Posts Tagged ‘healing from eating disorders’

As you have probably noticed through my blog, I can be very hard on myself. I stay so focused on where I want to go and how much work is still needed to get there that I lose track of how far I have come. It’s like I have already run 25 miles of a marathon and get frustrated with myself for tiring at the thought of the mile ahead of me. I don’t think to look back and celebrate how far I have come. I am too busy being frustrated with how far I have to go.

Thankfully, sometimes I will notice changes in myself, and I marvel at how much progress I have made. This happened last week with Halloween. For most of my adult life, I struggled with the eating disorder of binge eating. Halloween was tough for me. I had these fabulous bags of chocolate candy in the house, and I would wrestle with myself. I would want to eat all of the bags of candy but knew I couldn’t. I would sneak some of the candy bars, hoping my husband wouldn’t notice. I would also sneak candy bars between visits from trick-or-treaters.

Contrast this with Halloween this year. I knew we had several bags of candy in the house but did not care. I was not remotely tempted to have any. In fact, if I had wanted some, I would have had one or two snack-sized bars with no guilt. Since I had “permission” to eat them, they lost their appeal, and I didn’t want them. I don’t recall eating any candy, either, while waiting for trick-or-treaters. If I did, it was only one or two, and it’s no big deal if I did or didn’t.

When my son was younger, I could not refrain from sneaking candy from his Halloween stash. This year, I don’t care about that, either. My son has been sweet and offered me a few bites here and there, which I appreciate. I don’t feel “tempted” to eat it, nor do I feel like I need willpower to resist it. It’s just candy. Believe me, that was not my attitude toward candy a few years ago.

So, I am making progress. In many areas, such as with the eating disorder, the progress has been so slow that it has been in baby steps. The changes inside of me have been so tiny that they have been barely perceptible until I take a look back. There wasn’t some “moment” when I magically changed over from being obsessed with Halloween candy to being indifferent to it, and yet is has happened. It’s a miracle to me, but a very slow one.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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As I shared in this blog entry, I “fell off the wagon” with my eating disorder on April 22 after becoming very triggered by two unwanted contacts from my mother/abuser in two days. Rather than beat myself up for a failure, I am choosing to celebrate the fact that I made it 47 days without binge eating, which means that I go even longer next time!

I have a big star on my calendar on March 7, which was the day I chose to focus on freeing myself from this not-so-good “old friend” that has been a part of my life since I was 12 years old. I have another big star on April 23 to mark the start of my second round of fighting the eating disorder.

I really do have a lot to celebrate. First of all, I succeeded in not binge eating through the stress of starting a new job, feeling overwhelmed and powerless when the expectations kept seeming to shift, and through several triggers. I succeeded in losing ~ 10 lbs during this time as well. My clothes are fitting me loosely, and that feels really good!

Even when I “fell off the wagon,” it wasn’t with the intensity of prior compulsions to overeat. While we had plenty of ice cream and chips in the house, I chose to have a small portion of a leftover burrito and some peanut butter – that’s it. I am classifying this as a “binge” because I was truly not hungry and only eating to meet an emotional need. It was also a compulsion that I must eat rather than a choice to eat. However, what I put into my body was high in protein, and it wasn’t anywhere near the intensity of the binges that I have battled throughout my life.

I chose not to “beat myself up” but, instead, be compassionate toward myself. I recognize the level of triggering that brought back the old pattern of behavior. I was blindsided twice in two days. Clearly I am still extremely vulnerable to any sort of contact from my mother, so I need to follow my friend’s advice to dispose of any letters rather than read them. I need to take my power back and stop letting my mother/abuser have this kind of power over me.

Over the past two days (the two days since the binge), I have been able to go right back to where I was before. By choosing not to heap guilt and shame onto myself for the binge, the bad feelings did not take on a life of their own. I am still feeling very triggered, but I am not using food to self-medicate. I am very proud of myself for this, and I am feeling very hopeful about my next round exceeding 47 days.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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