Saturday, 19 November 2011

my golden rule

PJ's Golden Rule: when in doubt ask yourself 
"do I want to do this for the rest of my life?"

I'm suddenly really scared of food again. I was doing quite well with my eating, I put on some weight, and then a little bit more, and then a little bit more, and then I got scared.

Somewhere along the line I seem to have apparently decided that to be 'safe' I need to be really 'careful' about what I eat. Yes, I still want to eat, but to stop myself from going overboard (whatever that may mean) I need to be really particular about how much I eat, when I eat it and then how much exercise I do. I've even been writing it down so I can keep track of it and make sure that I have what I think is enough but not any more - just to be on the safe side.

And I don't know about you, but that sounds distinctly like an eating disorder to me.

So even though I don't actually think I'm doing anything dangerous - I'm not restricting and I'm not over-exercising, and from the outside I probably look like I'm doing a really good job - but if I apply my golden rule, the answer would have to be "no"; this is not what I want to do for the rest of my life. This is only existing. This is not living. I'm trying much too hard to do everything 'right'. But I want to be free from even this level of stress and need to control what I eat.

So for the first time in about 10 weeks I'm going to see my dietician (M) to talk to her about this. My instinct is to tell her I'm so afraid of putting on weight she needs to give me a meal plan which I can follow and remove some of that worry - hand over the decision making to her and let her calculate exactly what I can eat to maintain my current weight and not put on any more.

But that's not the answer.

That's not what I want to do for the rest of my life either.

So what is the answer? I don't know. But I think telling M everything that I just wrote here would be a very good start...


Chantell said...

The first thing I see from this post? You show amazing insight into your ED...That is a big plus!

The second thing? How awesome are you for recognising the 'unhealthy' thought patterns and behaviours that are going on, and then deciding to see your dietician?! That is courage, and persistance, in my eyes :o)

Your question of 'Do I want to do this for the rest of my life?' is such a good one, and is very similar to what my counsellor asked of me just yesterday...I am struggling to change, but am finally starting to at least 'try', thanks in part to your blog :o)

Good luck with M ~ I really hope she can help you to find a way to feel a little more relaxed over food...Maybe printing this post out to show her? xo

Mum on the Run said...

Your self awareness is awesome.
Don't beat yourself up too much - because you're further along than when restricting and overexercising.
I can really identify with what you are talking about though.
My body looks 'recovered' and I certainly don't loathe myself like before - but I still reaaaaally want to control my weight.
Thank you for your honesty.
I think a dietician-driven plan is a good idea in the short term.
As shallow and pathetic as it is, I often hear that voice of the BCF ads in my head "That ain't livin'"!

M said...

Really encouraging pj and a great reminder that it's so important to keep challenging the thoughts we have and to utilize the advice and resources of those around us. Printing off this page and showing it to the other M sounds like a really smart thing to do. Keep trusting yourself: even when things are hard, you're making progress. Thanks for reminding me that it's ok to ask for help even when you've move quite a few steps down the recovery path.

Gina said...

This sounds like something I could write today. I also love your golden rule. That's something I need to keep in my back pocket for when things really start to nosedive.

As for going back on a meal plan: maybe you don't want to do it for the rest of your life, but in the short term, it could be just what you need. I mean, the goal is probably to learn to eat without the support and structure of a meal plan, but sometimes, like you said, it is nice to have the choice taken away, at least for a little while.


Sarah said...

I find this so hard too. It's difficult though isn't it? I have counted, kept track, written down and 'watched' what I have eaten for most of my life, that I don't even know what it feels like to NOT do this!

I have specific meal by meal, snack by snack plans from my dietician at the moment because I was struggling making food choices, and always looking for ways to 'cut' corners. They are working for the minute. I TRUST (i think) her enough to know that she's not loaded me with 5000 cals per day or anything, but it's hard to forget that it is a plan with an AIM to RESTORE/gain weight. I have to block this.

But to apply your I want to do this forever. Not have any choice over food? No. Do I want to 'watch' what I eat forever. No. Do I want to feel guilty if I can't burn off the calories. No. Do I want to exercise to burn or for enjoyment. Enjoyment. Does it work at the moment. Apparently it has to!

I just have to remember it WONT be forever. And things will be different eventually. We wont ALWAYS have to keep track or watch or count, because one day intuitive eating, intuitive exercise and freedom will be prominent. Not Ed.

Great post PJ x

HikerRD said...

Great post. I'm with Gina--meal plans are not for the long run--use it just while you need it, for the reasons you identified above.

On another note, while I respect you desire to move forward and push yourself (and totally support that), consider this analogy: when your kids were very little, they didn't learn to both speak and walk all at the same time. Motor skills were on hold, while verbal skills took over, and vice versa.

Such is my perspective on ED recovery. Perhaps you can say you're making some headway in therapy, and just hovering (that does not include slipping, mind you) with your eating and weight change. If you are medically stable, that MAY be okay--for a short time.
Just a thought. Do get the input from your team.
And btw, why 10 weeks without a dietitian visit?

I hope this doesn't mess you up. i'm just a realist with way too much experience to not comment on this ; )

Katesome said...

Really impressive post. Such insight is very valuable.

I'm just wondering if this building anxiety and focus on monitoring may have been triggered by Christmas racing towards us? It's a triggering time for me. Stress of relatives, expectations of overindulgence and ALL events are food focused activities, the discussions about how to 'deal' with Christmas from other people who have their own food issues, followed by the endless 'resolutions' are almost always body related. The entire thing freaks me out!

Don't know if you relate to that or not, but if you do if might be something to think about. Maybe a plan with your dietician for during that time will help?

Again, so impressed with your assessment of your ed.


Anonymous said...

Hey there PJ,

I have been in hiding for a while now, first with holidays then the holiday fallout that turned ugly. I really, really needed to read this now. This isn't how I want to live the rest of my life. Time for me to really get serious and make changes.

Thanks, Poppy xo