Thursday, December 23, 2010

Where I'm at

I thought I might do a post on what's the current "normal" for me, since my definition of that word when it comes to food and my body changes all the time.  If anyone finds talking about specific disordered eating behaviors triggering you probably want to use some caution with this post.

First off, I want to say I'm at a perfectly normal healthy weight right now, both on the BMI scale (though I'd be the first to say that BMIs mean very little) and for my specific build and shape.  I know this from past experience (ie: what weight my body is when it looks like this) and how clothes fit me.  I don't weigh or measure myself anymore, which is great.  But my body image and my food intake are pretty lacking these days.

Part of the problem is that at the moment the future is completely uncertain and I don't do well with uncertainties.  I like my job.  It pays well and the benefits are great and it'll be awesome on my resume.  But I'm not doing what I want to do long term.  That's okay though since my boyfriend is applying to grad school right now.  Sometime in the next 4 or 5 months I'll find out where he got in and sometime after that I'll know where I'm moving.  So I'm going to be forced to change jobs anyhow.  See the uncertainty?  I don't even know what country I'll be living in this time next year.

Add in the fact that I'm not really sure where this relationship is right now.  I mean, I know where I want it to go.  I'm very much in love with my boyfriend and I know I want to be with him, as I would hope after almost 3 years.  And we've talked about it.  He tells me he wants to be with me and I have no reason to doubt that beyond my own crazy insecurities.  He just doesn't know when.  And for the laid-back oasis that is my boyfriend, that's completely normal.  I know I'm only in my mid-twenties, though I feel ready, I'm not rushed for time on the whole marriage front.  But I don't know, I guess it'd just be nice to have some sort of timeline.

And may I say, I feel like a whiny brat complaining about these things, I really do.  The ed voices in my head tell me all the time, "You are so spoiled, other people have real problems."  But I guess, as I've been told multiple times by multiple therapists, I don't need to legitimize my feelings.

In response to these uncertainties I focus on the one thing I know I can control, my body.  It starts with the "Hmmm, I'm looking pretty fat these days" thought, never mind that I've basically maintained my weight for over a year now.  Then it's "If I was skinnier people," including my boyfriend, again never mind that he tells me all the time he thinks I'm beautiful the way I am, "would like you better.  Who wants to be friends with or date, let alone marry, someone gross like you?"  And in response to this all the coping mechanisms I've learned over the years fly out the window and I end up restricting.

These days a normal weekday for me is a piece of fruit for breakfast.  That sounds insane to a lot of people, I know, but that's actually what I ate long before my eating disorder.  I can't eat much in the mornings and nothing until I've been up at least 3 hours unless I want to throw up.  I'm never even hungry until lunch.  What can I say?  I'm weird.

Lunch ends up being a big salad with cheese, beans, and avocado.  Or a bowl of soba noodles.  Or some veggie enchiladas.  Pretty okay, though it should be a little more based on my lack of breakfast.  But I was always someone who was hungriest around dinner time and wanted that to be my biggest meal of the day.

And then I don't eat until dinner.  Don't worry, I know I'm an idiot.  Just a couple months ago I generally would have a good snack before I left work but I cut it out for some stupid reason and as anyone who has had an eating disorder knows it's so much easier to eliminate food than to add it back in.  Dinner is any number of things.  I make a lot of different, easy things when I feel like cooking and we also eat out a fair amount.  A couple nights ago I had a nice plate of greasy Chinese food and tonight I think I'm making some sort of spaghetti squash.  Like I said, it varies.  So that's awesome.  And I always have decent portions and a dessert after dinner.  Ice cream or chocolate or some baked good.  Also awesome.  But the problem is by 5:30pm on my commute home I feel nauseated and exhausted and grumpy and frantic.  I know I need to eat more.  It's just freaking hard.

Except for when I'm home alone or it's a weekend and my eating schedule is completely out of whack.  Then I'll eat everything in sight, basically without even tasting it, and hate myself for every bite.  It's no wonder my weight has been basically constant forever now.  This is a pretty common pattern for me to fall into and it's awful.

When will I ever learn?  You can't "use" an eating disorder.  I'll think, "Well, I'd just like to drop 5 or 10lbs.  I'd still be a perfectly healthy weight and I'd be happier with how I look.  I know how to restrict, I'll just do that for a bit and when I drop a few pounds I'll go back to eating enough."  That's what got me in this mess in the first place, over 5 years ago now.  I knew what I was doing was hurting myself and had long-term consequences; or at least I did until my brain got so muddled from the eating disorder that I didn't know up from down.  But I honestly thought I could use it temporarily to lose some weight and then be all fine.  Wrong.

As someone who has struggled with my weight to both extremes I have a really, really hard time balancing.  I know what's right for me and what's too much or too little but I always seem to be on one of those ends.  And I think the saddest part is that, for me, I wouldn't even call this insanity an eating disorder.  I don't weigh myself endlessly anymore, I can eat out mostly without hyperventilating, I don't count calories constantly, I don't work out hours a day, and I don't purge.  I can go out with friends and I can go on vacation.  This is just the same old disordered eating that I've struggled with forever, just a new and special flavor.


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