Thursday, March 20, 2014

Making a Commitment

Today I got really really scared. Not of weight gain or the scale or any of that crap (well, I mean, I am scared of those, but that's not what I'm talking about...), but of going backwards. Of undoing all the months of relearning to eat, and relearning to go about my day without having to burn XXX calories first.

The running is getting out of control. I used to go five days a week, which has become seven. I used to run 4 miles at a time max, which has become...more than that. I'm skipping snacks, and not just occasionally or accidentally either. My weight is still pretty stable—actually it has bumped up a tad, which scares the crap out of me, but I do honestly think it is a matter of my body FREAKING OUT at this return to old habits—but my period has gone from 5 days long to about 3.5, and comes at weird and erratic intervals as opposed to the perfect 30 cycle I was on for about a year.

So I got really really scared because I had laced up my sneakers and hit the trails in Big City Park as usual, when I realized that my legs were heavy and tired, and I needed a day off because I hadn't had one in two weeks. And then I realized despite that, I couldn't stop.

Luckily I had therapy right after and managed to hash this all out with Dr. P. Because she is a beautiful and perfect human being, she calmed me down and reminded me that I used to say I would do anything—gain weight, give up exercise, stand on my head for three hours a day—if it meant that my eyes would heal and that I would no longer be in pain. But now that I've been doing okay, I find myself sliding right back down the hole. I'm not necessarily trying to lose weight, but I am certainly trying to see how far I can push myself....until what? Until the nerve pain comes back and I go right back to being suicidally depressed? Until I do lose weight and realize, again, that it doesn't solve anything? What the hell am I doing?

For a while I thought I was over the eating disorder, and in a lot of ways I am. My weight is solidly in the "healthy" range and lines up pretty well with where my natural growth curve should have landed me. My eyes still feel great and I'm not having pain yet. But the vanishing periods seems like the potential first step down a long and miserable path. I've already been there, and I don't want to go back. I can't go back. I cannot do that again.

So, here is my commitment to you.

I will not skip snacks.
I will eat a minimum of XXXX calories per day.
I will not run more than 5 days per week.
I will not run more than 30 miles per week.
I will not forget how horrible this day was. I will not do that to my parents again.

I can't promise that I'll do it perfectly, but I am going to try. This is my commitment.


  1. The trickiest, most awful thing about relapse-- you can do it one small step at a time. You can dip your toe in, you can be completely naive, and possibly even unaware of it even. But you cannot get out that easily. And it's so not fair. That returning the behaviors comes so freely. So thoughtlessly. But returning to wellness is a battle every time.

    Please please please be kind to yourself. Remind yourself with every snack that just doesn't seem important, every extra mile that seems SO necessary. Remember how bad it actually feels. Not the right now, no big deal feelings.

    I honestly don't think weight loss was a goal of mine since the first or second stint of severe behaviors. And that became my way of saying, to myself and others, see? Not sick! Not even trying to lose weight... just too (stressed/busy/sick for other reasons) to eat or too athletic etc. Oof.

    Be careful. I know you know this. But when the damage from the undereating, over-exercising creeps up. It won't be so easy as taking a day off running, adding on a snack where it was missing from. I never understood how I could always so cleanly forget how awful the disorder was in the thick of it.

    1. thank you. this articulated exactly how I am feeling: I'm not explicitly trying to lose weight, but the behaviors are SO pernicious and so hard to control once they begin. I guess I never fully gave them up, so it's hard to gauge how much things have gone downhill. What I really notice is the anxiety about changing anything, which is what signals to me how stuck I still am.

  2. I just want you to know I hear your commitments, and I'm glad you're making them.

    (Also 30 miles a week seems like a lot! If it's an improvement, then that's good... but, yikes! 30 miles a week! Any way that could be less?)

    1. thank you Laura. and yeah, the 30 is probably a current average that needs to come down. I am working on getting a bike to alternate that with running, plus maybe something else a little less hard on the body like swimming or walking.

  3. I'm really glad you're making these commitments and getting some accountability, hopefully with Dr. P also. It's good that you recognized this slippery slope. It does sound like things have been snowballing, and that's a scary place to be. I'm glad you're ready to stop the backslide on behaviors and are recharging your recovery with these commitments.

    I know things have been really stressful with school and work, and I wonder if maybe that's contributing to it also. Just be sure to take time for yourself to do things that relax you (not disordered things) and be good to yourself. Take care and good luck with the commitments! You can do this!

    1. I think the school/work/life stress is definitely contributing. Still haven't figured out a good balance, and I am so prone to anxiety that the exercise has become a crutch that I rely on. working on new ways of managing that. Thanks Alie.