Tag Archive | food

What my hip injury is beginning to teach me….

Backstory – I’ve had hip pain for quite some time. I have been ignoring it and chalking it up to being overworked and not having enough strength. I’ve had a pulled hip flexor and it felt somewhat the same, and I have a high pain tolerance, so it’s something I can work through. As I increased some of my activities, the pain followed. I finally decided that my running seasons haven’t been going so well and I can’t do what I want without getting it checked out. As the pain continued, I went to the doctor and an MRI is the next step. The suspicion is that something could be torn – or that a piece of my bone has chipped off needing surgery to repair.

So…. In processing I have been able to sit with these feelings and also determine some important things. Now, don’t get me wrong – my initial reaction was to avoid the feelings, but that has changed to exploring feelings to try to understand them/the situation and accept them.

So… these feelings I have found…. They are there, they are real, and they are okay…..

There is a slight bit of guilt that I may have caused this injury with my unhealthy habits; my past eating and exercise behaviors.

I am disappointed in myself for not going to the doctor sooner; waiting over a year isn’t so smart.

I am sad that there is a chance I may need surgery or will be out of my activities.

I’m fearful that being out of activities will mean that I could fall out of shape completely, and gain weight.

It’s stressful knowing the work that will come with this recovery. I’m sick of recovery from things – will there ever be a time when I’m no longer broken?

My activities don’t define me, but they do make me happy –how will I find stress relief and independence without them?

It feels like my activity level is just something else being ripped away from me. Keeping balance in my activity level makes me feel like I have control and balance in my life.

I am overwhelmed with appointments and this will just add to it.

So, in processing all of this, I have found that I have a habit of not knowing parameters of self-care. Explanation:

As a child, if I was sick – I was sent to school anyway. I was only permitted to be sent home if I threw up.

In high school, I was quite sick, but it didn’t seem “bad enough” because my parents really didn’t do much in terms of my health. All of my dangerous episodes weren’t “serious enough” to keep me in treatment, so I learned that my body can handle a lot.  

I’ve always been a middle-distance runner so my races were “fast and hard”. My expertise is the 400m dash – you basically go as hard as you can and “gut it out” until you can’t go anymore; sometimes resulting in a collapse at the finish. You go and hold on; you just don’t stop; it’s understood.

I’ve always continued to play field hockey injured, and through pain, so I’ve never had parameters of injury and healing. In college, you do what has to be done to still play – there was never a point where you should stop to take care of yourself (unless something breaks or tears and forces you out); the game just meant too much.  There was a time in college when I had mono and shouldn’t have been playing the game – I never rested, per the doctor, and went to preseason anyway (my parents didn’t stop me – it’s dedication, right?) – My coach just strapped a quarterback check protection pad across my stomach (to try protect my enlarged spleen from rupturing), and I played anyway.

Often, if I am tired or sore from activity, I think, “oh, I’ll be fine; I just need to push through it; I’ve handled worse”. This has created a habit of not listening to or being aware of my body.

When I was sick before I went into treatment I was running numb; I felt strong – I didn’t hear my body because I have never learned how to listen to it. Eventually, out of nowhere, a stress fracture formed. I searched for the shortest amount of time off because “healing” was a waste of time.

I minimized so many things until others have made me aware of the severity. I didn’t think that low blood pressure, rapid/slow heart rate, and chest pain was dangerous. I had to be informed and convinced it was a big deal because, to me, those things were only “serious for other people” and “my body can handle a lot”.

To me, when something wasn’t right, 1 day of rest was good enough and 2-3 was often too much.


So, from this situation I have learned that I am unaware of the parameters of my body and self-care. I have always “pushed through” so there was never a need to stop and assess myself. As I started recovery, I began to “feel” my body. I have become aware of how it becomes tired, sore, energetic etc. This was very different from anything that I’ve done before. I have learned my whole life to mentally block out everything and push through …. and now I have to feel it all. I have to feel the struggle of getting in shape and the difficulties of soreness from overworking my body.

I feel it when I’m not breathing correctly while running. I feel it when my muscles are tight. I feel it when my muscles need more oxygen. I feel it when I don’t have enough carbs to burn. I feel the weakness of my muscles as they are building. I now feel every second of every workout – and that is something I’ve never had to do before.

Knowing that I never had parameters for self-care leaves me constantly exploring. Although it’s uncharted territory, it will pay off in the end. Trial and error isn’t always fun (as I’ve proven with my cooking skills), but it will eventually pay off. I have to trust that what I notice is accurate and make positive self-care choices from there. It’s a journey! 🙂


Think about it. What is your self-care like? 


Cooking Parallels My Recovery

I’ll be blunt… I suck at cooking. I burn everything and I have no patience in the kitchen. This is obviously something I have to try to get over, but it is also not the easiest when you are recovering from an eating disorder. I have my fair share of anxiety about handling food, but I have also realized that who I am comes out in cooking.

First, my cooking looks like blindfolded monkeys cooked in the kitchen when I’m done! It’s that bad!


I have come to realize that my cooking parallels my journey through recovery! I have been trying to diagnose my cooking issues to understand why something things fall apart after cooking, aren’t cooked through or just turn out NOT like I expected (sometimes not edible).

At one point, I was discussing my cooking habits with my therapist and it all made sense… I skip steps. If anyone knows me, they know I often say, “I do what I want.” Really…. I do…. My entire treatment team has had to have so much patience with me because I will do it my way as I’m always sure that my way is the way that will work!

recovery my way


As I try to conquer cooking I have come to realize that my way is not always the right way (I will never admit that I said that to my treatment team – my secret is safe with the world, right?). I have times when I leave out steps in the process of following a recipe. I might think, “well, I don’t feel like sautéing first” or “it says put it on parchment paper, but I’m just going to go with a regular ‘ol cookie sheet”. I do this all the time. A recipe calls for “Xanthan Gum” — what is that? Seriously… if I don’t know what it is, it’s not going in my recipe.

This is a problem.

My cooking parallels recovery.

If I would just follow the directions of cooking (and not skip steps), my food would turn out something like it is supposed to. Truthfully, every step in the cooking process is important. Apparently that’s why they take the time to write it all out 🙂

The same goes for recovery.

If I would have just followed what my therapist said all along, I may have been recovered by now! Each step of the process (variety, meal plans, challenges, food prep etc.) is important…. It’s there for a reason.

Now, don’t get me wrong…. My slips and relapses were worth something; they put me back into the thinking I just hated and wanted away from. I learned something new from each relapse and it has kept me moving forward knowing how much the eating disorder does nothing for me.

As far as recovery, there were many times when I have tried to skip steps in this process. Admittedly, I remember calling my therapist from my car outside of skinny camp (partial hospitalization) telling her that I didn’t need to be there. I told her that I was not as sick as the girls there, that my eating disorder thoughts and actions were not as severe and that I should be allowed to leave. Truth be told – I was sick. The program at Hershey was a necessary step that I had to take in my recovery.

I am getting better with patience and learning patience in this process (still a long way to go with cooking). My therapist commented on why this process takes so long – she said that it takes time to make lasting changes. People who will truly recovery will be doing this for a while…. and it’s worth it.

Looking at this parallel — if I skip steps in recovery, much like cooking, I can expect to have a terrible end-result. It will be something that I can’t eat (pun intended), something burnt, uncooked or just gross. We get what we put in.

I’ve learned that skipping steps is not the best choice in anything! 🙂

Lunch Life – illustrated with my awesome crappy pictures!

Lunch Life

The real world starts again! Hello, new school year!!  🙂

For teachers and students in recovery, it means change – whatever, I’m used to that so that’s not my issue. I was preparing for the year and the excitement of a fun lunch crowd. That excitement went away fast! Really fast!

Almost all of us have had this experience, and I’m sure every therapist and dietitian has had to discuss this with people in recovery…. lunch experiences at work and school with people who don’t have eating disorders. These should be great, right? WRONG. Some can be great, but others can be disastrous.

Last year was great. I had my BFF to eat with and conversation was fun! After her schedule changed, I tried eating with the teachers in the teacher’s lounge. Everyone says avoid it, but for me, I was trying to have “food friends” so I could be distracted during lunch. This didn’t go over well, or last long.

These are the people and situations that you have to try to laugh at, or avoid.

I tried having lunch with this crowd last year, and then again this year. As the lunches started, I entered the teacher’s lounge with my lunch box and excitement.


My experience, you ask?    AN EPIC FAIL.

First, we forget that when people sit down and eat together (mainly women), it is expected to hear some form of body bashing. There is this understood hatred that so many women have and the conversation highlights that. And somehow, there is a connection in that bashing and hatred. It looks a little like this:


So…. Socially, it’s the norm to talk about that to get motivation from one another…. But I wanted to scream. My treatment team says, “why don’t you just ask them to stop talking about that because it bothers you?”…. GREAT SUGGESTION! I’m trying to fit in and now that will just put a label on me! Let’s be real, it’s not easy to do that. I’m getting there, but not yet.

The next lunch day rolls around and I’m plugging away at my meal plan like a champ!



Seriously? I’ve seen birds eat more food than what they had in front of them! But… I could talk until I’m blue in the face about what a healthy diet consists of and they will still fight me with their “expert” opinion (which is probably a TV commercial of the newest fad diet or cleanse).

It’s true…. I drank the kool-aid… I believe I know what a healthy diet is from all the work of my dietitian, but implementing that knowledge is still my goal.

Back to these enlightening lunch conversations…

This happens all the time. So, how do we fix this? Well…. We can’t. The only thing we can do is try to avoid situations like this. This type of conversation is very prevalent in our society because we are so focused on body sizes. We have a choice … this can influence us, or we can let it pass. If we let discussions like this change our behavior, then we are not making our own choices. What I’ve learned to do in these situations is feel bad for the person talking. I feel bad for her and that she has to put her body through hell, and that she doesn’t have the luxury of being happy in her body. I also remember that I don’t want to ever be there again.

I’m learning that a lot of people become self-conscious about their body at some point – to think you won’t is just unrealistic. The point I’m working toward is not focusing on it daily. My goal is to not become so obsessed with my body that I change my diet completely to attain something that isn’t healthy. My goal is that I also become happy with my body where it is, and where it wants to be. I can live a life of pain trying to be the wrong size, or I can live in happiness and peace being the right size.

Life will always go on.

The Meaning of “Healthy”.

What does “healthy” mean?

This word can be defined differently by many people. For some, healthy could mean athletics, while for others it could mean meditating. I find myself floating somewhere between anorexia and “healthy” yet I don’t know where “healthy” is for me, let alone how to recognize it.

As I continue through recovery, and attempt to learn what healthy is, I have found that I may not find the exact answer. I’m okay with that. I’m okay with it because I love exploring health, talking health and learning new information. As a runner, information changes and sometimes you have to try new things. Throughout my search for what healthy may be, I can’t say I’ve found my health, but I have found what it is NOT.

Healthy is a way of living, not a destination. When people state, “I’m going to get healthy”, I cringe. I cringe because I know the next comment coming has something to do with diet and exercise.

This week has been a test for me. It has been a test of whether or not I will fall into restricting based on what is going on around me. On two separate occasions I had the pleasure of having lunch with about 10 different people and over half of whom were “dieting”. In the span of 5 days I have had at least 6 people tell me about their diets from Nutro System all the way down to a cleanse only allowing you to eat 6 almonds a day (Really? You’re “cleansing” with just 6 almonds? – I’ll rant on that at another time).

The diets these people talked about have been swirling in my head for some time now. I’m at the point in recovery where I know I don’t have to act on urges, but I still do not like the thoughts hanging out when I want them to go. I tried to go back and reflect on these conversations that were happening around me and I realized that I now have some insight.

I may not know exactly what healthy is, but I do know quite a bit about what it is not.

Healthy is not…

counting calories

ordering food from a company and only eating what is in that box.

exercising obsessively because you’ve “had too much to eat”.

body hatred.

deciding what to eat based on calories.

not giving yourself balance in life.

eating 6 almonds a day.

skipping meals.

exercising because you have to.

logging your food into a computer program.

staring at yourself in the mirror wishing you were smaller.

denying hunger.

denying fullness.

negative self-talk.

trying to change yourself.

losing weight below what your body needs.

obsessing over food.

being afraid of food.

eating the same thing all the time.

eating only low calorie foods.

skipping dessert.

comparing our bodies to other people.

Truthfully, healthy is not a lot of things, and more. I am finding that a version of healthy can change as time goes on. For me, a definition of healthy is a way of living. It’s being allowed to eat what I want, in moderation, and be satisfied with it – not feeling guilty or deprived. Healthy is a balance of the mind, body and soul. The three parts work together and I am not sure people can reach health without finding harmony between the three.

As I find my “new way of living” (as my psychologist calls it), I am on the search for peace within my mind, body and spirit… while remembering that healthy is a journey not a destination.

How do you define healthy?


For Peace…

Romans 8:5-6, 12-15

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again


One thing I have noticed (that is still very hard to do) is getting out of the idea of sticking to “flesh desires”. It’s hard to get out of that. As I read some scripture I have found that we can’t find peace in our lives by simply focusing on worldly possessions. How many times did we think that losing 5 lbs would make us feel better… or buying something new would do the trick. They will come and go. In order to find peace and true meaning, we need to look at the deeper-meaning things in our lives. For everyone, this could be different – for me, it’s my faith.

The eating disorder pulled me far from my faith. My focus was on the flesh. My focus went from pleasing God to pleasing people around me. In that struggle, I thought I was also pleasing myself, but there was no peace to be found.

As I walk the path of recovery, and really have to face everything head-on, and have some of the biggest trials I’ll ever face, I’m finding that grounding myself in faith is all that can carry me. I have found that there seem to be phases in recovery (I’m sure this might be true for any healing). There is a point where you can do the “grunt work” for a while because you have nothing left to do but trust the professionals (obviously my way wasn’t working). Once you reach a certain point, you regroup and then go at it again – all the while making and seeing progress. In eating disorder recovery, once you get yourself to the “healthy” point and the attempt to maintain it, that is where the tough work begins. It’s truly difficult to move away from old habits and trust that things will be okay. Whether we want to admit it or not, people in eating disorder recovery really have trust issues – and that complicates things.

Whether you have faith or not, isn’t the point of this post. Many people have different beliefs and may have different Gods, but one thing many of us all have in common is the thought of a higher purpose. I think we want to believe that there is a purpose to our life and that there is a higher power in control. If there were no purpose to this, then what are we doing? How many times have people asked, “What’s the meaning of life?” If only WE were in complete control of our lives, how difficult would it be to make every decision?

There is comfort in knowing that there is meaning to what is happening and what I’m going through. All of this will be worth something some day. Truthfully, faith is all that we have to keep going sometimes. Faith in that the hard work will pay off. This is so true for sports. We put our faith in programs and coaches to lead us in the right direction with hopes that the many hours of work and pain will be worth it in the end – the championship; the sense of accomplishment. There is a larger meaning in what we are doing as we work out and practice endlessly.

For so long, so much of my focus has been on the flesh. It’s been on the physical limits of the world. I have worked to make things happen and I will confirm that it has done very little for me. The world has not provided at either end of my scale. I have found that when I step back and examine my life on a higher level, I can find more meaning – and in learning from what I’ve been through. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and it might be a while before we understand the reason behind it, but I truly think it all has a purpose. Without some type of faith in events, it’s hard to find peace.

As I’ve increased my faith I have found that it is much easier to accomplish difficult tasks. When you are in a perpetual state of uncomfortableness, there HAS to be something to ground you. For all of us, that can be a very different thing, but I have found comfort in knowing and trusting that everything will work out if I just believe. Faith of any type is a way of thinking. It’s having a positive frame in your mind knowing that there is always better. So, it really doesn’t matter where faith comes from, as long as it comes… because truthfully, what is a life without peace?



Ripping off the band aid!

Ripping off the band aid.

We all know what that’s like…. It has to be done….  But we don’t want to do it. So how do we do it? It’s simple… we stare at it, think about it… grab an end and take deep breaths. Sometimes we flinch and think we are going to rip, but we don’t – we just chicken out, but we know we are going to do it. We hold the skin tight around it and take more deep breaths until we build the courage to say, “screw it, the anxiety is too much, I just have to do it!” and then we just rip!! Once we rip it off, the initial pain is terrible, but it goes away. All that build up for that tiny little moment!!! But sometimes it does feel that bad! 🙂


That’s what I’m doing – ripping off the band aid…. And it is stressful!



I’m moving up! I’m starting to see a new dietitian. I need more frequent appointments because food is just a bit of a stress. I’m ready to be over this, so I’m ready to hit this head on. I have a new meal plan and it is a doozie!!!!! If I want to get out of refeeding, and get my metabolism where it has to be, then I have to do what she says…. Well, my oh my, this is going to be hard! It’s going to be hard, but not impossible. I have a feeling this will be filled with meals full of crying and after meals full of knitting. I did this once before, and I know I can do it again. There is one thing that important to me, and that is getting out of this eating disorder world. I don’t want to be a part of being scared or full of anxiety. I want to have fun and enjoy what I’m eating and time with my friends.



I’m thinking back to the blog that was sent to me as I’m reading it daily. I say I’m terrified of gaining weight, but I’m not – I want that part to be over. I want my metabolism to be stabilized so I can sit and feel rested that I’m not going to gain anymore. I want to put this behind me more than anything. I know that if weight gain has to happen, it’s meant to happen. I don’t like knowing that, but I believe it. I will find a way to accept the way my body wants to look because I will not spend my entire life trying to force it to be where it can’t sustain. That is not happiness. I know there is going to be a day when I am okay with my body, and I’m okay with the skin that I’m in. The bull shit that everyone says that you’ll never love your body…. no way… I call bull shit on that. I’m not okay with living all of my life hating something that I’ll be in while here on earth. I will work to remind myself that this is just a casing for the amazing person that I am. So, for people out there who think they will never be okay with their body – I’m so sorry you feel that way because there is so much freedom and relief in knowing that you damn well will achieve happiness with your body. I know I’m working toward something that will happen. I’m not a friggin hamster in a wheel!

So, where does one go from here? Well, you have to “rip off the band aid”. It’s time to just do it. It’s time to just look at the meal plan, follow it, and say “screw it”! It takes crying through meals, and being pissed at the eating disorder and finishing the meal because pride is more important than giving up. I have to remember that no one is going to make this happen for me. It is my job to get up every day and work toward the things that have the deepest meaning in my heart… it’s my job to find pride in this journey rather than wish I were already done with it.


Everything happens for a reason. What’s supposed to happen will happen… if things don’t go your way, it can be stressful, painful, and hard, but you don’t always have to be in control. It’s all a part of the grand scheme of things. Don’t let your emotions cloud your vision. Don’t ever fail to see the bigger picture. You may not understand why things are happening the way they are, but soon enough you’ll know. This is something that I try to remember. Recovery doesn’t always go the way we think it will, or the way we want it to. Often, I have to remember that I need to be willing to understand that everything does happen for a reason.


Welp, here we go, new meal plan!!!! 🙂


At the end of the day, you can focus on what’s tearing you apart, or what’s holding you together.

Change is constant

The one thing that is constant is change. It’s something that we should all be used to by now, but for some reason, as humans, we are still shocked when it happens! I think often humans can see change as a loss of power or control, or it can leave them vulnerable because of the uncertainty that comes with it.

When our lives are turned upside down by the weather, or we are thrown out of our job without notice – it’s not easy to bounce back from larger life events. I think that we are all okay with change when it happens on our own terms. When change happens and it is not something that we initiated, we feel as though it shouldn’t happen. It’s hard to deal with when it is not what we want.

Change has been the one constant in my life recently. As hard as it is, it’s a good thing. I am sure, once I walk out of this portion of my life I will be a champ when it comes to change!! 🙂 Each time I walk down the path of recovery, or anyone for that matter, you have to embrace change. Change is how recovery happens. Until you are willing to embrace change and accept that change will happen, you will be like a hamster on a wheel. Sometimes, that’s not bad… for a little while… at least you’re moving, but you’re not moving forward. There has to be a point where you are willing to just dive right in.

I thought I was moving along and making changes and I had it all organized. I am a self-reflective person, but I didn’t realize that sometimes you can’t step outside of yourself and notice things. I’m so hyper-focused on doing what is right in recovery that I don’t realize that I have to just “be”.

Occasionally I have “therapeutic meals” with my therapist. I eat a meal with her and I’m trying to go for more variety and challenging items. I got released from skinny camp and I thought I was well on my way. I could see the disordered things the other girls did and I made sure not to do them (cut up all my food into tiny pieces and then eat, etc.). I didn’t realize that I had my own version of disordered ways. It wasn’t until these therapeutic meals that she noticed that my bites of my sandwich are very tiny and I never stop cutting my food. I may not cut it all up at once, but I do that as I go. Apparently my knife never stopped working. She pointed out my disordered ways….

This was how I looked at her:

There is entirely too much power and focus on the food. Subconsciously, I let the food take power during my meals. I didn’t understand why it took so long to eat, and why meals felt so stressful and it was because what I thought was “normal eating” was actually disordered and ruled by the eating disorder in my every day eating! My challenge with her was to eat 2 waffle fries and she told me what a normal bite should be and made me eat that — UNCOMFORTABLE amount of food in my mouth!

Probably how I looked in response:

It was too big in my mouth (that’s what she said! – sorry, had to do it! Haha). I’m so used to smaller amounts of food in my mouth that I felt gluttonous eating “normally”. I’m sure nobody wants to hear that they still have disordered eating habits THIS far in recovery, but the good thing about it was that this revelation will take the power away from the food at meals as I learn to eat normally. All this time I thought I was one of those people who had finally dropped the disordered mannerisms, and I didn’t.

So, today was a day for “change” for me. I have missed yoga so much and I decided to bring it back to my life! (hooray!). After yoga, I went to check the place where I have dinner reservations later for a challenge meal (Holla!). Well, they were serving a community Thanksgiving dinner so I decided to stay and volunteer. It was great! I embraced the change in my schedule and I managed to deal with being around large amounts of food. It was great talking to people who need help, and not thinking about the food that was in the room. Following my volunteering I went to a few stores, got some amazing deals and proceeded home for lunch.

After learning from my therapist that I don’t eat normally, I thought about how I was eating this morning when I had breakfast, and she was right. I take teeny-tiny bites of my sandwiches (but in this case my morning breakfast bar). I noticed that the food has power when I eat. I stare at it, focus on it, think about it before I eat it, as I eat it, and as I swallow it…. even after I swallow it. It shouldn’t have that much power over me. It should just be something that nourishes my body. So, I sat down for lunch with my salad and I decided that I will not focus on it, cutting it up into small bites and take an hour to eat it. I succeeded. I cut it into bearable sized pieces (uncomfortable for me) and I never picked my knife up again. From forcing what I think may have been normal eating, I had less stress during the meal. I took the power from the food. The food didn’t have the control over me. There was no power struggle at all! I sat down with my normal rules and just ate.

Doing this today, and going to do this tonight involves a change in my way of thinking. It involves giving up what I am used to doing and being willing to accept new things around me. Really, if you look at the world today, things are so different than they were several years ago — seriously, just compare the cell phones you’ve had. You went from clunky press dials to touch screen iPhones. We adapt to change when it comes to technology, so why can’t we do so in our lives? We can – it just takes a little practice. We didn’t perfect the use of the iPhone the first time we picked it up. We still learn new things daily. Change in our lives is the same thing! When we unlock a new iPhone secret it makes our day brighter!!! It’s another endless possibility of technology! Well, when we embrace change of some sort in our own lives, it unlocks endless possibilities for us to uncover!

Change is new, but it doesn’t have to be scary or uncomfortable. I’ve decided I’m going to try to look at all new change as an added app to my iPhone of life. I’ll check it out, mess with it, work with it and if I don’t like it, I’ll delete it or not use it often or deal with the fact that It’d downloaded to my life…. but there are so many other apps that I have and have yet to see! I’m not going to waste my time focusing on one app forever! Life is too short and there are too many beautiful God-given things to love.

I don’t know if you’ve seen the Ermahgerd pictures, but they are hilarious!!!! 🙂 Ermahgerd = Oh my God.

“Oh my God…. Time to change”

                                    Recovery will be a success when we change! 🙂





Stay strong – stay positive! 🙂

Something to think about:

How well do you deal with change? Do you like it, or do you avoid it?