Who am I without my Eating Disorder?

IMG_4069This is the question I’ve been struggling the most with lately. When I’ve been defined by so long by my eating and body issues – how can I find out who I really am without them? In the past when I faced any issues I would respond with an attack on my body. Failed a test?  Binge and purge. Get dumped by a boy? Restrict. I have no idea who I am, what I like, or where I see my life going. I have been wrapped up so long in thoughts of weight loss, body image and food.

How do i start from scratch to find out who I  really am?

I imagine this is a very common concern for those recovering from an ED. It’s no longer a safety blanket, it’s something we have to leave behind. I’m sure you have all seen that

url cliché picture about leaving your comfort zone to allow ‘the magic to happen’? No? Let me refresh your memories…

Now I think this is so substantial in ED recovery. Despite the fact that we are ‘sick’, that sickness is a comfort to us. For the last 12 years of my life, being ‘sick’ has been my norm. To be healthy is what is out of the ordinary for me. However, to truly recover, every piece of literature I have read has told me that I need to push past my limits and MAKE myself uncomfortable. By no means is it going to be easy. In fact it’ll probably be the hardest thing I ever have to do in my life, but god…will it ever be worth it.

Now one of my favorite books to read the past couple years has been ‘Wasted’ by Marya Hornbacher. However, I loved it because I found it insanely triggering. I would read it and absorb the information about weight loss and how sick she got, and want to do the same. TRIGGER WARNING for those with an ED who have never read it, I would not recommend you do. That being said for those who don’t have an ED, it is an amazing look into the eyes of someone who has one, and a great read to help someone to understand the thoughts that can go on in an eating disordered person’s head.

Anyways, now in my recovery when I read these books I try to see them through a different set of eyes. A quote in Marya’s book says; “Never, never underestimate the power of desire. If you want to live badly enough, you can live. The great question, at least for me, was: How do I decide I want to live?”. This is incredibly accurate. Recovering from an ED means making the choice between living a long healthy live, or dying a short, slow painful one. It is all about CHOICE. Making that choice every. single. day. to eat your meals, talk to your friends and loved ones about your struggles, and not isolate yourself from the rest of the world.

The only way we can discover who we really are without our Eating Disorders is to get out and live our lives.

I’m going to go and do just that. How about you?

xx Liv

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'”

– Mary Anne Radmacher

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Power Bars

I modified this recipe from natural vitality, see here

cookies

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Serves: 15 large bars, or 24 smaller

Ingredients:

Wet

4 eggs

1 cup pureed pumpkin

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tbsp almond milk

1 tbsp vanilla

Dry

1/2 cup coconut flour

5 tbsp protein powder

3 tbsp Unflavored Natural Calm (magnesium supplement)

1/4 cup milled flax seed

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cloves

pinch of sea salt

Drizzle

2 oz dark chocolate

coconut oil

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 375˚F, line two baking sheets with parchment paper (I made the mistake of not doing this and they were a bit of a mess to get off once I drizzled the chocolate)

2. Combine wet ingredients in a large bowl

3. Whisk together dry ingredients. Make sure you are using an unflavored protein powder, or one that you don’t mind your bars tasting like – I made the mistake of using strawberry (still not terrible!).

4. Once combined, add dry ingredients to wet and let sit for 5 minutes to thicken. Will have a spongy like texture.

5. This next part is completely your own prerogative. The original instructions say to scoop 1/3 cup of mixture per bar… I found these bars to be very big. So scoop out sizes to your liking and arrange on baking sheets. It seems easiest to shape the bars once you put the mix on the sheet.

6. Bake bars for 22 – 25 minutes. The bottom of the bars should be golden, and a toothpick comes out clean. They are still quite soft.

7. Allow bars to cool on pan for at least 5 minutes.

8. In the meantime, whip out some chocolate drizzle. I took 2 oz of dark chocolate with a touch of coconut oil and microwaved it. Stir constantly to avoid burning the chocolate.

9. Take a spoon and drizzle the chocolate over the top of the bars.

10. Lastly, I let my bars set in the freezer.

11. ENJOY!

‘It happened so fast’

Today was Monday and almost a new month. I woke up with a desire to ‘start fresh’ and get my recovery rolling. I make a smoothie, feel like I ate too much, then the next thing I know, the smoothie has turned into a muffin, three pieces of toast, and two bowls of rice slathered in butter.

“It happened so fast, I couldn’t stop it”

That’s what i say to myself every time. Turning my ED into this outside force that MAKES me shove the food into my mouth. I’m helpless against him…

However, this is not true. It wasn’t Ed that made me eat those things. It was me, Olivia. I made the choice to have the muffin, and toast the bread, and eat the rice. No one else. I am not powerless against this.

I wish I could say I was. It’s so easier to blame some outside force for your problems then to take them on yourself. But that won’t help anyone trying to recover. I recently read the book ‘Goodbye ED, Hello Me’ by Jenni Schaefer, and one thing that stuck with me from that book is how after a binge it is important do the NEXT RIGHT THING. Now after spending my ‘fresh start’ morning bingeing and purging the last thing I want to do is eat more today – but I know I need to. The next right thing in this situation is to go on with my day. So here I am. I will blog my feelings out, drink my tea, then eat lunch when I get hungry.

It’s terrifying, but recovery is all about taking back the power that you gave away with your eating disorder. No longer can I blame ED for making choices, I need to make them for myself.

xx Liv

“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.”

– Abraham Maslow

Chaos

It’s been a while since I posted. I guess this post is just more than anything for me to get my thoughts down and out of my head. The last couple weeks have been a whirlwind. My parents found out I wasn’t working full-time like they thought I were, and the depth of my eating disorder really began to become apparent to them. on Monday of last week they ended up taking me to the E.R. as I was suicidal. I had spent the entire weekend in my room, only coming out to binge and purge multiple times a day. I had lost all hope that things would get better.

That being said… things ARE getting better. Getting to the ER got me some steps in the right direction as to getting into and eating disorder clinic. My parents and I also made the decision for me to move back home. I feel safe here. At this state I’m in, I just can’t trust myself living alone.. it’s as simple as that. I hope one day soon I can, but right now I know that I can’t.

So since moving home, I have sort of put everything on hold in order to benefit my recovery. I was supposed to start a new job today, but ended up quitting. This is what I always do.. I try to push myself through something (new job, school, etc.) and my recovery gets put on the back burner. I don’t want that to happen this time. I want to feel 100% and healthy and happy before returning to work. I need to have good coping skills and feel stronger, right now I’m just not there.

So I guess a big part of me feels like I’ve taken so many steps backwards now. Moving home, not working, broke, list goes on… but I am trying to remember to take this one day at a time. It really has not been that long since I committed myself to recover, and I need to take some time to truly do just that.

Hope you’re having a lovely week

xx Liv

“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.”

— Mary Pickford

The climb back after relapse

Started today with some oatmeal in bed. It was so hard to resist the urge to not eat breakfast. I felt so bloated and sick and gross this morning, and every part of me responds to that feeling with thinking ‘don’t eat’ and ‘undo the damage’. image3That being said, I ate, it didn’t turn into a binge, and I kept it down. Maybe a tiny milestone but in my mind this is a big step. I think I’ve finally turned the switch in my head. I KNOW that I need to recover, and I know that to do that I can no longer try to lose weight. I need to give up my obsession with my weight and my body, and instead focus solely on getting myself healthy. It won’t be easy by any means… but in the end this will be worth it.

After breakfast I had an appointment with my psychiatrist. My family doctor had called him and got me in for an ‘urgent appointment’. My psychiatrist is such a nice man and I can tell he truly wants to help me. At the end of my appointment we agreed I should go back on my antidepressants. Fluoxetine (prozac) to be exact. This drug is researched in the treatment of bulimia, and so he thinks it’ll only add to my recovery, along with therapy and all the steps I’m taking on my own. As much as I wanted to do this without meds – I agree that this is for the best. I will keep my experience with the higher dose of prozac documented on this blog as well (or try my best to).

So today is all about getting myself back on track. I know there’s not much food in the house so at some point today I’m going to have to go and pick up some things from the grocery store. For snacks, I will have an apple, pickled asparagus and lots of tea. For lunch I’ll probably grab something like a salad from the grocery store, and for dinner I’ll make a chicken stir-fry.

image1As for now, I’ll drink some freshly juiced beets and focus on staying positive 🙂

xx Liv

“There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn’t matter anymore.”

-Laurie Halse Anderson

Slip ups

So these past couple days have been hard. So goddamn hard. I’ve had a couple slip ups and it’s so upsetting – it makes me feel like I’ll never actually recover. How many times have I done this? Tried to recover, eat ‘normally’, only to fall back into old ways and get even sicker than ever.

That being said… I know I haven’t been being totally honest in trying to get myself better. I find still when I’m on my own I go back to eating less. Things like eating breakfast seem so hard and pointless for me. Yet when I get too hungry… I binge. It’s just a fact and has been proven by me time and time again.

My other triggers these past couple days:

  • Feeling so gross (weight-wise). I don’t even want to leave the house or my room or be seen by anyone. Canceling plans and falling back into my old ways of avoiding.
  • Stomach pain and bloating. Not to mention other digestive issues…
  • Loneliness and sadness.

I told my parents about one of my slip ups and I could hear how disappointed they were. It broke my heart. I should be trying harder to get better for them. I know I should. A part of me thinks that I should just move home so they can watch me 24/7. Yet, that isn’t really recovering… I need to learn to do this on my own. I’m just not too sure I can to be honest.

So what are my plans to bounce back from this slip up?

  1. Absolutely NO more skipping of meals. None at all.
  2. Call my parents WHENEVER I feel the urge. This is the hardest one for me… it’s hard to admit I need help. And it’s awkward, uncomfortable and embarrassing. I need to do it though.
  3. No booze or caffeine. Both of these are too tied hand in hand with my ED. I need to let these crutches go, and the only way I can do that is going cold turkey.
  4. NO purging after a binge. Purging gives me an excuse to binge (‘oh it’s okay, I can just get it out’). Hopefully once I stop the purging, the bingeing will also come in time.
  5. Try to get outside for a walk at least once a day. I know exercise and sunshine makes me feel better.
  6. Find a counselor in my home town.

I’m going to move forward. I won’t let this stop me from getting better. I absolutely cannot let it.

xx Liv

“You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down”

– Mary Pickford