Noticing Weight

I went out with some old friends I haven’t seen in quite a while. I was excited and delighted and so looking forward to seeing them. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t wondering if they’d notice my 10 pound weight gain. As though this is all they think about.

The funny thing is – they’d all gained weight too. One friend just had a baby, another is on a medication that keeps her perpetually bloated, another injured her leg running and can’t exercise, and the fourth, heavy to begin with, looked like she’d gained a few.

Of course, I’m worried their biggest interest is that I’ve put on ten !!! Uhm, can we go through this again. Nancy just had her first child! Linda takes steroids because otherwise she can’t breath, Katie has been in tons of pain from her leg injury and Amy is going through a very difficult divorce.

Believe it or not – no one seemed to notice my body! They seemed more interested in the major events happening each other’s lives. Hmmmmm

Why am I staring at their bodies?

Evidently, I still have a sick mind. And since a sick mind can’t help a sick mind, you can see why I need Power greater than myself to return me to sanity!!!!

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Damage

This post comes from guest blogger, M. M and I were in drug rehab together over a decade ago. We bonded over our shared experiences with eating disorders. She was in her early to mid-20s – just a kid, really. Here she is, all these years later, writing about some of the consequences of her ED. I am so grateful to her for her courage. Here’s M:

Scare tactics – Doctor’s telling me the ways the eating disorder could kill me – those never motivated me to seek treatment or work towards recovery. We all know the dangers – the main ones they tell you all the time: heart attack, organ failure, ruptured esophagus, permanent colonoscopy bag. Maybe I didn’t think things could really happen to me, or maybe I did not care at times. I was deep in my eatin gdsorder. And I risked it wiht behaviors that could have, in ways should have, killed me. I escaped that, but not free and clear. My dietician tells me that everyone hteir “Achilles heal” and that you never know what restricition, purge or other behavior will be the one to set it off.

So mine, so far, is my endocrine system. After my last significant relapse with anorexia, I started noticing symptoms Many were not dissimilar to the eating disorder. Exhausted all the time, debilitatingly so, dizzy spells, fainting, foggy brain and what I explain as just not what I expected to be right. But Doctors blamed it on my eating disorder and pretty much blew me off as just complaining.

Finally, a doctor identified my fluctuations in my blood sugar levels, and I started following a low GI meal plan and testing as needed to keep myself safe. We thought maybe my body was taking a while to re-regulate to nourishment after my relapse an adjusting to maintaining my weight after regaining. But still I felt ill. Frustrated was an understatement. One day, a Luna bar caused an ambulance ride to the ER from the floor of my office.

Fast forward about four years, I mentioned that I suffered from PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine system disorder among women of reproductive age) to my dietician after another blood sugar crash that left me on the floor. Turns out that held part of the answer to my insulin resistance. (Women with PCOS often suffer from excess insulin.) THAT was my Achilles heel. And all the years of starving and bingeing and starving again only made it worse. My eating disorder in combination with the PCOS was taking me down.

At that point, I kept trying to manage my health, but then things starting getting worse. I tried to talk to my primary care physician, but once again, I was blown off.

I made an appointment with an endocrinologist. Finally a doctor was taking me seriously (turns out passing out in the Doctor’s office helps with that.) After having to go through a multitude of really unpleasant tests with a neurologist and cardiologist – ruling out all sort of potential scary things – I am finally being treated for the endocrine problems. I still have to be careful of what I eat which can be triggering. I wear out easily at times and sleep way more than I want, and there is the piece that I struggle with every day – my body said’ fuck you” to me with this one. All the imbalances caused significant weight gain. This is something i will have to manage for the rest of my life – but somehow i am alive to manage it with a heart that still beats for me 24 hours a day.

Normal Reaction with Food

It’s kind of been a rocky week. Resentment and fear have reared their heads, and there has been extra stress and lack of sleep and some sadness.

But that’s life. And I’ll be fine. In fact, I am fine – just dealing with…life.

What’s different is how I relate to food at this point in my life during these kinds of times.

First of all, I don’t think to use food, for sure. I know on a very cellular level now that food does nothing for anger, fear, sadness, stress or even, tired. When tired, I need sleep. (Food does quell hunger, but that’s a different need entirely.)

But wilder of all, particularly for a women who binged her brains out ANY time ANY thing was troublesome – nowadays, when I’m stressed or upset or sad – I can’t eat. I lose all desire to put food in my mouth – in fact, it seems like a nauseating idea

After just writing the paragraph above, I googled – reaction to fear and appetite. Here’s what popped up, “When confronted with stress, nervousness and anxiety, you often just don’t feel like eating, or the thought of food is unappealing. This symptom can also be described as not having any desire to eat, not ever being hungry, or the thought of eating makes you nauseous.”

Wait, that’s me!!! The same woman who even binged her way through stomach flus! The fact that I do not want to eat for any reason at all is amazing, but that I don’t want to eat when miserable – proof, proof, proof that miracles can happen and anything is possible. For anyone.

Woo hoo! Bring on the tough times, baby

Farewell to Frumpy, Plumpy, Lumpy and Dumpy

The man in my life compliments me perfectly – he says exactly the right things, every time. And he seems to know when I’m feeling the least self-confident — suddenly he’ll mention how much more appealing and sexy I grow every day. He even seems to allude to the fact that he finds me more attractive seen I’ve gained ten pounds. Of course, he’s too smart to put it quite that way!!!!(Although I did show him a lovely picture of me from 10 years ago when I was younger, blonder and 15 pounds less. He said, “You look exactly the same. That picture could have been taken today. Again, smart man.)

Why then, when I look in the mirror recently, do I only see frumpy, plumpy, dumpy and lumpy?

Let me be clear – I’m not changing my lifestyle to change my body. I’m perfectly happy with the way I eat and move. That’s staying. And my life is very good and fulfilling. What needs to change is my attitude toward my body.

My body has taken me through a lot and taken a lot from me. I have stuffed it with the worst foods, starved it, bombarded it with laxatives, nearly puked out it’s guts, given it an ulcer, battered it’s liver and nearly killed it with drugs. Such disrespect.

And I continue to disrespect it by calling it names.

Why don’t I believe the nice man who loves my body? If he were to tell me I was getting frumpy, dumpy, plumpy and lumpy, well I would think to myself – “now, finally he is being honest!”

But he doesn’t. Why can’t I see my body as he does? I’ve made so many changes in my life. I guess I see where the next one needs to be!!!

Doing More Good in the Field

I passionately love working with women (and men) suffering from all forms of disordered eating. It’s about as fulfilling and gratifying as anything I can imagine. I think about this work constantly, spending hours figuring out how to be the most helpful. My sponsees take up so much space in my brain, because I care so deeply and want to give them my best and simply, the best.

In addition to what I do now, I dream of working with girls and young women in the early throes of our disease to help them get well young. I hope to spare them the decades of pain that I (and so many of the women I work with) suffered through. Or, if possible, to prevent the insanity of starving, binging, purging (or any of the three, or any combination of the three.) All these behaviors start with low self esteem and poor self-image and lead to self-hatred and despair. I’m dying to help.

I know I probably need to get a master’s degree to get to work in high schools and colleges and hospitals and in-patient units. That feels overwhelming – the time involved in working days and attending school at night – with studying, tests, papers. And then getting out of school at 56 with tons of loans.

I go back and forth and back and forth. I’m praying for a way to do what I love, without having to go back to school. It hasn’t come to me yet.

Something will make sense.

Guest Blogging?

If anyone would like to write a post for this blog, please let me know. I love to learn about other people’s experiences with food, body, self-image, addiction or anything else you’d want to share. Hearing from others helps all of us feel less alone. And sharing our stories gives meaning and purpose to our own experiences.

You are also welcome to if you have had experience dealing with someone who suffers. That’s an important perspective for all of us to hear.

If you are interested, you can write under your own name, publish anonymously or share your thoughts with me to include in a post I write.

Contact me here or on facebook (Melissa Statmore) or at melissa.statmore@gmail.com

THANK YOU!!!!

Letting Go

Today, I realized I’ve been seething about something, wallowing in deep resentment. Now, I pride myself (oops, there’s that dangerous word ‘pride’) on being pretty clean of resentments. I acknowledge them when they come up, look at them closely, see my part in the problem and let go. Usually that means that I have to change my thinking about the situation and so I do, and I am free of the anger.

However, this one thing had been eating away at me. And I realized that not only was I seething, but I’d been pretty mad about this for quite a while. AND, I find, I’ve been itching for an opportunity to complain about it bitterly. Finally, I saw that I didn’t really want to let go of it – if I did, I’d have to face the truth of the situation. And I’d have to realize the situation wasn’t going to change – I was going to have to accept that and change myself, my actions and my reactions.

So, I had two options. I could continue to seethe and be miserable and make everyone around me miserable too. Or I could face the truth, change and be free.

I chose the later, thankfully, and I let go of the resentment. Once I let go of that one issue, everything seemed to lighten up. The whole world seems less difficult. Everything’s rolling off me, left and right. My step has a little spring again. I feel so much better.

Why did I wait so long?