schoolpsychnerd: (Eowyn)
schoolpsychnerd ([personal profile] schoolpsychnerd) wrote2017-04-30 09:49 am
Entry tags:

Calories, Dysmorphia, and Recovery

Eating Disorder recovery has a lot of moving parts to it for many people, I think. In keeping it personal, immediate, and local, I'm going to speak to my experience and recognize that I have may privileges that make my recovery journey smoother than they are for other members of the ED community. Prior to C2E2, I was incredibly stressed. There was a fair amount of personal issues going on, I'm still figuring out when to use my sun lamp and wasn't making time for that, and add in the anxiety of making costumes and the pressure of time and I just stopped taking care of myself. Depression and stress are soul sucking and even if I'm not active in my ED, basic self-care like making sure I have enough food and shower consistently become more of a struggle. I also saw this Glamour article (TW; contains talk of calories and exercise)

I go through phases of being aware that I'm not eating enough in terms of my caloric needs. In a move that is kind of a 180 from where I was as a kid (I ignored satiety signals and struggled with binge eating as a kid) I struggle with hunger signals. I used to go from 0 to hangry in .5 seconds because I wouldn't feel hungry until it was so overwhelming I would yell at [personal profile] dorchadas over text or in person. When I started recovery and started eating more regularly, I started to feel those hunger signals again but I had a hard time honoring them. I had a schedule, wait 4 hours between every meal and snack. If I felt hungry less than 4 hours after eating it felt like some kind of moral failure and I was more afraid of being the kid everyone made fun of for overeating than being the hangry drained asshole I can be. I am a huge proponent of intuitive eating and health at every size, yet struggle to apply that to me. I may say I am "eating intuitively" but I am judging and weighing every food choice. No, I can't have that cookie even though I want it. It will ruin me and I clearly just want something sweet and should have a banana. And if it's outside of my schedule it kind of consumes my thoughts. Most of our culture around meal prepping is centered around weight loss. I make a lunch that touts its low calorie count, me convincing myself that I am not a recovering anorexic but someone who needs to have every calorie reduced and policed. In my disorder, my calories were often in the triple digits because [personal profile] dorchadas made me eat dinner. In my recovery, on good days it was about 1,200. That is not adequate for my needs and yet if I get to that number, I will feel guilt for eating less than I should and guilt for eating more than I "should".

So this week I used my app to track if I was getting enough and made an effort to get enough food to eat. It was both easier and harder than I thought. I bought more food and ate all the snacks. I feel a bit less run down during cardio and less pain after lifting. Overall it feels like I'm doing a good thing for myself. There have been a few challenges.

One, I'm almost always snacking. I get full fairly quickly so "large" looking meals feel intimidating. I experimented with having a larger lunch this weekend and it went pretty well. The hard part with always snacking is that when I was a kid my mom always said I was grazing like a cow. I mean, she wasn't wrong and I know I tended to eat past the point of being full because I was bored or sad or angry. However, there are nicer ways to say that to a person. I eat snacks and if I feel like I'm eating them too close together I'm worried everyone thinks I'm a cow. I also think that my body lies to me about hunger signals so I'll ignore them, telling myself "You're not hungry you're bored." or "You're not hungry, you're just a fatass with no self control" Neither of these are true and I'm getting more comfortable snacking.

Two, physical effects of eating and refeeding. This is the part of recovery that feels a bit gross. My body is overall happy to have more food but it's also figuring out what the hell to do with that. I've had a few days where I've been bloated and I usually noticeably (at least to me) Look bigger after I eat. My entire digestive system is in the process of sorting itself out in all sorts of fun ways. I'm trying to stay hydrated and wear comfortable clothes. Keeping up my exercise has also been helpful.

Three body dysmorphia. This is often a hard one to explain to people because most people don't get that literally a part of my disorder is that what I see does not match reality. I know that to all of you, I look healthy and lovely but that is not what I see when Iook in the mirror. That normal stomach bump is the first thing I think everyone's eye goes to and that mine is so large and that it is AWFUL. I will worry that people will see me dressed in a certain way and think I don't know I'm too fat to wear that or don't realize I look disgusting or don't know how to dress for my body so others eyes don't bleed. Yet I will also champion everyone else wearing whatever the fuck they want! Crop tops for everyone! Except me! It's the frustrating thing of having an eating disorder. I am both so special that the positive rules don't apply to me and I need special negative ones because I'm The Worst.

The last thing is money. I have a hard time just letting myself spend money on food for me or take up more of the food budget. It's not like money is a problem for us but buying food that is just mine feels selfish and bad. Like, couldn't [personal profile] dorchadas buy more videogames if I didn't need to eat? It's bullshit and a relic of a time when I couldn't really afford to feed myself and hearing complaints about how expensive it was to feed me.

I'm starting on week two and I know eventually I'll have a nice repertoire of things I can mix and match to get my needs met. I'm looking to try more things like oatmeal too. I mean, I can now eat my big fear foods like oatmeal and pizza and pasta and Chipotle but like...I still kind of avoid them because they make me a bit panic-y.