Monthly Archives: August 2013

How Not To Buy Pants In “Recovery”

Last night I had the moment in recovery that always sends me running back into the arms of ED. I went clothes shopping.

I have a terrible habit of only ever buying pants when I am in starvation mode and can squeeze into a size 4 or 2. (Size 0 has never been attainable for me.) Last night I (rather stupidly) thought that I could handle buying a pair of size 6 pants. I thought I was being realistic although I was not brave enough to go and stand in a changing room in the store and look at myself. Instead, I got them home and they were so tight that I immediately lost my mind. I cried, I cursed, I mouthed off at God for not understanding that I cannot be this fat and maintain recovery.

I ate half a box of ex-lax, binged on quinoa salad and vegan coconut macaroons, ate the other half of the box of laxatives and went to bed mad, sad and distressed. I cannot deal with this excess of flesh. I cannot deal with barely fitting into a size 6 where six months ago I swam in my size 4 pants and purged until kingdom come. I panicked last night. I did what I always do when that fear overwhelms me. I broke down and abused myself for being a failure.

The only thin, almost non-existent, silver lining is that I did not purge last night even though it was all I wanted to do. I did get up this morning (after being up all night thanks to ex-lax) and went for a run, continuing on with my 5k training program. I got a migraine almost instantaneously and have spent the day in excruciating pain, both physical and mental. This anguish knows no bounds. I want to be well. I want to be thin. And not just any thin, but the thin that I believe to be beautiful: bones.

On a lighter note, never wear your new cream coloured pants to work after consuming a box of ex-lax the night before. Just in case……

I should have more faith. I really should, but not today. Maybe tomorrow?

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Me, My Boyfriend And Bulimia: The Threesome Nobody Talks About

Me, My Boyfriend And Bulimia: The Threesome Nobody Talks About

“I will take you as you are. I will meet you where you’re at. There is room for you and all your baggage but some of it doesn’t need to come with you. You can leave it behind.”
My boyfriend of 3 months says this to me in my kitchen after I refuse to eat frozen yogurt with him because I want to be “healthy”. I stand with my arms crossed ready to defend ED tooth and nail.
“You can have a relationship with ED or you can have a relationship with me but not both. I want you, all of you and I’m not prepared to share you with your eating disorder.”
He holds out his arms and pulls me into him. I start sobbing uncontrollably because I know he is right. “I am trying,” I implore. “I just reach a point where I can’t do recovery. I can’t wake up and look like this and be this big and feel this heavy. And then I give up and it starts all over again.”
“How much of your time and energy and life have you lost to this? How much more is it going to rob you of? How much is it going to rob us of?”
“Years. Years and years and years of my life,” I respond too ashamed to look at him. “And I’m tired of it. I can’t do it anymore.”
Recovery or relapse. I am caught in the middle. I live in pseudo recovery for a month which is more akin to orthorexia in reality. I eat healthy and exercise until I am triggered and need to cope, until I look at my reflection and cannot accept it, until ED knocks on the door and I let him waltz in happily to continue our love affair where we left off.

I have never been honest with any partner about how bad my eating disorder is or when I am actively engaged in it, but it has taken a huge toll on my relationships. The lies (blatant or by omission), the shame and disgust and the obvious obsession with food has caused rifts in relationships. It is like being in a threesome all the time. More often than not, ED is the preferred partner. I choose ED every time I am let down, mistreated, neglected or feel hurt.

I left my last relationship because he didn’t love me and fell straight into the arms of ED, my trusted, beloved friend who is always there. Twenty years later, I don’t want this for my life anymore. I want a real relationship that is unhindered by this. I want to bike and hike and do things with my boyfriend. I want to be well enough to have children and to live an active, healthy life with him.

I have unwaveringly believed that I will never be fully recovered because it is not possible. I have held steadfast to the belief that I will live with an eating disorder for the rest of my life and like an alcoholic, will try and deal with it everyday. I am beginning to understand that that is a good excuse for relapsing every few months or for continuing my disordered behaviour under the guise of “healthy” eating which is just another obsession.

This weekend I went grocery shopping with my boyfriend. We tried to pick out granola. I read labels and compared nutritional information. I agonized over the amount of sugar. He picked up the cheapest box and his decision was made. I told him that I would leave the decision up to him and that I would stop being a freak in the store. I tried to relinquish my control issues. Then we tried to pick out granola bars. Cue the same scenario all over again. He picked up ones that he liked. I read the ingredients and lost it. There was icing sugar on these granola bars. He compromised and got me a box of healthier granola bars. I realized that I have never picked out food to eat based on what I feel like or if I want it (unless I am on a binge of course). I have so many food rules that even when I am in recovery, I am really not.

The next day he made me breakfast in bed. Granola, greek yogurt and 3% milk with a helping of blueberries. It was the biggest bowl that I had ever seen. I ate half of it and handed it back.
“Three more spoonfuls,” he said. I complied. I would have happily eaten the whole bowl if I knew I could purge after.

He asked me to choose between him or ED.

He was adamant that there was no middle ground. Recovery is his choice for me because he loves me. Recovery is my choice for myself because I love him.

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Recovery Record App

Recovery Record App

I started using this app on my phone as a part of my recovery rather than apps that count calories for the purpose of dieting as these were very triggering. I recommend trying it out. It logs feelings, thoughts, moods and energy levels. You can also log when you restrict, binge or purge and keep track of that too.

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(Dis) grace

Do Not Retreat in Disgrace
I am a disgrace. I am a disgrace to my eating disorder and to my religion. How do they co-exist?
I have been in one of my (many) phases of recovery. They just sort of happen sometimes. I eat well (maybe slightly orthorexic) for a few weeks. I still purge from time to time but, it is all relative. Last week for instance, I purged four times. In relation, I used to purge as many times if not more per day at the height of my bulimia. I still consider that week to have been in recovery.
After a few weeks of being in recovery, the same pattern occurs. I start feeling heavy. I hate the sight of my fuller reflection. I feel out of control. I am hungry, starving all the time and I am eating constantly. Yesterday I ate a banana, a protein shake, oatmeal, an apple and a quinoa salad. I was still ravenous on the way home after yoga so I ate three veggie patties and another banana. I was disgusted with myself, but I didn’t purge. I sat there trying to tell myself that it was alright, that I was getting better and stronger and fitter. What I was really getting was fatter.
My thighs are a disgrace. Today I took a long look in the mirror before work. It distressed me. I ended up teaching ballet in studio 5 which is notorious for it’s fat mirrors. I was distraught at the sight of myself. How is it that just a few weeks in recovery mode can make me balloon like this? I teach ballet everyday; I go to hot yoga everyday; I even started training to run 5k everyday and I just get bigger and bigger.
This moment always comes when I am in recovery: the realization that I cannot do this. I cannot bear to be this size. I cannot stand to see flesh where there were bones before.
As if to reiterate how fat I got, I went out with a girlfriend for brunch on Sunday.
“You can borrow a few of my dresses if you like,” she offered. “After all we are the same size. I finally gave up and went up to a size 8.”
I sit there speechless, stunned. I wear a size 4. I have for years. Sometimes if I starve long and hard enough, I can squeeze like a sausage roll into a size 2. I have not worn a size 8 since I lost 40lbs after I was given thyroid medication for my hypothyroidism about 5 years ago.
My friend sees me as the same size as her. Not only is she a size 8 but she just gave birth 3 months ago and is still carrying a lot of baby weight. I love her. I think she is gorgeous. I never for one moment thought we were the same size. Perhaps if she sees me that way, then it is the truth. Perhaps I am the one who cannot see properly. ED sufferers are always told that they see themselves as bigger than they actually are. I feel like I actually have a pretty good idea of how big I really am.  Now apparently, my friend sees me as bigger than I am. She wasn’t being insulting. She genuinely meant it. Maybe I got that big and didn’t notice because my pants still fit.
Anyway, her comment has haunted me all week. I made it three days after that without giving up and today was the last straw. The heaviness consumed me. I left work early and went to a coffee shop. I got a latte and a cheese panini. I went to the grocery store, bought a box of a laxatives, greek yogurt and granola. I sat in the car and in my hurry to open the granola the bag ripped and it went flying all over the car and all over me. I sat there like a lunatic, covered in granola and cursing. I thought perhaps God was trying to say something too me. I stuffed half a box of laxatives and all the food down my throat. I followed it with the rest of the box of laxatives. I went to hot yoga and nearly vomited from exertion and the excess of food in my stomach. I disgust myself. I never want to eat again. I never want to be recovered again. I know better. God tells me better. I can’t believe it.
I am a disgrace.
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WP Anniversary and WIAW

WP Anniversary and WIAW

Apparently today is one year since I started “Fat Ballerina”. Today I am not sick but I am also not recovered. I vaciIlate between these two states of being, adrift on a sea of ED. Lately I have tried harder than ever to surrender ED, to give it up and to let go. I am using my faith to keep me strong when I feel incredibly weak. I am going to trust God that in the end, after 20 years of suffering, I can walk away from this by His grace.

I am going to honour today with a list of what I ate. I have been ravenous lately. No matter how much I eat, I cannot be full. I am trying to eat more protein (sometimes non-vegan) and fill myself up with good things rather than binges. I find the food I ate today to be too much in content and volume. Here is the list (and yes, it scares me):

  • Protein shake with a shot of greens
  • Banana and apple
  • Oats with peanut butter and honey
  • Another banana and another apple
  • Half a block of tofu
  • Egg whites, spinach and lima beans
  • Greek yogurt and blueberries

I taught ballet all day. I went to hot yoga. I am about to go for a long trek in the hills and tomorrow I am starting an 8 week training program to run 5kms.

I feel too heavy, too fat and I wish I could just stop being hungry. It is distressing to me how I am so hungry all the time. I want to be thin, but today I don’t want to be sick in order to be thin. I have no answers but my heart is happy and I am at peace. For today, that is all that matters. It is enough.

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