Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Weight Loss and HAES... an oxymoron?

Lately I have been feeling inspired to lose weight again.  

Even though this is now a health at every size / EDNOS recovery blog, I am going to go ahead with what my gut is telling me to do, and that is to work to lose some weight.

Seriously, I'm feeling inspired to lose weight again.  

This is not because I feel like I should lose weight to fit into society's ideal.  This is not because I believe that I can't be healthy at my current size.  It's not because I don't look great right now, at this size.  And this is not because I "feel fat".

It is because I felt better physically when I was smaller.  I have become a runner this year, and I honestly believe that running will be easier at 165 pounds (goal weight) than it is at 218 pounds (what I weighed 3 weeks ago at a doctor's appointment - I think I'm about the same size now).  I want to run longer distances faster.  I'm training for a half marathon right now, and it is so much fun, and I am super proud of myself.

There are a few things that make this time different than my previous weight loss experiences.

One is that I'm still working on recovery for my EDNOS.  I'm not going to do anything to lose this weight that will suck me back into disordered eating.  I'm going to practice affirmations, self love, and healthy habits.

Another thing is that I don't hate my body at all right now.  Nope, I actually love it.  I think that it looks pretty good most of the time, and I have been wearing short shorts and tiny tank tops all summer long, despite weighing so much more than I did last summer.  A couple of years ago, I would have NEVER worn summer clothes while weighing this much;  I would have been more worried with looking fat than with feeling comfortable.  How sad for me.

I won't love my body any more at 165 pounds than I do at 218 pounds.

Finally, and most importantly, I have no unrealistic dreams about weight loss solving all of my problems.  Leah at 165 won't suddenly be happy, successful, fun, or awesome.  If I am not those things at 218, I won't be those things at 165.  The keys to happiness and success won't be found with losing weight.  Happiness comes from within, and success (for me) comes from hard work in school.  Success will be when I graduate next May.  Happiness will be when Stacey and I get married and move to New York.  Success will be getting a job that utilizes my degree and fulfills me.

And this should go without saying, but I'm already fun and awesome.  ;-)

me at 165,
my goal weight
May 2012

I feel great about this decision to lose weight again.  It feels like a powerful decision, one that has been made at exactly the right time.

I will continue to blog about body acceptance, HAES, and EDNOS recovery while also blogging about my personal weight loss progress.  Does that make this blog oxymoronic?  I don't think so.

Anyway... I will blog again soon about the "how" but I thought that I would start with the "why".

I hope that you all are having spectacular days.

Me, I'm learning to live with the pain of losing Mom.  Every day it's gets a little bit easier to live with the pain, which I suppose is the best that I can hope for right now.

me now - 218 pounds

Have you ever struggled with the line between HAES and losing weight?  
Where do you draw the line?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Wearing my Grief

I had an epiphany about the extra weight that I just can't seem to get or keep off since Mom died 13 months ago and I quickly gained 40 then slowly several more pounds...

I figured out a while back that I was eating my grief.  So many uncomfortable emotions were easily pushed away for minutes at a time with a binge.  And sometimes even minutes of relief were enough to justify my actions.  Seriously, some days I couldn't breathe, I was in so much pain.

Figuring out why I was eating too  much, and eating the wrong things in general, was pretty easy to do.  But figuring out why it's been such a struggle to lose any of it?  Why every time I lost some inches around my middle only to quickly gain them back?  This was more difficult for me.

The answer is that I'm simply not ready to be done with the initial grieving.  Grieving is different for everyone, it seems.  Despite how much I would love to be able to figure out my life without Mom in it, to be able to feel "normal" again, to be able to get back to a healthy lifestyle that includes eating mostly healthy foods and exercising most days...  I'm not quite there yet.

I still cry nearly every day.  I am still figuring out how to survive without Mom.  I was in shock for a long time, and am just now starting to really allow myself to feel the loss and accept it.

This extra weight represents what I've been through the last year.  It is almost like a badge of courage that I made it through the most difficult thing I've ever been through.  I am wearing my grief.

I turned to some coping mechanisms that I was familiar with, and I gained a lot of weight as a side effect.  This is not like the times I've gained weight in the past, where it was all about low self esteem and wanting control of my life.  This was pure emotion.  Pure grief.  Pure love for my mom.  Real stuff.  Powerful stuff.

I'm not recommending this coping mechanism for anyone.  Obviously, I wish that I could have coped with this sudden and devastating loss in another way.  Like, why oh why didn't I just go for a walk to clear my head every time the pain got to be too much?  Why didn't I throw myself into some creative outlet, like painting or collage, as a way to express my feelings?

The fact is that I have issues with food for most of my life.  Specifically, I have issues with using food for things that food is not meant to be used for.  In the past, I used it as a punishment.  I thought that I deserved to be fat (or, during the bout of undereating in my early 20's, that I didn't deserve to eat).  This time, it was about comforting myself.

Some days eating was the only thing that kept me from contemplating suicide.  Seriously.  And I'm glad that out of those options, I chose food.  So in that big way, comfort eating helped me to survive.  I think that many people focus on weight gain, and how to lose the weight, but forget that sometimes overeating serves a need.  I'm not saying that it's a healthy way to cope, or that there wasn't a better way to serve that need, but I am saying that a need was met, and it's okay to stop beating myself up about comfort eating.

Because I never truly recovered from my EDNOS, it was only natural that I turned to food as a coping mechanism to help myself stay afloat.  People who knew me before Mom died don't need to wonder about why I am so much bigger than I was in May 2012.  They know that this has been a rough year for me.

So I am starting to look at my current bigger size as a badge of grief.  I am wearing my grief.  And when I'm ready to shed the grief a bit, I will lose the weight.  I am slowly but surely beginning to feel like myself again.  I believe that as I explore further EDNOS recovery and grief counseling, one day I will not need to carry this extra weight around anymore.  One day I won't want to (need to) wear my grief around.

But that day is not today.  And that's okay.

Thanks for reading.

wearing my grief, but also wearing a genuine
smile thanks to my amazing bellydancing cousins!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


All I want to eat these days is junk food.  And I'm conflicted about whether or not that's okay...

I know that I'm trying to not feel any guilt about food or exercise (or lack thereof).  So I'm not really feeling guilty about my days that begin with toaster pastries and end with ice cream.

But...  when am I going to start craving healthy stuff?  I am in that beginning phase of intuitive eating where I'm eating whatever I want without worrying about nutrition, so long as it's only when I'm hungry...  but...  but...  my desires for junk food are not getting any smaller.  (And I know all about the addicting chemicals within my processed garbage frankenfoods; that is not what this post is about.)

I'm wondering if I am truly giving myself permission to eat.  Perhaps I'm scared that some day soon I will go back on another diet and have to stop eating chips for lunch and pizza for dinner forever.  That's how diets work:  they suck me in, I truly believe that I will eat that way FOREVER, and I mourn the loss of eating my favorites of pizza and chips.

Then again, why choose?

So perhaps the reason that I am not craving healthy food at all these days is that I'm scared that some day soon, I will ONLY be allowed to eat healthy food FOREVER.  Like when I did the New Sonoma Diet.  Or maybe I'm scared that one day I will only be allowed to eat so many calories or fat grams or carbs every day, and that when I look at my food diary I will realize that chips and pizza aren't worth the calories/Points, like with My Fitness Pal or Weight Watchers...

Anyway...  I am just that by writing out what's going on with my eating, I will be able to identify and fix the problem.  I'm pretty sure that I have hit the nail on the head.  The problem is:

I'm not giving myself permission to eat.  

I'm not entirely convinced that I will never diet again.  

I know that dieting isn't the answer for me. However, I've been on so many that it's hard to believe that some day I won't realize once again that I hate my body and that the only answer is to restrict by monitoring my food and exercise with another diet.

I don't know how to fix this problem.  It's definitely not a quick fix.  If it were, then I would have done it already.  I suppose that I will continue on my path, and will hope that eventually I will trust myself around food, and truly give myself permission to eat, knowing that there is not another diet around the corner.

another bathroom selfie!

Meanwhile, I'm still working on total body acceptance.  Today I feel pretty cute.  And I know that I don't look thin.  I know that I look like a cute plus size woman.  And for the first time in awhile, I'm okay with that.  So that's a start there.

Monday, July 1, 2013

TOTAL body acceptance.

I am writing my own diet addiction recovery plan, based on personal experience, research, professional help that I have received since my EDNOS recovery 8 years back, and Mom's words of wisdom ringing in my ears.  I have figured out the first three steps, and have already blogged about one:  End food and exercise guilt.  Now it's time to talk about the second step.

Total body acceptance.

This is much easier said than done.  What do I mean by "total body acceptance"?  

It means that I have to put weight loss on the back burner.  I have to love my body EXACTLY as it is right now.  I have to appreciate it for not only what it can do (YAY I can walk, and not everyone can!  YAY I can see, hear, process information easily, dance [no skill, but I can try!], run, lift weights, play with my dogs, etc.).  But I also have to appreciate its appearance.

In all its glory.  Every inch. Including the hips that I currently loathe and the pimple on my chin.  Okay, maybe not the pimple, but everything else!  

And this is really tough for me.  But I am beginning to understand this part of Intuitive Eating (the book).  There was a chapter about accepting the body that you currently have, and throughout the book it says that in order to be an intuitive eater, you must be willing to put your weight loss in the back of your mind.

That totally makes sense to me now.  Every time that I have tried to follow IE in the past, I have still been mentally counting calories, and beating myself up when I wasn't engaging in diet behaviors.  I tried to push those thoughts away, but I just couldn't, and every time I did IE I would end up not losing weight quickly, which would get me back on a diet.  I hated my body and wanted it to change as quickly as possible.

I want this painting now.  Thanks, Google...

Maybe the ticket to getting the body that I want is to love the body that I have.  It's that whole "have what you love, love what you have" thing. Of course, if I ever truly love the body that I have, then I don't need to change it anymore at all.  And being an intuitive eater doesn't always lead to weight loss.  I may have messed up my metabolism so much from all of this yo-yo-ing around to the point where my body wants to be a size 18.  I don't know.  

I kind of doubt that, though.  Really, I believe that if I start loving my body, I will treat it better by feeding it healthier things and moving it around more, and that will just naturally lead to a bit of weight loss.  I believe the Intuitive Eating book where it says that my body will naturally get to its healthy weight eventually (which may or may not be considered "normal" per the BMI scale, but is healthy for ME - I highly suspect that I will still be a little overweight by those standards).  

However, total body acceptance means RIGHT NOW I need to accept my body, without any secret hopes for weight loss.  It's basically answering that age old question:  

If you knew that you would never gain or lose any weight and would always look exactly like this no matter what, 
how would you treat your body?

I'm getting better at total body acceptance.  One day at a time.  One of the things that I didn't like about being so big was that no clothes looked good on me. 

But I figured something out recently by shopping at Torrid:  There are clothes out there that make me feel beautiful.  They are expensive, though.  So one thing that I do need to work on is getting more money.  Oh yeah, I'm in school!  One day I will have a job that will let me buy whatever clothes I want (well, within reason.  But way more money than I currently make, which is zero).  So maybe the focus shouldn't be on getting smaller so that I can fit into cheap clothes, maybe the focus should be getting more educated in order to make enough money to buy more expensive clothes.  Sounds like a win-win to me.

Anyway...  I guess that I should wrap up this ridiculously long post.  I'm excited to begin the journey of total body acceptance.