Saturday, April 27, 2013

Apologies, Confessions, Regrets, and Thanks

I have been living a life of lies, and now it’s time to face the truth. And I feel like I owe it to you all, everyone who has been following my blog and offering supportive comments, to finally be honest. It’s not fair to post all these silly reviews and other food I eat, and be all cheerful and pretend like everything’s fine. Because it’s not.

This time last year, I was starting to run again after suffering stress fractures in both heels, seeing a nutritionist, and finally trying to treat my body right after years of a disordered relationship with food. I had gained a few pounds, cut back a bit on my exercise, and started eating breakfast and lunch again. Everyone told me what great changes I had made and congratulated me on turning myself around. I was proud of myself.

That was more than 15 pounds ago.

The truth is, I was never really comfortable in my body when I stopped seeing the nutritionist a year ago. I just sort of lived with it, resigned to the fact that I would always feel like my stomach jiggled when my bike hit a bump or like I had a muffin top when I sat down. I didn’t enjoy those feelings; but I felt them, and there was nothing I could do about it, so I just went about my daily routine and did my best to ignore them.

But then I broke my pelvis, and I couldn’t ride. So I replaced riding with swimming, and nothing else changed. The problem was, an hour at the barn doesn’t equal an hour spent aqua-jogging. The latter burns more calories. And so, naturally, when my diet didn’t change, my weight gradually dropped. It wasn’t really noticeable at first, and although I did notice on the scale, I didn’t do anything. We were about to go on vacation; why not have a little wiggle room, since I’d be away from my stationary bike and probably eating a lot of calorie-laden food. I’d gain it back--who doesn’t gain weight on vacation? And then, when I started riding again, I never stopped swimming, because it had become part of my routine. That was my next mistake.

Me. It turns out that I could ride a real bike almost as effectively as the stationary one, and I logged everything that I ate and made sure there was a calorie deficit just in case all my estimates were off. (It was a habit I’d never quite given up, and I was maintaining my weight, so it obviously wasn’t too bad, right?) So I never gained it back.

When I started running again, I did stop swimming on the days I ran. But gradually my distance increased, and I was still riding the stationary bike the same amount. I eventually hit a cap of six miles running, but the result was the same: I was still losing weight and doing nothing about it because, honestly, I didn’t mind; it felt good to never feel fat, because I never was fat, I was always guaranteed to be skinnier or, at the worst, the same weight as I was the previous day. No more dreading the scale going up. No more feeling like I was going to bust out of my pants. It felt good.

Bottom line, I am now hovering around 90 pounds, which puts my BMI near 15. I have become obsessed with food and exercise. My veins pop out of my arms and it hurts to sit for any length of time. My face doesn’t even really look like me anymore.

But finally, yesterday morning, I had a mental breakdown. I just decided I couldn’t do it anymore. I wanted help, and I wanted it right NOW, but I didn’t know where to start. Thank goodness for supportive parents who are willing to take the day off of work to babysit their grown children.... My dad spent the day driving me to the doctor’s office and entertaining me because I knew that, if left alone, my disease would compel me to continue my exhaustive exercise routine, no matter how much my real self wanted to stop. So he took me hiking with our dog, we went furniture shopping, and then we tried some new recipes for dinner. And we talked. felt so good.

There are so many thoughts boiling in my brain right now, I haven’t even scraped the surface. I’d like to address those subjects in later posts, because trying to sort through them right now in the face of finals and graduation and everything else is so daunting. And I really don’t want to overwhelm you with an enormous post. Hopefully by analyzing bite-sized chunks, I can help both people who suffer and those who have never had an eating disorder to better understand this illness. So, I hope you’ll bear with me.

I have no idea what direction this blog will take in the future. Maybe I’ll still write those reviews; they are fun, and I’ve still got a few drafts left over. But I’d also like to focus on battling this ED, and blogging will help keep me honest. So I’m devoting a tab at the top of this blog entirely to this current struggle. Those posts will still appear on the home page, of course. But if you just want the full ED story, without all the other stuff, that’s where you can find it.

Finally, a huge thank you to my friends and family. I know I’ve been hard to live with lately, but I really want to change. I know I could never have taken this step without you all and I really, really appreciate you sticking by me. Especially my mom, dad, and sister for already putting up with my constant complaining of being fat, even though it’s only been one day!
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