I’ve stated a few times that balancing health, caring about fitness, going to therapy and recovering from an eating disorder is weird… and I’m going to stick to that statement.
I’m not sure you do ever get over the struggle of trying to define and refine your boundaries as what is seen as healthy vs what is obsession and unhealthy. As I’ve discussed before, I suffer from OCD. I am here to break the stigma that OCD = cleanliness and organization and Anorexia = thin. If there is one thing I want this blog to accomplish – it is both of those things. OCD can be germ oriented and cleanliness, but it is obsession compulsion disorder. I recently bought the book called Brain Lock by Jeffrey Schwartz and my eyes were pretty opened to the severities OCD can cause. Reading some of these cases is very intense, and I can be thankful I am not within these severe cases, however, I have learned the more you give in to your obsessive thoughts or compulsions, the more severe the disorder gets. Meaning, the more you abide by these restrictive routines – the stronger they get, and the more lack of control over the disorder you have.
OCD manifests its way in me in several ways. Discussing specific routines I feel like I have to do to my therapist I have concluded a lot of them revolve around safety. The few that don’t directly link to safety revolve around logging and list making. OCD takes its way in people quite differently. Some people have to constantly check to see if their appliances are off [this is me], others will literally drive around their home block 15 times because of paranoia that someone may be hit by a car, others will ask their partner 15 times an hour if they are cheating on them, etc. etc. OCD is really linked strictly to intrusive thoughts and behavior. This is something I was unaware about.
I actually photographed the book and circled what linked me to my disorder
Why am I mentioning OCD? Well, my OCD is what fuels my eating disorder. Body checking, weight listing, documenting food and macros, feelings like I LITERALLY have to log every single thing that goes in my body, listing my day and schedule [I literally can and have done this 2 hours straight without changing a thing]. I have many instances and routines that I feel tied to that are a struggle to break. I’ve always been a bit high strung, and when I was in college I literally had to organize my day by the minute to survive, and I guess as I did that more and more, I caved into these things and made my OCD stronger. As my adulthood went on, my OCD became stronger as well as my desire to watch myself disappear in images [weight loss in the camo of ‘fitness’]
Going through therapy, trying to overcome OCD while still trying to be healthy, eat well [esp for my reactionary-to-everything-body] and understand that I can take up space and that’s okay, but also still wanting to feel confidence in my body or gain lean muscle is such a weird balance. I am beginning to navigate it – but I understand it will take a long time. Because eating disorders are not weight disorders, they have nothing to do with your weight and everything to do with your behaviors and mindsets. So although I can tell people I am trying to love my body as it ages and grows, I will not be able to just snap my fingers and change everything I’ve done to my body and every behavior I have made normal for the last 15 years disappear.
Lately I have been trying to focus on how I feel. I am not going to lie, my dietician increased my adrenal medication and supplements for my hypothyroidism and almost every day I have woken up almost a pound less than the previous day, and that has made me feel really good. Not necessarily because the number is lower but I honestly feel more energized and less lethargic every day. Even if I wouldn’t have stepped on the scale I just felt … more comfortable? Which is why I even weighed myself in the first place because I just felt different. The reason I have felt more comfortable is because I’ve felt less bloated. My supplements have increased and I stopped running and doing high intensity workouts, focusing more on yoga, stress reduction and strength training and it seems my body is reacting well to that. So while I AM in therapy and recovering from a bad mentality, my body is actually getting figured out with all of it’s actual problems and digestive issues. I discussed this with my therapist too, of why this is such a big deal – because it’s these issues that made me starve myself prior to this resolution. It’s the reason how I got a disorder in the first place, because my body just literally didn’t make sense to me.
The other day I woke up 164 – which was the lowest I had been in a year or so, and the night prior I had a glass of wine, I had 2 cookies, and I woke up less weight. It was like a celebration in my head of like “look, you can eat, and you can eat normal, and you have nothing to fear.” Again, changing the idea of gaining weight = fear is a big goal of mine, but this blog is full of honesty and these are my mental struggles.
I’ve been trying to redefine many things in my life. One of the key points of Brain Lock is to redefine these compulsions or urges we have. So if fear settles in about not logging food, or not weight or body checking, or something irrational comes up, I have to redefine it in my head as This is OCD, this is not normal, you do not need to write, list or check any of these things. So I have been working on that as well as labeling ‘feeling fat’ as ‘feeling uncomfortable’ because you cannot feel fat and again, we know this idea has just been bashed into women’s heads since the dawn of time for power and control.
I still want to eat healthy. I am still mindful of how much sugar I eat, I still restrict myself from certain foods that I know wont react well with me, but have been more so focusing on ridding the guilt that comes along with eating things that my body doesn’t necessarily need, but it wants, and that’s okay. I’ve gotten so much stronger from yoga, I’ve really loved working out and strength training in my house 4 times a week and doing yoga 6-7 times a week [sometimes 2 times in one day, other times just once a day every day]. The aspect of slow breathing and focusing on the breath is something that has been incredibly hard for me to do for YEARS, but I finally am really trying to make myself love it. On days I just feel wiped I have been just doing a live yoga session on Insight timer [an APP I HEAVILY encourage you try. You can download it free or pay the yearly subscription to more access]. There are live trainers to can do yoga and meditation with among several other things as well. I have found some teachers I really love and make sure to attend their classes when I can.
So balance, balance has been this week’s target – and I am no where near to where I need to be, but self-analyzing myself through this process has been incredibly interesting.