Monthly Archives: November 2009

Spinning Head Syndrome

Hey everyone,

This week was hectic between exams, classes, homework, and just feeling down emotionally. Whenever I think about all the things I’m doing and all the things I have yet to do, my head starts to spin. I start to feel like there are literally things spinning around in my head and I can’t keep up. I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed lately and it’s been hard to deal with. I haven’t binged in response to it, so we’ve still gotten somewhere, but I’m not without my issues.

So I set up an appointment at the counseling center at my school. I went yesterday. The woman I saw was absolutely amazing and we really hit it off. What surprised me was home much she thought I needed help. In the first 10 minutes of sitting down and talking she told me with a concerned face that she was “so happy I came in today” and she had no idea how I “kept it all together“. I’m quick to tell myself that my problems aren’t that bad, not as a defense mechanism, but more of a general disbelief that my problems are bad. If my problems were bad then I would deserve attention and help, and I never really feel like I deserve those things.

But then.. as I listened to my session… it really does sound like I have a lot going on. We touched on so many topics: my dad’s roller coaster ride with cancer, where one day I’m contacting my adviser to find out the protocol for how to tell professors about a parent’s death.. then a week later he’s out of the hospital and “doing fine” ; my feelings of inadequacy in my major and the extreme pressure I put my self under, even when I’m at a 3.5 GPA ; the beginning stages of detachment and isolation from friends ; a recurring relationship with a guy who’s nothing like the guy I want, but it’s safe and comfortable so I do it anyway ; some feelings of incompetence living in a campus where the girls are all so gorgeous (my college is known for the beautiful girls.. all blonde and so many are very thin)..

And there were still some things I left out. So I guess that when I put it down on paper, it looks like I am dealing with a lot. But I still feel like my problems can’t be that bad, because, in the past, I’ve been told by people very close to me that my problems aren’t important and people go through worse things.. so I need to “suck it up”. Because of that, I always feel like my problems aren’t difficult, it’s just that I’m too weak to deal with the very minor things I’m going through. However, my therapist seemed to think my problems weren’t minor at all. She actually immediately said that I need to be put on the list for psychiatric care and medication (which I won’t get till winter break because the school psychiatric office is so backed up), and she set us up for another appointment right after Thanksgiving.

I called my mom afterwards and she was upset. She’s happy that I’m smart enough to seek help before things get too bad. She’s also happy that I think about my problems in a very objective manner, so I share everything with the therapist right away because if you have a problem and you’re too embarrassed to mention it.. it won’t get fixed, and that defeats the purpose of therapy. But, it’s really distressing to her that her daughter needs anti-depressants. It’s weird to think.. when did this happen. When did I become depressed? What happened that turned me down this road? No one expects this for their child or themselves, but it happens. I wish that it wasn’t so difficult to be happy, or even content.. but maybe it will be easy easier with medication. Maybe a huge part of this is my brain chemistry.

The answers to all my questions will come in time… but there is one thing I know. I am so happy for some things..

  • I’m happy that I have no problems with seeking therapy and medication. I know it’s difficult and scary for some people to tackle their issues head-on, but I think it’s the best way to heal.
  • I’m happy that I have supportive friends. I have told some of my friends about yesterday’s therapy and they’ve all been so happy that I went. They all think it’s great that I’m getting help and they all want the best for me.
  • I’m happy that I have a very close relationship with my mom. She knows about everything. I don’t hide any part of this from her, and it helps so much. She’s very supportive and so loving. I have the best mom in the world (not to knock all your moms (; )

Well, I don’t know what else to say, but I think I’ve said a lot, lol. I love that the blog provides an outlet for my thoughts and feelings. I’m sure I’ll be back soon, hope you will be too!

Stay positive,

Michelle

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Good Morning

It may be cloudy and rainy outside, but I’m feeling cheery inside πŸ™‚

I actually woke up to my alarm today! I left the apartment (with coffee in hand) at 6:30am and by 6:55am I was on my first machine at the gym. Today was a hardcore workout. I started off with one of the most intense elliptical sessions ever, which lasted 45 minutes. Then I did 10 minutes of speed walking on the treadmill at an 11.0 incline. I was bright beet red after cardio. I’m not one of those girls who look sexy at the gym.. I look like I’m working out! After cardio I did 15 strength training moves, hitting arms, legs, shoulders, back, and abs a couple times each. I finished with some deep stretching. All-in-all it was a long workout, roughly 1 hour 45 minutes, but it felt amazing.

One of the biggest changes between how I used to work out and working out now is how I spend my time in the gym. When I was obsessively body-conscious and self-critical, it was all about cardio. If I didn’t do an hour, I wasn’t working hard enough. An hour of cardio was the most important goal, even if it meant there was no time for strength training. I became 100% focused on calorie burn and forgot what exercising is really about, strengthening with variety.

Now, I do 30-45 minutes of cardio with each trip to the gym. I do at least ten minutes of strength training when I don’t have much time. When I do have time, I aim for 10-15 strength training moves. I also take the time to stretch. I never used to stretch at the gym, and I think that’s because I didn’t care about my body, I cared about how thin I was. In those days, stretching seemed like a waste of time, it doesn’t burn calories. These days I feel more connected to my body, so I take the time to stretch to show my body that appreciate the hard work it just did.

After the gym I walked home in the chilly rain and hopped into a hot shower the second I got into my apartment. At 9am I went to work making breakfast: oatmeal. What a warm, cozy, and comforting breakfast to have on a drizzly day. I made my oats with 1/2 c oatmeal, water, a few spoonfuls of protein powder, 3/4 banana sliced, a sprinkle of raisins, several shakes of cinnamon, and a doll-up of natural peanut butter on top. Mmm it was delicious.

An interesting fact: I don’t know if I’ve ever used 1/2 cup of oats to make oatmeal. I’ve always used 1/4 cup or 1/3 cup. I told myself that the 1/2 cup was too much because it’s 150 calories, which I thought was a lot for just a pile of oats. I also read a lot of food blogs and many writers say that they only use 1/4 or 1/3 cup oats in their oatmeal, so I thought that 1/2 cup was too much. That maybe I would be glutenous for using more than they did. But today, after my hard workout, I thought to myself… 1/2 cup sounds perfect to me! To most people, this internal conversation about oatmeal sounds silly or stupid. But for people who have dealt with food issues, it’s important to see that old rules can be broken, and that food choices are a very personal thing. You should never decide on how much food will satisfy your hunger based on how much others eat. Your hunger is unique to you, and you need to eat what makes you feel good. And my bowl of oats this morning made me feel all sorts of good!

Now I’m going to spend one more hour relaxing, followed by lunch, meetings, class, and studying. Busy day.

 

Michelle

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Cookie Post

chocolate_chip

I just ate a very delicious chocolate chip cookie

at the library’s cafe.

And I didn’t feel bad afterwards.

Love,

Michelle

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The Day Thus Far

Hey hey there. Happy Tuesday.

I started off my day by missing my alarm. I was supposed to wake up at 6am. I woke up at 5:40am thinking, “nice, 20 more minutes to sleep”. Then I woke up at 6:40am and thought “CRAP!!” I wanted to be at the gym by 6:45am, but the walk to the gym alone takes 15 minutes!! Thankfully, I put out clothes and packed my book bag the night before, so I was able to make up some of my 40 minutes lost.

Once I made it to the gym I did 30 minutes on the elliptical (last 8 minutes I was workin’ it out like a mad woman!) Then I did four arm exercises, some lunges, some squats and I was out the door. Three minutes later I sat down in my seat in my 8am class. By 10:45am I’d already worked out and had two classes. What a productive morning!

Unlike last year when all I wanted to do was burn as many calories as possible every time I was in the gym, this time I actually had a balanced workout, even though I was rushed for time. Last year with 45 minutes in the gym I would think that is not enough time. It needs to be all cardio. I wish it was 60 minutes. But now, I thought to myself OK 30 minutes cardio instead of 45 minutes won’t kill me, and doing some weight training is really important. What a great mentality shift.

Another thing to mention: unless I was going to the 7am Yoga class, last year I never went to the gym at 6:45am unless it was punishment. I would binge and then think to myself, “I’m disgusting and fat and I need to be at the gym first thing tomorrow to get rid of this”. Then I would go to the gym and the entire time negative self-talk would be blaring in my mind. Now, I go to the gym at 6:45am and I’m proud of myself for starting my day off on a healthy foot. It’s a positive experience now.

I ate my breakfast in two parts this morning: a banana right after the gym, and a (natural) PB & (all-fruit strawberry jam) J sammie on whole wheat. It was pretty delicious. I was always a grape jelly girl, but last week I got the strongest craving for strawberry jam (the good kind with the seeds in there!). So I got a jar this weekend, and this morning was my first time using it. Now I know why I was craving it!! I haven’t eaten a PB&J in years, probably because it packs a moderate caloric punch for a sandwich, and in the past that used to scare me. But now I think, whole grains + healthy fat + fruit sugar = energy! Energy to keep me going, help my brain function, and repair my body after a work out. Calories aren’t something to fear, they’re fuel

I got back to my apartment at 11am, and between showering, sending e-mails, and working on a problem in my end-of-the-semester project for class, I had used up all my time! I had to gather my things and head right back out the door for my 1pm appointment with my academic adviser. I had no time to eat lunch, but I did pack a snack and dinner for later in the day.

I didn’t end up eating until 2pm. I grabbed food from the food court on campus. I was originally planning on get the half-sized vegetarian roll with edamame, but since I hadn’t eaten in 4 1/2 hours, I went for the full-sized vegetarian roll. Honestly, are more carrots, cucumbers, avocado, and a small amount white rice going to kill me? No.

Plan for the rest of the day:

Study Macronutrients. I did horrible on the last exam. I had just come off of a week at home with my dad in the hospital, I had a huge migraine the night before the exam, and the morning of the exam my dad was admitted back into the hospital. It was not the best time for a major exam, and my grade definitely shows it. I pride myself on my school work, and it was a real blow to my ego when I got that grade back. I’m hoping to do way better on this exam. Wish me luck!!

I’ll be studying from now until 5pm, 5pm-7pm class, and then studying 7pm-9pm-ish. I won’t be back in my apartment until after 9pm (hence the packed food).

What’s in my nifty lunch bag you may ask…

  • greek yogurt w/ strawberries and granola + almond slivers
  • an entire red pepper chopped up and carrots with hummus
  • mini salad w/ lite balsamic dressing
  • triscuits with a laughing cow cheese

**And a chick-o-stick may have snuck into my book bag and been eaten when I was dragging after my meeting. πŸ˜‰ If you don’t know what they are, they’re basically like the inside of a butterfinger rolled in toasted coconut. It’s been carried over from my vegan days to my vegetarian days. **

Plus I have a lot of edamame leftover from lunch. My lunch bag is seriously packed to the brim. It should keep me full throughout my day. In the past, days leading up to busy exams were triggers for binging and stress eating. Usually, that list of food would look more like CARBS CARBS CARBS. It would be completely unbalanced, and the frequent sugar high’s and crashes would suck my dry of the energy I needed to work. This time I’m trying to keep that under control. I think I’m doing a pretty good job :

OK, blogging is a GREAT distraction, but I need to study now. πŸ˜› Have a great rest of your day, and I’ll see you all back here tomorrow!

Michelle

And can I just say, I’m really enjoying blogging again πŸ˜‰

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Things Are About to Change

Hey everyone! Hope you are all doing well. I’m doing pretty good. Things have been quite busy.

I’m planning on making big changes to the blog. I’m going to change the focus from ED recovery to life after ED. As important as it is to talk about coping with disordered eating, it’s also important to acknowledge that your life doesn’t end with an eating disorder, but instead it begins anew once you’re far enough into recovery.

As part of this shift I would like to introduce myself, as Michelle. I used Emma K. as a “stage name” with the blog because it hit on such deep personal issues. Although I was comfortable sharing, I still wanted some level of privacy when it came to my identity. However, now that I have come so far in my journey I have no problem declaring my name on the blog. My name is Michelle, and although I have struggled with disordered eating in terms of both restricting and binging, I am not defined by my past or my struggles. I am defined by my present, my now.

Unfortunately, my once healthy eating and exercising habits were derailed by over a year of severely disordered eating. I really do love eating healthy food and breaking a sweat at the gym, but can you find balance with food and fitness after an eating disorder? Can you look at food as just food, not a judgment of your own self worth? Can you go to the gym and enjoy a good workout without wondering if you burned as many calories as possible?

I’m here to prove that you can! I’m here to prove that a healthy relationship with food and exercise doesΒ  have a place in your life, even after it’s been warped and manipulated for so long.

I’m also here to prove that self-improvement comes from within, not by the size you are, but by the fuel you give your body and the shape you keep it in.

This has been a challenging fall semester so far, and unfortunately at times it has affected by eating and exercising habits. I’ve still never had a binge like last year. Big success there. However, I have fallen prey to too much eating that was driven by emotions over hunger, and I’ve let negative feelings keep me out of the gym.

My depression has gotten much better since last year, but there are still some things I struggle with. It’s been a hard couple of months for the family, my dad’s been in the hospital for the majority of fall semester. There were times when we weren’t sure if he’d make it to the end of the year. It’s been emotionally taxing, but I’ve also expressed very little emotion over it openly. I’ve occasionally broken down with my mom, and once with my roommate. Otherwise, I talk about it as if I’m talking about the weather. Not that I don’t love him and don’t feel fear and sadness. But when it comes to expressing it, I draw a blank.

In general these days, I feel more numb than anything. I’m hoping that with a newfound commitment to healthy eating and getting to the gym, I can start to feel better. I always see a difference after a few days when I’m eating better, and exercise is like therapy. I really enjoy a good, heavy sweat. It’s like you release the negative and plus, at the gym I leave all my baggage at the door. The gym means time for me.

So there has to be a catch right? I mean there has to be a mandatory number of hours in the gym or miles ran a week. Or there has to be an absolute max calorie intake. Nope. All of those disordered thoughts have no place in this blog. I’m bringing healthy habits back into my daily life, for good. With everyday I hope to make choices that respect my body. By showing self-respect, you show yourself love, and then you can show others love too.

I do have some minor goals, and since my personality test for my business course assignment just said I’m very Type A, I’ll list them for you! πŸ˜›

  • Gym Mon-Fri @ 6:45am. Why so early? If I go when they open I have no excuses. There’s nothing else that I’d be doing at that hour than sleep, so if I get myself out of bed there’s no better place for me to be. I really like starting my day with exercise, and I am such a morning person. πŸ˜€ It’s also a great feeling to put in a really good workout, then check the clock and see it’s only 8:30am. How can you not feel like you have the world in the palm of your hands at that point??
  • Take the time to make my meals. Sometimes when I get really depressed I feel like all the energy I have is to toast a bagel. But I’m never satisfied with that. I’m always satisfied with a meal I take time to make, and since it rarely takes more than 30 minutes, there’s no reason not too.
  • Really listen to myself. Am I hungry? Did I just eat an hour ago? Is there something else going on? If there’s something else, then I’ll make an effort to focus on that, not avoid it by eating. If I’m genuinely hungry, then I’ll eat. Sometimes a lunch that’s really delicious just isn’t fully satisfying to your hunger and you have to eat an hour later. Other days you’ll eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and have no hunger in between. You can’t predict your body’s needs, or tell it what it needs, but you can listen to your natural cues and respect them. So if my body says “Feed me, I’m sad” then I’ll call my mom, or watch a comedy, or reach out to a friend. If my body says “Feed me, I’m hungry!” then bring on the food
  • NO SPECIFIC RULES ON FOOD. No “avoid all processed foods” or “no nighttime eating” or “only three servings of bread a day”. Throw all that disordered trash out the window! I know how to eat healthy (it’s my major!), so why couldn’t I just trust myself in the past?! I don’t know, but now I am resolving to trust my instincts, they will treat me well.
  • Get strong, not skinny! I want to look toned and healthy, not frail or weak. I want to have meat on my bones, I want to fill out my figure, but I also want it to be a fit figure, one that can stand up for itself.

So, I’d like to conclude this lengthy post by saying, I’m taking control of my health and my well-being in a post-ED life. I’m looking at food and exercise the way I used to. I’m moving beyond my past insecurities and difficulties. I’m moving on to a better me. I’m definitely happier and healthier than I was this time last year, but (in the words of Emeril), it’s time to kick it up a notch!

Your Friend,

Michelle

 

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