You Do You

So over the weekend I wanted to take some photos – sexy photos in lingerie. I did some fashion photos and was happy with the results but when it came time to the lingerie, I cringed at what I saw. I didn’t like it; I didn’t recognize the body.

One thing my husband said to me the evening before our forced separation was to “make smart choices”.

I have not been making smart choices.

The irony has not escaped me that last week was “eating disorder awareness week” when I was in a grip of binge eating episode. I had been eating some crap during the week, but most of it was on the weekend – the Saturday. I had bought some candy and ate it until I felt sick then continued until I had finished it all. The Sunday I went grocery shopping and stood in front of the candy section trying to decide what I felt like eating.

Nothing, actually! So I left and paid for my groceries before I could change my mind.

Later that afternoon, I went out to grab some things for my husband as I planned on sending a care package and I found myself standing in front of the candy section again, trying to decide what to get. I grabbed my go-to (Jelly Belly’s) and turned to leave. I stopped and thought “What are you doing? Are we going to do this again today after identifying the problem yesterday?!” And I put it back.

And here’s the thing; if you’ve ever had an eating disorder, you can be in an episode before it ever occurs to you. You can be eating until you feel sick to your stomach and not understand why. You may think you’re recovered from an ED until you realize you’re not.

I’m not even going to blame the fact that my husband is away because I’ve engaged in this damaging behaviour while he was at home; him being away simply means I can do it more easily.

When I really started to look around, I realized that I’ve been struggling for a while. Now that hubby is away, it’s highlighted all areas that are starting to suffer as I struggle with depression I didn’t realize I had that’s also connected to my ED. When I stop taking care of my body and mental health, my physical environment also gets ignored. The kitchen gets messier as dishes pile up, and clothes start collecting on the bathroom floor or arm of the sofa. And I tend to shop more.

If you’ve suffered from eating disorders, it’s important to celebrate the small wins. For me:

  • I’m happy that I’ve recognized it.
  • I’m pleased that I didn’t buy junk food on Sunday.
  • I’m happy I cleaned the kitchen – it’s not perfect, but it’s better than it was.
  • I’m happy that I meal prepped the Sunday and included lots of vegetables.
  • I’m pleased that I was up early on Monday and did yoga instead of sitting in front of the TV and stare at my phone.
  • I’m happy my meal prep included vegetables to make a tofu hash for a nice balanced breakfast

The other thing? I have a plan – which, honestly? Isn’t a new plan – it’s the plan I aspire to but always seem to fall short of so I’m hoping that voicing it here will help me keep on track. I’m hoping to continue yoga in the morning as it’s very important to me and I really enjoyed starting my day that way – the videos I have are only 25 min long so even if I sleep in a bit, I can still do them. And after work, I want to start weight lifting again. I really do miss it – having the strength and everything. I had a FB memory pop up and it was at the gym and it was a photo of me at the leg press machine – with 700 lbs racked up. I really do miss that challenge. I do miss the gym but until covid is under control…

I did step on the scale this morning – YEAH, don’t shoot me! I’m human and I know the number doesn’t define me, my worth, or my potential. It CAN be used as a tool if used correctly for the right reasons. I currently weigh 224 lbs. Am I happy about that? No. But I’m also not UNhappy about that. I know a LOT of people have been struggling with covid and many have put on weight – I am not immune to the stress and anxiety from this past year. This time last year I believe I weighed around 220 lbs so if I’ve only gained 5 lbs over this epically shitty year, then go me! Yes, I did lose a bit of weight as I was in that 90 day fitness challenge and the bike challenge in August but that weight loss was short lived.

Regarding my dietary intake, I’m NOT going to measure or weigh my food (unless it’s strictly ensuring I have enough food in my lunches for the whole week). No calculating and counting macros. I’ve been at this for long enough, I know what my body needs to create a deficeit… and just because I know what to do and what works doesn’t mean I’m the best at inplementing it over the long term!!! I’ve been eating too many “convenience” foods rather that a wide selection of colorful foods. Like being vegan isn’t hard enough to begin with, let’s just remove everything that provides a wide variety of nutrients! And the rediculous thing is eating healthful foods makes me feel amazing – inside and out! And yet, here I am eating a rainbow of colors in the form of candies instead of vegetables!

And this is where Intuitive Eating (IE) can get tricky. Some people may say that restricting and/or eliminating certain foods will likely cause binging. But if I’m engaging in unsafe, unhealthy eating patterns anyhow, then, yeah, I should eliminate these foods! My dad had weight related health issues and he and I are VERY similar. If I don’t do something about it NOW, it is going to negatively impact my health in the long run. Sugar in candy can cause inflamation in the body and can become a toxic environment; it causes me migraines, inability to concentrate, mood swings, low energy, low motivation, depression… so, yeah! I’m going to cut out sugar from candy and instead get it from fruit.

I’ve also decided to cut out as much gluten as possible. I find EVERY time after eating gluten – bread, wrap, pasta – I get very phlegmy. I know I don’t have anything like celiac’s but I may have a sensitivity. The only way to really find out is to remove gluten as much as possible and see what happens and how I feel.

So… as much as an unpopular an opinion as it is, I am trying to intentionally lose weight. Do I consider it a “diet” absolutely not because I’m not restricting nor eliminating foods (except the ones I mentioned above) I’m just eating in a way that is more intuitive – because, guess what? Eating shit isn’t intuitive. If I KNOW I’m going to feel like shit when I eat something, then that’s not eating intuitively! That’s eating for your immediate pleasure centers that is masking a much bigger issue and that issue needs to be dealt with. Also, even though I’m hoping to get a smaller body, I’m being realistic. I’m not aiming to be 120 lbs. Not even 150 lbs. I’m aiming for 175 lbs which, for me, is completely realistic and attainable with leading a life that I can enjoy and not killing myself in the gym. Been there, done that. Now I want to live.

The most important thing if you decide you want to lose weight is knowing that being smaller isn’t going to make you happy. Being in a smaller body also doesn’t mean you’re healthy. You need to take care of your mental health just as much – if not more – than your physical health.

You need to do what’s right for YOU. If you need to lose weight – for whatever reason – and you’re approaching it with kindness, empathy, and love, then have at ‘er! Don’t let people bully you into thinking this is wrong. Track your progress in things other than the scale – can you work out longer or harder? Run for a KM straight? Your weight lifting numbers are increasing? You can play with your toddler longer without getting winded?

You do you!

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