I’ll throw you a rope, home slice.

Yesterday was an overwhelming chatter day. I did all the things I know to do to navigate it. Through, and not around. Lean into it. Remember that someone else’s path is theirs to navigate. Others can evolve too…technically. Change the self-talk from what you *did* say to what you *wish* you had said–what you would have said if you were your evolved self in that monent.

Let it be the opportunity for growth. Let it be the thing you learn from. Let it be okay. Let it be.

Remembering I am still an evolved me even if I revert back inside a moment. Gentle reminding I am not a disappointment, even if he used the disappointed tone.

I did all the things yesterday in actuality, not in wishful thinking or lip service.

And it wasn’t hard. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t hard.

What yesterday *wasn’t* was a food day. All of yesterday, in spite of the exhausting chatter, was about being healthy and mindful and present, and taking the pause when I needed it. It was about feeling all the things instead feeding them or numbing them, and still being okay. Being okay that I wasn’t okay.

It wasn’t a perfect day. Because I never strive for that. And it wasn’t a food-free thought day. Because I never strive for that either. It was a day I was conscious of food and I chose life over and over without harm or delay. It was good practice. Again.

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You’re saturating me.

**I wrote some of this a week and a half ago and it’s been chilling in my tabs because finishing it eluded me. I’ve never edited a post so much.**

I feel so good in my own skin right now.

I have this philosophy that my body is the vessel that allows me to live this life. I’m grateful for my time on earth, and that this body allows me to be here. Body shaming or wishing for a different body serves no positive purpose in my life. Even on days that I’m in pain, it’s *my* body and I wouldn’t want to trade it in for another.

Since choosing to be healthy and mindful for the past three weeks, my body has let go of a lot of inflammation and I have lost a notable amount of fat. In turn, I’m losing inches and probably weight too. My bra is almost on the farthest hooks and jeans that were too snug a few weeks ago fit perfectly today. I’m comfortably sporting size 13 jeans and all of these things are just byproducts of choosing to be healthy and present and focused on life.

Back in 2013-14ish, I lost a significant amount of weight. I started eating healthy for real in 2010. After an initial weight drop (20lbs maybe), I was stuck around 160/155 for years. Years. I had a lot to work through.

Then in 2013 I finally acknowledged that the way I ate/used food was an eating disorder. Working toward “recovery” eventually allowed for weight loss. I started focusing on mindfulness and hunger/satiety cues and health. I got down to 130 pounds. I had never experienced that before. Even when I was 13yo, I was 150 pounds, so 130 was a significant difference. I finally felt comfortable in my own skin.

It wasn’t about how I looked. It was about how I *felt*. It was how my body felt against my hands. How my stomach didn’t feel overflowing and swollen to the touch anymore, but hollow and thinned out.  How I could feel all this extra, squishy skin, yet underneath the newly thin skin, I could feel defined bones protruding. How the literal fat attached to my skin and organs no longer weighed my body down.

Losing the fat allowed me to feel my body proportionately for the first time. I felt more grounded because I could feel where exactly *I* was instead of where the swollen, fat-overtaken undefined body was. I had a center that felt all mine own. I could do yoga poses or exercises and have my feet “hip width apart” because now I *knew* where my hips were. It made a profound difference in my form and posture and how I took up the space I occupied.

And today I finally feel that again.

Be my reminder.

I embraced the things, like I said I would. And it was good. On Saturday. Then on Sunday, I was like hot damn, that was awesome. Especially ’cause Sunday went right the fuck back to routine without any real thought or effort. And I was like SCORE!

And I said to Chris, “hey, you know what causes a relapse?” and he said, “what?” and I said, “that very first time you choose to use….and then making that same choice over and over and over again.

And then I went on to say how the day felt so comfortably common, and how I didn’t make a big deal out of Saturday and I was navigating so delightfully!

Tra la la.

And then I lost sight today. Because sometimes the path is so gravelly and blurry. And where there may have once been grass is now trodden with sand and rocks and…. It just isn’t so clear.

I can admit today was about food. Hell, I’m *practicing* making life about life and not about food. There’s no benefit to try to skew reality. There’s no points for perfection here, especially this early on, and I don’t do disingenuine (okay okay, this is not actually a word. But it should be! A quasi morphing of genuine and disingenuous, to mean that one would have the state of not being genuine–and I couldn’t pull that off if my life depended on it.) What I mean to say is, today was bumpy. I’m not even quite sure *why*. I mean, I can list the excuses I haphazardly spewed at myself, but there was no “aha!” why. Excuses spewed:

  • I’m still sick.
  • It’s only for today.
  • All three kids are sick.
  • I’m pms’ing, and navigating that is hard. It’ll pass and I’ll go back to regular in a couple days.
  • My husband is sick.
  • It’s just today. Not even the whole day! Just this one meal/snack/bite.
  • I don’t even feel full!
  • I can go back to the healthy habits right after this.
  • I’m sick and I need the extra cough drops.

Choosing food and making the day so food-centric never filled my thoughts with this being a “bad” choice or that I was “bad” for choosing food. A couple times I did think “there’s an unusual amount of chatter in my head today”, but I dismissed it. Because I wanted to. Because there was a level of comfort in the chaos. A familiarity. Maybe because I don’t eat comfort food when I’m sick, so I took comfort thoughts? Maybe because I navigated Halloween so easily and this was a crash from that. Maybe because I’m losing inches pretty quickly and there’s underlying subconscious thoughts about my body or an old thought line about fat being a good layer of protection from harm or undue attention. I dunno. It could be all or none of that.

What I do know is that Sarah Rentfro saved my ass again today with her kismet-esque post. She talked about being right. fucking. here. with the grace and the excuses and the blurred lines and the pressure I put on Future Me to do the work, instead of Now Me.

And again, I was like aww, shit, *spark*. Because the excuses and the chatter and the grace over and over and over, all day long, suddenly wasn’t nearly as blurry as it had felt. And so I didn’t eat dinner because I seriously had plenty of food today. And I didn’t drink that glass of milk just to say I had some milk. And I didn’t have any more cough drops since my throat doesn’t even hurt anymore. And I didn’t eat that banana just so I could cross it off the “I will be regular for tomorrow” list. I just….let myself *be*.

And it was so….*easy*. I could cry thinking about it. Because the chatter died down and my head was finally quiet again and I wasn’t being pulled in chaotic directions and using all my energy on decisions.

I was just here. Now. Me.

Again.

Finding beauty in the dissonance.

I was once so deeply self-aware of my eating disorder that I opted out of (potentially) forever missing out on trick or treating with my kids because it felt so triggering. Them going with their dad, my ex, felt safer.

Fast forward a lifetime.

I was many hours into today before I remembered that I used to hate Halloween. All of that candy used to feel like an abyss. I remember one year I even made it all the way through Halloween without partaking in any treats and it felt like this epic win. And because I got through it, I thought nothing of it when I had candy a couple days later.

I had been eating really clean before that too. Hell, I may have even been doing a Whole30. And I remember going from all clean all the time, to lots of candy intermixed, to quite literally only candy, within a few days. For two weeks.

For two weeks I ate candy. Almost exclusively. I tried to force myself to eat meat or vegetables. But none of that sounded good.

The detox from that was heinous. It was two solid weeks of agonizing pain. I had been taking a biology lab that semester. Every Friday. I remember trying to walk into that class. My legs hurt so much I was in tears.  Just sitting was even worse than the walking.

At that point that was maybe only the third time I had experienced that deep, debilitating leg pain. I had no idea at the time how many more dozens of times I’d put myself through that. Or that seven years later, I’d have come as far as I have.

Chris and I went trick or treating with the boys tonight. I was worried about how cold it would be, but I layered and it was actually a gorgeous night. I could have stayed out for another hour or more. It was a perfectly delightful time.

This was the littlest’s loot.

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It doesn’t tempt me or haunt me or sadden me. It doesn’t make me anxious or worried. It could be a bag of yoyos or acorns or marbles. I only even took it out to take a picture of it for Chris.

L had a blast trick or treating for the first time. And S had fun running around with his friend and taking a night off from the usual routine. Chris was so in his element tonight. It was a really amazing night. And I didn’t have to forfeit it to accommodate fear or my sense of balance. Feet firmly planted in goodness*.

 

*Alongside tonight’s goodness, today was a trying day in other departments and I never used food to navigate them. I noted a couple times that I was very intentionally not using food to cope or distract or soften the feelings of impatience and anger and frustration. And then I moved on.

I am not throwing away my shot.

I’m thinking about food this morning, and instead of shoving it down [the thoughts] and compartmentalizing it, I’m taking the opportunity to look at it.

It’s been a long (great) week and there is an anxious feeling that the weekend feels sooo close, but it’s not here yet.

There are more clouds than sun.

I don’t feel like actively participating with my kid.

I’d rather downtime with sleep or a book or a shower or a movie.

I don’t feel like go go go this morning.

Coffee made me all acid refluxy this morning and that was a bummer.

I just plain ol’ don’t wanna today.

And seriously, where is the sunshine?

But amidst all that and more…I don’t have hunger.  I just think I want to eat. Because food was a good bandaid for so long. Because you embrace the thing that saves you when there is nothing else to save you.

Except I have other things to save me now. I save myself in countless healthy ways–connection and self-awareness and self-care and acknowledgement and breathing and compassion. And by saying “I feel this feeling and it will pass.”

So I came here to say it.

Your horizon takes its shape.

A couple weeks ago when I was feeling all bingey, a sponsored link appeared on my fb newsfeed about binge eating and freeing yourself from it. There was some webinar, I think. I signed up for it because I was curious. Not because there is any one cure all somewhere, but because it had the feel that it could provide a spark of information striking me at just the right time to propel me somewhere.

That’s all recovery is for me. One opportunity propelling me to the next while I figure out all the meat of the in between. The in between is forward and backwards and progress and stagnation. That’s where all the hard work happens. That’s where my results are. In the long term.

But those short term propellings…that’s what allows for the good stuff.

So I signed up. And then promptly didn’t go to the webinar and haven’t read any of the emails. I see the titles of the emails every day and think “I’ll get to that.” But at the moment Sarah Rentfro provided my last propelling and so I’ve been riding that one.

This morning I skimmed through some of the emails. It was all about how you don’t have to avoid foods and deprive yourself of *living* in order to be rid of your binge eating disorder. Embrace it! And just join this free class or this one-on-one session. And within three days you’ll be rid of bingeing. And you’ve never done it this way before and that’s why recovery has never happened!

And I don’t doubt that works for some people. I don’t even doubt that some people have long term success with it. It’s just not my success. And it makes me wonder, too, how many people *aren’t* feeling success because they’re eating foods that make them feel terrible. And when you feel terrible, you want to eat comfort foods to feel less terrible.

But I digress.

My point is that a) there’s no “right” way; you have to search (even when there’s no end in sight) for what works, and oftentimes what works doesn’t work permanently because we are ever-changing in body and mind b) avoiding foods that trigger you isn’t the worst thing you can do; no one would ever tell an alcoholic that the best way they can overcome their addiction is by drinking in moderation; “just two shots a day–you’ve got this!” c) there’s no time limit; even if one day you consider yourself completely recovered, something could happen in your life to knock you down; no one is absolved from disordered thinking, not even someone who has never experienced it before d) there’s going to be an ebb and flow; there’s going to be a symbiosis between the natural ebb and flow and the amount of practice you put in; the sooner you can practice learning to accept that, the more enjoyable living will be e) [and this was the missing piece for me]–it doesn’t matter what effort you put in toward the food; the issue isn’t the food.

For me, because I could never speak for someone else, somewhere tucked deep into my psyche and hidden far in the depths of memory, flowing even into muscle memory, lived the dwarfed parts of myself that, for whatever reason–neglect, abuse, lack of attention–didn’t (couldn’t) grow into their own. So while I did alllllll the other work I just mentioned, I simultaneously spent time, not only *finding* those parts of me, but also unlocking their doors to give them the opportunity to connect and be free.

What I learned too is that finding the door or the key or even unlocking the door doesn’t necessarily change anything. It’s a start for sure, but then there’s more work to be done. The teaching yourself that you can be trusted and that you have value and worth and that you’re going to make mistakes and that the mistakes don’t negate the worth. Over and over and over. Until you learn that it’s the showing up. It’s the practice.

At least it is for me. This has been *my* recovery. So no email telling me I can cure my eating disorder in three days by “embracing” food can sway me from the truth I’ve clawed my way to find.

No dead end in sight.

I spent a lot of time cleaning today. I’m so drained from the week and still in a fair amount of pain. I just didn’t have the emotional energy to think about my feelings, nor endure the physical pain, seeing as how I popped ibuprofen more than once or twice today. Distraction was second best. And it’s good to fill my days with non-food related things. That’s essentially what I’m trying for anyway. My days *should* be about all the everything else. So, win win.

I even only mention it here in that “go me” sort of way because I’m practicing this til it feels second nature. Til I don’t even think to mention it.

Accountability.

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