Thursday, October 29, 2009


Well, I have made quite a bit of progress this week, which is kinda scary.

My weight is up over 3 whole pounds this week. ED is FREAKING OUT, making me feel huge and blubbery and sometimes I think I'll never stop gaining!

However, I was also up to 3 Ensures a day, which is like 1,000 extra calories a day, so DUH, of course I've gained. It was just weird because yesterday my jeans were really tight. My mom is excited though and wants to take me shopping so I can get new clothes that actually fit me. So, I'm just going to try to learn to love this new womanly body of mine and take my mom up on her shopping offer!

Anyway, I am still about 7-10 pounds from my final goal. But I am sure it will happen soon.

IOP's going well. 2 of my favorites got discharged yesterday (SO sad), BUT we also got 4 new members this week, and I'm really excited to get to know them all. One woman was IP with me, so it was nice to see a familiar face this week.

Things with my family are going much better. We are leaving Tuesday at 5:30 to fly out to Meridian, Mississippi, where my older brother Ryan is getting winged! He is a marine corps 1st lieutenant, and we are all incredibly proud of him. I'm kind of nervous for our trip because it means that every single meal will be spent out, even breakfast, and there is also a fancy ball with a dinner and stuff. However, with my weight gain, some of my gorgeous gowns from high school proms and stuff fit again! So at least I'll have something to wear. I'm nervous about social eating and my meal plan and all, but I think it will all work out. I am trying to stay positive.

I already have to start figuring out my schedule for returning to college next semester. I'm hoping to be able to graduate with a major in psychology and a minor in creative writing, and it might even be possible to have a major in both, which would be AWESOME!

Well, I'm going to go relax and watch TV before IOP (relaxing is something I've gotten very good at recently. You all should try it!). I am hoping to post before my trip to the bro's house, but if not, I'll be sure to post afterwards with lots of fun pictures!

I've been following your blogs and I am impressed with all of you. Keep up the positivity and good work!

P.S. Have a ghoulishly HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!! I don't have any plans, besides giving the kiddies candy. I love the adorable kids and their fun costumes. I also plan on pumpkin carving with my poppa!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Can I Do This?

It's turned out to be a lovely week here in northern Maryland. Yesterday was 77 degrees and sunny, and today is looking to be about the same.

IOP has been going pretty well, but last weekend I admit I had a few slip-ups. I went out to dinner both Friday and Saturday (AND saw "Where the Wild Things Are" and "Fame"--both were pretty good!) with friends. I saw Sasha on Friday, who I hadn't seen since the summer, and my BFF Brooke on Saturday, who I also hadn't seen in awhile.

I ended up being very anxious and nervous and not following my meal plan and supplements very strictly. So yesterday I got weighed and, although I didn't lose weight, I didn't gain. I just maintained. I am glad that I didn't lose, and proud of myself for maintaining a weight higher than I was all summer, but my treatment team is still not pleased. I am probably the most underweight person in my IOP program, and one of the only ones who was allowed to do IOP without PHP first (partial hospitalization program, which is from 7am-7pm every day). My doc said if I don't make adequate progress by next Wed, I may be referred to a higher level of care. My parents aren't too opposed to the idea. Now, I am 21 and therefore no one can FORCE me to go IP or PHP, but they sure can influence me.

So, now I am up to 3 Ensure Pluses a day plus my 3 meals (on the highest meal plan, mind you!) and nighttime snack. In fact, I'm drinking a Vanilla Ensure as we speak. I am going to try really really hard to overcome this.

Since I've been blocking my symptoms for awhile, things seem harder in a way, both physically and emotionally. My ED was a way for me to cope with the world and avoid the stresses of life, and now that I don't have it, life seems somehow utterly lonely. I know it's messed up, because obviously starving oneself isn't healthy by any means, but anorexia became a crutch, it became the one thing I could count on and manipulate and control. In IOP they tell us that giving up your ED really is a grieving process, and I totally agree. Those of you who have never had an ED probably think this is very sick and twisted, but it's true. I confessed to my parents last night that for a long time, I was severely depressed and anorexia became a way to punish myself and numb myself. Even after I realized that XX lbs is NOT a healthy weight, it took a long time for me to try to gain weight again because I truly feel that for a long time, I didn't really care if I lived or died.

Now I realize how awfully selfish that was. I have had a really good life, and I have friends and family who love me intensely. I think depression and EDs are partially an internal and biological thing, but there are also social and situational factors that arise. In talking last night, my mother and I realized that perhaps some of her own body image issues, depression, and anxiety were transferred to me, both biologically and through modeling her behaviors. However, I would never "blame" either of my parents for what I have gone through. Nor do I blame myself. 

I am trying to look at this as simply one chapter in my life, a chapter that is indeed difficult and heartbreaking. I'm not sure why God chose me to endure this. However, as with any book, all I can do is simply turn the page and rewrite the next chapter of my life. This disorder has taken too much time and energy and health from me already, and I must persevere. This can be a building block for a strong and healthy and happy life to come.

Do I still have ED thoughts? YES, of course, sometimes even stronger than when I was in the deep end. Like I said, blocking symptoms makes the urges seem even louder and more intense. However, am I making progress? YES. Yes, I truly am. I am going in less than 2 weeks to Mississippi with my parents to visit my older brother for a week and to attend his winging ceremony (he is becoming a jet pilot in the Marines). Am I nervous to go to events and eat practically every meal out, including fast food? HELL yes. Will I let it knock me down? NO. I refuse. Even though I am depressed and feel isolated and sad at times, I need to remind myself that there is so much to live for. 

God wouldn't have created this body and this soul of mine if he didn't want me to LIVE in it. 

So living is what I must do.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

goodbye ed, hello me

Hola, Chicas!

The title of my post is inspired by Jenni Schaefer's new book, Goodbye Ed, Hello Me: Recover from your Eating Disorder and Fall in Love with Life! You all probably know her as the author of the infamous ED recovery book Life Without Ed! Well, I just got her newest book and it is even better! She proves that there is a BIG difference between being "in recovery" and being "recovered", and through hard work and determination, she shows us that we too can get there!

I am super excited because Ms. Schaefer is going to be speaking @ my treatment center on October 25th! So, I have been flying through the book so I can have it read before her presentation (and because I want her to sign it!).

So, how have things been going?

Pretty well, I suppose. Went to visit my friends @ college this past Sat night. It was the first time I had seen them since I mysteriously left school a month ago and went into the hospital. It was a little awkward at first, but we went out to eat (and I followed my meal plan, including a delicious chocolate bourbon pecan cake for dessert!) and loosened up and everything went alright. However, I don't drink alcohol much anymore, mostly because of my meds but also because the IOP I'm in forbids it--alcoholism is closely linked with EDs, AND it runs rampant in my family, so it's better to be healthy and safe about it. So that was the only awkward thing about the weekend. I used to party and drink a lot my first 2 years of college, and my friends were disappointed that I didn't drink with them. However, I am realizing the joy of moderation. Yes of course I'll enjoy a drink or two every once in awhile. But seeing drunken college kids make fools of themselves made me realize that I am so over that scene. I am 21 years old, and yes I want to have fun, but getting so wasted you lose your keys and your pants and don't know where you are is a lot different than being an ADULT and going for a nice drink or two with friends and watching a movie. I guess I've just calmed down a lot.

In terms of IOP, things are going really really well. My meal plan got bumped up and a supplement added (Ensure! woot woot haha), and mentally it sure hasn't been a cake walk (no pun intended, I swear!). Last Wed my weight had gone up 1 pound from the week before, and yesterday my weight had gone up 1.5 pounds in only 5 days. It freaked me out a little, and I am more than I weighed all summer, so it's definitely been an adjustment. My clothes are fitting tighter and my butt and hips are rounding out a little, but I'm dealing. In fact, my hair and skin and eyes look better, and even though I still have body image distortions, I am working very hard to keep up with my meal plan and supplements and to be proud of my strong new body. I am about 10 pounds or so from my goal, which is awesome! A few weeks ago I was losing, and now I am gaining. And it's not just weight. I am gaining a new, calmer perspective on life. Our nutritionists and therapists teach us about moderation in all things, and I think that is a wonderful way to live life. I am not exercising at the moment (mom said 5 more pounds and we'll see about signing up for yoga!), but when I eventually get to my goal weight, I want to be able to exercise and eat moderately and healthily. You don't need to run 5 miles a day to be healthy. In fact, doing 20-30 minutes of walking or light yoga is perfectly acceptable!

I won't lie and say it's easy. I know that Recovery Road has lots of bumps and detours, but I also know that I have the strength within me to at least keep the road in sight, even when I'm not fully on it. But as for today--the sun is shining, I'm wearing a cute new shirt, and I am walking the difficult path of recovery with complete faith that it will be fully worth it!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Truckin' along...

Hey there, blogettes!

I hope everyone is having a fabulous week! I have had my ups and downs, but all in all I am doing SO MUCH BETTER. I am following my meal plan, slowly gaining, and attending my intensive outpatient program, which is really helping me to block ED symptoms and challenge ED thoughts.

The thoughts are definitely the hardest part. Our counselors in IOP tell us that it sometimes becomes even WORSE when we block symptoms because the thoughts come on even stronger. The thoughts are the last thing to go. However, I have been really pushing through it by challenging myself food-wise. Before my ED, which really only began a little over a year ago (I am a freak in the anorexic world, it seems--the entire span of my eating disorder was very short, but yet very intense. I lost about 40 pounds in less than a year, mostly in a few short months, which is very odd and I am trying through therapy to figure out what spurred this short-lived and extreme behavior from occurring.), I used to NEVER weigh myself, NEVER care about what I ate, and I felt awesome! In high school, I was the girl who amazed my friends by eating tons of greasy hot wings and nachos and DQ Blizzards and Velveeta shells and cheese without gaining an ounce of fat. 

In college, I was less active and put on a few more pounds from alcohol and greasy dining hall food, but I was still slim and healthy and beautiful. Now, my ED makes me feel guilty after eating a reasonable meal. I challenged myself last night at IOP by getting a Reese's peanut butter ice cream bar which was XXX calories (let's just say it had more calories in it than I used to eat in breakfast and lunch combined back when my anorexia was strong), and although it tasted good, I immediately felt awful afterwards. The big mistake was looking at the calories. The meal plan my program uses is about choosing the right amount of items and serving sizes and following the food guide pyramid, NOT counting calories. I should've crumpled up the wrapper before looking at the calories, but alas, I am not perfect, and although I ate it, it wasn't easy.

However, I am proud of myself. A lot of the people in IOP are still caught up in their ways, and I can see them silently calculating the calories in their meals, chopping their chicken into miniscule pieces, and fighting the urge to purge when we walk past the bathroom on the way back to our meeting room. I feel for these people, mostly because I understand how they feel. However, I think that even though I felt awful about myself after eating my ice cream bar, the only way for me to get rid of the thoughts is to challenge them by changing my behaviors. I used to order a cheeseburger with fries and a chocolate milkshake without even thinking twice. I'm sick of choosing foods based on calories and not taste. Life is way too short to spend all my time worrying about how many calories I am eating and burning. Food is nourishment, and it's meant to be enjoyed, not abused.

So, although it hasn't been easy, and the road ahead is long, I am making huge strides. Even though the thoughts are often strong, I am now able to recognize them as completely irrational and I have been following the meal plan 100%. Tonight my dad is coming to family night, where he will eat dinner and attend group with me. I am nervous, but excited that both my parents are really active in my recovery.

Sorry this post was so long! I don't come on here as much anymore because I realize that a lot of the blogs I've been following are hindering my recovery. I'm sick of reading about organic this and all-natural that and blah blah blah. Yes, I love me a good organic apple and some whole grain bread with natural PB over the processed stuff any day, but all things are ok in moderation. There's nothing wrong with a piece of store-bought chocolate cake, or a donut from dunkin donuts, or a burger from McDonald's every once in awhile. I am learning that I don't need to worry so much about every morsel of food being perfect, as long as I am generally eating healthy. There's nothing wrong with settling for white bread at a friend's house if that's all they have. I eat healthy whole wheat bread almost every day, so having something less natural every once in awhile isn't going to kill me. In fact, I ate white bread every single day in high school, with turkey and mayo, and I was perfectly healthy and normal!

So, I'm sorry if I offended anyone, but I'm just starting to realize that recovering from an ED means truly being comfortable with ALL foods again--in moderation, of course. Yes, I'll admit, I still struggle with things like pizza or cheesy pasta. But the only way to move past it is to FACE it. 

Keep on trucking along, people, and I will as well.

Happy Wednesday, and happy recovery to you all.

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