Violent storms, soft rain

Oh, didn’t I tell you? I have a new job now. All of a sudden I decided I was an expert at predicting things. Like the weather, for example. Today looks nice. It could get a little patchy at times. And tonight you’ll enjoy the mild weather we will be having. Looking forward to tomorrow, it looks like breakfast will go ok, and lunch will be a little late, you mi…wait. Didn’t I just say I was basically a meteorologist? “An expert at predicting things”. Yeah, no. Not weather silly. Food. I am basically an expert at predicting what I will eat. Some days I tune in more, and other days I don’t even try to decipher through the static. After all, it is what it is, right?

When did food become such a big part of my life? Like the weather, food can affect my mood in good ways and bad. When I am happy with myself and have a sunny outlook (as a result of my “good” food choices?), it’s easier for me to be happy. When the clouds race in and an unexpected meal occurs, or I eat something that doesn’t feel “safe”, my day can be ruined just like it might be if plans for a day at the beach were scrapped because of a thunderstorm.

I know when it happened. It’s when I put food on a pedestal. I began to believe that the food choices I made were of utmost importance. But the thing is, I am not just the “weather predictor”. No, I am the weather maker. I get to decide what goes into my body because it’s mine. A dangerous power, this one that I have. I made a hurricane, and a tsunami. I let go of the things that were holding me to the earth, and let myself be carried away by the wind and waves. I knew I had the ability to stop this phenomenon, but it was growing too big too fast. Whoops, silly me. The control I thought I had was suddenly the complete opposite. I can no longer predict what will happen, because I am no longer “making the weather”.

This too shall pass. All storms must come to an end. Mine is dying down. The hungry anger that was the sea is calming. The wind, which was once so forceful and my ruining, is turning into a gentle breeze. Sometimes I look at my maps and charts, and realize how sad it was to think I knew, or wanted to know how to predict and control the wind and rain. And other times I try to get back into it. I over think and lose sleep over the patterns I see, the radar showing a bumpy day ahead.

Why try to control this thing that is only here to help us live and satiate our hunger? Why spend my time worrying about what may or may not happen? I don’t need to know everything. My life will not end if I get caught in a rain shower, or if I eat something that is unexpected. Sometimes spontaneity and uncertainty can be more comforting and invigorating than when I try to pinpoint and predict every little bite that passes my lips, and every drop of rainfall. In fact, I don’t even need to record it. Let nature take its course. Instead of lamenting the coming storm, see it for what it is in its entirety. It isn’t only a menace. It will help you grow, like a newly planted garden soaking the moisture up.

Storms will come and go. Navigate them as you will. Seek help. Choose courage. Take heart. I see the clouds clearing on the horizon.

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Stagnant

I’m a people pleaser. I like my family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances to like me. Even if I don’t like them. It’s hard wired into me. So lately I’ve felt a little disappointed in myself. And disappointing to my family and friends.

I feel like I have come to a stagnant place. It’s swampy here, and hard to move around. I’m not sure if I should try to back up, or risk going forward.

I really don’t know what I am so afraid of. I’ve been racking my mind, trying to pinpoint just what is keeping me back. I like food. I am trying to accept my body. I am kind of afraid of gaining weight, but I don’t know why, because I’m really not.

I feel like someone else has taken over my brain. Someone who has always counted calories, based their worth off of the number on the scale, and gravitated towards “diet” foods. Where did this come from, and why do other people have it too? Aren’t our brains amazing? When something horrific happens, a person may develop PTSD. When depression is genetically prevalent boom, depression sets in. Some people stress eat, some restrict.

The pathways in my brain feel like they are sparking. I hope new ones are being formed. It feels like this is out of my control, butt thoughts and how I respond to them…I can change that.

I feel like a little kid again. Trying to “help” and messing everything up.  Am I doing this right? Is there a recipe to follow, or is this just a free for all? Annnnd I just put in a teaspoon of baking soda instead of the baking powder the recipe called for.

I do want to keep doing this. It’s hard when I don’t feel like I am succeeding, or making progress. I want to make other people happy with me. But I also want to be happy with myself. It feels like I am just living day to day. It’s hard for me to envision the future. I’m uncertain, but aren’t we all?

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Recovery Record App

At my appointment this last week, my dietitian asked if I was familiar with the app “Recovery Record”. I told her that I had it downloaded onto my iPod but hadn’t really used it yet. She mentioned that she thought if I had time, I should check it out. A few days in, I have a little bit of an idea of how it works, and what kind of benefits it has to offer.

First, I want to mention that this app is very customizable to the user. When I first began using it I noticed it asked at every meal if I had binged, or if I was having the urge to binge. Since I’ve not struggled much with binging, this part of the app wasn’t very applicable to me. In the settings it was very easy to turn those questions off, and instead have the question be if I had restricted, or had the urge to. I was also able to change the reminders throughout the day (or turn them off) for a more suitable time that corresponds to each of my meals and snacks. The reminders are very nice and gentle with a simple push notification popping up onto my screen and an optional ringtone.

“It’s time to log your breakfast entry”. I open the app and hit “log meal”. I am immediately asked if I skipped this meal. Then it moves on to my feelings and emotions. I am then asked which meal I am logging (a nice feature, as sometimes I don’t log my meals until later in the day when I have more time), who I ate with, where I ate, how long ago I ate, and what I ate. Following questions include if I thought my meal was inadequate, adequate, or excessive. I am then encouraged to indicate how mindful my meal was, if I restricted or counted calories (customizable) and if I used, or plan to use a coping skill. The last portion is an area for a thought diary.

This logging process may seem a little time consuming, but it is kind of what you make it. I usually don’t write down thoughts right now, as I am doing more journaling in a notebook. A very cool feature I came across today (I haven’t logged meals for a few days) was a push notification that came across my screen saying that Recovery Road hopes I am ok, and to resume logging meals as soon as I can. Obviously this isn’t a personalized message, but it still seemed thoughtful. And one other encouraging feature is the little inspirational notes or quotes that pop up once you have logged a meal. I just received the affirmation “Meal by meal, snack by snack…you can do this” for example.

If it isn’t time for a meal, there is still the option of logging behaviors and thoughts. Which would be a wonderful thing to use if this app is more of a personal tool, or (and this brings me to the best feature in my opinion) when linked with a clinician. I have not used the option to connect with a clinician yet, as I am still testing out the app, but when or if you do, your clinician (s) then have access to anything you log within the app. What a great way to keep yourself accountable!

Once you log a certain amount of meals, you get a reward which I believe is always a song. I’m not super thrilled about this feature, but I can see how it gives the person using the app a sense of working towards a goal.

All in all, this app is really amazing. There is another app for recovery from eating disorders called Rise Up and Recover, which is a part of  Recovery Warriors (a website and podcast). If anyone has used either of these apps and has anything to share, feel free to do so in the comments!

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Progress, not perfection

Honestly, I’ve been having some tiny, partial relapses lately. I’m trying not to let them pull me down, but  it’s hard. To combat all of the things I am constantly dodging and trying to get through (food choices, bad days, food, eating, thinking too much, meals) I have been doubling up on my podcast listening and have joined a challenge (for eating disorder recovery) for the month of April in an attempt to break free from this cell I am still trapped in.

My previous post was pretty dark. I wasn’t in a good place when I wrote it, and didn’t really know what to write. Blogging has been very therapeutic for me, it’s like a journal somewhat, and sometimes I write just to write, other times I have a mission. Missing: was a little bit of both. It feels like I should thank readers of this blog for sticking with me and reading, but you know, some people might be reading this for no reason or just because. If you’re here to support me, you know who you are (thank you!) and I know you will treat me with compassion and respect and understand when I have rough times.

Lately it feels like the calorie counting is coming back…and yet it’s not. I can’t actually say I’m calculating everything and making sure I’m staying under a certain number– I’m not (thank God). It’s more of an in-the-moment thing. It doesn’t last all day like it used to, and usually it’s not intentional. It’s like instinct. I’m having a tough time with the whole intuitive eating thing, I’m just not there yet even though I want to be. And actually, since I’m putting it all out there, my body image, self worth, and confidence has been lacking as of late. My goal here is to be honest. If I don’t write about something, I’m probably still processing it before or after I’ve brought it up with someone on my “recovery team”.

I’m still horrible at communicating, even though I want to be better. I still beat myself up about what I did or didn’t say. Guess what? I just realized right now that I’m probably being too hard on myself, as usual. Yes, I’m struggling. What’s new? Yes, I fluctuate between better and worse. But I’m trying. For a few days I didn’t feel like it. Fortunately, that faded away. Feelings come and go, nothing changes overnight. I can find comfort in the fact that I have come so far. If I stumble and lose my footing, I can stand to veer off track for a few steps. As long as I find my way back. Progress, not perfection.

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