Tag Archive | goals

What Are You Afraid Of?

I used to be afraid at night. Afraid of the dark. Afraid that just beyond the point my eyesight allowed me to see that there was something lurking. Afraid that the darkness itself would somehow surround me and swallow me up…as if darkness were anything more than simply the absence of light.

I used to be afraid of tomorrow. Afraid that who I was would continually dictate who I am, and that who I would be might be someone who I didn’t like very much at all…as though there was no such thing as being made new.

I used to be afraid of opinions. Afraid that though words would not break my bones, they certainly would shatter my dreams…as though I started doing this for the approval of many, rather than the glory of One.

I used to be afraid of failure. Afraid of losing. Afraid of falling. Afraid of being wrong, creating busts, and looking absolutely stupid, because who am I to think that I could ever actually make a difference? As if those setbacks were anything more than the laying down of stepping stones on the path to success.

I used to be afraid.  Used to.

But then I did a little research.  And by that, I mean I re-searched, and I re-searched, and I re-searched, over and over again, and through all of my re-searching, I kept coming up with the same exact question:

What room does fear have?

What room does fear have when I cling to TRUST? What room does fear have when I lean on HOPE? What room does fear have when I search for something more, when I discover and realize what’s good, and when I stand in AWE? When I run with PERSEVERANCE, when I walk by FAITH, and when I rest in COMFORT. What room does fear have when I sing with PRAISE, when I take hold of INSPIRATION, explore the POSSIBILITIES, and step into FREEDOM? What room does fear have when I discover STRENGTH, EMBRACE COURAGE, REMEMBER PEACE, DECLARE TRUTH, CHOOSE JOY, EXPERIENCE LIFE and CONQUER DEATH? What room does fear have when I find perfection in the one place I never thought to look? In weakness, when I’m saved by the most unlikely of heroes. By grace, when I’m invited into a relationship more loving and intimate than I could ever imagine, as a child of God.

I’ll ask you again: what room does fear have when I step out of the darkness, and I bask in the light? When I let the past be the past and the future has no limit. When they can talk all they want, but their opinion doesn’t matter! And when failure is nothing more and nothing less than the road by which I walk my path to success.

I’ll ask you one last time: what room does fear have when in His Word, He tells me three hundred and sixty-five times DO. NOT. BE. AFRAID. As if I needed to hear that every single day. And as if that’s how many times I needed to hear it before I finally believed it.

What room does fear have when I make room for LOVE?

What are you afraid of? 

 

-Jon Jorgenson

 

Here is the video if you want to watch him speak it.

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The Things Recovery Strong People Do

I read a great article called 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. It was eye-opening and made me mindful of many of the attributes that I work for. I was pleased to see that I’m headed in the right direction. It made me think back on recovery and how I got where I am. I sometimes wonder how I came out ahead of the crowd and why I’m not making round-after-round in treatment facilities.

I started reflecting on the things that Recovery Strong people do. I have a few  friends who are very strong in recovery and hope to be recovered some day. Some others from programs I’ve been in are not as strong. As I look back at the attributes of these people, I thought of some short ideas about what it took for me (and some of these other people) to get “recovery strong”. Here are some things I thought about regarding The Things Recovery Strong People Do:

  1. They set goals and hold their self accountable to them. People who are focused on getting better and really getting rid of the disorder set goals and have people hold them accountable. This is not fun at times. There were times when I emailed everything I ate to my dietitian EVERY DAY! It was what I had to do to stay accountable to my meal plan. Sometimes we just can’t do it on our own and that’s okay.
  1. They cut ties from the sick. Some people don’t get better and that is sad. Some people don’t want to get better and they want you to stay sick with them and that is even worse. Recovery is your journey and not for anyone else! The best thing I ever did was cut ties with EVERY SINGLE PERSON who had an eating disorder! I did it for a long period of time and I only focused on me. It was the best part of my recovery. I didn’t have to see everyone’s sob messages on facebook about how hard it is to eat, or their text messages about how they need support. It was all about ME and how I was going to survive on my own. Let’s be honest, some people are downers… and they can bring you down and trigger you. Cutting ties from the sick ones is the best way to ensure that you stay on track. You aren’t letting them down if you focus only on your health. You don’t owe them anything.
  1. They surround their self with only positive. Everything that came into my life was only positive. It started with posting Operation Beautiful post-its anywhere I could. Every book I read was positive and I did things that made me happy. I worked on my faith and relationship with God and I made sure that negativity was out of my life. I got off of social media, and the news, and I focused on reading only things that would boost my thinking in a positive way: Fun literature, bible study, yoga, positive articles etc.
  1. They stick to their meal plan – no matter what!!!! This is the hardest, but not impossible. For me – it started with a 30 day challenge, and once I hit that it just never stopped. One day I realized it was my 1 year anniversary of never messing up my meal plan! My meal plan became my road map when things were tough. No matter what, that was not an option to mess up. It was a rule that I was not allowed to touch it.
  1. They never lie to their treatment team. What’s the purpose of lying to them? If you’re lying then you really don’t want to get better. I pride myself on the fact that I never lied to them. I had no reason. From day one I wanted out of this. Being open and honest will not get you in trouble, it just shows them where you are and how to help you. Honesty is the only way you can get better. Admitting to restricting will not get you sent to the hospital, it only gets you the support you need.
  1. They admit their actions and take full responsibility. Recovery strong people don’t make excuses. I admitted to everything I did and I owned it. If I skipped meals or over exercised, I said I did it. I admitted that it was wrong and I didn’t try to make excuses. Instead, I tried to figure out why I did it and why it came to that. This path is hard and mistakes will happen – admitting them is the only way to learning. I may have made a mistake by throwing food at my therapist – I admit it… I make no excuses for it… but I did it (I don’t condone throwing food at your therapist – based on my experience it seems they don’t particularly care for it).
  1. They want to learn and are willing to work. Whether it’s about their self, the eating disorder or the world – it doesn’t really matter – they just want to learn more. They have an openness. If you don’t have an openness, you can’t retain what is coming at you. These people have a willingness to work for recovery. They are willing to go to therapy and do the things their therapist asks and not waste time.
  1. They hate the eating disorder more than they need it. The people who have been so strong and fighting at the front of the pack have had the eating disorder for so long that they can’t stand it. They have seen the damage and not longer feel the need to keep it. This isn’t a “superficial” hate that sounds good when you say it to people – this is a hate that makes you cry when you talk about it. A hate that stabs you in the pit of your stomach when you think about it. A hate so strong that you know you can no longer survive WITH it.
  1. They admit when they are struggling or need help. They don’t deny when they are in a tough place or that things are hard. They aren’t afraid to say that they need help and that they can’t do it on their own.
  1. They have a little bit of fight in them that never seems to go away. Even when things are tough and they are tired there is still some fight. When they are weary and worn down and saying they can’t go on, they still find it somewhere.

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? 

What worked for you?

“What worked for you?”

I’m often asked this question by other people going through recovery. The answer is always simple – “I don’t know.”

I answer “I don’t know” because I really just don’t know. If I look back and say what I’ve done with my therapist in the past, I could tell you several things we’ve tried (like the really annoying “responding to ED” with feelings), but I can’t tell you all that we’ve done; all that works. I sometimes write down notes and thoughts after sessions, but I don’t have a detailed record of all of it.

My answer is vague because I’ve come to realize that therapy just becomes a part of you. It becomes a part of your everyday life when you start making the changes that are suggested. Really, we are all in therapy because we have to change something, so to think that we don’t have to work for it, is absurd. When you “work” in therapy, the discussions, strategies etc. merge with who you are and who you will start to become.

I really don’t think there is one specific thing that will work for anyone. There isn’t one “ah-ha” strategy, or one thing that makes the big difference. Eating disorders are complicated illnesses to overcome, so to think that one thing will work is just asking to be frustrated – and it’s sending you on a hunt down a rabbit hole for something that is non-existent.

I remember walking into the treatment program at Hershey talking to my assigned therapist there. I said, “I want to recover. How do I make the best of being here and get the most out of it?” Her answer was so simple that it seemed like it wasn’t enough. She said, “Just be present – in all groups and discussions, be present and try to learn.” Admittedly, I walked out of her office saying she was a quack and that was the crappiest answer I’ve ever received…. but her answer was right on target. Let’s be honest, we hate to admit it, but it’s rare for your therapist to be completely wrong. Her answer sticks with me today, in therapy, and in everyday life. We are such busy people in our world today, and we learn to do so many things at once, we forget how to be present. There is always something else to worry about or something else crowding our mind.

Being present might be somewhat of a good answer to “what worked for you?” I’m constantly working on being present in everything I do. When I sit in church, I work to be there, in that moment listening to the Word and enjoying that experience. When I’m running or doing yoga, I work to use the time for myself; to enjoy that I can still do those activities and to not think about the other worries or obligations I have.

If there is anything that is easy and could work for everyone – it’s being present. Being present in all therapy, group, medical or dietary discussions. Being present, and a participant in discussions. I have noticed that this process goes faster when you are an active participant. Note that when I say “faster” I really mean that it goes at “normal speed” because when we aren’t active, we only slow ourselves down.

Truthfully, any person in any walk of life could work on being present. Happiness isn’t a destination, it’s a state of being.

Think about it —- where do you stand when it comes to being present and in the moment?

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.

lunchlife3

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:

lunchlife1

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!

lunchlife2

 

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.

Titanium

I’m finding that sometimes it’s hard to do what we need to do to stay in the fight. I’ve had some struggles, and I think I’ve been able to find moments of fighting to defeat ED. One thing that has helped, and I’m not sure if other people do it, is having a “Screw you, ED” playlist. I use this list when I go running, driving to and from work at times and when I just need to let my mind take a break from the fight so “something/someone” else can encourage me to fight. This playlist is very specific and all songs lend itself to winning a battle or knowing how much you’re worth. I suggest making one for hard times. Feel free to comment for other people if you have ideas of good songs.

The one I’m posting here is a great example of what is helpful at times. “Titanium” is kind of a staple song of mine, and has been for a while. When you think about it in terms of the eating disorder, it really makes you want to fight it. Titanium is one of the strongest metals and if we think about how strong we can be against the ED, this song will speak volumes. The song can be accessed below as well.

 

“Titanium”

By David Guetta
(feat. Sia)

[Sia:]
You shout it out,
But I can’t hear a word you say
I’m talking loud not saying much
I’m criticized but all your bullets ricochet
You shoot me down, but I get up

[Chorus:]
I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium

[Sia:]
Cut me down
But it’s you who’ll have further to fall
Ghost town and haunted love
Raise your voice, sticks and stones may break my bones
I’m talking loud not saying much

[Chorus:]
I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
I am titanium
I am titanium

[Sia:]
Stone-hard, machine gun
Firing at the ones who run
Stone-hard as bulletproof glass

[Chorus:]
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium
I am titanium

Some other helpful Ed-bustin’ songs:

Adele – Set Fire to the Rain

Pink – Perfect

Katy Perry – Roar

Katy Perry – Firework

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?

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/writing-challenge-health/