In Part II of this series, I will examine more of what I am processing and learning while experiencing this chapter of my life.
Today, I woke up and decided I would workout before eating breakfast. I am not sure I’ve ever done that before. However, many people I’ve known in life do this as a daily discipline. I had also read recently that its beneficial to work out before breakfast, as your body burns more fat this way. I was able to bike six-and-a-half miles this morning. This fact, I found interesting. Two other evenings this week, and I was able to bike eight and nine miles . Maybe I have more energy in the evening? Maybe because I haven’t had any fuel yet for the day, I have less energy? That would seem to make sense.
I finished my workout, and quickly came home to make breakfast. I tried some different foods this morning. Again, I intended to eat slowly and enjoy this breakfast, but yet again, it was like as if I had starved for a full week. I honestly had wanted to put a photo of my “Healthy breakfast” on Instagram, but it was gone before I could give it another thought. So then the thought came to me, “I miss eating till I am satisfied.” I really do. I get great enjoyment out of big cups of Starbucks coffee, sitting on my couch, and enjoying the morning news or some Hulu Plus.
Since I have declared war (and I am calling it that) on this physical issue, I am truly eating for sustenance and that is it. And that’s how it needs to be for now.
Anyway, last time I mentioned my friend Katie, whose career is primarily walking with people who have actual eating disorders and other mental health concerns. Katie is amazing. She is getting to be “quite the online celebrity” with her presence on social media channels. Her passion in life, her mission and vision statement is “Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness by forming Healthy Communities.” Katie believes that nothing is out of reach, and there isn’t anything that can’t be learned about or discussed.
Anyway, I briefly reached out to her recently, and since then I have delved really deep into her website and the products she has created for social media. While this may not be a technique that is originally Katie, she says a common technique that therapists use when dealing with an eating disorder client is to ask this questions:
“What Does It Mean to Be Fat?”
The client is then asked to come up with a list of words or phrases that they think of.
“Fat means I am Lazy”
“Fat means I am ugly”
“Fat means I am unlovable”
“Fat makes you unattractive”
“Fat means I am stupid”
“That person has no motivation and no self-will”
I’ll add a few more that are a bit more personalized: “Fat means you are undisciplined.”. ” You are irresponsible” (having to do with the Christian principle of ‘good stewardship”. )
Do any of these concepts have anything to do with your size? But I GET IT. I feel am feeling most to all of these things. Where does all this crap come from? And its so common! How do we go from, “I’m struggling with my weight, to I am not productive? Or that someone couldn’t love me for WHO I AM, not WHAT I LOOK LIKE?
Katie suggests that a person that is struggling writes a love-letter to themselves. She said “As bad as you could be feeling, everybody likes SOMETHING about themselves.” Which is true. This issue is taking about 60% of my headspace and my time right now, but I am not completely useless. There are good things about me.
“Okay, so I have gained lots of weight. But I am truly a content specialist in my career. People depend on you every day. I am funny, I am thoughtful, I am loving, and I am open. You can talk with me about anything. No topic is off-limits in general (although it might be with certain people that can’t handle brutal honesty). I am the worlds-greatest-aunt to six amazing children. People adore you. You find value in every person you meet”.
Around the time of lunch today, I came to the realization that true hunger on some level feels like I am dying to my mind. Maybe this is instinctual. Maybe we are wired as humans to feel this way. I took a phone call this morning where I lamented that “I never feel satisfied anymore”. I made a decision that I would eat a HEALTHY lunch where I would eat till I felt satisfied. It felt like a big moment. I actually made a plate of choices. A fruit, an avocado, some raw carrots, and hummus. The goal was not to eat everything I put in front of me, and I didn’t. I only chose two items (three if you count the humus, but thats not going to be eaten solo!)
My dietician asked me to “be thinking about balance” this next week. Balance for me, will be about NOT making every day about staying under 1200 calories. It sure is getting a lot of attention.