Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Joyful Freedom from Disordered Eating


This transformation is real. It is palpable. I am starting to experience life in the ways I experienced at when I was at my happiest and losing weight every week both on calorie counting and on Medifast. There is this happy contentment when you get in the groove of whatever diet plan you are on and you're seeing results and your body is getting healthier and healthier. It is aside from any angst about giving up certain foods because when you're dieting, at a certain point the results *really* are worth whatever you gave up and whatever effort you're putting in. The difference this time is, this feeling is not dependent on weight! It is not teetering on the edge of a crash into sadness and despair the moment you eat something "off plan" or see a gain on the scale. It is just a sense of things being *right* and your mind and heart being at peace.

I remember weighing in the 170's and 180's and just feeling like life was so much brighter and exciting. I was living and not just existing. All the fall leaves were vibrant and the air seemed to crisp and fresh. I thought this amazing feeling of being fully alive was because I had lost 100 pounds. But you know what? It wasn't. I have felt that way many times since then. But that sense of wellness has often been often fogged by the disordered eating thoughts that were dragging me down. The cravings... the compulsions to go and buy *just the right food* to eat and fulfill my "needs"... the sense of guilt and shame over my eating and my weight... all of those things were clouding up my happiness. But now that all of that is gone, I am free to fully live and experience life as it should be. And the best part? It has *nothing* to do with weight or "diet success." This is a beautiful thing. Eating disorders are like chains. Those thoughts that drive the disorder are a form of bondage. Being thin but still in that bondage is not recovery, and not true freedom. Diet obsession while thin is just as disordered as food obsession when fat. It is sad that eating disorders can rule one's life, but it's true that they do. You may be having good days and feel happy but always in the background is the chatter of the ED and the worry about relapse or how to quiet those thoughts. ALL of that is gone now. THAT makes any pounds gained as I worked on the mental aspect of this, worth it.

And now I am quite sure my body is returning to its best health physically, because the mental and emotional aspects are finally made right. The body will surely follow.


13 comments:

MargieAnne said...

Hi Lyn. I am delighted for you. It's great you have found your happy place with food. Not many people achieve that be they fat or slim.

Congratulations:)

LHA said...

It is wonderful to see how positive you are feeling about the changes you are experiencing. Do you have any fears that this will be temporary? Or, put another way, do you think that recovery from eating disorders is as fragile as recovery from other addictions and is prone to relapse? That is one of the issues I am working on currently so I am curious. If you do think relapse is or might be a problem, do you have a plan to deal with a period of time when your eating disorder might become more active and problematic again? Thanks for sharing. It gives me a lot of food for thought.

Margaret Wolfinbarger said...

I am so happy to read this today. You are an encouragement to me. I feel as you do in this moment, free of the desire to eat compulsively. but my body often reverts in times of stress or exhaustion. Give yourself the grace to know those times will come and it's ok. Blessings to you today. And peace! Www.destinationdiscipline.com

Sarah said...

Hi-

What you're doing is awesome. I am trying to work on letting go of the dieting mentality as well. You're right that being thin but obsessed with diets is no better, and I've been there. Losing weight for me will ALWAYS be temporary until that thinking is gone. There is no peace until you learn how to let go of the disordered eating. I struggle daily with thoughts of going back on diets, which sometimes I am able to overcome, but sometimes I give in to the disordered thinking which makes me miserable again. Do you have any tips or advice on how to really let go of the, "I need to lose weight," thinking? It's such a habit at this point after dieting for 15 years. What do you do when you feel yourself going back to those thoughts, how do you let them go? Thanks!

Lyn said...

Thank you so much for the comments and encouragement :)

LHA~

I have thoughts that it could be temporary, but not worries. I know that seems like a little thing to notice, but it's true! I think in the past I did *worry* (have anxiety, nervousness, emotions) that I would relapse or regain, but now that emotion is calmed down it is more of a neutral thought, that yes, that may happen but I will deal with it with calmness and good sense and not react with panic. I won't let a number on the scale or an indulgence in any certain food cause me emotional distress anymore. I hope that makes sense.

I don't think it is on the same level as alcoholism or drug addiction, though. I know it is similar but a person addicted to drugs usually *cannot* recover without intensive, inpatient treatment. That also seems to be the case with some, more severe and immediately life threatening eating disorders such as anorexia. I guess there is a spectrum of addictions and EDs and fortunately I don't think I am at the end needing intensive, inpatient help to live a fairly normal and recovered life.

I think times if extreme stress make anyone vulnerable to relapse from any addiction or disorder, so having alternative coping mechanisms for those times is essential. I have those in place (from past experience coping without food) but my main plan for the future is to be on guard against letting emotion and distress about food and weight back into my life.

Lyn said...

Sarah~

Well, I'm not sure I know how to make that *switch* flip in one's brain. I guess for me, years and years and years of trying, succeeding, failing, relapsing, obsessing, and frustration got me to a point where I finally could let go of it and be *truly* okay with gaining if that meant fixing the emotional and mental aspects of this disorder. That took a lot. It sounds like you've been doing this for a very long time as well, so maybe you are ready too. You kind of just have to try it and see if it is real. Fake it til you make it? Meaning, last year I tried to do this but in the back of my mind the worry and stress was still there, making it impossible to let go of all the emotions around weight and food. I tried, but I just could not let go and allow myself to go through this. This time, it just clicked. I said I would let go of the emotions and it actually happened, all the way deep down. If I have even an inkling of a thought about dieting, I shove it aside, relax, and tell myself I AM OKAY. And that being food sane and at peace is more important than being thin. It takes a lot of practice but over time it gets easier to think it AND mean it! I hope this helps and makes sense to you. Keep trying, never give up! And your blog is really interesting too :)

Anonymous said...

Can I ask, what is a typical daily menu for you? Do you plan it out or just eat what you want at the time? 3 meals or not scheduled? Thanks.

Lyn said...

Anon~

I don't plan out the whole day, but plan dinner for the family when we are not eating out or with friends. I do generally eat 3 meals at the traditional times and if I get hungry I have a small snack, usually mid-afternoon and sometimes a small one before bed. I have some regular meals I eat often... like breakfast is frequently pastured bacon with avocado and fruit, or bacon or sausage with eggs and fruit (sometimes a piece of toast), or a protein shake, or an omelet with veggies and cheese. Sometimes I am not hungry and just have a few cups of coffee with half & half in the morning.

For an example of a recent eating day:

Breakfast: decaf coffee with cream, 2 bacon, 1/4 avocado, a Clementine.
Lunch: a few almonds, coffee with cream, protein shake
Afternoon: iced green tea, string cheese, a few almonds
Dinner at potluck: bowl of vegetable beef soup, roll with butter, deviled egg half, small spoon of mixed vegetables, a few grapes, a few bites of pumpkin pie filling
Bedtime: mug of warm milk with vanilla, cinnamon, and honey

Nothing is weighed or measured. I do not count calories or macros. I enjoy my food and don't eat it if it isn't good (like the mixed veggies had a weird spice to them so I only ate about 2 bites, and I don't like pie crust so I only ate a bit of the pie filling). I drink plenty of water.

Hope that answers your questions!

Anonymous said...

Your last two blog posts made me think about when I was pregnant and would occasionally feel the desire to have a drink. For me it was a no-brainer: not good for the baby, not going to do it. After it was safe to drink again I started noticing the negative effects alcohol had on my physical and mental wellbeing, and ever since then I hardly ever partake. I wish I could come to a similar revelation about sweets (like you did with the joint pain). I wonder why it's so easy to give up certain things and not others?
-Maria

Rachel Smith said...

You are totally right - yes, physical changes like weight loss can have SOME effect on how we feel, but winning at this fight against obesity is around finding and treating the mental and emotional issues. You go!

amy said...

I was very hopeful about the cleanse. Is there any possibility that it played a role in your recovery, or is it just a coincidence.

Lyn said...

Amy~

it's hard to say. It could be that it helped with losing my taste for sugar. It helped my friend with that and she also had great clarity of thought and energy after her cleanse... but she saw actual parasites go out, and I did not. So it probably depends on what you have going on in your body.

TheAgonyOfBeingFat said...

This all sounds so nice! I am happy to hear that it's possible to break from an eating disorder :)