Over the last few weeks, and especially this weekend, I have concluded 5 more reasons why I NEED to recover, or at least some good motivation to push forward through difficult periods of negative body image and horrific self-talk.
NYC Food and Wine Festival especially proved exactly how much I have been missing out on in my years of restrictive eating, exercise abuse and total isolation from the world.
Even if you haven’t made the decision that a journey toward health is right for you, maybe this post can help open your eyes, or see that there are some positives to giving up control, and actually LIVING.
Or perhaps I am writing this because I need something to read as a reminder when those dark thoughts completely cloud my better judgement
So here goes…
1. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I don’t always feel tired, but then I hit a wall…like for example, after this weekend!
I can remember in the worst days of my eating disorder sleep was a foreign concept to me. Rarely did I get more than 4-5 hours at a time, which is not enough for my body, but it would naturally rise at 4:15, knowing I NEEDED my morning workout or there would be mental hell to pay.
I was ready for a nap around noon, but in the adult world, many jobs don’t permit a lunch time snooze. Not to mention I would have felt totally unproductive if I would have laid down and actually listened to my bodily demands.
But now it’s catching up. I feel run-down, I am getting sick more frequently since at least one of my kids at school always has something, and I look downright exhausted.
That glow I talked about last week….yeah, I have that some days, but others, I have dark bags under my eyes and a look a smidge like a zombie.
FYI, this is not the most attractive look for anyone, so I should probably consider changing my morning work outs some days and actually let me body rest. What a concept!
2. Limited Clothing Options
I have a very large closet. A very large closet filled with a very large assortment of clothes. BUT not many of my outfits fit anymore, or at least fit nicely.
For work having baggier dress pants and sweaters is ok, but when you are going to a swanky club in NYC, you really don’t want to be wearing some seriously loose pants and oversized shirts…at least the old CJ doesn’t want that.
So there are two things I could do.
I could either buy some new clothes for this phase of my recovery since I would really like to start actually being social again, or I could speed up my recovery process.
The rate at which I am gaining now is pretty slow. I could potentially increase my meal plan and get to my goal a bit faster, but I always worried that would trigger me into panic and cause a cycle of restriction. I am somewhat torn on this idea, but honestly, my nutritionist has discussed with me many times the idea of increasing my exchanges and this weekend really made me consider it.
I am sick of not having a butt, chest, or you know, some of the curves that actually make a woman, a woman.
I was trying to do the math and if it takes 6 months for weight to appropriately redistribute, it might be nice to have things look a bit better and in proportion for summer. Obviously there are no guarantees but can anything really be worse than what I am seeing right now? It is as if I am in weight gain limbo, which is LAME-O.
3. Restaurants Without Anxiety(or at least as much anxiety)
NYC was really the first time in a while I went to a restaurant I did not know nutritional facts for, and it was pretty scary.
But it wasn’t just scary because of the menu and all the delicious sounding food, because in all honesty, we didn’t order heavy meals, we split a lot of things, and Craft (Tom Colicchioo I love you!) has really fresh, healthy options, but it was the atmosphere and schedule in which we ate that really threw me for a loop.
We only got to the restaurant after 8 P.M….2 hours past my normal dinner time. And it was PACKED. To the point where there actually weren’t any reservations available, so we sat at the bar and had dinner, interacted with the bartender and really had a great time, but still…I have an extreme fear that people are watching me when I eat, judging my every bite, selection, action, when really, no one cares.
So there I am, reading the menu, my mind telling me to just get the arugula dressed with lemon and perhaps some roasted veggies minus olive oil, and then I look to my left and the couple next to me is enjoying some delicious shared plates of hamachi, swiss chard, seven lettuce salad with egg; incredible dishes that I could never ever find near my home town.
How often do I get to be at a restaurant like this? Owned by one of the best chefs in the world, sitting next to two of my favorite people, enjoying a day that had thus far gone pretty smoothly in the ED department.
As I sipped my tea and chatted about memories, times ahead and all the fun things that happened throughout the day my brain actually snapped out of a sick mindset and was present to the conversation. Aside from my mom asking if I wanted to split a salad and Carpaccio, I stayed pretty in tune with the conversation, and it felt great. I even had a piece of the multi-grain bread that looked fabulous in its little basket, something I NEVER would have done a few months ago.
The point is, this was the first time in a very long time I can remember actually LIKING having dinner outside my kitchen, in a restaurant that was one other than Subway where I can see what they are serving me as they make it.
I thoroughly enjoyed my salad, grilled peppers, and beef I shared with my mom. I LOVED the bread, and felt free to sit there, converse and not make food the main focus of the night.
Earlier that day I had nearly begged for my family to just pick up a sandwich or something since we were going to be incredibly busy, with little time to spare between parties, but honestly, I am glad they turned me down. I can’t determine now whether it was me, or my eating disorder that was interested in a simple turkey and wheat, but I can tell you CJ is happy that we went the uncomfortable route. Well worth the 10 minutes of panic, and I am hoping the practice will only improve my experience next time.
I know my mom is always up for a visitor and she adores a good dinner date….where she doesn’t have to prepare a thing.
4. Travel Is SOOOO Much Easier
I am a planner by nature, but throw an eating disorder on top of it, and travel becomes nearly impossible. I had about 459 bags that I would lug with us containing exercise gear, “safe” foods, tons of water, etc. I needed to be completely prepared for any situation that could arise that I needed to have stability, which is exactly what my Garmin, Free Runs, Clif Bars, and excessive amounts of liquid could provide.
But this trip I pretty much relied on the fact that I would be receiving an awesome bag full of goodies, my Garmin battery died and the charger was at school so I decided to leave it, I didn’t pack my Free Runs and since we were only getting back to the hotel past 1:00 A.M. I decided to completely forgo a morning work out and wait until I got home.
WHOA…WHO WAS THIS GIRL?!
I only had one bag full of clothing, make-up and other girly essentials, and a large purse. This might sound like a lot considering we were only gone for two nights, but honestly it was pretty darn reasonable, and MUCH easier to carry.
But aside from the luggage, because that wasn’t the best part, the less rigid schedule was fabulous.
Normally, even on weekend, my routine is early to bed, early to rise. Even at my latest, my bed time is typically around 10:00 P.M. and as I mentioned in reason numero uno, I don’t sleep in well.
Even though I only slept until 7:30, it was still pretty nice to not wake up in a panic that I needed to get on my treadmill and go, go, go. Instead my mom and I had our breakfast together, chatted over coffee, and got on the road early enough to still have a Sunday at home preparing for the week…
We also fully enjoyed Morimoto singing some song in Japanese that although I couldn’t understand, was awesome because he seems so serious on TV, a night out at the Harvard Club, and all the sushi Ryan could possibly eat.
No 10:00 o’clock bed time, meant a lot more time for fun. I still need to play catch up on my rest but it was liberating being more flexible.
5. FOOD TASTES GOOD
Thank goodness tomorrow is WIAW, because I am really excited to share some of my favorite treats with you, some of which have actually been floating around the blog world before, but I have just recently been brave enough to try!
There were so many delicious things I had this weekend that I wouldn’t, and didn’t even touch Food and Wine 2010, but I am hoping the progress continues and I can expand my horizons even more because food is seriously something to celebrate.
I don’t meant celebrate in the sense that we need to put certain items on a pedestal, make them forbidden, or label them good and bad, but instead we need to look at the meaning behind the meals, the care and consideration that goes into certain recipes, and the nutrients it provides our bodies.
In many cultures food means family and I LOVED hearing some of the Italian Chefs (Rocco, Debbie Mazar and her husband Gabriele, and Top Chef Fabio! just to name a few ) express their experiences in the kitchen, sharing passion, togetherness and love.
At one time Ryan and I really enjoyed cooking together, where he would sit at the counter chopping away and we would laugh, cheers, and just catch up after a long day, while creating something fresh and beautiful. I miss that and I am hoping we can get it back.
This weekend reminded me that food is not something to fear, but instead to embrace for flavor, fun and family.
There are a million, trillion, bagillion, reasons to recover, and I promise I will continue to share more as I uncover them within my journey, but sometimes it takes special occasions to prove that even though staying within my comfort zone may seem like the best option, it definitely is not.
As my therapist always suggests, step one to re-gaining life is getting out of your own little box