Wednesday was my first nutrition appointment in 3 weeks! 3 whole weeks.
That may not seem like a big deal but I was actually excited to have a professional help rationalize my insane thoughts, food guilt and confirm the fact that my weight gain is not skyrocketing out of control.
Well I was excited until about 15 minutes into our session.
At first we were laughing, talking, celebrating some of my recent “accomplishments,” and then I told her about the wicked edema I was getting in my legs nearly every night, the belly bloat I was feeling pretty much non-stop, and the ginormous cravings I was having for the nuts I just purchased. When I got to the part where I was questioning the amount of nuts I was consuming (truth be told I ate nearly ½ cup yesterday morning!) when she assured me it was not too much, but that I was making great “progress.”
Whoa. Back up. What exactly does that mean?
Progress=Weight Gain in the recovery world and even though I know that is my ultimate goal I just broke down.
I must have stared out the window for a good thirty seconds, trying to hold back the flood gates that were about to emerge.
“CJ, you are doing great. What’s behind the tears?”
Poor dietician, now playing the role of a therapist too.
“I don’t want this anymore. I don’t want to gain anymore weight. I’m not getting fat for me. I am doing it for Ryan.”
Here is the weird thing. There is truth in my statement. I really don’t want to gain anymore weight. I no longer look “sick,” am tired, excessively hungry, etc. I feel much better, aside from the water retention that causes more mental discomfort than anything, and I no longer restrict my calories when my body says its time to eat. In theory, I am out of the “danger” zone and have eliminated a lot of anorexic tendencies.
Before you go jumping all over me saying how long of a journey I still have, I am simply telling you what I AM FEELING.
Wednesday marked a very significant day in recovery for me, and at the risk of triggering anyone I will be pretty vague in this, but I reached my number; the biggest fear I face when I step on a scale.
Ryan knew this number would be extremely difficult for me to handle and when I got home from my appointment, quiet and solemn, he knew what it meant.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“Not really.” I continued to furiously scrub a dish that was still in the sink from earlier that day.
“Can I have a hug?”
I let him put his arms around me but at first my body didn’t respond. I felt paralyzed because my mind was working in overdrive.
As my nutritionist pointed out, there was no need for me to focus on the integers when I should be celebrating that I went out to brunch with friends, I am saying yes to social engagements, making new friends, being allowed to do more physical activity, muscle is starting to show up in places that once looked like gaunt limbs. There are so many positives in my life right now that simply are not possible when one is entrenched so deeply with destructive thoughts and behaviors.
It took me a very long time to actually receive the information that both dietician and my husband were giving me; their pride for my achievements and how far I have come, the incentives to not being so unhealthy, the hope they have for my future, and how although I am probably feeling that everything in my entire body is probably saying “STOP EATING SO MUCH/EXERCISE MORE,” I cannot possibly give up now.
I am not going to lie to you today and tell you how I feel so much better, or that I can’t wait to keep eating and gaining and recovering galore, but I will tell you my thoughts are much less negative.
Initially when I heard of my “progress,” all I wanted to do was resort back to more safe foods, throw out every single container of those stupid nuts I bought the other day, stop trying to increase my fats, and essentially cut corners wherever I could, but I won’t. Six months ago I would have but today I will just be sad, miserable about my body-image, and go through the motions to “fake it ‘till I make it.”
I wish I had a more inspirational tale for you, but not every day is a rainbow. Recovery is not all smiles and woo hoos! It’s a lot of hard work, reframing and sucking it up until your brain finally starts working in a healthier manner. There are really ugly times, and the last two days has just been a period like that for me.
The pivotal number messed with my head; the discomfort I have pretty much non-stop is really triggering. But I will keep reminding myself the million reasons why I need to push forward and stop dwelling on the bulge over my pants so I can at least do what I have to in order to stay on track.
So please take away this:
You will not ALWAYS be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
You may not ALWAYS be able to effectively reframe the negative self-talk that occurs on a pretty regular basis.
Despite what you think, you do not necessarily have control over your body.
But you do have control over how you handle these things.
You can continue on the right path even if you don’t want to.
You can achieve health even when it seems so far away.
Just follow what you KNOW in your heart to be the RIGHT thing to do and EVENTUALLY it will get better.