Such as I am…

I often feel that I have to have things all figured out before I write a post! I feel a pull to write anyway, so here goes….

I am planning to go on a backpacking with my daughter and she had an idea to take a long  walk/jog to prepare. I love to do that sort of thing, and also to encourage her in her goals ~ so we did it!

I knew that it would likely be hard to eat enough to make up for the weight burned, and also that it would give me a sense of triumph and a boost to my body and mind to do it. All of this was true. I love the way I feel when I do a long fast walk or bike ride ~ it seems to help my digestion, appetite, and mood, and yet I also lose weight!

Recently, I told a few close women friends and family about my goals for gaining weight and asked for their support. It wasn’t easy for me to open up like that, but they responded beautifully, calling or texting to tell me they love me and encouraging me to nourish myself in all ways. What a blessing ~

Yet I found myself not wanting to write to them again until I could say that I am truly on my way to the goal. I felt so thankful for their responses, yet also vulnerable, especially with my daughters. I want them to be proud of me and I want to be grounded and a good example.

I am thinking that being a good example also means being real.

My mom was an alcoholic, but she gave up alcohol and recovered, starting after I had my first child. What I’m really grateful for when remembering her, is not that she was perfect, but that we loved each other and I KNEW HER WELL.

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This is a lesson for me to keep working to recover fully and be strong and healthy – for the love of my family and myself. I hope to remember that I am lovable all along the (sometimes bumpy) road. I may always have to pay some attention to this stubborn and tricky disorder, but I do believe I can recover.

As far as exercising goes…my sister suggested that right now may be a time to focus on muscle and strength building exercises and keep the calorie burning kind to a minimum. I will try to find a balance, and I do trust my willingness to keep working on myself until I find what’s right.

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I will keep going, a day and a moment at a time. I will notice my emotions and find ways to express and release (writing, music, fierce dancing??!!) and mostly be gentle and kind to myself.

It’s been a stressful year, with many outer changes at once. My sister also said “These would be tough times…without God! And the support of loving people in our lives.” Amen!

Asking…

So, I read my journal notes and affirmations a few times this week, and took time to listen and follow my own suggestions 🙂 For instance, I focused on “love driven”, and I thought, if I’m feeling self-conscious, perhaps I can focus instead on giving caring attention to whoever I’m with, rather than worrying what they think of me. It helped me relax.

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I have allowed myself to enjoy my food, and eat more, which I’m glad for. It seems that when I do this, it feels good at first because my body needs the food, and I’m glad to be letting myself relax and take it in. As soon as I start to feel I’m gaining a bit, however, the  patterns kick in, and I feel very uncomfortable, physically and emotionally. I even have dreams at night that I am blowing up ~ gaining weight quickly and feeling awful about myself.

In my mind and heart I know that I am worth loving at any size, and that it’s what is within that matters! I am frustrated to still be dealing with these stuck patterns at my age ~ ready and wanting to let go of this!

So, I thought of asking for support from people who are understanding and close to me. I’m going to send an email to my husband plus several women (friends and family – fortunate to have them!) and request support.

I want to enjoy and have a little fun with it, using some humor and asking for things that would be specifically helpful to me. For instance ~ “Please send me a message or email any time, telling me I am worthy and beautiful inside and out! Please tell me I’m doing well, to keep it up, and I can do it! Also, please offer me food, or ask me if I’d like dessert?? Did I get enough to eat? I may not accept but I like to be asked. Also, please check in with me now and then just to see how I’m doing.”

I want to let them know what my weight goals are, and why it feels important to me to recover fully. I want to be healthy, strong, relaxed and present for myself and for them. I love them and I want to care for myself also. I’m putting it out there so I can shine some light on the situation and openly ask for their loving support.

I’m often trying to be perfect in order to be accepted and perhaps gain the appreciation and caring I seek. I am usually working hard and doing things for others. I am excited to try this and see how it feels to ask for what I need.

Running Late…My House Burned Down ~

The title is a line I texted in jest to my daughter several months back – milking the dramatic fact that my husband and I did actually lose our home in a recent wildfire. Back story first…

A few years ago, a friend I hadn’t seen for a while emailed me to say: “When I saw you the other day, you had lost so much weight that I’m worried you aren’t eating enough.” People had been telling me for a while that I was too skinny, but I had mostly brushed it off. I thought they didn’t really understand my situation, or I didn’t appreciate the judging way they made comments.

But I could tell this friend really cared, and I was able to hear her concern. This prompted me to research the issue, and I resonated with much that I read about anorexia. I began seeking support and working towards recovery. I found it to be a slow process; tricky and easy to slip up.

Along the way, with support, I was able to heal some deep pain and sadness, gain much self-awareness, and learn coping skills and new strategies. I slowly put on a little weight, and  declared myself “well”. Then my house burned down! This was of course a dramatic life event. I call it a “profound loss” because much meaning came out of it. People were so kind, and gave us many things, including their time, care and concern, and material items. Yet it has been a stressful year, with almost everything in our life changing at once. And often in times of stress we revert back to familiar patterns.

I was not back to square one, yet my issues did “flare” for a while. I lost weight, and as anyone who’s been through this knows, it is a difficult climb back up.                               .sky the night of fire

So, I went back to my therapist for a bit, and started a food journal and a feelings journal again. I talked with close friends who understood. And so I am recovering again.

Then the idea came to me to write this blog about my experiences. I sense that it is a part of my own strengthening to share my journey. I acknowledge myself for taking steps towards recovery – I find it is an active process! For me it is important to recognize my issues, and actively focus on healing.

Once I started, support from others truly helped. For instance, a dear friend taught me a kind of healing meditation. One day, while meditating, I got an insight ~ from deep within my belly and soul. I felt the pain of myself as a young girl, curled up, and feeling that I was not worthy and not seen as lovable by my father. My tears released some of the grief.

Then I quickly realized that I had transferred some of that inner hurt to my relationship with my husband. I subconsciously thought that if I gained weight he wouldn’t love me. (I even thought he judged me whenever we ate.) In my mind, I knew he loved me, but I needed to share this insight with him to help me get past it. A few days later I told him about my experience, and he reassured me he was not thinking or feeling anything like this! It didn’t end the disorder for me, but it did allow me feel freer with him, and helped me see that recovery was now completely in my own hands. I could make the choices and do the work to heal.

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to read it and respond. If I can help someone else, it will deepen the good that has come out of my journey.