It is good for good days and bad days.
Yesterday was a good day.
I have one friend who I hang out with, and when I’m with her I immediately realize if something is up or not with me. Why? Because all my walls come down with her. So if I realize I’m not relaxed and myself with her, it means that something is bothering me that I haven’t realized yet.
That is what happened last week. We went to get pedicures (one of my three guilty pleasures) and I came home realizing I had been space-y. Time to go back to the drawing board (aka journal) and figure out what has been eating away at me.
It is funny how our emotions get such a bad rap… How we hide from what we are afraid of facing as if it somehow will make it go away… How little by little we have to realize that emotions aren’t something to be feared but something beautiful… And how we need not be afraid of them because we are strong enough to handle them…
So while traveling Canada and supervising middle schoolers on a diet of chicken and French fries. I managed to pick up some weight… How much? Who knows. But enough for my clothes to fit differently for the first time in probably over year.
freak out… Me grappling with what to do… Reminding myself that I didn’t need to freak out… Cycling between, “You have to stop eating now” and “You need to eat healthy.” So I watched what I ate for a week, restricted some, drank lots of water. But I was grappling.
So what was bothering me, not the weight, or the grappling… I sat down and realized, I needed to accept that I DIDN’T LIKE THAT I HAD GAINED WEIGHT EATING CHICKEN AND FRENCH FRIES. And That. Is. Okay. We are not supposed to gain weight eating chicken and French fries. My therapist always used to tell me, that I had to gain healthy weight… not junk food weight (I might have a thing for cookies!)
Weight off the shoulders lifted.
Accepting that I can have a negative thought/feeling about food that is normal.
Have I stopped eating? No.
Am I watching what I’m eating? Yes.
Am I restricting? Maybe some. And I have to watch that and be perfectly honest with myself.
But back to that song about what faith can do. I also realized that I am doing something I once thought was impossible. I am mindfully eating. I literally reached a point when I thought such a thing existed but I had lost hope of every getting back there. But the fact is that in February I got a really bad stomach bug. I couldn’t keep anything in me for four days. And I started to worry. I’m at a healthy weight but there isn’t a lot of me to lose. I knew it would take time to get back to where I had been before. But then I realized maybe I didn’t want to go back there. I used it as a reset. And for the first time in nearly eight years, I am eating when I’m hungry.
If I get hungry at 10am I have a snack. But you are going to eat lunch in 2 hours. And so what? I am hungry and I’m going to feed my body, my mind, and my spirit. Because I deserve it!
I have always been overly optimistic about recovery. I believe the mind is very powerful. I’ve had a zillion people tell me to lower my expectations. I still don’t know what recovery looks like completely, but I prefer to be overly optimistic and spent my whole life fighting for it, than to settle for some version of “You will always have the eating disorder.”
(Not that I would ever erase what I’ve learned through this – because I’ve finally realized that God is bigger than my eating disorder, now, in the past, or if I were ever to relapse – that is me breathing a deep sigh of relief and letting go of the HUGE fear I’ve had of relapse, because even if I’m different, it happened once and there is no way to prove it might not ever happen again.)
Maybe I’m wrong, but I believe in a recovery that is true freedom. (Not freedom from struggles – those are part of life.) But a true freedom, which comes through trust… trusting myself, trusting those around me, and trusting my God.
I didn’t think the way I’m mindfully eating was possible. And here I am doing it. Perfectly, not yet. But I’m doing something I didn’t think was possible.
Yesterday, I had a great day at work. I was able to have a discussion and a meeting that gave me a vision forward. I’ve been working on a particular project and difficult situation for over a year, and yesterday finally I saw some fruit from all of that. I have cried more tears over this situation than I can count. And I realized yesterday that I am different. Not only is the situation nearly resolved, but I am a different person – for the better.
Yesterday was one of those days when you realize how far you have come, when things come together, when you realize what faith can do.
Don’t give up! Believe in the impossible! Let yourself be surprised!