Because I DON’T Have to!

I’m back!!! At least for a little while, Christmas break is going to be jammed packed of fun and life-learning experiences. And they already began. But all of those deserve their own separate attention. But I will leave you hanging with some intriguing details… Macados, twiin Christmases, Waffles, Exams, Rudolph, Fun > Studying, Snowball Camp, Atlanta, GRE, Research, Toll-Receptor 4?, The Hobbit, Les Mis… the list goes on and on!  But how fortunate that today is Tuesday and I have time for a #FreEDom post from the lovely Sloan’s campaign. It’s not going to be a long one, but a simple revelation and challenge to myself for this upcoming break and new year. I have some other thoughts on perfection for a future post but I am waiting for something. Geeze I am not being very revealing am I? Sorry, you will understand when the time comes. For now let’s find #freEDom!

Strength in Freedom

I have recounted time and time again my addiction to exercise. Over the course of the past two years I did it too often, became obsessed and sacrificed a lot of life because I was working out for a good 3 hours in the mornings on that stupid elliptical. Add in the 5-6 hours I spent preparing and eating meals and most of my day was consumed by exercise and food thoughts and it can safely and accurately be stated that the rest of the day was consumed by nonstop studying. No fun, friends, or relaxation in the mix. My therapist challenged me to stop the addiction in its tracks before my ED had the chance to come back. And to look for areas of fun in life to replace the loss I was bound to find when giving up the exercise. I fought this, and I fought this hard. But in the time since Thanksgiving and my first freEdom post something has changed within me, something is not the same…

I don’t have time to exercise every day. At least not formally strap on sneakers and workout clothing, get to the gym, and work up a sweat. School is so much more important to me. And I do a lot outside of the classroom. I study hard. We are talking massive amounts of flashcards to the point where I memorize my notes and then take that memorization and put it into application. Because it is not enough to memorize this information, I have to understand it. OK sorry for the rant but I love school and I could talk about studying all day.

Source: via Laura on Pinterest

Exercise is not my passion. My passion as stated above is school. More specifically as I have discovered this year, metabolism. I could talk about enzymes and their substrates and their regulation all day long. You would be bored, but I would be on cloud nine. We all have different passions in life, but I think with the obesity epidemic and the new popularity of healthy living communities a lot of people believe that if they don’t love to wake up and exercise every day there is something wrong and that they are not living a healthy life. That just isn’t the case.

So here it is the point of this longer than expected post. I love exercise. And recently realized I don’t mind running. Short distances mind you and at a slow little turtle pace. But I don’t want to do it every day. But I sure feel like I have to. Take today, I am not really sure I want to go to the gym for that sweat session everyone says is necessary. I know I will enjoy it, but my question to myself has to be what are my motives? Burning calories, reducing stress, smiling, feeling guilt without it? Yesterday I wanted to run not for the calories or the feeling of guilt, but because I hadn’t in a few days and missed it. Healthy mindset that I am very proud of. I want that mindset every day of my life so here is my challenge to myself: Practice being OK with not wanting to work out and only work out when I am doing it for the right reasons. If I find myself lacing up those sneakers because I feel the need to burn calories in order to eat what I want or feel good about my body I am doing it for the wrong reasons and wasting valuable time that could be spent studying, reading articles, hanging out with friends, or just relaxing.


So that is the challenge. Will it be immediate? Nope. Just like with breaking the exercise addiction it will take some time and effort on my part. It will take me forcing myself to listen and respond to the reasons I am heading to the gym. Especially when there will be times over break when I have all of the time in the world and could spend it all working out, planning meals, eating meals, and then planning my next workout based on those meals. I am up for it. And I know I will have the support from my family and friends as I really work towards this mental health I never got back in my recovery.

Bring on the Rain While I Call for Help

I moved back to college for the 3rd time in my life. I am Junior. And leaving never gets easier. I always think this time will be the time that I don’t cry/sob when it is time to say goodbye. Yeah not so much. Actually this time I had make up on and it ran down my face and now I have a stye on my eye. So maybe I am not so great at goodbyes?

This trip back to college was different than the other two. I took my car this year because me and my roomie are in a townhouse this year and we need a car. No more depending on the bus at 10pm when we just want a night out at the movies and IHOP. Or when we visit our favorite restaurant Macados for pretty epic spinach and artichoke dip + sandwiches + madison mud pie. And of course grocery shopping just became ten times easier. Well except for having a budget, that is new and something that I need to learn to get used to. Excited for the new opportunities! 

Yup that is me and my Hokie Bird and hot red car ready for the drive to school solo. I was very much freaking out about driving the whole way on my own this year. But I was also excited and confident in my ability to do so. With GPS in hand, a car packed full, and a planned stop on the way to chill with my best friend and eat the lunch I packed I was ready.

And then it started to rain. No actually it started to pour. You know the kind of downpour you only seem to run into on a country back road in the middle of no where. Where the only place to pull over it either a stranger’s house or a tavern on the side of the road… Yeah. So I had to call my mommy. She and my roommate and my daddy all agreed that the weather was looking bad. So mom and dad to the rescue! They drove out to meet me (I was already a good hour into my drive) and planned to follow me as I drove to college. And of course the second they arrive the rain stops. I felt awful quite honestly! Here I was trying to grow up, move on my own, and I needed my parents help not even an hour in. And then the whole time they drove with me, there was no rain. They went with me up until I reached my best friend’s apartment and then left to turn around and go back home. Now the plan was to stay and eat lunch (that I had all packed) at my friend’s apartment but I needed to get on the road pretty quickly because I just wanted to get to school at this point. So I stopped, we hugged, and I got back on the road. Remember I said the rain had stopped? Not anymore! Yeah I drove the next 90 minutes in more downpour. But it wasn’t bad enough to pull over or slow me down so this time I handled it on my own. However the lunch I packed never got eaten (well it did but 3 days late….) 😦 But I did get to school and my apartment with plenty of time to chill with my roomie before getting all dolled up for an epic night out for dinner 😀 Sorry no pictures, we were too consumed with life and catching up to capture the moment.

I Realized 2 Major Things

  1. I am growing up. I am more adult than even 2 weeks ago. And I am 21 in about 2 weeks BUT when I am not comfortable it is OK to ask for help. Actually anyone should ask for help when they are confused or lost and in trouble. That is the only way we learn (well that and making mistakes). I am terrible at asking for help when I need it. I am just so self conscious. But everyday I am learning. There was nothing wrong with me calling my parents. Actually it would have been wrong to keep on driving and put my life in danger. That is the thing, when we don’t ask for help sometimes it is a life or death thing. So I am going to work on asking for help/advice whenever I need it. Sometimes, yes, I need to problem-solve for myself but when I have tried and tried again on something there is no shame in raising my hand, picking up a phone, or yelling into my roommate’s room (politely of course!) that I am confused and frustrated or I just need help!
  2. I am learning to go with the flow. I couldn’t eat my lunch on my car ride. A year ago I would have been silently freaking out. Thinking my ED will start to pop up. I will have to overcompensate at dinner. This is so wrong, what if I go down the wrong road again. Not this time! I made a decision that I wanted to get to my new home with time to unpack and chill with Kailey. I did not want to stop anymore. So I didn’t. I was normal. When people around me miss a meal they don’t freak out or overcompensate at dinner. I didn’t either. I got to my new home and Kailey and I got cute and went out to dinner. I listened to my body and ate until I was full and satisfied. I did not feel like I needed to eat more or less than I did. And the next day I had no inclination to skip lunch again (A thought that definitely would have occurred in the old days) It was a glorious feeling! So I am going to keep up with my efforts to go with the flow. If I forget my lunch one day (o wait I did that yesterday… told you I was going with the flow) I will buy something on campus (like I did yesterday) and my packed lunch will be there the next day. It feels a lot more free and I know the people I love appreciate my new endeavor to stop planning every moment of their lives and mine 😉

I hope everyone has a great day!

I am onto my 2nd day of classes and I have no expectation that things will go as planned. I don’t know what my posting will be like for the next week or so. I need to get in a groove. But be prepared for some epic back to school tales coming up in the near future!

Detour from Dinner

My first day in Germany included touring two beautiful castles

This is the first of the two: Hohenschwangau Built to be a summer-house for the King of Bavaria. It was about a 10 minute up hill hike to get to the entrance and then we got a great tour. I swear I was born in the wrong time period, because I really wish I lived, dressed, and ate like people did back then. But a tour of all of these great castles is the closest I can get to real life. I will take it!

Now this beauty is the REAL sleeping beauty castle. Neuschwanstein is the name and the King who built it was the son of the king who built the previous picture. Half way through the building of this over the top castle the treasury was used up and the government proclaimed that the King was unfit to rule and insane. If you go into the castle and into the rooms that were actually finished you can see that he may have been insane but was also probably gay (he did break off his engagement to a princess). This just shows how unaccepting the world has always been to this issue. This king died because we can not accept that not all people are the same, when will things change?

Anyway after spending the morning hiking up the hills of Bavaria I realized that I had nothing to worry about exercise wise so far. I actually really want to go on more hikes! Not for the nature, because honestly I have no idea how to appreciate it fully. it is glorious and God created it and I appreciate it, but what I really loved about hiking was the future destination was semi unknown! I am not good with unknown so this is weird to me. Hiking pushed me in a way I cannot push myself!

Next on our agenda? Munich! where the largest cuckoo clock resides, o and a really famous beer house (the Hofbräuhaus).

Needless to say Dad was happy 😉 Don’t worry he did not drive for at least 2 hours I believe!

Which one do you think I had??? Now remember I may bot be legal in the states but I am in Europe. But I wanted to save my first EVER drink of alcohol for another occasion

Now, here comes the learning experience of the day. Dad and I left Munich around 6 so that we could get back to our hotel in time for supper. Everything was going really well until we got behind a TRACTOR on a main road!!! But that was fine we got around it and still would be able to make it back in time IF the GPS would have kept us on the autobahn (German highway) but no it didn’t and yes we did come to a blocked road detour… and yes the GPS kept trying to get us down the blocked road!!!

Soon I came to the realization that even if we did get back (and that seemed like a big if) it would not be in time for dinner… Cue eating disorder coming to life. When my eating disorder awakens inside me it is not a silent thing, it causes huge break downs and tantrums. I am very out of control and do not watch what I am saying or where I am saying it. Let me finish the story before I really go into what was happening in my head though: We ended up having to take tractor roads (ironic, maybe) for 20 minutes before getting on a real road and finally back to our hotel, but it was after 9pm and all restaurants we CLOSED…

OK back to the issue. There was a time in my eating disorder that whenever something went wrong I collapsed to the floor after first having screamed at my mom, blamed her for everything, and refused to go on (in life). I have gotten so much better at dealing with things that do not go as planned.  But right then I was in a completely different country, and my dad has never completely understood how this thing changes me for the worse. So I lost control of the situation and all I could think of was “O this is my opportunity to skip a meal, but shoot (actually it was a little more profane) I am actually hungry!!!”

I did eventually come to again, and realize that my dad wasn’t out to get me. He didn’t mean for us to miss dinner, and really did feel bad. He just didn’t realize that something as little as missing dinner one time could send me over the edge so easily still. And normally it doesn’t, but I was hungry and vulnerable because of that.

I was hungry all night and did not sleep well because of a lot going on in my head. I didn’t eat enough that day as it was for all of the hiking we did and I knew it. So I came to this conclusion, I do not think it was my eating disorder that caused this huge break down. It was me fighting the eating disorder. I wanted to eat and enjoy myself, and more importantly I wanted to fuel myself and ensure that I wasn’t given the opportunity to go back to that place again. I never felt weak with no energy when I was in the depths of anorexia, but that night and the next morning I did. And I HATED it. So when 8am came and breakfast was served I enjoyed and savored every bite for all it was worth.

This was a huge breaking point for me, I not only showed my dad who I am but I also showed him and myself that I have the ability to really fight.  I fight every day to ensure I am healthy and I fight everyday to find ways to push myself to limits past what I believe I am capable of. Before this night I have always believed that skipping a meal meant I was giving into my eating disorder, but this time it was the opposite. I didn’t choose not to eat, although Dad would have gone out to get me something from a McDonald’s or something.  So I guess I did chose not to eat, but not because I didn’t want food. It was late and I was so tired from the day and from the huge scene I had made I really just needed to sleep. So instead of listening to the voice telling me “you have anorexia you either eat or go back to that” I listened to me which said, “you are tired and food will be there in the morning and you will eat it and enjoy it a lot more then.”

I am sorry this post was so log, but these thoughts are extremely difficult to express and plus I wanted to show you some of the awesome carefree parts of my vacation too!

Has anyone else run into dramatic (unexpected) problems on vacation? Please share, and how did you overcome it???

How do you act when you are really upset? I scream and fight and then shut down while crying not something I am proud of

What do you think of the castles? I love them and again, I was totally born in the wrong time period! were you, or do you like the modern world without castles?