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All posts for the month November, 2014

2 months in, training results!

Published November 28, 2014 by Crystal

25 minutes.  Today I managed 25 minutes of constant running!  I feel good.  I feel tired.  But mostly I am really proud of that achievement in just under 2 months of training.

From not being able to run for a bus, I can now run a couple of miles.  Hell I still have miles to go.  But I feel closer to being able to run that marathon.  And if I can do it, then honestly, anyone can make a start! My view of exercise has really changed in recent years.  Maybe it’s getting close to 40.  Maybe it’s realising my body won’t last forever.

Depression wise the tablets seem to be helping.  There have been a few teary days, some horrid nightmares, but I do feel a bit better than a few weeks ago.

If you would like to donate, please follow the justgiving button to the right of the blog page.

Mental Health is very much in the news at the moment, but what it needs is funding.

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I am a mess, and sometimes healing feels like a slow slow business.

Published November 22, 2014 by Crystal

2 blog posts ago I raved about the idea of not weighing.  I embraced the idea of healing being an all encompassing thing, and that hopping on the scales was getting in the way of my healing from disordered eating.

Oh to be free from the judgemental slab of metal.

So, how have I got on?  How am I embracing a life away from the scales?  How am I enjoying healing on a whole new level?

I’m not.  Between then and now the Black Dogs that never really go away were biting at my heals, not satisfied with just walking alongside.  I ended up at my doctor’s door, asking for help, because this time around I couldn’t do it alone, no matter how much effort I had put in.

I know there is no shame in needing medication, but I felt I had let myself down in not being able to exercise myself out of this episode of depression.  I felt disappointed that good eating and regular exercise hadn’t had the full desired effect.  You can only go on struggling for so long, before something has to give.

I was anxious, tearful, sad, dissatisfied, out of sorts, out of place, and generally uncomfortable all the time.

So I was given a prescription, and I’m in the process of weaning onto them.

But then the worry of being on anti depressants kicked in.  They have a reputation for weight gain, and I will be completely honest in saying the thought of this started to completely stress me out.  I have worked hard to lose 3 stone.  And it was a long slow process.  The thought of gaining pounds that I fought to lose was and is something that added to the anxiety I was already feeling.  And of course it takes a while for the tablets to have an effect.  So anxiety magnified, depression increased, I had to seriously think about how I wanted to approach this new situation.

Not weighing myself became a cause for fear.  To not be able to monitor how these tablets might affect my weight was something I could not bear the idea of.  And suddenly a need for control, and possible damage limitation was a priority.

For the first few days my appetite completely vanished.  It made exercise difficult, and didn’t help with my moods.  But I was also aware that symptoms can be short lived, and a diminished appetite was very likely a temporary effect.  I was right, my appetite returned, and the panic of eating too much returned with it.

I have stepped onto the scales several times over the last week, normally once a day.  And for now it helps bring some calm in a situation that is making me anxious.  I do feel I need medication at the moment, and so the healing from disordered eating is something that will continue to be  a very slow occurrence.  I also decided to return to a diet club to help me monitor my foods, to take the stress and anxiety away a little while the pills do their thing.

It’s not an ideal situation, but then on the other hand I’ve chosen a diet club that is seeming to be more mindful in its advice and literature these days.  There is support in the form of a good friend who goes regularly, as well as the friendly class and leader.  For now, it will help.

 

On the plus side, my running is progressing.  This 36 year old managed to run for a whole 20 minutes!  It’s a small goal in comparison to the masses who are already marathon fit, but for me it is a big fat miracle!  And the feeling of achievement after that training run was immense!  Onwards and upwards, longer, stronger, fitter.  I am running for SANE in 2015 London Marathon, and if you would like to sponsor me, there is a button to the right of my blog page.

 

So there’s a wee update.  2 steps forward, a few steps back.  But then that’s the way life goes.

“You want to weigh yourself, you know you do”

Published November 8, 2014 by Crystal

I woke this morning after a horrid day yesterday with a lot of pain and nausea.  It might have been a tummy bug, but on reflection I think it was an ibs attack.

This sent me internal dialogue into a spiral of criticism and anxiety.  If I am tuning in and listening to my body, how have I ended up with an IBS attack?  Clearly omitting gluten and dairy and meat isn’t helping.  I am not tuning in enough.  I am missing something.  And if I can’t tune in enough to eat the right foods, then I probably have eaten so much I have gained half a stone.  Oh, and Thursday was a rest day, yesterday I was poorly, so I have done no exercise in 48 hours and that is incredibly lazy!

But I observed these thoughts and this little discussion between the voices in my head, and rather than being defensive, or justifying my actions or decisions, I have been saying “Isn’t that interesting?”

Rather than interacting with the thoughts that are whizzing through my head, I am watching, listening, and pausing before responding.

It isn’t easy.  When I normally actively participate in addressing and responding to the thoughts in my head, it is quite hard to let them pass for a little longer.  And it is bizarre to realise the thoughts come through whether I want them to or not, whether I think they are acceptable or not.

The biggest boldest thought that came through was that I should weigh myself.  And it is the one that I did go into depth thinking about.  It was one that in the past I would obey.  Because there is still that worry over weight gain, and anxiety over not tuning in.  But for now I know it is not going to aid in my healing from disordered eating, and for now I have committed to that for myself.

It really looks like such an innocent thought.  Go on, weigh yourself, just so you know you’re heading in the right direction.  Just so you know you haven’t completely slipped up….

Slipped up where?  Slipped up how?  What do I want here?  What is it I am measuring?  How much food I’ve eaten in the last 2 days?  How bloated I am after an IBS attack?  What exactly do I NEED to measure?  Am I not looking at my overall health and well being at the moment?  What would the scales tell me?  And how would I interpret that information today?

So I stood up against that voice telling me to weigh.  Telling me to measure myself by a plate of metal on the floor.  And I looked inward to how I am feeling now.  A little bit sensitive physically, like I’ve been punched in the gut a few times.  A little bit disappointed that I had an IBS attack, while I am focussing on tuning in, and giving thought and care to the food I eat.  Wondering if it is stress related, what it is I am feeling stressed over, what I am not addressing at the moment, but internalising and tensing up over.

As I type I am not entirely sure, but as I continue to tune in, and be kind to myself, I am sure the answers will come.  There are several thoughts and concerns that come to me, and so it is time to observe how I react physically to those thoughts and feelings, and see what they tell me.

But it is nothing that a number on the scales would have helped with.  Not at all.

I said I weigh every day, BUT

Published November 4, 2014 by Crystal

The last few paragraphs of “It’s Not About Food” are powerful.

“We have witnessed women standing in front of a mirror and for the first time in their lives being able to feel and express love for themselves, and then the next week turn around and say, “I’m completely stuck.  I’m not losing weight.”  We have seen women grow and change in beautiful ways but completely invalidate their growth because they haven’t lost weight.  Complete recovery from an eating disorder requires spiritual and emotional growth.  Sometimes weight loss accompanies this growth, sometimes weight gain accompanies it, and sometimes no physical change accompanies it.  The complete healing process is not linear.  It can fluctuate and it is different for everyone.  We will talk more about this later.  But for now it’s important just to understand that when we measure our progress only in weight loss or gain we set ourselves up for failure.  There are three reasons for this:  1) We are not placing value on our spiritual and emotional recovery, which means we are not hearing the message of our eating disorder; (2) we have removed ourselves from being present with the internal process that is necessary for recovery; and (3) when we aren’t gaining or losing weight at a regular rate, we think we’ve failed and we turn back to overeating or undereating.”

I have learnt to become mostly impartial to those numbers on the scale.  But then it begs the question, why do I weigh each day?  The following paragraphs ask the reader to question themselves on their behaviour around the scales.  But the part that struck a chord so strongly was this;

“Where did you learn to measure yourself in pounds only?  Is this the true measurement of your personality, your intellect, your body, and your soul?”

I thought I was ok weighing regularly.  I thought I was allowing healing through that impartiality, but really, those scales are still holding a power.  If the number increases, I must try harder.  If the number drops, maybe I let myself lose a little.  It’s time to take that next brave bold leap into healing.  Into really tuning in and trusting myself, and allowing my body to work with and not against my spirit.

“Trust that your present weight is the perfect weight for where you are right now in your life.”  

Wow.  How freeing.  How forgiving.  How accepting.

I’m ready to step off the scales.

Extracts from It’s Not About Food

Meghan Trainor; What I hear in her song. And it’s not skinny shaming.

Published November 3, 2014 by Crystal

all about that bass

It seems everywhere you go someone wants to find the negative.  And the same is said for this deliciously marmite-y song that delves into your head and repeats over and over and over and over.

“I’m all about that Bass, Bout that Bass, Bout that Bass, No Treble!”

Ach, I may well dislike the song before too long, but right now I love it.

I love the celebration of the artist’s body.  I love that she is embracing her curves, and that her mum gave her some positive messages growing up.  Right or wrong, true or not, the mum let a girl grow up feeling she was enough by saying men like something to hold.  In saying that, the mum was NOT saying “Men don’t like skinny girls”  and nor was Meghan Trainor, but a positive message to a girl who wasn’t ultra slim was offered, to allow that girl to know she was fine the way she was, even more than that “Every Inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top”.

The other line I keep seeing as “skinny shaming” is “You know I won’t be no stick figure silicon barbie doll”  To me, this is saying she wants to be her natural self.  No pretending to be something else.  No trying to fit into a mould that she won’t get into.  Just her.  Being happy with being her.  She doesn’t say anything negative about this.  It’s a stereotype she has chosen to use to get her message across that she is happy being her.

And the final line.  The line that seems to be causing rage and fury in the “Skinny Shamer!” camp

I’m bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that
No I’m just playing. I know you think you’re fat
But I’m here to tell ya
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top

Now maybe I am reading this completely wrong.  But then it’s a song, and open to interpretation of the listener.  And rather than believe the angry messages that she is hating on skinny girls, I believe this.  She makes a joke, but she is talking to the curvy girls, and to the skinny girls who think they’re fat, she is talking to everyone and saying “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top!”

How can we only focus on the perceived negatives of a song, when actually there is empowerment and support for young people growing up in a world where size prejudice is rife, and being yourself is so difficult?

At the end of the day it is just a song, and will be forgotten about before too long.  But for now I celebrate a teeny boppy voice of hope going to young impressionable ears, who finally have role models that are a little bigger than size zero.

I weigh daily, BUT

Published November 3, 2014 by Crystal

Weighing is a touchy, tough subject.  There are those who hate the scales and have no desire to go anywhere near.  There are those who hate the scales, but feel compelled to weigh and allow the results to pass judgement.  There are those who love the scales, and the feeling of control it gives.  And there are no doubt many more types of people besides.

Me, I like weighing.  I didn’t used to.  I used to hate the feeling of addiction, but also the feeling of shame when the numbers were unfavourable, and the elation when the scales were kind.

Nowadays the scales don’t hold power or a form of control.  For the most part I can hop on, and simply notice the result.  I find it helpful to see how the previous days food and activity have impacted on my body. A meal out will often see a gain, as I hold water.  A bottle of wine will see a loss as my body craves water to rehydrate.

For the most part I can be an impartial observer.  But there are days when hopping on the scales can send me into a spiral of misery.  A 3 pound gain can leave me feel hopeless and helpless.  The “why bother, what is the point?” feeling can leave me reaching for the foods that neither support my wants or nurture my body and mind.

So why weigh at all?  Well, for me, weighing regularly helps me to notice those day to day changes.  It enforces the reality that a pound of fat doesn’t appear overnight from one meal out.  It is a tool.  A machine of component parts that come together to tell me a”numerical reflection of my relationship with gravity”.  And its power in affecting me is based on how much power I give it.

So you know what?  Some days I don’t weigh.  Some days I know whatever result I see will impact me more than it should.  And I don’t want to take part in an episode of self loathing and disgust.

But I don’t see the problem with weighing as a general rule.  So long as I can keep as that impartial observer.

If it is something you want to do, then do it. There are arguments for and against, but making regular weighing another reason to feel guilty in your life is unecessary.  If you can be that impartial observer, and simply notice how foods interact with your body.  If you can see the scale for what it really is, and not a demi god with the power to make you feel shameful.  If you can enjoy each and every day regardless of the scales, then by all means do what works for you!

scales

Fat Shaming is NEVER acceptable, even if you’re a tv celebrity

Published November 1, 2014 by Crystal

Sharing again. I was reminded of this after seeing a seemingly innocent “Big Boned Myth” meme. It bothered me, because of the judgement held within it. So what if someone says they are big boned? Maybe they would say nothing if they felt they had to justify themselves to others? Maybe we could just let people be? Maybe we could keep an eye on our own lives?

Stepping into yourself

It’s been a long weekend of reflection and panic, and anxiety.  But I am awake on a Monday morning feeling a little lighter for letting out all the confusion.

It has me wondering, do any of us ever get to that place of peace and rest after experiencing disordered eating?  Or is there always the risk of slipping back some distance and falling back into those old behaviour patterns?

One thing that is very clear is that I need exercise now.  I need to be able to get out and exert all that bubbling energy, and feel my body getting tired. While I grumbled about walking for hours and hours, it obviously helped me in many ways mentally and physically.  And not being able to get out and walk sent me into a spiral of panic, believing again I am incapable of looking after myself, unable to make good food…

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