Balance is something that a lot of people work with. Whether it’s balancing work and free time or trying to balance meals to be healthy. Balance is something that I’m finding that people with eating disorders have a hard time doing. In Skinny Camp (treatment) I got a paper that had many common thinking distortions on it and as I read down the list…. I had them all!!! I thought to myself “holy crap, I have a long way to go!”…. some of them were like “black and white thinking” and “generalizing everything”. I’m finding with balance that my “black and white” thinking gets in the way. Many people with eating disorders have “black and white” thinking and we struggle to find the grey area. For example – things are all or nothing for us. If we did not get an A on a paper, we failed it; a B was not good enough. If we did not meet our meal plan 100% for the day, we screwed it up and failed, so we might as well restrict for the rest of the day too! I didn’t realize how bad my black and white thinking was until I was at transitions program at Skinny Camp (step down program that I’m still in) and we had to bring a challenge food. I realized that I had fallen to the eating disorder thoughts earlier in the day and I skipped breakfast and lunch and I needed to make up for some of the missed items and “go for it all” while preparing for an upcoming Europe trip, so I thought it was a good idea to try to have pizza, chips and chocolate cake all in one sitting! The Occupational Therapist looked at me and said “whoa, what’s going on here?” and I said “I have to make up for the mistakes I made”….. but now I realize that is not the best way to do it! The goal was to meet the meal plan, not meet it with every part being the biggest challenge of my life!!!! 🙂 My thought was, if I can’t eat all of this right now, then how will I survive in Europe with students watching me eat!? — there it was…. Black and white…. All or nothing thinking. I saw it only when she pointed it out to me.
I think balance isn’t just hard, not just for people with eating disorders, but for normal people in life. Taking food out of the equation – I’m a runner. I grew up running and was always a middle distance runner – 400, 4×400, 300 hurdles and a jumper. As I trained, I learned the mentality of “get on your toes, go hard and hold on until the finish”. This is hard to pull away from. Now, I’m running and I’m trying to find balance. Obviously, the easiest thing to do is run a 5k, maybe a half marathon or a marathon (It’s not so fun to just go run a 400 on your own). Those are my goals — but I have one problem – balance! I know one way of running – “get on your toes, go hard and hold on until the finish” – that doesn’t work when you are adding up the miles! That works in the middle distance races, but all that accomplishes in a 3-13 mile race is a moment to stop and throw up because you are going too hard. I’m finding that I have to figure out how to balance my running. I have to learn that running 3 miles will not happen at the same speed I ran the 400. I also am having a hard time understanding that running 10 miles will not happen at the same speed I run 3 miles. (This is a really tricky thing!!!) It doesn’t seem hard to balance running like this, but in my head the eating disorder will scream “if you don’t go hard all the time, Rachel, you are not good enough. If you have to stop and walk, you are not an elite enough runner. If you can’t maintain a 400 speed while running 3 miles you are slow. It just means you aren’t conditioned enough. You have to go hard all the time, Rachel.” So, all of this sounds crazy, yes…. but it’s what happens. So, searching for grey area in that can be tough at times. Now, I’m about go deep in thought on you right now! 🙂
Aside from balancing running, I think I speak for a lot of us when I say we have to find balance in our lives. We have to be able to devote hours to work, but also devote hours to ourselves. I think too often we give so much to what is needed externally, and we neglect what is needed internally. I know I did this for a very long time. This is part of what drove my eating disorder. It got to the point where I didn’t think I deserved anything …. not even food! Balance might seem so simple, but it’s not. I am finding it’s one of the hardest things that to figure out; we learn that thinking too much of yourself is selfish and we begin to always give away, while never keeping. In reality, it’s not selfish and sometimes, for balance, we do need that time to just do something we enjoy…. Or to just sit and rest for a little.
We really can’t help the fact that we HAVE to work. I can’t help that I teach and that I have lesson plans and that I HAVE to grade. My work carries over into my home far too often. Most times I just give up my free time and say “this is what I have to do,” but it’s not. There has to be balance. Without balance something will always have to give. We live this life only once, so giving it up for work and not enjoying what we want is not acceptable.
So, in efforts to balance my life, I stopped grading and went to a movie with Monica! J It was quite funny, and we decided to get frozen yogurt after!!! :)WHOA!!!! Major challenge!!!!
I didn’t just get one, but I got several flavors in one!!!!! With toppings!!!!!!
Now, to further balance my life…. I am making plans for Yoga classes!!!!
Something to think about — Do you have balance in your life? If not, do you need balance and what do you need to do to find that balance to make you feel healthy?
Now, it’s hard to argue that we deserve “me” time and “balance,” but we do! It’s worth the fight for it!!! So, if I can march my butt to a frozen yogurt place and eat a FrYo, I think you can find yourself some balance! And, I’m going on day 14 of this meal plan challenge….. if I can do that ….. you can do it!!! And, because I’m cliché… here are some ridiculous photos for motivation! 🙂