Remember the girl who started this blog; her biggest worry was losing control of her life by gaining an unknown number of weight. She feared missing the “comfortable” feeling of having her hip and shoulder bones protrude grotesquely. She bemoaned the prospect of feeling and experiencing a flow of emotions in contrast to being numb and tuned out to the world. And when the beginnings of a nourished brain prompted her to confront the root of her depressions, she was dangerously close -repeatedly- on turning back to that twistedly safe nothingness. Would it be all that surprising when I genuinely admit…I barely know her – if at all!?
With reaching a healthy weight, a free mindset and the return of Aunt Suzy; I still struggled with knowing and understanding myself. I had a constant sensation of nurturing a gaping hole in my heart, a restlessness not willing to be quieted for any given period and through the busyness of everyday life, I was aware of a probing concern of feeling uncertain in my actual personality. Over time however my traits and quirks were surfacing..the real me, in all her loud annoying glory. I didn’t even realize the personality establishment taking place, until it unexpectedly fell into place so to speak on few day’s of vacation as off 2 weeks back. Or more appropriately explained: I became aware of it then; a strange place, interacting with others, a change of routine…it dawned on me how comfortable I am with who I am. I accept and love my quirks and demeanour, whether they serve in drawing others to me or rubbing someone up the wrong way, it all collectively makes me the person I am. And that’s enough.
We don’t need to be anything other than ourselves. Do you enjoy hyperventilating over the tiniest of things? Bouncing around uncontrollably when excited? Incessantly chirpy when content? Own it. Regardless of it irritating your brother or that new human you’re trying to impress…be you!
A day in terms of hecticified busy-ness can be allocated in one of two standard categories: 1) nonstop bustling, hopping from one task to another. 2) occupied with slow-moving chores that primarily consist of waiting. <-my personal pet hate depending on the specific surroundings. Yesterday was basically that – waiting, oh.my.goose so much waiting. On returning home in the evening I felt slightly overwhelmed; the day was drawing to a close, yet I had barely begun. In a ravenous state with a million and one things looming like a rock over my head, about to crash and splatter my brains (and some major PMS cravings)… I needed coffee. And [leftover] cheesecake. For a very late lunch. As I settled down, allowing the mix of decadent creaminess and sugar to help in regaining a sense of calm and focus, I realized something epic. Food -of any kind or form- is no longer a challenge. Coming home after an extensive period of sitting on my behind without any “activity” and collapsing with dessert because I want it, is not a feat in my eyes anymore. It’s my normal. I’ll crave my veggies soon enough don’t you worry. That’s not to say I am fooling myself in trying to believe that skipping lunch and ODing on dessert is sensible or healthy… it is enjoyable now and again I’ll give it that much. And I am not writing off the fact that for any human overcoming fear foods there isn’t reason to rejoice and jive with delight!
It’s just weirdly fantabulous to know that I don’t have a single fear food. Wait, what!? Yeah really. image source
Whereas not too long ago there were occasions allocated to greasy, fried foods…and of course it had to be documented and announced because I “challenged” the fear of oils and unknown calories and blah, blah. Now I would only feel inclined to make special mention of a meal or dessert in order to sing it’s praises, or give my critical review – respectively. Like the prawn wrap and chips about a week back…
Bugger that was glorious.
Food in itself is not an achievement for me any longer… it’s just food. A magnificent part of life, but not one to be battling with and “winning” by cutting out this and will-powering on that.
Oh and the waiting? That concluded to a mini victory toward something huge -hopefully- in the not too far away future 🙂 .
I prided myself in my oblivion to cravings; unable to comprehend how anyone could experience a specific “craving” for a particular food. What is this cravings you speak of? I’m above that. Turns out.. cravings were actually out of my league, due to it’s flame being distinguished under my need for
power(<-said in my best Zira imitation) control, resulting in stringent rules and regulations in the simple act of eating.
Its hard to believe that – after attempting to fight it for some time – I’ve come to the point of being quite literally, a dangling puppet to my commanding cravings. You can only substitute cream cheese on toast for milk-tart (when it’s bloomin’ staring at you) for so long. So I would say, if you don’t crave anything ever… be concerned. Or maybe that’s just me. Either way, yesterday – a simple glance of these bars at Amanda’s sent my craving responsiveness into overdrive. Perhaps partly down to it being that time of the month (squeee yay!), but boy I had it baaad. I lazily tried to entice my mind at petty -speedy- replacements, but it all fell flat in my mind’s eye. Ultimately, not too long after: this happened..
Mmmhmm yesss, I am a slave to my cravings.
It’s not always smooth sailing though. Today, for some reason unknown to man; had my arteries twisted in an anxious knot. I was hungry, AND I was craving a thingymabob that I could not pinpoint. This usually is a slightly disastrous state for me to be in, and like other times, my instinctive uncontrollable response was to eat all over the place. In a space of four hours I dined on some pasta, roasted butternut, a taste of peanut butter, some chocolate, a bite of a donut…then a little more pasta. I’m not going to lie, I was not the happiest with my less than ideal setup. I would have been pleased if I had followed some structure or pattern, instead of throwing caution to the wind and mixing everything up. What helped in quelling the anxiety from blowing my mind was the satiety that followed. Surely, such a content response meant that I had in fact done the right thing in honouring mind and body? All I wanted was to be satisfied enough to carry on.. and that’s how events unfolded. I felt good, I had eaten enough – albeit “loosely” – and I can get on with my day without obsessing over something I should have eaten.
Do cravings dictate what you eat?
Ever crave a “thingmabob”?
There was a stage where disordered eating was limited to the blogging world; well in my land at least. Somehow in the interim – of concentrating on getting myself on track – I’ve emerged to a topsy turvy state of circumstances. And I don’t like it. To be precise..I despise it. I didn’t think there could be much more of a heart breaking sensation than observing a blogger swallowed in the tide of an ED. Obviously I had no idea what it is like to “see” it from a mind that’s been there; persons that you are fairly well acquainted with displaying and interacting in a way that reveals..ohhh..5 million behaviors that’s headed straight for disaster, if not there yet. I want to scream..and cry: Don’t do this! Please, don’t go that way!! .
With a blogger on another end of the world, there’s still this grey gap of “ignorance is bliss” that I hold onto – because we don’t see everything and we haven’t interacted with them in a variety of occasions where we can make any assumptions.
To that girl a few years younger than me: Never in my wildest dreams did I foresee it happening to you..I guess likewise my family with me. I see you going a similar route that I once rode. I wish I could stop you..beg you. I know there hasn’t been an appropriate time wherein I could probe deep matters (for that I feel almost..guilty) and the few words I’ve brought about fell on deaf ears, judging by your deterring murmurs of “oh, I’m fine, yeah” response. You are vague and distant; your eyes lighting up when prompted to discuss your “healthy” habits, proudly sharing your perfect breakfast of a protein shake..the amazing knack it has for keeping you full until your egg white(seriously?) dinner. There is so much passion in your voice – I feel deflated even before attempting to tell you otherwise (not that you will listen) – when you declare your love for working out intensely every single day …if the day is too full you fit it in before bed. I too did not crave sweets and nary a chocolate seemed irresistible; not because I had staunch willpower like I thought I did, but my taste buds had died it seemed, along with my malnourished soul. I didn’t see the abnormalcy in it either: when I would sit down in a gathering and sip on tea, not an allergy could I supply in my defense..I simply did not feel to eat anything [forbidden]. How did those around me stand to see me behave in that manner? ..To allow me to find my own feet while seeing me crashing to the ground? I legit want to cry in front of you, overwhelmed by the sad reality of what is transpiring within you.
To the beautiful soul who for some reason needed to justify – to me – the reason for consuming cake on a special day in your life. I swear I was not judging (and I never would). You don’t need to feel bad for enjoying some cake on your healthy eating plan; more importantly you do not have to explain it to anybody. I know – by “indulging” – it seems as though you’ve failed and you need to burn off every morsel that passed your lips NOW! I’m not sure what exactly you expected my reply to be, but I’m hoping the words, “a little cake is essential for the soul” – touched you in the right way.
To my exercise-obsessed kinswoman: Following the health-scare I strongly hope you will never go back to killing yourself. I know “easing up” feels like the worse assignment to undertake, but I promise you; keep at it and you will reap the goodness that comes from a transformed mental view.
You know you need to cut the exercise. You are prepared to give your body the rest it needs. You want to heal. Yet it’s so hard. Let me tell you – from my experience – that the difficulty will always be there until you take the risk to rebel against the disordered mindset and break free. I’m sure I am not alone in having awaited an epiphany where it would dawn on me that I do not need to drive myself to death by exercising every day (intensely or otherwise). It never came. Only when I stopped and rested, then restarted – did I view “working out” from a rather thrillingly strange point. I’d say I’m hovering on low impact right now, but one thing is for sure: I am not detesting doing less and thinking of it as a struggle, and a difficult time. I am not yearning to start high-intensity jazz anytime soon because I am happy where I am. My intention is not to present myself as a Miss know-it-all because c’mon, things are always changing and we are continuously figuring where we are in life, but what’s to say that the steps that assisted me can’t help you!?
REPLACE. This may or may not come as a surprise, but I didn’t take up knitting, painting, lego building to occupy free time in lieu of scheduled workouts. Why? There is no time for that. Maybe if I had a passion for that kind of thing, it would be a different story; but that’s neither here nor there. Correct me if I’m wrong but the majority of us lead full, busy lives..over-exercising or not. Fitting in 45 min. of additional exercise after an hour of sporting activity – without exaggerating – had me running around like a headless chicken every.single.bloomin.day. There was no time to breathe..to appreciate..to feel. I was a robot and my life was based on sufficiently draining myself physically and mentally (in the office). Take away the hours of destroying myself every week and life does not change dramatically. It simply becomes…easier. Instead of rushing through everything, I began experiencing it.
REDEEM your self-worth. With beginning to truly experience every little routine task of my day, I realized I love myself. I do. I love to take care of myself and pamper myself. I am a master at turning a mundane shower into an esteemed ritual of care. Turn off that tap and feel the lather of the shower cream, gently massage the shampoo in. Remember: no workout cramped in before that means sufficient time now. I will not spend the day in work-out clothes to prevent myself from weasling out of exercising. If the morning’s events do not run me into the ground, I will get some movement in and I will enjoy it. However, there’s something about piecing together my outfit for the day in accordance to my mood that makes me happy.
Instead of rising earlier to work out – if I’m up for it – I’ll swish oil before preparing a breakfast that adheres to my cravings, without questioning them. I can’t imagine bustling about to work up my heart rate in the AM (something I stood staunch on previously), when I now enjoy taking my time to ready for the day.
REVALUE what exercise feels like to your body. Once I learnt how good it feels to move when I want to instead of following a concrete plan, I started acknowledging the highs and lows of energy signals running through me on a daily basis. I was stuck in this rut where I believed I loved this “rush” that exercise gave me. But in all honesty, I’m not sure I was privy to any endorphin rush at all. There was no margin for a spur-of-the-moment decision based upon how I felt at that particular time; as a result my response to exercise had became insensitive and mechanical, where my utterly exhausted self seemed to have shut down on the world . Not anymore. There is so much fulfillment derived from directing energy and effort into other things with exercise a tiny portion of the magnificent picture.
I am ashamed. For having behaved as though “cutting down on exercise” is the worst endeavour to be carrying out. For reacting as though “resting” is a struggle. Only now do I see things from the viewpoint of my loved ones around me.
Not for a stinking second, did I believe I would arrive at a state of mind where I would be comfortable with my life not evolving around “exercise”. I had consented I was indeed going to rest and recover, but on first contemplation – the idea of slowing down depressed me. How else would I have “me” time? If not by exercising, how would I take care of myself? And that is where I ran into trouble. While exercising is in fact an act of taking care of oneself, it is not even close to the whole picture. Think about it. How damaging to believe that the only form of care is through exerting oneself…and taxing the body more than it can handle at that! It was unpleasantly impossible to comprehend that I might just enjoy life with less exercise. As I started off toying around by easing up for a few weeks, getting the taste of days without having to fit workouts into my already jam-packed schedule – a strange sensation of sorts entered my bloodstream. I began to “experience” life…every little meander outdoors, the fresh air filling my lungs… taking time to leisurely consume my snacks during office breaks…waking up with the prospect of a positively full day, with no space for shoving in a “planned” workout. And loving it. Because taking care of myself is not signified by running 5 k’s, or so many reps of weights, or enforcing an imaginary rule of doing some activity before breakfast. If I want to fabricate things; I’m better off imagining unicorns! I was using exercise as a means of escaping my miserable mood; but surely a daily despondent outlook on life is a warning sign of something deeper. It is not normal to sub-consciously feel anxious every day until I get in the amount of exercise I deem suitable. Every day is gift…every moment a blessing. Why should my energy and time be dedicated to workouts when I can derive indescribable satisfaction from: playing ball with my dog..completing an office project..pondering over my outfit for the day..heading out for dinner with family..relaxing in bed with a book…whipping up a bowl of Oatmeal cookie dough after a busy day.. topped with vanilla ice-cream. Because…do you have a better way? Mentally congratulating Amanda on such a chef-d’oeuvre with every heavenly mouthful.. Ohmygoose! Just go make it. I made a few substitutions to accommodate to what I had on hand: mashed banana for the applesauce, peanut butter, omitted the honey, all purpose flour, and my choice of chocolate chips was 2 squares of chopped 70% Lindt. I assure you the end result was nothing less than magnificent! So as I was saying…I understand. The frustration that met my so called “devotion” to my healthy lifestyle was not selfish on their part. It was normal. Selfish was me, believing that I was ‘suffering’ in my midst of attempting to put an end to self-destruction.
I have no workout program; no agenda of strength training x times a week, cardio on so many days, stretching and so on. Perhaps there will be a time where I will need to have some sort of exercise schedule, but as off now I can’t deny I am loving the liberty of going with the flow. Now that the roller coaster levels of intense fatigue has long passed I find myself enjoying doing a little something every day. Its incredible how sharp my body is..I do not have to make a mental effort to ensure my forms of exercise is kept light, because my body feels tired once I’ve done enough. And that “enough” varies from day to day.
I’m learning so much just by listening. I’m learning that when I feel ‘lazy’ and ‘sluggish’, a little walking and stretching is just what I need to pep me up. After sitting for most of the day and I’m a ball of restless energy – a few intervals of skipping in the fresh air works magic. When I’ve got a good balance of calm and energetic going on, I’ll zen out on my pilates mat. I find pilates to be an utterly thorough workout, engaging the muscles deep within – to successfully carry out a few movements I have to be nicely “in tune”. But the most important thing I have determined: after a few minutes of “moving” I should be invigorated and enjoying the feel of energy running through me. If once the blood is flowing I am struggling and lacking oomph then I need to stop. It’s my body’s way of saying I should be resting today/right now.
The fact that I tire more easily and lack the endless stamina I had once upon a time means nothing to me right now. Never before could I take a random 20 min. walk simply because I want to daydream while my blood pumps through my stiff legs. Funny how pleasant an activity can be when you aren’t doing it to burn off the breakfast you are planning to eat! No longer do I need to get it done with at the break of dawn for fear I will lack the time or energy later in the day. These days I prefer to get moving in the afternoon, so I don’t devote all of my morning energy into exercise when I’ve got a lot of mental work to do. Ten minutes can suffice, abandoning it leaves no guilt, and the only reason I’m moving is because…it feels good.