Nervous About This Weekend!

Though I consider myself a stay-at-home mom for the most part, I do work part time as a high school swim coach.  It helps pay the bills and it doesn’t conflict with my husband’s work schedule so we rarely have to pay a babysitter.  Plus, I LOVE it.  I love swimming, and I love coaching.  However, since starting my recovery the whole swim coaching thing is turning out to be a minor obstacle that I have to overcome.  Allow me to explain.

This Friday and Saturday is the State Championship swim meet.  I’ll be on pool deck from 8:00 AM to probably 8-9 PM.  I’ll maybe get a 30 minute lunch break.  I’ll be on my feet all day.  I’ll be jumping and screaming and cheering and I will be all amped up on adrenaline.  In a way, it is a good thing.  I won’t have time to worry and obsess over food (which I why I loved it so much in the past… I had a good excuse not to eat and I was so busy I didn’t even feel hungry).  But at the same time, I know this is not a good thing in terms of my recovery plan.

They have a coach’s hospitality room that is typically stocked with junk food and soda.  Guys, if I have a fear food it is soda.  All those sugary calories without ever making you full or satisfied are absolutely terrifying.  I know I will be tempted to drink the diet coke when I know I should just drink the regular.  And anything processed (think hotdogs, nachos & cheese, etc.) also scares the living daylights out of me.  I know I need to eat, but I really don’t feel like I’m ready for these kinds of foods yet (my ED was kindof more on the orthorexic side).  Sorry for all the food hating – I need to accept that food is NOT the enemy and I CAN have whatever I want.  I just don’t feel a “want” for these foods and I’m not sure if it’s me or my ED talking here.

I also struggle with the social aspect of eating in this situation.  Most of the coaches don’t eat either.  Only the “fat and lazy” ones eat at the meet.  I used look down upon the people who ate at the meet thinking “they should be talking to their swimmers rather than eating.”  So stupid.  I need to stop thinking everyone is as critical as I was.  I posted about this yesterday, and it’s the same deal.  Right now I just need to worry about myself!

The best plan I can come up with is the following:

  • Wake up early.  Eat a big breakfast at the hotel til I’m completely full and satisfied.
  • Pack snacks that are calorie-dense but less threatening to me.  (Nuts, energy bars, dried fruit, etc.)
  • Another idea I had was to sip on fruit juice/milk/gatorate throughout the day instead of water.
  • Don’t spend the whole meet worrying about what’s for dinner.  When the meet is over, eat what is close by and what sounds good.  Don’t stress out looking for the healthiest restaurant in town!

I am seriously so excited for this weekend and I don’t want to let stupid ED thoughts ruin my fun.  But at the same time, I need to be aware of my recovery and not let old habits slip back in.  I know I don’t have many readers, but ANY advice and support is welcome!  I’ll let you all know how it goes!

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The Gym – Then and Now

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Today’s trip to the gym was full of anxiety.  The main reason that I go to the gym is honestly for my daughter (17 months old).  I used to go 4-5 times a week, and they provide free childcare while you work out.  Now that I’m getting into the MinnieMaud recovery plan, I realize that I need to rest my body and stop working out.  But at the same time, my daughter had grown to LOVE going to the gym to play with her friends.  I just didn’t feel right taking that away from her, so here’s how I plan to balance the pull in opposite directions:

  • Take her to the gym childcare 2-3 times a week instead of 4-5.  I will do only the EASY beginner yoga classes.  (I promise it’s easy… it’s mostly seniors in there!)  It’s also the kind of class where the instructor lets you know ways to make it easier for you, which I will take full advantage of.
  • Little stinker loves to swim, so I may take her to the gym to swim instead.  Of course I will be in the water with her, but not doing anything strenuous.
  • I will try to find other playtime alternatives.  For instance, yesterday we went to storytime at the library for the first time.  It was fun, but I think she’ll enjoy it more if we make it a regular thing.  I don’t have any close friends with little kids.  I might need to reach out to other people I don’t know as well to make that happen –> umm hello anxiety for me!  But that issue probably deserves a whole separate post.

So today I had planned to do the easy yoga ball class.  Come to find out that I was 30 minutes late.  I really didn’t know what to do but wasn’t about to up and leave.  I ended up walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes (slowly) and then doing some of the few yoga poses and stretches that I’m familiar with (well… at least the less embarrassing ones!).

The problem was that my mind was just all screwed up the whole time.  I kept constantly thinking about how everyone would notice that I’m not even breaking a sweat.  Like “what is the point of her even being on the treadmill??”  I seriously felt like a waste of space.  You know why?  Because that was my opinion of everyone else in there in the past.  If you weren’t red faced and dripping in sweat then you weren’t working hard enough.  If you got off the treadmill after 15 minutes then you must be lazy.  Who the heck am I to pass judgement on people like that!?  Pathetic.  Needless to say, this really opened my eyes up and it’s as if I’m looking at the gym through a whole new set of eyes now.  I think I could say I experienced a paradigm shift in regards to the gym – and I’m so glad I did.

I even started to feel sorry for some of the other women in there.  The ones with the “perfect” bodies who come in there every single day for 2 hours or more.  The ones I used to be jealous of.  The ones who are friendly and upbeat when they talk to you.  But when they think no one’s looking, they look downright tired and miserable.

But right now I think it’s best not to dwell on that.  For now I need to focus on doing what’s right for me, no matter what other people think.  I know in my heart and mind that I have chosen the correct path, and all I can do is take it one step at a time.

My Recovery Plan

I initially thought I should start by telling my story but have come to realize that’s not what’s best for me.  I think focusing on the present and future will help me move in a positive direction and lead to an ultimately better outcome.  Once I feel like I am recovered, I will share and reflect upon my story and my past.

Since I don’t have any pressing medical issues and I am not clinically “underweight” I will not be using the assistance of any doctors, RDs, or therapists.  In other words, my recovery team is just me, my husband, and any potential readers who may eventually stumble across my site.  I know it will be harder this way, but we’re not really in a place financially to be paying a therapist.

My basic framework around which my recovery is centered is the “MinnieMaud” method as discussed on the Your Eatopia website.  In a nutshell there are three rules to follow:

  1. Unrestricted eating.  What you want, when you want, in any quantity.  Do not allow yourself to feel restricted at all.  It goes even further to say that you must meet certain calorie minimums based on your age, weight, and sex.
  2. No weighing or measuring.
  3. No exercise.

The basic theory is that everyone has a weight set point, and that if you respect your body’s hunger signals without restraint, you will naturally gain weight until you reach that point.  Once reached, you can continue to eat without restriction and you won’t gain weight.  I know.  It contradicts pretty much everything I learned as a nutrition student.  But the scientific evidence is extraordinary and I’m gonna give it a shot!

Here is how I currently feel about the three aspects of MinnieMaud (MM) recovery:

  1. Unrestricted eating – fine.  However, I know this will be gradual for me.  I have no problem eating to my hunger cues but it’s the types of food that I will struggle with.  I still have a tendency to cling to “safe” meals that I have deemed as being healthy.  But over the past 3 days I have been able to loosen up on my rules – hopefully this will continue to improve.  But as far as the minimums go – I am VERY uneasy about counting calories to ensure I meet those minimums.  I will do a separate post on that topic soon since it has really been weighing on my mind.
  2. Ehh I really want to weigh myself, but I’m going to do my best to resist.  I can’t simply throw away my scale because my husband wants to use it.  And he paid for it.  (We’re cheap, ok?)  I’ve never taken measurements, but I am a 24-7 body-checker – that is something I can work on.
  3. Kill me now.  No exercise is like no oxygen.  I will go crazy.  But I know how ridiculously crucial this part is so I’m going to do my best given my current situation.  I will still go to the super easy yoga class a few times a week, mostly so my toddler can get some playtime with other kids.  I will also take her swimming because the girl is a fish.  I’ll play with her outside.  But no more running, no more lap swimming, no more weight lifting, no more spin class, no more pushing myself through difficult yoga poses.  THIS IS SO HARD!

As I mentioned in my previous post I will also be reading 7 Habits to help me change my way of thinking.  I will also have the support of my main man Jesus Christ whenever things get poopy.  I am uneasy and nervous but hopeful and excited at the same time.  I’m having to let go of things from my past that determined who I was… and now I’m ready to make ME the one who’s in charge of who I am!

7 Habits, 7 Notes #1

An important part of my recovery process involves the reading of Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  Each day, I will take 7 important take-home messages to think about and relate to my own life experiences.  So without further ado, here are my first 7 notes!

  1. What we ARE communicates far more eloquently than anything we SAY or DO.
  2. A paradigm is the way we “see” the world – in terms of perceiving, understanding, and interpreting.  A “map” so to speak.
  3. To try and change outward attitudes and behaviors does very little good in the long run if we fail to examine the basic paradigms from which those attitudes and behaviors flow.
  4. Each of us thinks we see things as they are (objective).  But when we describe what we see, we are actually describing ourselves, our perceptions, and our paradigms.
  5. Our paradigms, correct or incorrect, are the sources of our attitudes and behaviors, and ultimately our relationships with others.
  6. If we want to make significant, quantum change, we need to work on our basic paradigms.  Paradigm shifts can be instantaneous or slow and deliberate.
  7. Paradigms are inseparable from character – “being is seeing.”

Thoughts & Ramblings:  In terms of my recovery, I really need to make an effort to redefine what beauty is and what health is.  I need to actively and deliberately change my paradigm.  I have experienced how my old paradigms have negatively affected my attitudes, behaviors, and relationships with others.  For example, I need to stop seeing food as the enemy.  I need to stop idolizing fitness and leanness.  Though right now I feel like I need to be focused on food for the sake of complete and permanent recovery, eventually I need to learn to trust my body and take the focus off food so that I can fully enjoy my time with family and friends.

Why I started this blog

Sometime in this past week I came to terms with the fact that I have a problem.  The short answer to why I started this blog is that I am using it to document my journey in recovery from a poor relationship with food, dieting, exercise, and body image.  This is really hard for someone who is a former athlete and has chosen nutrition as their career path.  But it truly needs to be done for my own personal happiness and the well-being of my family.

Things that helped me make this decision:

1.  Spirituality – On Monday, February 10th, 2014 I was buried with Christ in Baptism.  It’s crazy what a profound effect this has had on my whole existence.  I have been going to church for about a year now, but I just recently allowed myself to fully accept the love of Jesus and let him into my life.  Jesus has already taught me that real love should be unconditional, not based on weight, BMI, muscle tone, or how many miles I ran this week.

2.  My marriage – Things haven’t been great.  I really feel that my marriage has been suffering due to my insecurity.  I am constantly afraid of my husband’s reactions and feelings towards things for no good reason.  I feel like this insecurity is deeply rooted in my body image and “healthy” obsession.  After opening up to him about my problem, he has helped me see how it has affected other facets of my life… friendships, social outings, traveling, how I plan my day, how I judge other people, etc.  My whole attitude about life has taken a turn for the negative and it is making his life difficult as well.  He suggested that I read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to help change my attitudes and motivations, which I plan on doing during my recovery.  I’ll also note that this crap has completely killed my sex drive – just saying.

3.  Other bloggers – Reading blogs such as Your Eatopia and success stories from people like Clare at Fitting It All In have really fueled my quest for obtaining a total recovery.  They also helped me to recognize the fact that, though I am not anorexic, bulimic, or diagnosed with any other true eating disorder, my body has been undernourished for several years now and is in NEED of a legitimate recovery.  They have helped my find peace in the fact that there is happiness on the heavier side, and that I CAN become free from the restrictions and guilt of food.

4.  Infertility – I haven’t had a regular menstrual period since high school.  I haven’t had a period at all for 2 years and 3 months.  Yes, part of this is due to the fact that I miraculously managed to accidentally conceive a child and bring a wonderful baby girl into this world (which I successfully breastfed for 12 months).  But by all means, if I was healthy I would have my period back by now.  My husband and I have a deep desire for a large family now, and we really hoped we could have our kids about two years apart.  Obviously not happening thanks to me.  Despite the fact that my weight is “normal” by conventional standards, my body is letting me know that I have not nourished it well enough to sustain the creation of another human being.

5.  Mental Health – I used to be a seriously happy carefree person as a teenager.  I wouldn’t say I was the nicest or most considerate person in the world – but I did what I wanted and it made me happy.  I didn’t let others’ perceptions determine my actions.  Quite frankly I didn’t give a rat’s ass what other people thought about me.  I long for this feeling again.  I think this eating problem plays a huge role in my relationship with myself and with others.  I want spontaneity and joy back in my life – I don’t want to feel like the world is coming to an end when a certain meal, activity, or workout doesn’t go according to plan.  I just want to be free from it!  (I also think 7 Habits will help with this tremendously!)

6.  My daughter – The last thing I want to do is to pass this curse along to anyone else in this world.  My daughter learns virtually everything by observing what I do.  She is already genetically predisposed to developing some sort of disordered eating pattern in her lifetime, and my heart just breaks to picture her going through these struggles when she deserves so much better.  I can think about all the times she’s offered me a bite of her food and I replied with “no, I already ate” or “I can’t eat that.”  WHAT WHAT I THINKING!??!  Gah, this behavior is stopping IMMEDIATELY.  As if a bite of banana is going to make a dang difference.  Bottom line, I am blessed with the responsibility of helping her develop a healthy relationship with food and body image.  I’m gonna do it right!

And that’s it in a nutshell!  I plan to post more later about my personal situation and my methods for recovery.  But I think discussing my reasons is a good way to strengthen my commitment to the process and help remind me of the importance of it all when the going gets tough.  I’m sure this journey will be filled with ups and downs, but right now I am excited and hopeful for my future.