I felt a strange mix of empowerment and helplessness yesterday afternoon.
It was a tough weekend. A good weekend – my boyfriend’s birthday (his name is Conrad, by the way), celebrating, relaxing, homework. But ultimately a tough weekend. I ended up in a pretty negative place, mood and body image wise.
Every so often, I get mad at my “treatment team,” as I like to call my therapist and nutritionist.
I’ve made a ton of progress with them both, but the last couple of months have been hard. I got into a total groove before winter break (actually, Linda and I refer to it as “the groove” now). I was eating balanced meals, I wasn’t obsessing over food, and I was really happy in my body and my clothes. It was pretty freaking cool. I was happy with how I looked and felt AND I wasn’t restricting. I’d never experienced that before.
Then winter break happened. I totally indulged, and rightfully so, trying Austin Tex-Mex and BBQ, and it was the holiday season. But when I got back, my clothes didn’t fit. ACTUALLY – I’ll never forget this – I purchased a pair of denim shorts in Austin on our first day there. Seven days later – seven days – I went to put them on, and they were tight. Total muffin top. So quickly! It was unreal. I guess after a week of heavy, salty foods, it made sense that I’d puff out in the belly region. But I thought once I got back to my ways in NYC – back in the New York groove, you might say – I’d lose it. I’d go back to normal.
But I haven’t. This is party due to a bump in the road back in January that I will describe in a separate post. Since then, though, Linda and Laura have both advised me the same thing: don’t restrict, focus on normalizing your eating, and your body will do what it’s supposed to do and go back to where it wants to be.
The thing is, I have been doing that. For about 2 months now. I haven’t done anything “crazy.” I haven’t restricted, I haven’t gone and eaten back-to-back froyo/pizza/froyo/candy. I’ve been following their rules. And my clothes still don’t fit.
Which makes me feel incredibly hopeless and incredibly frustrated and has numerous times made me burst into tears. It also makes me want to scream at Linda and Laura and juice for 10 days just to piss them off. But I know better than to do that now.
This weekend, like I said, was rough. A few things set me off. Thursday night I helped a friend model some jewelry and was surrounded by size-0 girls with little waists. (Also, they all had really good “non-smile smiles” for the camera, and we got our makeup done and the woman made my eyebrows so thick they looked like a man’s. Needless to say my self-esteem wasn’t through the roof on Thursday). Then Saturday night I tried to get dressed and dealt with the usual situation of nothing fitting. And summer is coming and people are talking about workouts and fad diets to get in shape. None of this is good for me.
So Sunday, I started fantasizing about restrictive eating behavior. I’m so sick of this, if I could just do a juice cleanse for like 5 days, IMAGINE how awesome I’d feel after – What if I just start eating more salads and fewer sandwiches? – I could try that 30-day City Row gym class challenge and be in awesome shape..
It made me feel horrible. Because it made me feel really bad about where I am (who I am?) right now. It brought me to a bad, negative place, wistful for when I was happy about my body, and itching for a way to get back there ASAP. I emailed my nutritionist and asked her to please squeeze me in Monday or Tuesday because I’m thinking about restrictive eating and feel it would be beneficial for me to see her.
She fit me in yesterday :). I honestly wanted to see her so she could help me find a healthy way to lose a little weight. I’ve learned so much from her so far, so there must be something she knows that I don’t in terms of how to help someone like me lose weight without restricting, right?
Well, there isn’t. I’m eating when I’m hungry and I’m eating balanced meals. She fears that if I try to limit something, it’ll set me down the wrong path. She’s right. When I want a sandwich, I want an effing sandwich. If I make myself eat a salad instead, I’ll think about the sandwich and pick at more food because I don’t feel satisfied. Even the littlest bit of restricting doesn’t work for me anymore.
But this is the other thing. The bigger thing. I told her why I’m nervous. I told her summer is coming. I told her I’m going to be in a bikini, and that I have things coming up with other girls and they’re going to look better, and I’m going to feel bad about myself.
“You know they might be thinking the same thing about you – that you look better,” she said. I agreed they might. “And who says you’re body isn’t good?” I told her that I don’t think it is. “But isn’t that subjective?” she asked. I agreed with her again. “No one has actually said your body doesn’t look good. You hold yourself to very high standards, which is okay, but not if it makes you feel bad about yourself.”
I know we’ve all heard things like You need to learn to love your body and No one can make you feel bad about yourself without your consent. But what she said yesterday was more than that. It made me realize that if I don’t stop thinking about my body in this negative way, I’m going to continue down this bad path. She asked me what else would make me excited, besides juicing for a few days. I told her that eating regular balanced meals without obsessing over food or overindulging would make me excited. But in order to do that, I need to respect my body. Because if I don’t like what it looks like, I’ll say F it, and I won’t treat it well.
SO. As of yesterday, I’m going to try something new. I’m going to try tricking myself into thinking I currently have a body I love. I’m also going to buy a cheap pair of jeans that fit me right now so I don’t have a constant reminder and source of stress in the closet. But I’m hoping that if I start to believe I have a body I love, I’ll actually learn to love the body I have. And if I love the body I have, I’ll treat it even better. I’d be 100% lying if I said weight loss wasn’t a primary goal. But I know that if I do learn to love the body I have, even when it’s not where I want it to be, that will be an invaluable bonus and a huge victory in this uphill battle.
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