Living in the “Shoulds” and “have toos'”

Recently I heard a girl in recovery say to another girl that

“If you are telling yourself you have do something, you shouldn’t be doing it”

These are hard words to swallow. Be it in recovery or in day to day living: you shouldn’t do something if you think that you have too.

IE: you shouldn’t exercise because you think you have too, you should exercise because it promotes the healthy lifestyle you want to live.

What areas are you pushing yourself to do things you “have” to do? and how can you modify them to make them more healthy?

Reasons for Recovery: Freedom

Recovery is not an easy process, and yes, it is a process. There will be highs and lows; goods and bads; ups and downs; positives and negatives; growth and relapse. And most of the time, it is not fun. It is hard, repetitive, unenjoyable WORK. So, why they heck would one choose to begin the process of recovery?

Well, because sometimes the “Juice is worth the squeeze.” AKA: the benefits are worth work.

I think most people in recovery, be it from an eating disorder or an alcohol or drug addiction, will tell you there are many reasons they started the recovery process and many reasons they continue the process. But today I want to focus on FREEDOM.

To me, freedom implies the ability to make a choice based on my own thoughts, beliefs, opinions ect. regardless of any outside person, event, trigger, circumstance ext. (as long as I am not physically hurting someone else in the processes).

When I have freedom, I have the choice to eat.

Most of the time, when you are in the depths of your eating disorder, you don’t have the choice to eat. Your options are 1. don’t eat    2. don’t eat    3. don’t eat   4. eat and pay the price later   or 5. don’t eat.   I think you get my point. Ed tells you that you cannot eat or XYZ will happen. You will gain weight, you will lose control, you will have to feel something, you will fall apart, the world will collapse ext.

and this applies to other addictive behaviors too. An addiction to alcohol tells you 1. i cannot feel this 2. i have to drink 3. i have to drink 4. i have to drink 5. i cannot handle this, i must drink.

So if recovery brings about freedom (the choice to eat, the choice to feel, the choice to stay sober, the choice to not punish yourself) then isn’t it worth the work it takes to achieve ?

The Anorexic Illusion

The Anorexic Illusion :

Control = Strength

Strength = Denial

Denial = Simplicity

Simplicity = purity

Purity = Perfection

Perfection = Perfect control

What are your thoughts on this pathway? Do you agree that if yo can control one thing in your life, like the amount of food you consume or do not consume, then you can have perfect control over everything?

If I can control the amount of food I eat, then I have a strength (self-control) that most people don’t. If I have strength than I do not have wants or needs- I can deny those in my life. If I have no needs or wants, than my life is simple. If I have a simple life, than I am pure. If I am pure, than I am perfect (I mean, isn’t that what society and religion continually throw at us). And if I can achieve perfection than I must have perfect control, because who will argue with perfection?

So what happens when something comes about that interferes with this illusion? Lets say that suddenly I realize that I want a relationship, I want to be cared about, or that I need love and companionship. Suddenly, I have a want and a need. Now lets say that I don’t have any way of meeting that need.

What do I do???? I freak out, because I don’t have control. I no longer have simplicity or purity or perfection or control or strength.

How do I repair the situation??? I find something I can control, such as my weight. or my food intake. until I am able to suppress and deny my want or need.

Why?

A fellow blogger recently posted a comment on one of my blogs posing the question WHY? 

In the midst of an eating disorder or when you find yourself in relapse ask yourself WHY?

*Why do I feed my kids but not myself?

*Why do I feed my cat but not myself?
*Why do I feed my husband but not myself?

*Why do I know the importance of food, yet deny it to myself?

*Why do I continue to starve myself?

*Why am I CHOOSING to relapse?

 

I think the answers to these questions are unique to each individual. Your reasons for why are not my reasons, her reasons, his reasons or their reasons.  The real problem at hand is does WHY you don’t feed yourself worth your life? Or, is your life worth more than your whys?

And what does it take/will it take to Change!?

Food & Emotions

**Giving credit for this blog in part to the “Food and Feelings Workbook” by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed. Thank you for your amazing work**

The 7 most difficult feelings for disordered eaters:

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Have you ever considered that maybe your eating habits affect your emotions and your emotions affect your eating habits?

I highly recommend, if you are noticing that this may be true for you, keeping a food log. Write when you eat, what you eat, the emotions you have when eating, and the emotion you have an hour after eating. **yes, I know, this is time consuming and not easy. but it will give you an idea if how your eating habits are truly affecting every aspect of your life**

For Example:
You may realize that when you are upset you tend to eat a lot if high carbohydrate foods. A few hours later you are fatigued, depressed, or even purging. Another day you may see that eating a certain fruit made you feel happy or energetic an hour later.

Why Does This Help?
If you know that craving carbohydrate foods is likely because you are upset, you can CHOOSE to eat the fruit that tends to make you happy instead. Suddenly, your mood has changed, you are happy, and less likely to indulge in disordered eating behaviors.

Rule of 3’s

 

I am frequently asked, when should I eat, how often, how much? I tend to refer to the book “Nutrition Counseling in the Treatment of Eating Disorders” by Marcia Herrin and Maria Larkin. Both of whom, are dietitians who have spent their lives dedicated to eating disorder treatment.

They developed and stand by the rule of 3’s.

So what is the rule of 3’s?

3 meals

3 snacks

3 hours apart

What are the Benefits of the rule of 3’s?

*Decreases preoccupation with food

*Decreases binge eating, overeating, emotional eating and under eating

*reduces purging and vomiting

*Decreases negative self-talk and feelings

*Restores hunger and fullness cues

*Manages body weight

*Restores metabolism otherwise lowered by under eating

*Prevents storage of body fat otherwise caused by restrictive eating

*Improves problem-solving abilities and concentration

The RO3s provides your body with all the nutrients it is needing which means you are able to function physically, mentally, and emotionally at your optimal level. It also recalculates your hunger and satation cues so you can trust your body when it says “I’m Hungry” or “I’m full”