Jan 042015
 

First, I want to say THANK YOU to the outpouring of support, encouragement and thought provoking ideas shared with me on my last post in comments, Facebook chats and in person hugs. You guys are the greatest.

Now for the topic at hand. This morning I was sitting on the couch, browsing Facebook, etc for an hour or two after I got out of bed. I was ignoring the growing growl in my tummy. I do this quite often…..

I get immobilized…stuck…I know what I should eat and I know what I want to eat and I just can’t move and commit. It isn’t laziness, I am truly immobilized, like I’m paralyzed…looking towards the kitchen…..just…ugh…stuck.

This is often why I don’t eat until I’m starving, which leads to either poor choices or making good choices but overeating, or BOTH.

I happened to be texting with a good friend this morning and was sharing these thoughts with her.

 

Friend: I get it. What do you have that you should eat?

Me: Eggs, Orange, Milk.

Me: I want Cinnamon Toast Crunch 🙁 I can’t have it though, because I have 5 grains for the day and we’re having chicken fried rice for dinner..which normally takes up 3…so thats 2 left for the day and I’m going out for lunch.

Me: My hungry inner child is asking for cereal, popcorn, sandwiches and potatoes!

Friend: Have apples with cinnamon sprinkled on them, crunchy cinnamon taste.

Me: Hmm, that sounds good, I’ll get up and do that plus eggs.

Friend: I get stuck on food a lot, too!

Friend: How are the apples?

Me: Yummmmmmmmm 🙂

I guess one of the ways to have this not happen is to have a bunch of foods around that are all good choices that I like…right? Why is that so hard? Does anyone else relate to this?

<3 Merbear

Jun 182014
 

Just to put this out there, over the last year I had a back injury and I was diagnosed with an eating disorder. Trying to work/think/learn my way through and out of obsessive and damaging eating patterns and learning to listen to my mind, body and heart when making intuitive eating decisions is a long and difficult road. This road was made harder by my inability to exercise besides my therapy appointments for 6 months. I went from dieting and running to an eating disorder diagnosis and no exercise.

I’ve learned a lot, one of those things is…..everyone has their own story, their own struggle, their own successes, joys and triumphs, too. Before we judge, just remember, we don’t know the whole story, we don’t know where someone came from, we definitely don’t know where they are going. Respect each other.

Mar 172014
 
not-alone
I had this conversation with a good friend via instant message over the weekend. I was inspired to blog about it, I was so moved by her reaching out to me and trusting my answers. I want everyone with disordered eating to get help, I want everyone to be in a good place like I finally am.  I want my friends to be happy.

I want to show you all this REAL conversation between REAL people instead of just typing out what you should do if you feel that you might need help….this is real people…and there is help, please remember I am NOT licensed nor an expert, but I have lots of real life experience!

My friend is in pink, I’m in blue 🙂

Do you ever feel the urge to track again even though you know it’s bad for you?

you mean with WW or calories? YES
I DO write down what I’m eating and make sure that I’m eating all the food groups, sometimes I even write down the measurements, but no calories or points

Gotcha. I’m struggling with not tracking my calories, fat, etc right now. I feel scared about weight gain and I want to track again because that feels “safe” even though it makes me insane.

Exactly, my perfectionism triggers my anxiety which triggers my eating disorder..sooo…especially with food, I have learned (and its tough) to not do it
BUT, from my dietitian I have learned ways to listen to my hunger and fullness signals
and understand what my body really does need -> grains, protein, fruit, veggies, fat, dairy and even desserts
When I first started I was tracking what I was eating AND the feelings associated with every meal and snack….even if it was just “normal” or “nothing” I wrote down every feeling
 
Have you thought about working with a dietitian? Often that can be about the same as paying for WW or another weight loss program, but its soo much better! They can be covered by health insurance so you are only paying copays (like me)
if you are diagnosed with an eating disorder (if tracking is a bingeing or compulsive eating trigger, you have an eating disorder)

I have never been diagnosed but believe I should be. I do think I need to work with someone but am trying to figure out how to afford it…

yeah its tough to figure that out My insurance covers me except $25 copay, which I pay weekly, but its worth it, its one of the things I’m doing even though I’m unemployed still

I think I need a real diagnosis before insurance will cover it. How did you go about that process?

Also, thank you so much for talking to me about this and feel free not to answer if I’m asking things I shouldn’t be.

its worth talking about, that’s why I blog about it
So here in MN we have two choices mainly, Melrose and The Emily Program
I already knew about them….they advertise all over
I called in directly and made an intake appointment
they had me talk to an intake therapist, take a few written quizzes and then checked with my insurance for me
if I didn’t know about them, I would have asked my regular doctor for a referral

I’ll see what happens with that and look around for something near me.

my insurance doesn’t require referrals to special programs,might want to check with yours if a referral from your primary is needed?

I’ll do that today. I definitely need more than just myself.

make sure you work with a licensed dietitian (not a nutritionist) and a therapist (if necessary)

Thank you so much.

you are welcome, thank you for trusting me to ask

Of course! I know you’re going through a lot of things that seem similar to me, and that you think about the world a lot like I do too.

The only thing that kinda sucks, and I blogged about it, is that I had to break out of my compulsive eating/perfectionist cycle by breaking all food rules and learning to live without food rules, so at the same time I was in Physical Therapy and couldn’t run or intensely work out,…that mixed with no food rules…I put on 70 lbs , I’m not saying the same will happen to YOU….cuz you are active…but now that I have no eating disorder symptoms and I can workout regularly, its coming back off…but SLOWLY because I don’t diet, I eat intuitively
Hmm, I might blog about this…..do you mind if I don’t use names?

I have been working on not tracking and I have definitely gained some. I seem to be in a holding pattern with gaining now but I’m TERRIFIED to gain more.

And yes, you can blog any of it.

thanks I think a professional would help you, we were born with the ability to eat intuitively and then we lose it, but its how every other species survives, it works for humans too and a dietitian will teach you

———

<3 Merbear
Jan 112014
 

I realized that I have only  blogged 5 times since the last Fitbloggin’ in June.  I always have a lot to say, but it never comes to mind when I have time to sit down at my computer, or once I do those thoughts become irrelevant.

I want to do a good, the bad & the ugly, but backwards and not so much negativity, here goes:

The Ugly:

  • I was laid off in November
  • I am the biggest I have ever been (I have been using the “F” word too many times to describe myself lately and it needs to stop)
  • I may not make it to Fitbloggin’ 14 because I need a job and that job also needs to allow the time off

The Beautiful:

  • I love myself, inside and out – The Emily Program has taught me so much about myself, overcoming and living with my eating disorder, and accepting who I am and soon I will be able to thrive
  • I have been enjoying my marriage for over a year now to my wonderful husband, we have settled in to our new home and I am just so grateful to be here with him
  • Over the last few years I have developed some amazing friendships and I’m so thankful for the people who have brought us and held us together.  I also am so grateful for the many people who have been my best friends since forever. Friendship is so important.
  • In the last year I’ve learned what I truly love to do…human resources, recruiting, writing, speaking, social media, and volunteering for causes and events close to my heart

The Great:

  • I have several leads for human resources positions
  • I went through 3 months of Physical Therapy and now I can finally get back to my regular workout schedule, so tied in with my new intuitive eating skills, my body should start to reflect the love I have for it on the outside, too
  • I can afford to pay for Fit Body Boot Camp with unemployment money, so thankful for that!
  • My generous parents may help me get to Fitbloggin’ 14 through an early birthday present so here’s hoping!
  • My husband and I are going on our honeymoon, FINALLY, in February to Cancun!!

My Can Do Plan:

  • Continue to explore intuitive eating, be aware of feelings, food and fullness.  Choose to use loving limits — with a weight loss goal
  • Attend Fit Body Boot Camp 5x – 7x each week and kick butt
  • Drink lots of water
  • Remember to eat 3 meals a day, plus snacks and have them be well rounded with at least two types of nourishment (a.k.a protein & grain or fruit & milk)
  • Truly appreciate the blessings in my life daily

<3 Merbear

 

Oct 092013
 

Two weeks ago I couldn’t fall asleep, I was distraught, uncomfortable and crying. I knew that the Emily Program and overcoming an eating disorder would be a long process.  A process that had to start with abolishing all food rules and learning to listen to my body. Then, I slowly learned to listen to my body and I learned the guidelines for fueling my body with what I need…and without judgement.

I spent about 2 months eating what my body craved and wanted, learning to be comfortable with not worrying about food.  That worry slowly subsided and my brain felt so much clearer, I felt so much better with everything day to day. My general anxiety lightened up….but my body didn’t…I went up about 2-3 sizes.  I had to go back to shopping at Lane Bryant, I had to put away all the cute clothes that I got in 2012 when I lost all that weight…

Now, I don’t hate myself for  that, I love myself for getting over an eating disorder and for doing what my brain needs. I could have continued on with diets…and lost weight, not gained weight…but I would have just yo-yo’ed again, its inevitable with my eating disorder history. But, even though I’m happy about the progress in my head, I was incredibly sad about what it did to my body….I was ready to just quit the Emily Program and go back to Weight Watchers…or something…..I wanted the blob attached to me to go away!!

My husband recommended that I tell exactly that to my dietitian, that I was done with putting on and maintaining weight, I needed to start working towards a weight loss goal immediately or I’d have to leave therapy.  At first I was so nervous, I didn’t want to lose my therapy or my dietitian, I had come so far.  I did it though, I kinda teared up as I told her what I needed, fearing she’d tell me that we weren’t done with learning to live without rules and learning about food exchanges and portion sizes..that it would be awhile longer. That I’d have to make the decision to leave when I wasn’t done….

But…she told me I was definitely ready to utilize my success in clearing my head of food rules and food anxiety and move forward with sculpting all the food exchange guidelines into portions/servings that had a weight loss goal.  YIPPEE!!!

Besides the fact that I have to keep a bit of a closer eye on my portions and I have specific servings a day of the different food exchange groups, this isn’t hard to do.  I have been learning and building my way up to this.  If I make a mistake…have too little or too much…its just a mistake, and because of dropping my emotional attachments to food..and my anxiety about food…I don’t obsess, I don’t blow the day or the week…I just move on.  Not that I’ve messed up really. Its only been 2 weeks and the food plan is just real food….all real food…any type of food..and lots of flexibility and exchanges….yes, I”ve been hungry a couple nights…but I realized that some of the food combinations I chose may not have been the best to satisfy me, so I adjusted…and it was okay.

The best part…I’m not craving some big snack attack, some big binge, a whole pizza or a mountain of ice cream….because I know…all those things are there…and will always be there…and I can have them whenever I want.  When I do have them, I don’t have to eat a ton, because again..I can always come back later, the next day or the next week and have it again.

Nothing is forbidden, nothing is wrong, nothing is bad…food is fuel and I use it to make my body healthy.

Some day in the future…like a special occasion…the goal of “weight loss” may not be my #1 priority..instead it might be to relax on vacation, enjoy new foods, have a drink…etc….well that’s okay…I have to go by what my priority is. But right now, my priority is the goal of weight loss..so I’m focusing on the Emily Program guidelines to obtain that.

If you are interested here they are:

6 – 8 servings of protein a day (1 oz of cooked meat is a typical protein, this also includes nuts and vegetarian proteins in other amounts)

2 servings of milk a day (a serving is 1 cup of milk, 1 oz of cheese etc)

5 servings of grain a day (a serving is 1/2 cup of cereal or rice, 3/4 cup of yogurt, a few ozs of crackers etc)

2 servings or more of veggies a day at a minimum, more is always welcome (1 cup of raw vegetables is a serving)

3 servings of fruit a day (handfruit, fruit in yogurt, applesauce, etc)

3 servings of fat a day (1 tsp of butter, 1 TBS heavy cream, 3 TBS hummus, etc)

1/2 Dessert a day (think of this as half of a premium dessert or a WHOLE lighter dessert like a Skinny Cow cone or 1 cup of light ice cream)

 

This is extremely manageable and gives me more than enough food, plus there are a lot of foods that fall in more than one category and so they can be exchanged around….like 1 oz of cheese can be a protein OR a milk..whee!

 

Alright this post has gotten long and I wanted to let you all know how I’m doing.  I’m open to answering any questions and also hearing what you guys think about what I’m doing and how I ‘m doing!

Soon, I will learn if I can actually look at the scale again, I haven’t since March!! MARCH!! It feels kinda good, but now I want to see how my weight loss goal efforts are panning out, too!

<3 

Merbear

Aug 282013
 

My friend Robby, Fat Girl vs. World asked on Facebook this morning:

“What makes people choose elimination diets (i.e., “no carbs” or “no solid food” or “nothing that rhymes with orange”) over moderation/food logging?”  – click the link if you want to see what everyone from all over the blog world is saying on her FB thread, we have lots of smart friends 🙂

– She noted that this does not apply to people with a food allergy or something like gluten intolerance or celiacs, because obviously those people must eliminate for medical reasons.

Here’s the answer I started typing, I realized it was very long, so I decided to post about it instead:

Elimination and food rules triggers my compulsive eating because I have anxiety and I’m a perfectionist (as diagnosed by my ED therapist and dietitian).

For most compulsive eaters its actually the SAME THING, they just haven’t been diagnosed for an ED or talked to anyone professional about emotions/foods.  If you remove the emotion from a food (which can be done with ED therapy NOT by WW or any elimination diet (paid for or free), you can eat in moderation…

You can have what you want…because you know it’ll always be there, so there’s no trigger to eat more and more. (this is NOT for people who have allergies/diseases etc that require them to eliminate things obviously, I mean people without sensitivities).

For 99.9% of people that are overweight, its all emotion..its all recovery from something

….for people that just got lazy or that had active young lives and now aren’t as active..those people can do WW or calorie counting or whatnot..but that’s not most of us, most of us eat to feel good, to hide something, to repair something.

Just like anxiety, depression, etc….overeating/compulsive eating…even if its not anorexia or bulimia…requires some learning about self-acceptance..it truly helps.

I’m in the middle of  therapy for compulsive eating and I can have all my old “trigger” foods right in front of me, because I have learned how to heal myself in other ways…a lot of me has healed already…I know that my favorite foods – Oreos, spaghetti, pizza, ice cream..well, they will be there tomorrow, too..and oh boy, leftovers of my favorite food (if I happen to get a large portion at a restaurant or make too much at home)…

I automatically moderate now because food doesn’t fix and I know food doesn’t go away..I hope what I’m typing here is helping someone.

I personally go to the Emily Program which I know has locations in Minnesota and Washington State. I also know that Park Nicollet (in MN) has Melrose.

But honestly, reach out to your regular doctor, tell them you want to be connected with someone who can help…compulsive eating is now an eating disorder and can be covered by your insurance.

 

May 242013
 

I accept myself – fully and unconditionally, as I am, in this moment

 

The second part of my Emily Program journey started this week – therapy.  Every eating disorder has roots, some are obvious, but most are not.  My eating disorder ties right in to my anxiety (not surprising) and the roots of my anxiety are fear of abandonment and the need to seek approval and acceptance of myself from outside sources. On the outside, to people who don’t know me, and much to my chagrin, I may appear selfish and needy. As my husband says, “there you go again think for your selfer”. I admit that I act this way. I’ve developed this defensiveness over the years…anytime I even slightly perceive that I’m not being listened to or I think that someone has the wrong idea about me…I overreact.  Its because I perceive that person is not accepting me or approving of me any longer (so I have learned in therapy). It shakes my anxiety to the core. But, it makes me look and act like a child.

My need breaks my emotions, makes me crave comfort and to feel good.  Thus triggering emotional eating  that can turn into compulsive eating.

On Sunday a celebrated my birthday with my family. I had such a good time dancing with my niece, hugging my nephew, having excellent conversation with my parents, sister, brother-in-law, cousin and husband. But, something in me was sad…I’m not feeling so awesome about my body right now…after a week of prescribed rest and prednisone for a back injury..I felt like a big blob…sad that I didn’t want new clothes for my birthday because they’d all be in big sizes..which I’d have to accept as where I am, albeit temporary. I gave in to being sad and I grabbed 4 sugar cookies, sat down on the couch and flipped on the TV.  Although its fine to have a dessert and its fine to have cookies, the *reason* I took the cookies and the *reason* I chose four is disordered. I just wanted to have that yummy taste and feel that crunch.  Ryan had been tuned in to my feelings all day (like the good hubby he is) and he called down from upstairs and asked how I was doing…he heard the tremor in my voice and came down to talk it out.  I should have just talked to him first…because of course it helped to just share.  I felt so much better.

Just for a bit of clarification –  I’m not a binge eater anymore..that was when I was much younger, I’m a compulsive eater.  I didn’t feel out of control when I ate those cookies, I just ate them for the wrong reason. My feelings made me want to eat, instead of actually dealing with and going through them (I need an outside source, some don’t.)  Ryan helped make me feel better, not the cookies. 🙂

My Monday session with my new therapist felt awesome…she asked about my past and how I’m feeling now. We really dug in to find the source of my anxiety in general and how that relates to my compulsive eating. I felt good after that hour chat with her, after identifying what is really going on. Developing an understanding, even if its not a solution, feels good and has already helped me this week. I’m able to talk out and reason out why I feel a certain way and even talk through it with close friends and family. I still seek approval, agreement and acceptance..so it does feel better when I can explain it all to someone else and they “get it”, too. But, when its family and close friends, that’s okay 🙂

I’m okay, I’m me..and I love me 🙂

<3 Merbear