It's been so long since I updated this blog... Yikes. After my last update in May, I had 3 more sessions with Dr. B, and 2 of them were more about family and relationship stuff than eating disorder stuff (though clearly family and relationships contribute a lot to the way I think about myself and the way I think about food). I didn't really feel like I should share that stuff here, so I just didn't write... and then all of a sudden all this time had flown by and here we are in July already!
I've been up in Seattle for the past 3 weeks (for work), and I'll be here until the end of August. When I got here, I thought I'd use the change of scenery as an opportunity to get super restrictive with my calories again. Obviously, that backfired big time. It turns out my work schedule is REALLY light... like, stupidly light... like, I have been working about 7 hours per week. I know that sounds awesome, but for the first week or so, all the free time only made me more aware of my loneliness and discomfort from the disruption of my routine. I found myself sitting in my apartment just desperately trying not to eat, and I only succeeded about half the time.
The next week, I redeemed the Groupon I had bought for Gold's Gym, and that gave me some new purpose. It was a GREAT Groupon... $19 for a month-long membership (including all their fitness classes) plus 2 free personal training sessions! I started going to classes and stuff, and that really helped me feel better. I felt much more strong and powerful, which really helped me put aside the urges to binge.
The free personal training sessions started out rough, but ended up being really good. The first one was basically just a consultation so the trainer could get info about me, take measurements, see what my current food/fitness regimen is, etc. It was kind of awkward, because every single thing she suggested I try to help me lose weight, I was already doing. She seemed kind of baffled and eventually asked, "So what exactly do you think the problem is?" I let that get to me a little, and I definitely played the victim in my own mind for awhile... until I realized that was ridiculous. When I went back for the next session (which actually involved training), I had already taken a pretty tough boot camp class that morning AND I rocked everything she had me do. I felt amazing!
Since then, I've been going to the gym a lot. I absolutely love the boot camp, kickboxing, core, yoga, and spinning classes I've taken, and I've also made up some good interval workouts for myself when there aren't any classes that fit my schedule. This week, I've burned almost 4000 calories! That's crazy!!
Here's the confession though... I burned all those calories because I felt guilty about how much I had been eating. This week started off well, but then I had a string of about 3 high calorie days in a row, thanks to a friend visiting, baking for a 4th of July party, and the 4th of July party itself. I went to bed three nights in a row painfully full and riddled with guilt about it. On the first 2 mornings after, I went to the gym and tried to burn as many calories as possible... 800-1000 or so each day. I felt desperate to make up for my transgressions.
Yesterday, in my desperation to burn off the 4th of July calories, I burned 600 calories in a morning Boot Camp class and planned to go back to the gym in the evening for Kickboxing and Core classes. Something in me recognized that this was excessive and honestly, just not healthy for me. My knees ached from so many high intensity workouts in a row. I knew in my gut that if I burned another 1000 calories at the gym, I'd be starving by the end of the day, binge after dinner, and go to bed hating myself AGAIN. That terrible cycle would just keep going... and it's almost like there's a name for that: exercise bulimia.
Well, I refuse to do that to myself. As anxious as it made me feel initially, I told myself no, you are not going back to the gym tonight. You put in a good workout already. You will eat healthy food in healthy portions today. And that's exactly what I did! Today I went back to the gym for another boot camp class and some yoga, and during yoga, I had a revelation -- I need to stop punishing my body.
I've always valued my mind and my soul, but I've never been particularly kind to my body. I blame it for most of my problems and rarely have anything good to say about it. Exercise is not meant to be punishment, and eating is not a sin.
From now on, one day at a time, I am going to work towards being kinder to my body. I honestly love exercise, so I will make time for reasonably challenging workouts that make me feel strong and fit. I will make nourishing meals that I enjoy instead of viewing my daily calories/macros as a puzzle with a right answer. I will rest when I need rest. I will recognize and appreciate that I am extremely fortunate to have the time, resources, and physical health to do these things for myself!
One of my friends said I need to give myself a few days of "mental homeostasis", and she is 100% correct. Yesterday was the first day, and so far, today is the second! Dr. B had recommended a book called "The Rules of Normal Eating", and I've been making my way through it recently. The author uses a great metaphor for retraining your mental pathways: If you have a marble on top of a pile of sand with a groove on one side, the marble will really easily slide down that groove. In order to make it go the other way, you have to push it in that direction MANY times. Even then, you'll have 2 grooves and the marble could go either way. It takes even more time for the first groove to fill back up with sand so the new groove is the only option.
I am trying to push the marble in the new direction one day at a time! Join me?