Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A new start.

It's time for a new start.

When I first started this blog I was at the very beginning stages of my recovery. Reading through old posts I wonder who the person writing was, because they seem strange and unfamiliar. I was a person still very much consumed in my ED, but fighting with every breath to find her way out. Every day was a struggle, a mental battle. I had to ignore the voices that told me I was fat and worthless, that I didn't deserve to ea, that I didn't need food, every minute of every day. It was an exhausting, tiering battle, and there are times I wanted to give up. But I didn't...

Today, I'm proud to say that things are vastly different. Those voices are silent for the most part, and my ED no longer defines who I am. It no longer controls my choices, my lifestyle, my personality. I am stepping out of this dark tunnel that has been my life for so long into a much brighter, more exiting future. I still battle at times, there are days when my old ways seem more appealing then not, but I am much stronger now then in times past. My life is full of excitement and promise, and I'm more then ready to embrace it.

So the era of "smiling through tears" is just about over, because I hardly cry any more. My life is now full of smiles and laughter, challenges and new adventures waiting to be uncovered. So I've started a new blog: http://anewstarttoday.wordpress.com/ and I hope to see you all there.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

One lazy Saturday...

Normally I wake up on Saturdays with some sort of a plan or agenda. But this morning I woke up to realize that I had absolutely no plans for the day. So I decided to take it a moment at a time and see where my day would take me.

I started the morning off with a lovely bowl of oats:

Followed by some blog reading and yoga. I never do yoga in the mornings, so this was a great change in routine. I must say that I quite enjoyed it.

Then I did some scheduling work and met up with some people. I came home and settled down with a quick but tasty lunch : avocado on toast with cottage cheese, and another sandwich with avocado, hummus and cheese (to think that just a while back all of these foods were fear foods is quite amazing).

Then I took a long nap. Gosh I've missed taking naps. These days I don't have much time for that luxury, and I usually have a hard time falling asleep during the day. But today I crashed out for a good hour and a half and it felt sooooo good.

Afterwards I went on a long walk through town. Spring seems to have finally (fingers crossed) arrived, so it means I will be spending as little time indoors as possible. I love being outside in the fresh air, having your face warmed by the sun, walking along and watching the world pass you by. There's something refreshing about being outdoors that always puts me in a good mood.

Then came some of this:

A little bit of this:

And it was time for a big family dinner (I briefly mentioned it here, and although it was supposed to happen on Sunday it happened today). Amazingly I was able to enjoy it with no anxiety whatsoever. There was buttery stuffing, white rice and glazed chicken and I have no idea how it was prepared and how much oil was used (although I have a pretty good idea, seeing as the bottle was half full before dinner and now there's only about 1/4 left :P). But I didn't care, I ate and enjoyed and that's all that matters.

And I have one last accomplishment to brag about. About 2 hours after dinner I was REALLY hungry. No idea why that was, because I probably had a higher calorie meal then I do most nights. After an inner struggle I decided to get some food. I ended up with quite a hefty snack, because I was THAT hungry. A part of me started freaking out (I was never a fan of eating in the evenings). Then I remembered my long walk and the yoga I did this morning. Obviously my body needs more fuel, and that's nothing to be ashamed or scared of. And I'm going to learn to be ok with that.

The rest of the evening was spent engaging in my favorite time- wasting activity:

(Definitely not a game I feel "cool" playing, considering I am generally pretty opposed to computer games. But somehow this is the only one I actually enjoy. Doesn't say much for my IQ though.)

Right now I'm thinking of watching a movie or reading a book and calling it a night. I actually have a to-do list for tomorrow, so gotta get some sort of a head start.

(Sorry for the lack of original pictures, my camera has been out of order recently. But it should be up and running again tomorrow.)

What's your favorite time-wasting activity?

What do you all usually do on a lazy weekend day?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Emotion-filled day.

Wow, today was an emotional day. Actually since emotional usually has a negative connotation I think I'll go with emotion-filled day. Because overall it was amazing.

Recently I've gotten involved with a volunteer project distributing clothes to underprivileged children. I actually grew up doing this kind of work (my parents were both volunteer workers), but I haven't had the chance to do it in a while. So I had mixed emotions when agreeing to be part of this project. But boy am I glad I did.

It seems like the moment I am with these children, I become a different person. I smile, I laugh, I talk and am outgoing. At home I am often quiet and withdrawn, I enjoy my privacy and peace. But helping others brings out a side in me that I don't always remember I have. There's a happy, bouncy, fun side trapped inside, and I really need to bring it out more.

Putting on a clown show for handicapped kids.I totally rock being a clown!

There's also something unforgettable about making someone else smile. It's impossible to describe the feeling, but it's definitely a knowledge that you did something really worthwhile. You brightened up the life of someone who's life is generally pretty bleak. And to be honest that makes you feel pretty damn good. All of a sudden your day has purpose and meaning to it. Because for once you didn't just think about yourself and what you needed and wanted, but you were able to reach out and bring a little bit of joy into someone else's life. And that is worth much more then just your own personal happiness.

Another thing I forgot is just how great it is not to think about myself and my problems. When I look at these kids - all either from poor and broken families, some with mental or physical handicaps, it makes me realize just how lucky I am. Sure, I'm not well off by anyone's definition, but I've always had enough. More important then money I am healthy, I have a loving family that cares about me, I have so much awaiting me in this world. Those born with mental handicaps will never have the same chances I have. Their world is full of challenges that are totally and utterly incomprehensible to me. All I can say it... I'm so lucky.

Some kids at a afternoon-care center I occasionally volunteer at (most of these kids have parents with drug/alcohol addictions and have as many as 7-11 siblings)

Hearing about the catastrophe in Japan, coupled with all this charity work I've been doing lately has really helped me to take a step back and be grateful for all I have. Tough things have happened to me in the past, my future is still a mystery and there are a lot of things I currently have to deal with that aren't easy - but I still have so much to appreciate in my life. It's just overwhelming how much we take for granted till it's gone; but stepping out to help someone else can help you realize how much you have before that happens.

After that though, my afternoon took a turn for the worse. My family is planning a big Sunday dinner and for some reason I started feeling really anxious about it. This came as a surprise, as I haven't felt anything like this for a while. Then to make matters worse it seemed everything went wrong that afternoon - things broke, I flooded the kitchen, dinner burned and I was hungry. By the time I sat down to eat I scarfed down my food, and felt overwhelmingly guilty afterwards.As a matter of fact I felt so bad I wanted to purge.

I haven't felt that urge in a long time, so again I was shocked by it. But the thought was so appealing, so tempting. Maybe it was a way to vent all the pent up frustration inside me, or alleviate the anxiety a little. Whatever the case a wave of emotion hit me. Then out of the blue I was reminded of a quote I read from a girl who quit smoking "We are helpless against our addictions, but not hopeless". This is translated, so it doesn't make much sense until to hear the context, but the point is that you can't keep yourself from feeling the urges, but you can keep from giving into them. And that is what I decided to do. I stayed around people and kept myself distracted till the urge faded and then got on with my evening. Afterwards I was able to enjoy a yoga, a movie and a glass of wine - totally beats feeling guilty, weak and lightheaded after purging doesn't it?

It took me a long time to realize that feelings don't have to equal actions. It's ok to feel anxious, angry, frustrated, sad or whatever else the case may be. For so long I tried to numb these emotions by engaging in self-destructive behavior. But I'm slowly learning that all these things pass, and if you are able to endure these emotions for a while, they fade eventually. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, and I know I'm getting stronger by the day.

PS: I am totally gonna rock the big stuffed chicken family dinner we are gonna have. ED can just take all that anxiety and shove it :P.

How do you cope with negative emotions, urges?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Scattered thoughts

Today's post doesn't really have a theme. It's just going to be a bunch of random blabbering from me about whatever comes to mind. Hope ya'll don't mind that :P?

So I've been doing a lot more experimenting in the kitchen since my recent boost of motivation. Usually these types of things last only a few days for me, and then after a while the feeling fades and I stop pushing myself. But so far this wave of motivation is lasting, and I intend to ride it out till the end.

Anyhow, back to my kitchen experiments; I'm feeling a lot freer to try new things and step out of my comfort zone. I've been making homemade nut butters in my free time (I'm pretty sure my family thinks it's pretty odd, but no one has had the guts to comment on it so far) and I'm discovering new ways to eat and incorporate more calorie dense foods into my diet. Just for fun here are the nut butters I've tried so far and how I eat them.

Raw almond butter (I made a chunky version of this too, and it's wa
better in my opinion).

I tried this in oats but I wasn't a fan. I like it best eaten plain with a spoon, on cracker with a banana, or on toast with honey and cinnamon. Definitely my favorite nut butter so far.

Then there's coconut banana butter (although I won't be making this for a while, I made it today and it took SO LONG). This smells divine, but if I eat it plain or even on bread it makes me sick - it's THAT rich. I love it on banana oat bran or oatmeal though.

(This is
Katies picture, seeing as i is her recipie I thought it was only fitting - also my butter turns a rather unattractive dark color after a relatively short amount of time)

And then there's tahini, which I tried just recently. I am not a fan AT ALL. Even in hummus, I don't like the flavor. Maybe it's because it's home made, I don't know. But I'm not ready to risk buying a whole jar just to confirm I don't like it.

And then for the rest of my healthy fat intake there are my classic favorites - avocados and almonds. I like almonds best plain, and avocados basically any way they're served. They're just yummy!

Here are some of the other lovely foods I've been enjoying recently:

(Home made pitas with stuffed with roasted chickpeas and veggies. I looove pita)

A cereal mess breakfast - with pear, yogurt, almonds and cinnamon. Although I will agree with everyone that says cereal isn't filling, but it sure is yummy

I might be the only one in the world that enjoys my oats without a lot of fancy toppings. I savor the flavor of whipped banana oats (ala Kath) without a bunch of added toppings.

A new recipe I made up - orange flavored curried cous cous and tofu. I liked this dish so much I made it twice in 3 days.

On a less positive note my stomach is still a mess - 80% of the time I am in pain, nauseous or bloated. This does make eating much harder, because I feel like by eating I am hurting my body. This of course isn't at all true, but in my mind pain=bad so food= bad. I'm hoping I'll be able to discover the reason for all these symptoms soon, so I don't have to keep going through this. Because pain is NOT fun :(

I'm also realizing I'm gradually becoming less controlling of my food. I take random bites of food here and there and don't really think about it. Normally I don't eat mindlessly, meaning I walk into the kitchen with a plan as to what I'm going to eat. But sometimes I find myself eating a teaspoon of almond butter from the jar, or a nut from the pack, or a bite of this or that, just for fun - because I feel like it. Sometimes this is a bit triggering for me, because I feel so "out of control". But usually that feeling only lasts for a moment, and it doesn't bother me the rest of the day.
I think this is definitely a step forward, because that's what normal people do. They eat bites of this and that, and don't obsess over every slice of apple or crumb of cake. Because really, does all that really matter in the grand spectrum of life?

Speaking of life I do have some new things going on. Tomorrow I am going to look at the university I MIGHT be attending next year. It's quite far away so it'll probably end up being a bit of a field trip. I don't mind though, actually I'm quite exited. It'll make my dream seem that much closer and more attainable. And I realized recently that going to uni next year is one of the few things I REALLY REALLY want right now. So just to have a taste of what the future might hold for me is a thrilling prospect.

The more I think about all that is in front of me the less I want to think about my eating habits and old mentalities. It just seems like such waste of time, not to mention pathetic. I mean, who gives that much thought and attention to their food and diet. I am most definitely an advocate for healthy living and lifestyle, but if it comes between a "healthy diet" and doing what you really want in life, I think it's obviouse which should be more important. Not to say you can't do both; but for goodness sake if you can't go to your friends birthday party because there will be cake made with (gasp) sugar and butter, or you can't go on a trip because you might have to eat at a fast food, you're not placing enough value in the things that really matter.

Alright, enough of my ranting. Hope you all are having a fantastic week so far and enjoying every moment while it lasts.

Have you discovered a new food you like recently?

What would take priority in your life over a perfectly healthy diet?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A moment of clarity.

Right now I'm having a moment of clarity.

What that means is that I am finally looking in the mirror and seeing what other people see. I WANT to gain weight. I no longer see it as a side effect, or something that inevitably comes with eating. No it's something that I'm pushing myself towards, possibly harder then ever.

I think what fueled this recent motivation is losing weight while on my trip. There were a few comments that affected me, one of which was made by a friend of mine whom I hadn't seen in a while. He said I was looking better (a.k.a gaining weight). At first I was happy, but it also made me feel sort of apathetic about trying to nourish myself. "After all" I reasoned "I gain weight without really trying. So I don't need to push myself as hard as I do".
That was obviously a wrong assumption, and I see that very clearly in hindsight. However there was another comment that sort of opened my eyes to the way things really are.
I was getting ready to go out to a party with my friend, but I just couldn't find clothes to fit me. Why? Because I looked so THIN in everything I put on. I felt self-conscious and wanted to look good showing off as little of my body as possible - not easy. After a lot of deliberation I finally decided on an outfit.
I felt fine most of the evening. There was a guy that I met that I spent a long time talking to. He wasn't one of those typical guys you meet at parties (mainly because he wasn't totally wasted when I met him). We talked about a lot of different things, and I genuinely enjoyed his company.

He was waiting for one of his friends to join the party, and I went to use the bathroom. When I came out he was chatting with his friend. Both of them looked up when I came up to them, and the first thing is friend said to me (he had obviously been drinking) was "Gosh, you're REALLY skinny".

That felt like a slap in the face, because there was nothing complimentary about that statement. He was stating a painfully obvious fact; a fact others are too polite to mention. The guy I was talking to gave him a dirty look as I walked away. But at that moment I realized something.

Skinny is NOT attractive. Having a low BMI does not make me beautiful. Sure, I'm no longer emaciated, but I am still too thin. And I don't want this any more. I don't want the comments, the stares, the whispers when they think I'm not listening. Most of all I want to feel good about myself again. I want to feel sexy, to know others find me attractive. Enough mucking around with this and time to GAIN SOME WEIGHT ALREADY.

So far I'm trying to do just that. I'm eating nut butters like it's my job, adding calories where I can. Because no matter what I feel at the moment, the truth is I need to gain weight.

I want my health back. I want my beauty back. I want to be free once again.

Here's a picture of me at a healthy weight (according to my friends this is the best I've ever looked).
I look at that picture and I feel good about myself. I feel like I look good, and I like the knowledge that others agreed with me. I want that back.

It's time to end this truce I've had with my ED and take an offensive. I'm tired of maintaining and standing still. I want to move forward towards a new and better life.

Watch out world, because here I come!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Adventures in the big city.

Alright, so here's the promised "trip" post. I have a hard time knowing what to call it, as a vacation isn't really an accurate description; at the same time it wasn't a business trip. So I'll just stick with this description for now till I find something more fitting.

(There will be some photo lags as I don't really like obsessively taking pictures of food and/or other ordinary objects with other people around. I think they just MIGHT find it a little odd :P)

So I arrived at my destination after a grueling 12 hours in the car. I like car travels mind you, but the conditions of this trip made enjoyment something fairly difficult to achieve. To clarify the first 5 hours were spent in extreme cold, because the heating in the car broke down and it was -18 outside. Definitely not enjoyable in the least. Thankfully later on in the day it heated up a bit, and I was able to enjoy the trip a bit more.

The first three days were spent doing a charity fundraiser. Basically I volunteered to raise money for an organization that works with underprivileged children in hospitals and orphanages. I got to dress up as a clown (one of their programs involves clown visits to terminally ill children) and ask for donations. A lot of people came up to me just to compliment me on my "look" - apparently I make a cute clown.

Then came the enjoyment/relaxing bit. Sunday evening I went to visit a friend. I had a few minutes before she got off work, so I took some pictures.

After that we went back to her apartment, relaxed and went out for a few drinks.

(Public transport is the way to go! Me and my friend travelling to our "drink spot". See how I'm dressed. Yes, it is THAT cold here.)

I'm not sure if I'm the only one that does this, but when I'm faced with a menu (be it drinks or food) I always take FOREVER to pick what I want. I just want to choose the best thing out there, and I am so scared of ordering something I don't want. My friend started teasing me for trying to "memorize the drink list"

We were both pretty tired so we didn't stay out too late or do too much. After a few drinks we headed off to sleep. The next morning I met up with some friends in town. The weather was BEAUTIFUL and surprisingly warm, so I did quite a bit of walking around town.

I got hungry so I stopped for a picnic (something I haven't done in years). The food was simple......

but the view - breathtaking.

I ran a few more errands and did some shopping. By the time came back to my friends apartment I was ravenous and thankfully so was she so we went out to eat. She surprised me by taking me to a gourmet health food restaurant (she is the queen of greasy chinease take out and fast foods). Apparently she loves the turkey spinach quesedilla they have there. I definitely wasn't complaining! I got to taste tempeh for the first time. It was SO good. I had it atop a spinach salad (I didn't get any veggies that day) with a mustard, olive oil honey dressing that I could have eaten plain with a spoon. I was a bit anxious when it came to choosing the food, but once I started eating I enjoyed it 100%. My friend was even surprised I was able to clean off my plate (it was HUGE).

I actually wanted to take a picture, but by the time our food arrived I was so hungry that I forgot :P. But the tempeh looked like the one pictured above.

Then came the evening and it was time to partayyyyyy!!! After a few drinks silliness with friends and random strangers ensued.

Since we got home at 5:00 AM the rest of the day was spent sleeping, packing, and getting ready for the long trip ahead.
The trip home also had it's adventures - we got lost several times and I had to actually use a map (thanks GPS for not working yet AGAIN). But we made it home safely.

And let's face it, I have a lot of good reasons for coming home.

Such as:

(My youngest brothers - the loves of my life :P)

(My INCREDIBLY comfy slippers - I'm all about comfort as opposed to fashion)

(Good food - barely and white bean salad with a tzaziki yogurt dressing)

What is something you always look forward to when you come home from a trip?

Do you also spend a long time picking something from menus?

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's just too easy...

I will be delaying my trip recap post for just another day. I truly do apologize, because that post was bound to be a lot more positive and up-beat then this one, but I need to get this off my chest.

This trip was wonderful - an opportunity to catch up with old friends, make new ones, work a bit and relax. But there was a side that wasn't so great - and that was my eating. As much as I attempted to eat a good amount, I seemed to have failed.

I've lost weight - noticeable weight. I don't weigh myself anymore so I don't know exactly how much. I'm hoping it's all in my head, that I'm just paranoid. But when I see the way my clothes fit me and how gaunt and bony my face now looks - I know the truth.

It was just so easy to slip back, to restrict without even trying. I was busy, I wasn't hungry, I was going to be partying that evening so the alcohol calories would make up for it. All those seemed like valid excuses at the moment. The truth is I thought it was impossible. I haven't "tried" to lose weight in so long I figured it wasn't possible. And not eating was just too convenient - it saved on money, time, bloating and indigestion I get rather often. But I regret it 100%

The first day I tried to eat normally I experienced extreme nausea that made it impossible. I was travelling so I just wrote it off as car sickness and thought nothing more of it. The next day was the same. Now my body is compensating for the lost calories by an insatiable appetite, coupled with excruciating pain after meals. I try to listen to my body and eat enough to satiate me, but being full equates almost unbearable pain (something I am experiencing at the moment).

If nothing else this experience has taught me I can't play around with my body and expect not to pay the consequences. I can't afford to skip just one meal, or live off low calorie meals and expect to be ok. My body has been though a lot, and if I ever expect it to normalize and become healthy and strong like it used to be, I need to stop messing around.

You can't just have an "off day" in recovery. You can't wake up in the morning and decide "I don't feel like fighting today. I'll give in today, just today. Tomorrow I'll get up again and do better". You need to decide each and every moment to fight, to do what's right, to not give in. With time it gets easier, you make more right decisions then wrong ones. But slipping is easy too, and once you go down that road, getting back on track is much harder.

I'm learning my lesson the hard way. I need to suffer though the physical and mental consequences of my actions because I thought I could take a break and go back to the "easy zone" for a while. But it doesn't work that way, and I know that this is a lesson that won't soon be forgotten.

How do you pick yourself up after a slip up?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Exhausted but alive.

Hi all!

I'm happy to report that I am home - exhausted but alive. I will provide a full report of my recent activities in an upcoming post.

In the meantime though I will leave you with some tantalizing pictures of my previouse whereabouts.

And possibly the most attractive picture of me EVER....


Although this one is wayyyy better (I constantly amaze myself at my ability to look like the wicked witch of the west :P)