Accepting My New Normal
Thank you guys so much for your comments on yesterday’s post. It’s always a comfort to know I’m not alone in my seat on the crazy train. Writing is therapeutic for me and that’s why I’m back again today; I’ve needed to give myself a lot of self-therapy over the last 48 hours. Mondays are always the hardest for me mentally because I tend to do more “indulging” on the weekends. (Huge Sidebar: I’m putting indulging in quotes because I really can’t stand the word. If I “indulge” in something, but I do so every weekend, does that mean I’m indulging too much? Does that mean I’m doing something unhealthy on a weekly basis? Labeling X as an indulgence and Y as healthy really messes with my head, and that’s why I recently deleted my Indulgences board on Pinterest. I don’t need anything else around tempting me to categorize my food.)
OK, back to your regular programming. Yesterday was a particularly sucky-mindset Monday for me, despite your awesome support and reassurance. I’ve reached a point in my recovery where I do not give in as easily to ED’s temptations to restrict and over-exercise and hide from a life worth living. In terms of the way I actually live out that life, I am for sure in a better place than I was a year ago. But that does not mean the mind fuck of an eating disorder goes away. In fact, it means I’m dealing with a more self-degradation than ever before. Gone is that comforting feeling of constant hunger. Gone is the minimum of 200 minutes of cardio per week that I always HAD to do. And most scary at all, gone is the belt that I used to have to wear with all of my jeans.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again because there always seems to be someone who gets the wrong idea when I write these kinds of recovery-focused post. No, I don’t think I’m fat. Yes, I know I’m actually a slim person. Yeah, I’m aware that I won’t look different from one day to the next if I eat a dessert or skip a day at the gym. An ED is so much more than having irrational fears and believing for certain that they are real. An ED is the frustration of knowing the fears are irrational, but not being able to shut them off and keep them from letting you feel unworthy of happiness.
That’s where I am right now thanks to the fact that lately I’ve been settling into a lifestyle that involves more living. And therefore more self-doubt and fear of change in my body. Currently I am beating myself up over doing the following this past weekend:
- attending a scotch and bourbon tasting
- eating bread at both restaurants I visited on Saturday night
- only doing 35 minutes of the 60 minute Sunday morning spin class (yes only…I know that sounds silly)
- choosing Kahlua and coffee over just water at Sunday’s matinee of MacBeth
- helping my brother polish off his nachos and chocolate cake when I took him to Sunday dinner at Willimantic Brewery
- going out for after-dinner drinks both Friday and Saturday
That’s not even the whole list. Now here’s the next issue. People keep responding to me when I share these anxieties by saying, “Oh you don’t do that all the time!” The thing is, I feel like I do. I’ve been going out after dinner most weekends lately. I love finishing off my dad and/or brother’s heavier eats when we go to restaurants together. I usually end up having a day-drink either Saturday or Sunday. I don’t make myself do an hour of cardio each day anymore. And if a place has pre-dinner chips or bread, I consider that a non-negotiable.
At this point in my recovery, I am better at DOING. Now I need to get better at LIVING. Because I can eat white bread and do less cardio all I want but I’m not going to truly recover until I accept that these are things that I want to make a part of my NORMAL lifestyle. I need to decide what I don’t want to sacrifice and then I have to start being okay with whatever is on that list because I refuse to go on forever having to pay for fun with guilt.
I also need to remind myself and give myself credit for the healthy things that are ALSO part of my normal, which I truly enjoy and want to keep doing on a regular basis, like:
- my daily packed salad beast lunches
- my group fitness classes and efficient StepMill
- my need to have a full water bottle attached to my hip at all times
- my vegetable (most pointedly baby cabbages) obsession
- my love of seafood, plain Chobani, bananas, and many more nutritious foods
- my preference for black coffee over the fat and sugar-laden specialty drinks
- my affinity for planking
- my 3-4 weeknights spent in per week
My new normal is not as unhealthy as my ED makes me think it is. I am not worthless for trying to make an effort to be okay with my current lifestyle. At this point I can either get over myself and be grateful for that lifestyle and all I have that enables me to live it…or I can change the lifestyle which would mean giving into what ED wants me to do. Nope, that can’t happen. If this is the way I’m going to live, I might as well LIVE.
Do you tend to focus more on the “bad” parts of your normal, over the good?
Do you classify certain foods as “indulgences”?
Are you still trying to figure out your ideal “normal”? Do you have it figured out but are working on being okay with it?