Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Challenging that Old Fear

Figured I should update since I just blog-puked my weight fears on here last night but have since spent a super productive hour with my beloved and beautiful therapist Dr. P, who has yet again helped me realize all the ways that I can make things better for myself.

The "Day-to-Day Perspective"
Otherwise known as "Failing to See the Big Picture." We talked a lot about how I am not good at evaluating things broadly over time. Instead, I tend to fixate on minute, discrete periods of time: this would look like me ruminating all day Wednesday about not exercising that one day, instead of stepping back to realize that I worked out 6 out of 7 days that week, or 24 out of 30 days that month, or five times per week for a year, or whatever unit you want to look at. This would look like me cutting XXX calories from dinner because of missing a workout that morning, instead of remembering that rest days are part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Another example of this short-term, short-sighted viewpoint is me obsessing about a X-lb uptick on the scale rather than seeing the larger trend of having maintained my weight within a XX-lb (healthy) range for several months—for the first time since I was in high school.

Challenging My Values
The other big thing we talked about was really questioning that basic assumption that weight gain = bad and weight loss = good. Or, in another iteration, eating = bad and not eating = good; or rest = bad, and exercise = good. When I was really really sick and deep in my anorexia, that was about all the nuance my malnourished brain could handle. Restricting, overexercising, and losing weight really were the most important things in the world to me. There wasn't time or energy or brain space for anything else.

But now? Now I have so much more at play. I have interests and goals and preferences and wants, and having all of that is not compatible with wasting the majority of my brainpower on calorie-counting and scale-induced freak-outs. It's just not feasible to waste all that brainpower while trying to maintain my (insanely) busy lifestyle, succeed in school, impress my professors and advisors and boss, stay in touch with my parents and my friends, and everything else that was simply not available or important to me before. I mean, it all technically was, but not really because, at the end of the day, the ED came first. It doesn't make sense to me anymore to put the ED above everything else. It just isn't that important to be anymore.

Changing my Habits
Yet. Those pesky compulsions are just so ingrained in my head that it's hard to realign my thinking. To establish that yes, rest days are not just okay but good. That skipping one day of exercise doesn't make the day a waste; it makes the week a success. That weighing myself twice a day does nothing but ratchet up my anxiety. Dr. P wants me to cut down the weighing to twice, if not once, per week, and I think I might actually follow through on it this time. It's gotten to the point where I freak out about my weight because I'm used to freaking out about my weight; not because I'm inherently bothered by the number that much, if that makes sense.

As I told Dr. P this morning: if I weren't so used to worrying about seeing that number, I would consider this the absolutely perfect weight for me. I'm eating well, exercising regularly, I have energy, my hair is luscious and thick after YEARS of falling out in clumps, my skin isn't dry and itchy, my eyes feel great, and I have essentially NO pain. So, I can't continue to let three little red numbers ruin another of my mornings.

1 comment:

  1. What a great session! I'm really proud of you for being able to be open and insightful for this kind of work! I really like how you just don't want this to take up brainspace and rob the other important parts of your life from their full attention. So many awesome things going on for you, and continuing to move forward in recovery will make them even better!

    I really like the plan about changing your weighing habits. I can definitely understand the routine of freaking out about a weight mostly out of habit. I hope the decrease in weighing yourself helps! And don't forget to reach out if you need support!