I feel like every time I do a recovery update I’m a broken record: life is good.
Life isn’t perfect. I’m not immune to body image woes or societal pressures to be super thin, but I can avoid them and reframe my thoughts. That’s what matters. I know I can talk about things being rosy, but please know that I’m only human (and female.) It’s a daily choice to love myself and honor my body.
I’ve been increasing my exercise slowly for about 3 months now (I know it seems like it’s been faster than that!) and I’m making progress. I’m still a whole lot slower when I run, but my lifting is getting back up to where it used to be. It’s really just my endurance that isn’t the same.
People have been pretty concerned that I’m exercising more now, and I get that. I’d be concerned for other people too! But it’s important to remember that everyone’s recovery is different. You really can’t tell how someone is thinking or feeling — the true aspects of recovery in my opinion — so it’s important not to judge and to remember to do what’s best for YOU. I’ll try to explain a little of what’s going on with me so it makes more sense:
source unknown – help!
1. I have a little trouble with the term “recovery” for my current state. When I think of recovery, I think of my anorexia. I haven’t been actively anorexic for about 5 or 6 years. When I recovered from that I was at a weight higher than I am now and was getting my period. That was in 2009, and I consider that my “recovery” from anorexia.
While I know that my persisting issues – the amenorrhea and body image issues – were definitely lingering anorexia complications and classify as an eating disorder of some sort, they weren’t as drastic. I was eating all types of things, was maintaining a “normal” (though not right for me) weight, and functioned relatively normally in life. I know it seems strange, but the difference between the two periods are night and day to me, even though they both weren’t healthy.
My point is that when I finally made this decision to gain weight, get my period back, and change my thoughts about five months ago, I wasn’t coming from my lowest point. I had already made great strides and so the recovery wasn’t quite as “huge” as it is for some people that are in the throes of their eating disorder.
I do NOT mean to downplay my issues or say they weren’t important or unhealthy. I think these past few months have been the most important in my life and that I am in a dramatically better place now than I was half a year ago. I just think it was a little different for me. I know “recovery” is the correct term, it just seems off. Being honest.
2. While some may disagree, I don’t think that being an eating disorder recoverer means you can’t focus on a healthy diet and frequent exercise. Maybe that’s not good for some people, but fine for others. It truly depends on the mindset and motivations behind the actions, which is something you just can’t know unless you’re the person.
My eating and exercise, while still healthy and often respectively, are so different than they used to be. I just naturally eat more now, and don’t worry about it. In fact, I worry if I eat too little because I don’t want my metabolism to slow down again! I eat everything, I eat often, and I eat without guilt. Every once in a while perhaps a silly thought will pop in my head, but I can ignore it. I feel best and I know that it is best for my body when I eat lots of fruits, veggies, and healthy fats. Chocolate? Of course. Beer and wine? More than I should. Pizza is delicious and I crave burgers now. But on a regular day, it’ll probably be oatmeal and black bean chili, and I think that’s just fine. I have a much more balanced and appropriate mindset.
My exercise is great. I had been doing a lot more short lifting circuits and not as much cardio. I got in a few spin sessions and I’ve was doing a slow run once a week. I’m also still doing light restorative yoga at home and taking around 2 rest days per week.
I just started a strength plan with Julie (she can train you too!) and it’s VERY little cardio (1 day per week) and mostly just heavy lifting. I’ll give more details soon, but I’m not even sure the long term plan for it right now except for getting strong! I think this will be really good for me, since it’s not at all about burning calories. Julie also knows my history and knows my limits and not to push me to a place I shouldn’t be. Honestly, I think that having someone tell me to lift is better than just letting me workout on my own because I tend to get in spinning and running ruts, and all that cardio may not be good for me. Also, lifting is such a confidence booster! Makes me feel so badass.
So yes, relative to some people, I’m back to “normal” and out of active recovery mode pretty quickly. Robyn (my RD) often comments that I was a crazy quick turn around story, with both my amenorrhea and my mindset. I think that’s because I was battling these thoughts for MONTHS before I made changes, and because I didn’t hold back. I gave in 100% and completely changed my habits for 3 full months. I did it right, and it worked.
I never ever intended to stop exercising or change my lifestyle. I love exercise and I love eating healthful foods, so those will be parts of my life. They make me feel my best, but now I know that they aren’t the center of my life and they don’t define me. I’m not saying there won’t be slip ups, that I won’t let things get to me, or that I’m all of a sudden “finished”. But now I CAN stop working out and be fine, and I CAN eat pizza and drink beer for a couple of days and it won’t bother me.
I’m sure there will be times in my life when continuing to live in this healthy mindset are more difficult than others, but right now things are so wonderful in so many areas of my life that I really don’t want to back track.
My worth is not based on my body size, and I’m so grateful to fully believe that now.