Friday, 30 May 2014

changes -

SO much has changed this last month in regards to my eating plan and abstinence list and program, period. I feel as though I am in a much better place where my eating disorder is concerned and my honesty and admission with not only you all but myself.

Over the last three years I have come to terms with the fact that I am not a normal eater and that I eat compulsively, have binged and isolated, etc. What I was fully coming to terms with is that I am bulimic, even saying that word has felt bothersome to me. I protect my purging like it's pure gold, and it is very much as addictive as the food I put in my mouth, unfortuneately.

So, allow me to start this blog post off appropriately. Hi, i'm sylvie and I am a bulimic. I don't feel that knot in my stomache anymore when I say or type that word like I once did, and am now in a space where I am acknowledging just how badly I have let this become over the years. I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist at the age of 9 years old with bulimia, and of course as a child had absolutely no clue what that would have actually meant. Over the years as I aged, I knew what I was doing subconsciously, but denied and hid all of the self-bullying, self-abuse and food behaviors that took over my life. I lived in isolation for many, many years with barely any contact with family and friends, and denying myself important things such as a spiritual path, hobbies that I loved and most anything else in life.

I have come to realize that these last three years have been tremendously difficult for me as I got to know my body, my needs, my feelings and my disease. I started an abstinence list, got myself into Overeater's Anonymous and started attending meetings, reading literature and got heavily immersed in program trying to figure out a path that would work for me. With many stumbles, after three years I have learned so many lessons and grown so much. But one thing that didn't change was my continuous obsessing the food, it was making me crazy. My nose was constantly in the fridge or pantry, i was grazing food, tasting as I was eating and everything revolved around my meals and snacks and what the next food would be. I couldn't shake the obsession and when I could for a short time, my obsession turned to something else such as calorie counting, exercising, making to-do lists no human could EVER achieve in a 24 hour period, and so much more.

What could I do ? Something had to give. After three years of being in OA and around really wonderful people who have been so kind to lend me their experience, strength and hope via their recovery program and service, I still felt as though I was as obsessive if not more. With the help of a very kind woman who agreed to sponsor me through the 12 steps and who also has a similar eating history to my own, I have come to realize why I haven't moved forward from the obsession .

I keep my obsessive behavior alive by continuing to set myself up to obsess all day every day. SO, I have had to make many changes to my program in the last few weeks which I have to admit have been so helpful. It doesn't happen all at once but over the course of these weeks I have been slowly letting go of my obsessive behaviors and things are feeling so very different.


My last binge and purge was exactly three weeks ago today.  I binged all day and purged all day, and spent the week after bringing up blood, having really bad abdomen pains, sore throat, acid reflux, bowel issues, etc.  Last night (after three weeks) I was having similar issues, and wanted to purge yesterday as a result of taking a compulsive bite - it was a hard day.

So, here is what I had to do these last few weeks:

1/ I let go of my food plan. Yes, no planned times. No preplanning my meals for the following day. No ensuring I get a certain amount of food, no calorie counting, no measuring my portions, nothing. My meal plan now is make healthy choices. I know my portions without using a measuring cup and weight scale. Meat is the size of a fist as is the carbs.. Veggies can fill half the plate. I know not to go overboard and when I wake in the morning I have no plan, however, I have a fridge and pantry full of healthy choices and that's exactly what I do. Suddenly, I am feeling really GOOD about the positive, healthy food choices I am making - because I am making them.

2/ No to-do lists. I seriously had what I call a recovery binder (which is great and loaded with information) but also had a daily chart and exercise charts too. The chart was lengthy, and had recovery things I needed to do all day long (get a meeting, read in various books, take vitamins, follow specific meal plan, contact my sponsor, one nice thing for myself a day, etc... (the list had about 15 things for the morning, 15 for afternoon and 15 for evening.. ) AND then I would make myself a to do list for the day, with housework and projects that no human could ever achieve in a day and expect myself to complete my daily chart and my to do list every day.. (never did though!) And I would get so upset and hard on myself, what a failure I was! And it would of course give me reason to dive into the food again, not to mention I would procrastinate by spending my day obsessing anyhow!! I knew I couldn't get all of that done, so why bother trying?

3/ The minute I take one compulsive bite of food, such as grazing or eating while cooking or simply opening the fridge while *not* hungry and grabbing something just because -- then I lose control and I find myself face first in the food all day long AND purging because I am bingeing. So, my goal each day is to wake up with an open agenda, to eat intuitively (by listening to my body's hunger and when my body says I am full also) and to not take any compulsive bites. I find this becomes easier each day also, because I am no longer obsessing food and therefore not taking compulsive bites or even having those thoughts much anymore. Now suddenly I am understanding what others have been saying - how you just *know*.. And I haven't been able to because I was taking the wrong approach. I still have a lot to learn and a lot of growing to do, but feel like I am finally on the right path with this, thank goodness!

4/ My abstinence list is changing. There *are* foods I must stay abstinent from, however, most foods on that list I *could* have but instead choose not to because I want to eat clean and be healthy, which is very different from having to be abstinent from it. So I will be amending my abstinence list this evening to show the foods I must be abstinent from, and remove the foods I choose to not eat, and that relieves the overwhelming feeling of an extremely long abstinent list. The smallest things overwhelm me - so simplify, simplify, simplify is my new motto.

5/ My recovery program consists of many, many wonderful tools. Everything from sponsorship, meetings, literature, service and much more. In my plan of action I was to achieve every one of the tools each day and then some of my own chosen tools such as journalling, posting to this page, blogging and so much more. Needless to say, I procrastinate all of it because I am expecting it of myself every single day. Then I feel like I have no time to do anything, and well I was obsessing my program as much as I can obsess just about anything. If I had 150 emails in my inbox, I had to answer every one of those emails before I could go on with my daily chart and my to-do list for the day. So now, rather than have to achieve everything it's a matter of deciding what do I need to do for today. Do I need a meeting? To work my steps ? Read in a book ? Meditation and exercise are two things that are musts for me when possible, however. I take ten minutes in the morning to meditate, and then another ten to kneel for mindfulness - then I set off on my walk which helps set up the whole day with energy and positivity .. There are days I don't do either, however, if I get a few days consecutively with no meditation or exercise, then I start to lose myself in my disease again, so they are very important to be a healthier me!

6/ I have started to lose weight again, although I am not weighing myself and letting go of the numbers, for now. Right now, it's going to be about how clothes fit on me, the healthy foods I am eating, the energy I am feeling and the accomplishments I am achieving. I know the numbers are important, however, I will get new numbers when I am ready for those. For now, I obsess the numbers too much and really, what *do* the numbers matter to me anyway, except give me a reason to obsess ? The doctor will know them on my next visit, and today I am excited because I can fit into a jacket and zip it comfortably when I couldn't two months ago. Hurrah !!! That feels SO good!

I still have to work through my feelings. I have a lifetime of internalizing behind me, and so that is something I will start working on through working the steps with my sponsor. I am learning through my program as well as Buddhism, that I must stay in the now and not dwell on the past or try and control my future. I am getting so much better with that today, thank goodness. So, expect many more blogs in my future, I just needed to lay out my new plan and what I have learned, and to admit that yes I am bulimic and am honestly powerless, and my life *is* unmanageable, and I am ready to move forward steps (slow, but steadily) ..

Thanks for hangin' around everyone, and for being so supportive through all of this. I see big growth in my future, and am excited about it. (A tad scared, but mostly just ready to take those steps!)

<3, syl.