Category Archives: Yoga

Words Of Wisdom From A Stick Insect

I shop at a very expensive yoga clothing store. As a ballet teacher, I wear that type of clothing 6 days a week for work and get a special discount there because of my position.

A few weeks ago I had a gift card to said store and went to buy a new yoga top and pants. I don’t try things on there. I just grab them in a size 6 and they fit***

I got home and put the yoga top on and it looked awful. The built-in bra didn’t cover my boobs – it fit in the band around my ribs, but the length of the material was just to short to comfortably cover everything and not squish them awkwardly. I was disappointed as the top looked pretty on the hanger, but I knew a size 8 would be too big around the ribs so I went to return it and get my money back.

“What was wrong with it?” the stick insect behind the counter asked as she rang through my exchange.

“It just looked lovely on the hanger but horrible on,” I responded without going into detail about how a 6 fits in the ribs, but doesn’t have enough material to contain my boobs.

She looked disparagingly at me, “yeah you do have to have that certain body type for this top.”

I think my jaw hit the floor.

She kept looking at me.

“Well obviously I just don’t have that body type,” I responded incredulously.

She smiled in mock sympathy, “I know what you mean.”

I took my money and left in disgust.

*** I used to be a size 2 or 4 in this store. Barfing at my own fatness.

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Post Op

 

I had foot surgery yesterday. It was very traumatic.

The surgery was done with a local anesthetic and no sedation. I am the kind of person that needs to be sedated heavily because I have such high anxiety. On the way to the hospital my heart rate started climbing and as I sat in the waiting room, I started shaking uncontrollably.

As soon as the surgeon came near me I started crying; ugly crying. He did my last foot surgery and I trust him implicitly, but for reasons I can’t explain, I just lost it. They same thing happened last time and it is embarrassing. For almost an hour I sobbed and shook and hyperventilated while the surgery took place. My dear friend who had driven me to hospital was allowed to stay in the room during the surgery and held my hand and tried to calm me down. I am so grateful to him for being with me. I apologized over and over to the surgeon and the nurses and my friend for my behaviour. The nurses tried very hard to get me to relax. My blood pressure sky rocketed and my heart rate hit 276bpms. I could not control myself.

When it was finally over, I was allowed to go home with a cast and crutches. Now the reality of having had foot surgery again has hit me: six weeks of no activity. No ballet or yoga or gym. I am terrified of how fat I will get so yesterday I ate as little as possible. I didn’t even have much appetite. It is hard to get around and do even the simplest tasks including going to the kitchen and making something to eat. I am hoping I will enjoy a restricting phase now.  I am lying on the couch feeling a bit depressed and in a lot of pain. Luckily I have been blessed with good friends who are taking care of me.

 

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Foot Surgery

 

I am supposed to have a second foot surgery this Saturday and am obviously anxious about it. Not least of all, I will not be able to do ballet, gym or yoga for 6 weeks afterwards. Naturally I am most upset about how much fatter I will get. I have managed to drop 7lbs since the infamous weigh in at my doctor’s. I still have a long way to go and being on crutches is not going to help. Also, my feet are the only thing about me worth looking at. They are the only thing that makes me look remotely ballerina-like. I hope they don’t botch it.

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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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Another Day, Another Attempt At Recovery

Another Day, Another Attempt At Recovery

Last night I resisted the urge to purge after dinner at a friend’s house where I drank too much wine and ate too much cheese and had too much fun.

Today I resisted the urge to binge after seeing my ex-boyfriend biking down the road in my neighbourhood. Instead, I went to the grocery store and went on a fruit rampage. I feel like I have forgotten how to eat real food. I drink protein/green supplements and choose only safe foods from a really restricted list or I binge, purge and starve. I snack but I rarely eat a meal that stays down.

At the grocery store, I bought one of everything that took my fancy:
a pear
a nectarine
a banana
a peach
an apricot
a banana
a papaya
a mango
a kiwi
a grapefruit
blueberries
cherries
grapes

I have such a restricted list of safe foods, that I can’t remember when I last ate any fruit other than grapes.

I have been trying to stick to healthier, vegan eating and resist the urge to starve, binge, purge and abuse laxatives. I have been going to yoga almost everyday.

I still hate the sight of my body and whenever I eat healthier for a few days, I feel like I have blown up and expanded too much. I can only keep this up for a few days at a time before I have an ED episode. Still, another day of resisting ED is better than nothing even if I am not strong enough to quell the urge tomorrow. I could have used seeing my ex as an excuse to be traumatized enough to binge. I didn’t.

I felt all sorts of things when I saw him cycling by nonchalantly: loss, heartbreak, sadness, rage, anger, abandonment, relief, peace…. It has been almost 7 months now since I left him and ended all contact with him and I reminded myself that I could still be in that situation anytime I wanted. Loving him did not mean that he loved me. Leaving him did not mean that I didn’t love him but, I deserve better than what he had to offer. My heart just takes too long to let go.

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French Toast (Or How To Be Normal)

French Toast (Or How To Be Normal)

I ate French toast today. I have not eaten French toast in 20 years. I know this because I can remember the day I last ate it.

The friends who are housing me during my mandatory evacuation from a flood zone, have been feeding me. At first I panicked without my safe foods and the lack of opportunity to purge or exercise. Eventually, I had a few glasses of wine and gave in. It was like a 3 day holiday from ED.

On day one, they made scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast. My mind churned….I don’t eat egg yolks. I don’t eat bread. I don’t eat butter on my bread or jam or nutella. I had one slice of dry toast and the eggs.

On day two, my friends made scrambled eggs and pancakes. I ate the scrambled eggs but had 2 pieces of toast instead of pancakes and syrup. I picked up a knife and spread Becel and raspberry jam on my toast. I can’t remember when I last tasted jam. I used to love it when I was a child. My favourite kind was apricot jam and it was home made by a lady who lived in the Eastern Highlands. My parents stockpiled it whenever we were there. Sometimes I dream about that jam.

On the third day, my friends made French toast and smoothies. As I have no portion control, I either eat everything or nothing. So I ate everything and smothered it in light syrup. I left the table in a carb coma and with a belly ache.

I went to yoga this afternoon and relayed my crazy, non-ED breakfast too my friend.

“Who eats French toast?!” I yelled.
“Normal people,” she replied
I thought about that for a while.
“I had 5 pieces,” I confessed.
“And you enjoyed them, didn’t you?” she replied. “They were good, weren’t they?”
I nodded surreptitiously, ashamed in case the ED police saw me admit enjoying food. I went to hot yoga and tried to burn it off.

Later when I went home to B&P dinner, I thought about it some more. Breakfast had been fun. My “normal” friends and I had cooked together, laughed, eaten, made smoothies, played with the baby, joked and eaten some more. It was the most fun I had had at breakfast time in a long time. I was with people I loved, who were taking such good care of me and they loved me regardless of ED and its many crazy manifestations.

Breakfast to me is about control and denial. I toss back vegan protein powder mixed with quinoa milk. I “allow” myself a few measly calories, some much needed protein and I deny myself anything I would really like. Breakfast sets the tone for the day.

As much fun as French toast was, I don’t know that I can repeat that too soon. But, maybe it won’t be 20 years until the next time I do.

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Disaster Zone

Disaster Zone

The city I live in has declared a state of emergency due to the worst floods in its history. I was evacuated on Thursday night because I live near one of the rivers that flooded. The city has been devastated and is still submerged. The city has been shut down.

I was lucky because I had wonderful friends that took me and my cats in and my house (as far as I know), has not been submerged because it is not ground level and is (hopefully) far enough from the water. There have been power outages, bridges and roads have been washed away. I have seen news photos of a police search and rescue boat cruising down what used to be the main road in my neighbourhood. Some people have been very badly affected, lives have been lost and the after math is going to be epic. I have been blessed to get off so lightly. Keep that in mind as you read the rest of my post.

When the police came to evacuate me on Thursday night, I was totally unprepared. I wasn’t aware how drastic the situation was and am guilty of not taking it seriously enough. At that point they were only evacuating parts of my neighbourhood but, it escalated really quickly. I went home and was having a shower and getting ready for a date when the police knocked on my door. They told me to pack for 72 hours and get out as fast as possible.

As usual, I went into full panic mode and didn’t think straight. My phone was buzzing every few minutes with texts and calls from concerned friends and my date. I threw a few clothes in a bag and some toiletries and meds. I packed up the cats and all their paraphernalia and started getting everything in the car. I hid my jewellery box, forgot my important documents and checked my place was locked up securely. We were required to tape an “X” on our doors to show we had evacuated. I spoke to some panicked neighbours as I ran – literally – for the hills. There was thunder and lightening and a torrential downpour as I tried to navigate the road out, avoiding the bridge that had already been closed by police. There were fire trucks out, road blocks, helicopters and as I looked back, I saw the river bursting its banks, flooding parks and cascading over the bridge. It was real. It was serious. It was terrifying to see the destructive forces of water. It came so fast that it was hard to fathom.

Staying with my friends has been amazing. They are my family here in town. Of course, it has not been good for ED because I have to modify my crazy behaviour around normal people. I am camped out in their basement with my cats and so is another friend so there is no purging or laxative abuse after everyone has gone to bed.

Part of me looked at it as a respite from the constant barrage of ED and ate happily and part of me freaked out. I am not in control. Brunch was put on the table and my plate had scrambled eggs (with yolks and 1% milk) and 2 pieces of toast. I never eat bread and I only eat egg whites. I realized that this gorgeous meal is so far away from my reality of what food is. It crossed my mind as I was fleeing my home to pack some of my safe foods but, I honestly didn’t think I would be gone for very long. I also (sort of) acknowledged to myself that only a crazy person would do that in the middle of a disaster.

Now that I have been gone 48 hours and have no idea when I will return home here is a list of things I wish I had taken:

1. All my valuables (passport, birth certificate, jewellery)
2. A scoop for the kitty litter (this one needs no explanation)
3a. More clothes (specifically underwear) as I only took enough for 2 days. I later read on the news that we were supposed to pack for a week.
3b. Socks 🙂
4. My ED safe foods – vegan protein powder, quinoa milk, iron supplement (1st world problems) etc….
5. Green tea

Strange things I did arrive with:
1. 3 books and 2 journals (don’t ask how that happened)
2. My yoga mat and workout clothes (I honestly believed I would go to ballet and yoga on Friday before they shut the city down)
3. Vegan snacks
4. A bottle of champagne that was in my car boot
5. Two eyeshadow palettes (wtf?)

Luckily I had my laptop and cell phone on me (I take them with my everyday). I was smart enough to pack my chargers when I was home packing like a maniac.

I have no idea when I might get back home. At this point they have no idea when they might lift the mandatory evacuation. Until then, I keep putting Bailey’s in my coffee (calorific) and keep trying to limit the amount of binge eating I do as when I finally get back to “normal” I will have a lot of damage control to do. The house is littered with chips, cookies, chocolate and booze and I find it hard to resist as we make this state of emergency “fun”. We can’t go anywhere as the roads are closed so our days revolve around meals and snacks (and booze).

We did manage to make it to a grocery store yesterday and it looked like it was under siege. People were shopping like it was the zombie apocalypse and essentials (like bottled water) had already run out. I did manage to find some tofu, vegetables and hummus. It was scary to see the mentality of people in the time of a crisis as the stockpiled food, water and petrol. For the most part, this disaster has been well organized, well managed by first responders and people have been helpful, generous and kind.

In the meantime, I am grateful to be warm and dry and well fed in this time of crisis. I just wish ED would stop clamouring for attention. Part of me is enjoying being “normal” with my friends and part of me is freaking out at the lack of control.

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Liquid Fasting And Other Stupidities

Liquid Fasting And Other Stupidities

I am attempting a three day liquid fast. I cannot trust myself around food and I need something to break my orthorexia/binge/purge/laxative/starvation cycle that I am currently engaged in. If anything, it is making me gain weight with all the nasty side effects of ED and non of the benefits (ie, weight loss).

My stomach today is out of control.

I ate a ‘healthy’ lunch yesterday:
vegan tomato soup (home made)
egg whites and mustard
dried mango

Then in the evening I decided to take laxatives, binge, purge, take more laxatives, binge and take another handful of laxatives. I was up all night, in and out of the bathroom. Today I am weak, bloated and gassy. I am so tired, that the thought of exercising makes me want to lie down. I know I need to go to yoga and get in the habit of burning calories everyday. Whatever happened to my exercise bulimia? Where did that motivation go?

So far today I have had a vegan protein shake with quinoa milk; matcha and soy milk and 1/3 of a bottle of green juice. I am ravenous but, I am also fat. Two things that I hate to be. Why is this so hard? I just want to starve and be thin. Two states of being I love so much and yet cannot attain.

I had two stupid comments from my not-so-bright roommates in the last twenty-four hours. The first one from the girl roommate who looked in my fridge at all my health food and said; “wow you have a lot of food in your fridge”. She has lived with me for six months and never seen me keep food in my fridge until this week when I went on a health kick. She might as well have just said, “oink, oink.”

Dumb ass comment #2 was made by the boy roommate who, when I responded to his question about being up all night with the lie that I had food poisoning said, “well done! I can see your abs through your shirt.” He too has lived with me for 6 months and hasn’t seemed to cotton on to my weird ED behaviour. I am sure he puts it down to me being a vegetarian/vegan.

I have very little faith that I will keep up a liquid diet for three days. At the very least I hope to keep it up during the day, exercise and then purge whatever (inevitably) I eat at night.

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Stress Fractures and Eating Disorders

Diagram of the Foot looking from above. It shows various types of fractures that involve the fifth metatarsal

I have just been diagnosed with my third fracture in 18 months. The last two occurred when I fell down the stairs and this one is a stress fracture presumably from work as I teach ballet six days a week. I have had other stress fractures before and also broke a bone that required surgery a few years ago. I am currently waiting on a referral to a knee surgeon as I also have cartilage damage in both knees.

There are many articles on ED and its effects on bone density and studies “showing that stress fractures were significantly associated with a more-restrictive diet”.*  There are also a lot of studies on dancers with ED and injuries: “It isn’t surprising that ballet dancers who have stress fractures also diet more and eat less”.**

I remember as a teenager with anorexia that my mother warned me about the toll it would take on me when I was older. Now at 30, I have soft bones. I will be in a walking cast for 4-6 weeks which is depressing to say the least. I will still be able to go to yoga as long as I modify the poses. None of this stopped me from bingeing or purging today. After all, the damage has already been done….why stop now?!

* Am J Clin Nutr. 1990 May;51(5):779-83.

Nutrition and the incidence of stress fractures in ballet dancers.

Source

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, St Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, New York, NY 10019.

**Brooks-Gunn, J, Dhuper, Saruta, Fox, Richard P, Frusztajer, Nina T and Warren, Michelle P.

1990 Nutrition and the incidence of stress fractures in ballet dancers. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 5: 51, 779-783.  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, http://www.ajcn.org/content/51/5/779.full.pdf+html, accessed January 25, 2012.

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