I am ready

I was extremely blessed this week beginning on Sunday with a sermon that led to yesterday’s post and now a great talk with an old dance teacher that has become one of my truest friends. We spoke about a number of our struggles and how we can tackle them in our future. How appropriate since 2013 is upon us. After everything we spoke about the thing we both came back to is this:

When you are ready…

It is a great thing to talk and know what I need to do to find freEDom and recovery for good but I will always be in the same place unless I do something. Unless I change things I will be the same as I was yesterday. That isn’t a bad thing, I am healthy and happy the majority of the time. But I am not free yet. I know of some things that I can do to help me become free but I cannot do that until I am ready. I am ready. I am not scared of what I have to do. I am nervous and I am scared of the uncertainty that comes with every new thing. But I am ready. I am ready. I am ready.

Strength in Freedom

My goals for 2013

  1. Work on freeing myself from my fear food. I have alluded to this in many posts but never revealed what it is I fear. I fear grains. It stems from years ago and is a story in itself. But I know that grains are healthy and needed in the diet. So to begin conquering this fear I will be reintroducing grains into my diet a little at a time. As with anything you have to start small and work your way to the top. How appropriate for the name of my blog. I will be plating those grains, enjoying them (hopefully- if not I will be trying a new grain that I do enjoy) and then climbing on to the next thing.
  2. Put myself out there to meet people. I pretty much live in the school and study environment. And I study in my house. There is not much opportunity to meet people there. So 3 times a week/3 hours a week I will be finding a place that I enjoy studying. It might be a Starbucks, Panera, library, Student Union… Whatever I just have to enjoy being there. And then once a month I will do something recreational. This could be going downtown to meet people/hang out with friends or going bowling at our student center. I just want to put myself out there to meet people and this is where I am going to start.
  3. Try new things. I am currently working on a list of things I have always wanted to try but have been too afraid/self-conscious in the past. To give you an idea it includes running (short distances and no races just for fun and for feeling my body better), yoga (especially Hot Yoga), Pilates, Horseback Riding…
  4. Do something nice once a day. Wake up and be thankful and love others. Stop judging others. I want to find something nice that I can always do that helps someone else out. I want to write down what I am thankful for. I will show compassion. And when I make a judgement I will work on checking myself. Everyone is different and they should be loved for that individuality.

None of these will happen with the blink of an eye. But I hope to look back a year from now and see that I have made progress in each of these so that I can add to them and keep working to grow as a person. And back to Sunday…


This is a life in progress

I am linking up with Sloan’s freEDom from perfection campaign this week. The past weeks posts from amazing bloggers have touched me and cause me to reevaluate.

Strength in Freedom

Warning: I don’t know where I am going with this.

I began this blog not really knowing what I wanted it to be. I just wanted a blog, and figured I must have something to offer the world. I love foodie blogs and I love food, but I don’t know how to make delicious recipes or have the photography skills to make the meal creations I do come up with look very pretty.

My first baked pumpkin stuffed with kale, ricotta, and honey. with roasted veggies, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts on the side
Photography by Kailey Proctor (case in point- I can’t take pretty meal pics)

I exercise, but have to cut back sometime soon now. And I don’t have any cool fat burning routines for myself or anyone else. I am a gym rat and most of the time I am OK with that. I am jealous of you runners that go outside and run for the love of it. Actually I am jealous of anyone that works out for pure pleasure everyday because while yes there are days like this past Friday when I just crave some gym time, most of the time I exercise because it’s habit, I feel like I have to, or I really need to study/read for school and that is how I accomplish such a task.

But I was a dancer. Never a runner or a cycler. I started riding the stationary bike in 9th grade when the world around me started saying I should at least 3 times a week. Weight came off and my turns and balance improved. The benefits of the exercise were numerous. So were the new diet restrictions. I always hate admitting that there is a control factor in eating disorders/disordered eating, but looking back my life was pretty damn controlled.

I wouldn’t say exercise ever became a problem though until after my recovery. Sometime between freshman and sophomore year of college my views of exercise and what was enough became warped.  First it was 60 minutes one day and 30 minutes the next with 2 days off on the weekend. Pretty sane and healthy, too bad I had begun restricting again in that time. But then as exercise machines became more available, and my mornings more free I never did less than 60 and every other day I did 90 minutes on that damn arc trainer. Who was I becoming? The good thing was I stopped restricting food by then and ate food I loved and some I didn’t but told myself I should (Read: large amounts of candy and sweets). But those long workout sessions also caused my eating patterns to become quite off. (Read: Breakfast at 11am, Lunch at 3:30 and sometimes 5pm, and Dinner at 9pm or 10pm). Then came the breakdown, and the realization of weight gain despite all of the hours working out, and that my food/meal patterns were really bothering me. Good thing it was summer and I could go home and get in to see my therapist. Conclusion? I was using exercise and food as an escape or excuse not to have fun or live life. So I was assigned to take breaks, have fun, and make a real effort to break out of the shell I had build around myself. O and I was supposed to reduce my exercise and eat every 4-5 hours no matter what.

Confession: I didn’t do any of it. Summer was good to me in a lot of ways. I no longer felt like I had to workout everyday, I finally came to the realization that dance wasn’t for me anymore, and I was making time for other things besides exercise, meal planning, cooking, and cleaning. But every time I got on the bike I just couldn’t make myself get off until at least 93 minutes had past. Or as I started going to the gym again I couldn’t make myself just do 30 minutes on one machine or the other. Once I had rode the elliptical for 30 and ran for another 30 one day it became my routine and I couldn’t bring myself to change it. And I succumbed to my biggest fear food yet again. Not totally, but it appeared less and less in my daily food intake as weeks past by.

Fast forward to now. My days are jammed pack, I have overloaded my schedule, and my perfectionist nature is stronger than ever. I didn’t overload myself on purpose and all of what I am doing is good for my resume/future career and the things I choose to do I really love (Read: tutoring, anatomy TA, bible study, and spending extra time studying metabolic). I still feel the need to spend a specific time exercising and still find myself on the bike for 70-90 minutes. The fear food is still not a daily choice, and sometimes I restrict it purposefully. Honestly it has become more of a special occasion food, like when I go out to dinner, or it is a holiday, or I realize my stomach hasn’t encountered it in quite sometime. I am not proud of this and I know it needs to change. I know logically and factually from classes that the key to health and metabolic function is a balanced, well-rounded diet. I will be the first person to tell you these fad, clean diets are a load of bologna.

This is all really hard for me to admit. I am recovered right? RIGHT. Because I made the decision to live 4 years ago and committed myself to recovery. I am still committed. But I think along the way I got stuck and never realized it because my weight was stable, I was succeeding in school, and I have what most (me included) would consider a pretty fantastic life.

Just as I am still learning in school, I am still learning in life. I am only 21 years old, and it would be weird if I had it all figured out.  My life includes my recovery. Right now that means I have some days when that dang ED doesn’t have a chance to put its two sense in. But I still have quite a few days where the voice is present and I hear it. But does that mean I listen? The answer should be no. But sometimes I do. But do I act? Again sometimes yes. It is hard not to all of the time, I am not perfect after all.

But none of that means I am not recovered. Because I know who the ED Shannon is and who the recovered, totally awesome smart Shannon is. I see the latter a lot and the former not so much. And when the ED Shannon busts into my life you best bet I kick her to the curb. I am recovered and it is my life. I still have pieces I need to work on and I need to stop ignoring that and actually get to work. I am not a procrastinator so why do I procrastinate with this? That’s a topic for another time.

I’ll end with this. I am committed to my recovery and the healthy life I have been given in the 4 years since my eating disorder. I am forever grateful for what  was a learning experience I don’t wish upon anyone else, but for me it has taught me to never take life for granted, showed me that I am worth it, and has given me the opportunity to live for what makes me happy, not for what I think people expect me to be.

Recovery = Life and Life just isn’t perfect. In other words my recovery won’t be either. The important thing is I have realizations like this that get me back on track.