Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Recap

So many good things happened in 2014, and I'm going to stick with the good memories exclusively for this post, as I don't feel like reminiscing about the bad at the moment.  Plus, one day years from now when I re-read this post, I will think that maybe only good things happened!  Except one bad thing that has sort of come to define the second half of my year will just have to be mentioned.  

Here's what happened in my life in 2014:

1) I finished my final semester of school at the University of Memphis!

I love being a student, and I miss it fiercely.  And more importantly, I planned my final semester out well, finishing most of my least favorite requirements *cough*foreign language and natural sciences* cough* earlier.  

I took an acting class, a legal writing class, a gym class, and more.  I discovered a passion for African American history.  The only "difficult" requirement that I had left was statistics, and I ended up doing very well.  This was the first straight A semester since Mom died, and I was very proud of myself for boosting my GPA back up enough to earn a cum laude beside my name in the graduation program.

2) I went to Grief Camp for adults.  

the stepping stone that I made for Mom

It was a weekend program offered by the hospital where Mom died.  I spent two days surrounded by others going through the same thing as me, and it was truly the turning point for me in my grief journey.  Just knowing that there are so many other people in real pain, missing loved ones who died too soon... something about that feeling of community really helped me.

I'm not saying that everything immediately got all better, but since that weekend, things did start to finally seem... well... not so unbearable.  And even though I will probably never see those folks again, just knowing that they exist helps so much.  We talked, we cried, we laughed, we made crafts dedicated to our loved ones, and we just plain bonded in such a special way.  I will never forget that weekend.

3) I graduated cum laude from the University of Memphis!

I freaking did it.  This is an accomplishment that became even more impressive somehow after Mom died.  Because I could have quit, but I refused to give up.  Even though I spent the better part of a year both crying constantly and going to class, I stuck with it.  And I'm so glad that I did, because even though I hate the grades that I got that first semester back, I wonder if taking a semester off to grieve would have not just pushed my graduation back, but made me decide to never go back.

I love that I graduated.  I love that I am now a political scientist.

4) Stacey proposed to me!  We are engaged!!!  

And in less than a year, we can stop living in sin.  It's hard to believe how long I've had this man in my life sometimes.  We met in late 2007, and started dating in early 2008 (the year that we moved in together, too).  We've had our ups and downs like any couple.  We ALWAYS have each other's backs.  I think our biggest strength as a couple is our mutual respect and support.  I love this man, and I look forward to having a big party celebrating that love with our friends and family.

5) We moved to Nashville!

After graduation and getting engaged, we packed up a u-haul and moved a three hour drive away from Memphis, to a part of Tennessee that I actually really love.  This city is filled with progress, and diversity, and entertainment.  I love it here!  For the first time in my life, I can actually say that I'm happy to live in this state. To each their own, but for me: Nashville rules, Memphis drools.

6) I broke my leg.  

Yep.  Badly.  I was about to start a new job, and instead, two days before the start date I roll my ankle in a parking lot hole and crash down so hard that I needed surgery.  I had my final follow up appointment today, nearly 6 months later.  I was just now given the go-ahead for regular walking.  It's been a rough few months, to say the very least.

I was unable to walk for two and a half months.  During this time, I was also unemployed, having lost my job before it began.  So on top of the severe pain and handicap, Stacey and I suffered badly financially and almost lost our home.  Thankfully, some friends and family helped us get through it.  Seriously, if you are one of them, and are reading this, once again THANK YOU SO MUCH YOU SAVED US.

7) I visited Joel and we went to Central Perk!

For my 30th birthday, Stacey got me tickets to see my brother!  Joel is an amazing composer/lyricist who lives in NYC, which is my favorite city ever (so far).  We went to Central Perk and sat on the big orange couch.  If any of you don't know the significance of either thing in the previous sentence, I just don't even have words for you.  You are either really young or don't appreciate one of the best TV shows ever created.  It's okay, though. I'll be there for you.

9) I got a really good job that I love.

I work for a personal injury law firm here in Nashville, and I love it so much.  My coworkers are amazing people.  And my boss is supportive and encouraging.  I have never worked in an environment like this before, and I love it.  I'm the intake coordinator, which basically means I talk to potential clients first, and pitch the cases to the attorneys for review.  I love it, but hope to work my way up in the company one day.

So that's my 2014 in a nutshell.  It was a pretty good year, if you go by the saying "all's well that ends well".

How was your 2014?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

ED thoughts can KISS MY ASS

Anyone who has had an eating disorder knows what I mean when I say "ED thoughts".  These are the thoughts that sneak into an otherwise healthy mind, telling the person that they aren't good enough to eat, or aren't good enough to stop eating, or that they are shit because of FAT.

I have been hearing those old ED voices again.

Lately, I've been having a few too many "I need to lose a lot of weight by the time I get married or else I'm shit" thoughts.

I've been thinking stuff like "I can at least lose a pound a week, right?  RIGHT???!!!"


My ED thoughts tend to be all caps, and also profane, so I apologize for any offense.

Anyway, I think that I have made a lot of progress with my EDNOS, despite these thoughts.

Here's why:  I recognize them as ED thoughts.

I realize that it's not true. 

I'm not a "LAZY FAT FUCK". 

I can lose a pound a week, sure, but it's not "THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER  and if I don't lose weight before the wedding I'm SHIT OMG!!!". 

I'm a strong, intelligent, beautiful woman who deserves nice things and nice thoughts.  I deserve happiness and health.  I deserve to not give into these ED thoughts.  I deserve to continue to choose recovery over dieting, time and time again, no matter what the scale says.  I deserve to not worry about my weight or my pants size. 

And I know these things.

So, I'm going to recognize and acknowledge these old ED thoughts, and I'm going to breathe. 

I'm going to accept that I still have these thoughts, and I'm going to breathe.

I'm going to love myself, and live my life, and I'm going to take comfort in the thought that as long as I don't give into the ED urges that these thoughts are trying to give me, eventually the thoughts will stop.

Friday, December 5, 2014

My Weight Gain Palete

Duh, the chocolate now and the apple later.
Or the chocolate now, then go to the store and
get more chocolate and let the apple go bad! 
Yes, do that.

I just ate a banana and it was delicious.  But it tasted and felt... somehow wrong.  It was strange.  It was all rough and natural and fiber-y. 

Halfway through, I realized that the strange sensation wasn't the banana's fault: it was mine.

My palette is no longer used to things like raw produce.  It's been a long time since I've eaten a banana.  It's been a long time since I regularly ate any raw produce.

I never crave fruit, vegetables, or beans anymore.  I can eat these things and enjoy them, but they just don't satisfy me anymore, other than I feel good about myself momentarily.

I have developed a "sophisticated" weight gain palete.

Things that feel normal in my mouth: soft bread, pasta, fast food, cake, cookies, chips, steamed vegetables, chicken, fish, lunch meat, pickles, yogurt, granola and cereal bars, fruit cups, soup, pizza, popcorn, and anything else that I have consumed regularly since Mom died.

Things that feel strange in my mouth: fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, beans, whole grains, and pretty much everything that I ate when I was a healthy vegan, including plain water.

That's right.  I no longer enjoy water.  It has to have Mio or some flavoring shaken up inside for me to want it these days.

I'm not quite sure what to do about this, other than to begin reintroducing some old favorites back into my daily diet.

Of course, since I'm trying to stay away from dieting and "food rules", I don't want to be strict about this. 

BUT I feel that the old intuitive eating concept of "eventually your body will tell your head that it needs healthy foods, and you will begin to crave bananas and salads and all healthy things and they will taste better than EVER before!!!!" is bullshit.  At least, it's been bullshit for me every time I'm tried to listen to my body after extreme weight gain.

My body either is not craving healthy foods at all, or that mind-body connection has truly become lost in me.    Since I'm not a Gilmore Girl, I am going to assume that it's the latter, and that my body really does want healthy stuff but my mind refuses to admit it.

I'm 30 years old now, and I'd like to have kids before I'm 40.  I fantasize about having figured all of this food/body shit out by the time I have kids.  It may be just a fantasy, but it's still there.

I think it's one of those things that will remain a dream instead of a goal unless I make a plan to get there, ya know?  Kind of like getting that college degree, or moving to NYC (one out of two isn't bad...).

A good start to getting past this is to start adding healthy foods back into my regular diet, one by one.

Today I ate a banana.  Next week I will try to eat one every morning.  Over the next several weeks, here are some things that I'd like to add back in, one week or so at a time:

- oatmeal for breakfast
- cooking a big batch of a veggie/bean/grain dish on the weekend and eating it for lunch all week
- cutting up fresh veggies on the weekend for easy cooking through the week
- drinking a decent amount of plain water every day
- eating salads and raw vegetables regularly
- regular exercise

These are just some examples; I'm sure that there are more!

I'm never going to take things out of my diet (unless a doctor tells me to), but I will begin to add back in some old healthy favorites that my palete has grown out of.  I'm hopeful that I can develop a healthy appetite and maybe one day get those health food cravings for real. 

But if I never get the health food cravings, I'm still hopeful that one day I will choose the healthy options more often than not, out of love and respect for my body and mind.

What things do you naturally crave these days?

Monday, December 1, 2014

a food and feelings journal

I have created a sister-site to this blog, where I plan to track my food and feelings for awhile.

Click pic to link

I'm not going to commit to blogging there every day, but I will try to blog daily for the next couple of weeks, just to get into the swing of things.

The main reason that I quit My Fitness Pal (see that post here) is that I thought it was detrimental to my EDNOS recovery.  But I still feel that planning and tracking my meals would be a positive thing for me, so long as I track feelings instead of calories.

So, if anyone is curious about what I'm eating or how I'm feeling about it, please feel free to follow my new blog along with this one.

It is a completely judgment-free zone, so I disabled comments for the posts over there.  I don't always eat "perfectly" or even kind of okay.  I started the blog on a lying-around-the-house Saturday, so it really didn't start out pretty. 

Anyway, I encourage any of you who has issues with emotional eating, whether or not you are recovering from an eating disorder, to track their feelings after they eat (and/or before!).  If you have a need to track calories or other macronutrients, that's fine, but please don't discount  your feelings. 

Were you really hungry before the meal?  
Were you really stuffed after the meal?  
Do you feel guilty?  
100% neutral?

Since I've started this, I've realized that there are many feelings associated with my eating.  I always assumed that my binges and overeating happened because of boredom and depression, but sometimes nowadays it really is just out of habit.  I feel a strong habitual desire to binge eat whenever home alone with easy access to those foods.

I haven't noticed any true patterns yet, but I hope to figure some stuff out over the  next few weeks, while journaling on my new blog.

It feels very vulnerable to share my food and feelings with you, because I know that it doesn't look "good".  But I felt like it was time.  I may one day make that blog completely private, but for now, I'm being 100% vulnerable and allowing you all to peek if you so choose.

I have a link to the blog over to the side under "Stuff to Check Out", along with a link to my amazingly talented brother's site.