked in and I forgot to take it one-half hour before lunch. I’m learning to live with this feeling.

      I’ll keep you posted.


  • December 6, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Bravest Sandy,
    I am a nurse at a residential eating disorder rehab, and I can totally relate to everything that you have written. You are taking a huge step towards your recovery and I commend you for this. Always having a plan is one of the best things that you can do to help yourself. Always remember that there is someone there to help when you are struggling. Keep focused and God Bless!

    • December 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm

      Dear Jo,

      You know how exhausting a day program is for those of us who are struggling with this disease. I just got home and it’s 8:44 p.m. I left this morning at 7:15 a.m. The day has been filled with appointments with two psychiatrists, my psychotherapist-social worker, our weekly “Managing Emotions” group, our two meals and our one afternoon snack, our two community meetings and our one small-group check-in meeting this morning, plus time for homework and other assignments needed for our sessions. We are constantly on the move. It is such an enlightening environment though. And I’m learning so much, making so many connections. I was given my first feedback session today, too. And it was good, with a few things to keep an eye on. The team is pleased with me.

      And working in this group, alone and being 63, when the average age must be 30 or younger, is really an education in itself. Not easy, either. I clearly do not fit in. Must learn not to take this personally.

      Tomorrow, we do menu planning and weekend planning for Thursday until Monday, because our staff are going to a conference. I’m petrified to be on my own for FOUR DAYS without the caring, wise and supportive environment of everyone on the Day Unit. It is so safe. But I look forward to our second Family Therapy session on Monday.

      You are so right. Planning is everything. It’s not easy for me to stick to plans. Not my nature, but I must. I do not want to relapse. And most relapses happen in the first year. Focus is another weakness of mine, with my type of mind, but I do have lots of support.

      Heartfelt thanks for your kindness and encouragement.

      Now, I must go to bed. Tomorrow comes so fast and I must fit my evening snack in, too. That’s the hardest, when you are never hungry and never crave any more. Expect the urges. Especially to exercise. That’s my greatest struggle right now.


  • December 7, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Does the clinic you attend have “weighted blankets”? It’s usually for autism spectrum disorders in terms of cognitive stimulation or un-stimulation. It provides some weight over your body that can be soothing as you are to rest or sleep. Heard they are used in many situations where anxiety is involved. It looks like a regular blankie but they’re filled, either with various sizes of balls (think play corner at McD) or a chain thing. Very comfy but you have to try them out to know for sure.

    • December 7, 2011 at 9:32 pm

      Quick answer, Jessica.
      I don’t know.
      I’m in the Day Unit of the Eating Disorder Program. The In-Patient Unit is on another floor. I can ask on Monday when I go back.
      Right now, I’m too tired to think about this. Just got home and was instructed not to do any writing tonight, especially about “this,” I was told.
      So, I’m breaking a rule in answering you but I don’t want to keep you waiting.
      Now, I’m signing off. Will be updating again tomorrow morning, when I can think straight.
      As you can well imagine, I am exhausted. Left here at 9:20 a.m. this morning and walked in the door five minutes ago. It is now, 9:28 p.m. Long days.
      Be well. Thanks for your interest. That “weighted blanket” sounds cool, but we never have time to rest. Ever. Our days are scheduled tightly and we are always working on something.
      This is “hard work,” a fellow traveller remarked to day.
      You wouldn’t believe how hard it is. But, then again, I suspect you would.

  • December 8, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    It was a starting point to learn that I wasn’t a normal eater. I had no idea that cycles of restricting and overeating, figuring out how I can eat something by not eating something else wasn’t normal eating since its so pervasive and perceived as normal behaviour in our society.

    Thanks for sharing Sandy. Your CBT experience is much different from mine (I have EDNOS). I look forward to reading about what you are learning and how you transform.

  • December 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    I agree, Kara.

    I am still struggling with “normal” eating, though I’m only eight days into this program with so much to learn and I’m making so many mistakes. I grew up restricting or being restricted by my family. As a round child, I never knew that the portions we were given we so small. No wonder I started bingeing and it’s only gotten worse since I started trying to control (i.e. lose) weight.

    My CBT experience is only one group so far, by the way. I am just beginning and this is such an intensive program.

    How are you doing, by the way?

    Are you in recovery and sticking with your meal plan?

    I would love to know more about your experience.

    I will be updating soon, but right now, I’m thoroughly exhausted and sitting here knitting.

    Sending all my best to you in your recovery.


  • December 11, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Oh I do understand the hard work!
    In eating-programs that I’ve heard of here there’s resting after meals. Some programs have the weight blankies available for soothing. It might sound terrible but after a few weeks with mine, I’m just adoring it.
    With how the system works here I’ve been allowed to borrow one without charge. Otherwise they can be rather pricy. Some don’t like them. It’s not like you are pinned down unable to move, just provides a “heaviness” that allows you to feel your body.
    Here’s a link, nothing about eating is mentioned:
    Might just be something to consider over time.

    • December 11, 2011 at 7:54 pm

      Hi Jessica, dear Jessica…
      How fascinating. I’m going to ask about them tomorrow, when I begin another week in the ED Outpatient Program. Week 3.
      I hope someone will know. My team works in the outpatient day program and the inpatient program is on another floor, but our psychiatrists and psychologists should have some sort of perspective on this.
      I’ve heard of these warming blankets, but mainly for autism. Not for eating disorders.
      Mind you, I am very new to “eating disorders,” as I never ever dreamed I had one until January 2011 when my longtime GP started worrying about my body image issues and my obsession with thinness. That, I’m happy to report, is beginning to change. Also, believe it or not, during one of my earliest psychiatric hospitalizations back in the 1960s at psychiatric hospital, I was placed on an eating disorder floor, but I never knew why. Curious, but all kinds of memories are really flooding back. Wow. The Onion is peeling like mad!
      My husband Marty is like a weighted blanket, in a way. He’s lovely to sleep with. He’s bigger than I am and we have a double bed. He’s also like an electric blanket. He keeps me warm. Nice. It’s lovely.
      Thanks so much for sending me this link. I found lots of North American ones, but you’re right. They are pricey. I will do more research.
      You are a constant source of support. I had wanted to blog weekly, but I’m doing so much journalling, that I am not ready, nor do I have the right perspective to post. I’m so sorry.
      Also, I was a little speedy last week. Did some good work with Dr. Bob, who will be doing my follow up with me.
      This is Eating Disorders Boot Camp. I have three weeks left. Finish on December 30. I’m going to “tough it out.” I clearly don’t fit. It’s very, very hard. The hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. However, it’s making a significant difference. So, I’m going to play the “Comformity Game” and stick to the meal plan. That’s my main goal right now, heading into Day 9 tomorrow. (There was a conference on Thursday and Friday of last week, so we’ve been on our own since last Thursday.
      We begin with one and a half hours of “family therapy” ~ Marty and I. It’s great. I am so blessed with such a supportive life partner. We have to wake up at 5 a.m. to get there on time, so as it’s almost 8 p.m., I’m going to sign off.
      Don’t give up on my posts, though. I will do another, when I feel confident and more safe and secure. Simply can’t manage weekly right now. I do apologize. I don’t want to lose you.
      That first one was a “honeymoon” post, but now the “honeymoon” is over.
      Sending all my love. I adore you. Even though I’ve never met you. We are definitely kindred souls. Heartfelt thanks for your support.
      Hugs and Ciao,

  • December 12, 2011 at 12:46 am

    i loved the weighted blanket when i was in the hospital. it really helped calm me down, and i’ve looked into getting my own. there’s a few companies that do it, but they are all american, so it gets a bit pricey for adults – but i’m definitely going to start saving for one! around $500, is what i figure it will cost. they are awesome!

    • December 13, 2011 at 4:57 am

      Dear Julie,

      Actually, I did some preliminary research the other day. Real quick. I probably didn’t find one that was very good and since I’m not working right now, a weighted blanket is out of the question, but the price of a single adult weighted blanket was $179.00 US. I don’t think that’s bad, but I didn’t have a chance to look into it yesterday. Instead, we were given a lecture from Dr. Blake Woodside, Canada’s leading psychiatrist specializing in Adult Eating Disorders. He really had an impact.

      I WILL NEVER RESTRICT FOOD AGAIN. My problem is that my norm is restricting. Do you know what dieting does to you, physically? OMG, Julie. I am going to stop exercising completely because with my osteopenia (borderline) if I fell the wrong way, I could really injure myself. I was knitting so violently yesterday that my right hand, which I broke two years ago, is now killing me and he said, Tylenol should be a prescription drug. So, I hurt my hand by over exercising it with KNITTING. Now, I’m going to have to give my poor right hand a rest.

      Go back to reading my Kindle. Except my concentration is terrible. Knitting is easy to digest, like baby food. And that’s how I feel right now, like a baby.

      Restricting food, like sugar and fat and salt, can kill you!!!

      WHAT AN EPIPHANY!!!!!!!

      But I am sure you already know this. I know you do. You’re so comfortable in your skin and I’M NOT. I hate my skin and what’s beneath it.

      And I’ve done so much damage with all my dieting all the years I’ve dieted, that there is no return. Not at my age. You should see my upper arms. I cannot wear a short sleeved shirt.

      I woke up crying, Julie. I am so sad. Last evening, on my way home from the hospital, a friend called. A sick friend. Really sick. She has cancer and her psychiatrist has convinced her she has no more than two years to live. I am so angry. How could this doctor know that? I made an error in judgement. I hurt her, I realize, because I said something. I know I hurt her because she got off the phone so quickly. But she’s hurting so deeply, she doesn’t even know it. She’s being so brave, but beneath that bravery is such terror.

      Julie, I don’t know what to do. I did the wrong thing.

      So I came home and I took my anger at myself out on Marty. Who is a Saint. I’m gone all day and he’s just wiping up pee from my two dogs who have reverted to childhood because they’re not used to having me gone all day.

      If this wasn’t so obviously STUPID, it would be funny. We watched Murphy Brown last night, my favourite journalist of all time, and I kept knitting. Knitting with a vengeance. We watched some “comforting” old movie. I didn’t want to go to sleep, but I had to. I had to be up early. BUT NOT THIS EARLY.

      So you are my DISTRACTION which is a coping technique. For the first time since I started this program, I thought of bingeing.

      An URGE.

      But I won’t now, though I only subjectively binge, which is a good thing. The main problem with me is that I much more easily starve. Starving is my default mode. I love starving.

      You see how sick I am?


      I’m afraid I’m dying. I’m afraid I won’t live. I’m afraid I’ll be dead in five years. Or less, with my transplanted kidney. Now, at 4:53 in the morning, it’s finally hit.

      Now, I’m afraid I won’t have time to heal. I finish on December 30.


  • December 16, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Oh honey. Breathe! Being afraid is normal. Being scared is normal. You are doing a very hard thing, and it’s going to be hard for a while yet. But I promise it will get easier! It’s not going to feel this hard and scary forever.

    You are doing all the RIGHT things, which is going to treatment and doing the very best you can to learn from it. That’s all you can do. Marty loves you, and he knows you are struggling right now. He will be patient.

    You can do this!!!

  • January 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Hi Sandy,

    I read your update – that you are getting one on one attention for your EDNOS. I’m interested to read how that works for you. I hope your hand is getting better too.

    My CBT experience was one on one. I went to a private clinic near my house in Oakville. I called the clinic (found the clinic via google) and had an appointment within a week.

    (I didn’t realize that there were public CBT programs. But I would not have wanted to go on the waiting list to get into a program and they are usually in inconvenient locations.)

    We talked about my eating history and discussed my goals for therapy. My therapist instructed me to eat whatever I want, no food was off-limits and I could eat as much as I want. However, I had to plan my meals ahead of time and write it down first. I also had eat something every 3 hours.

    My therapist identified triggers (food isn’t a trigger like so many think) by examining the instances that I ate more food than was planned.

    To change the behaviour we discussed the reasons for the unplanned eating and came up with a strategy to handle the trigger. This was when I learned that I ate to relieve feelings of anxiety related to a long history of dieting. (I read in one of your articles that dieting is a common environmental trigger of eating disorders.)

    Many sessions included my therapist convincing me that eating some “bad” food or a quantity of food was normal, because the history of dieting told me otherwise.

    I began appointments in the fall of 2010. Weekly appointments to start, then every couple of weeks, then monthly, then quarterly. My last regular appointment was in July. I think I’ll make an appointment with her to check in in the next month or so.

    It is so much easier to be free of the grip that food and eating had on me. And I know I’m going to continue to change. My therapist told me in July (and six months later, I can attest that this is true) that my thinking has changed, but this new way of looking at food (ie. eating disordered thoughts) and eating will become more effortless with time and practice.

    If you want to know more about the specific changes in my eating behaviour as a result of the CBT, I recently wrote a blog posting called, “Have I learned to think like a thin person?”

    I’m doing well in my journey towards freedom from EDNOS. I have a lot of weight to lose (should have invested in CBT before pregnancy), but it is much less stressful when not plagued by obsessive thoughts of food, and wicked cravings.

    For the first time in more than 20 years, I feel like a normal eater. And I hope the same for you Sandy. My thoughts are with you on your own journey to be free from EDNOS…


    • January 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm

      Dear Kara,

      Forgive me for taking so long to acknowledge your inspiring story of recovery.

      With this broken arm, typing is very difficult and tiring.

      Actually, the next step for me is a psychologist who specializes in Body Image therapy.

      I will be posting about this. Your story is so encouraging. Please excuse this brief response. I am in so much pain right now, but I will try yo respond to you and Julie soon.

      Congratulations on all the hard work you have done. You give me reason to feel positive and hopeful.



Join the Conversation!

We invite you to share your thoughts and tell us what you think in this public forum. Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. A first name or pseudonym is required and will be displayed with your comment. Your email address is also required, but will be kept private. (Please note that we use gravatars here, which are tied to your email address.) A website/blog/twitter address is optional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *