Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Hunger cues

I hate how I don't feel hungry most of the time. It makes me frustrated! It's annoying to have to 'know' when to eat by looking at the clock. I've been recovering for a while, but I still depend on the time to eat.

This is probably one of the things I hate about recovery - my hunger cues are all messed up. Do I ever get hungry? I don't know! Maybe I do, but I'm not used to saying that I am...so I don't verbalize it or think about it. It's almost as if saying that I am hungry is wrong - I think this is ED.

You see, ED convinced me that I was never hungry, even when my stomach hurt so much and I felt the pain there. He told me I could not possibly he hungry, because only I was special enough not to need food. He told me that getting hungry was a sign of weakness because that meant that I was not 'strong enough' to last without food.

And part of this is actually a protective mechanism by the body. When normally we don't eat for a while, our bodies have less energy and signal to our brains that we need food. Naturally, this means that you will feel your stomach growling, you might feel tired or dizzy, and you will do the normal thing there is to do - go find food and eat.

But with prolonged starvation - I mean LONG starvation (as was my case), the body loses this adaptive function. It needs to protect itself - what good is it for you to feel hungry and tired if your brain knows that you aren't going to feed it anyways? Not very helpful, is it? So the brain shuts off its hunger centre and you no longer 'feel' hungry. Does your body still need food and energy? Of course! But it'll trick itself into thinking that you aren't hungry because feeling grumpy and hungry when you aren't going to eat anyways would not feel very good.

Hunger cues take a long time to return. The body needs to know that it will continue to get food on a regular basis. I'm not talking a couple of months - studies have shown that it can take anywhere from six months to five years! And it varies from person to person.

So in the end, I'm left with an absolute lack of hunger. I'm dealing with this better than I thought - I don't have to he hungry, I'll just eat when I know that it's time to eat. I think my hunger cues are still not normal because my stomach doesn't rumble, I never get 'excited' to eat, and I'm often surprised that the next meal time has come so soon. It's frustrating, annoying, and kind of weird. But at the same time, it's something that I have to deal with if I'm going to defeat ED. I'm not particularly enjoying this part, but it too shall pass. And even if I never feel hungry for the rest of my life, it's better that I still eat at my times than give in to ED and let him win again.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

STRESS!

I am once again very thrilled and blessed to say that another piece of mine has appeared on NEDIC. Please take a look at it - http://www.nedic.ca/blog/.

Basically, life has been STRESSFUL! I have had so many things to do and I have not really had the 'peace of mind' that I wish I can have. It has been so crazy, dramatic, and eventful. School, family, health, recovery, friends, events - everything! I am so blessed to have this blog to write about it, NEDIC to share my experiences with others, readers who always support me, a family who loves me, and a God who watches over me.

Check it out!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Being 'Human'

Ever had 'one of those days' when you just want to SCREAM? There may not be a reason - you just feel so overwhelmed and all you want to do is take a break...and maybe break something!

Yesterday was like that for me. I was irritated. I was, as I would say, 'ticked off'. I wanted to scream at someone - anyone. I wanted to yell and shout. I wanted to break something. Honestly, if you saw me yesterday, I think you would be afraid!

What was the reason? I honestly cannot pinpoint ONE reason. It seemed as though so many things were going wrong...I was busy, tired, I had a lot of self-esteem issues, and I was just..BLAH!

But then when I talked to my mom about it, I found myself saying, "I don't know what is wrong. I have so many wonderful things in my life to be thankful for. But I just feel...icky".

And that is what annoys me. I KNOW that I have so much to be happy for. I am blessed - I know that. But is it wrong to have one of those days when I just want to moan and compain? Is it okay to be tired, frustrated, and angry?

Of course it is. I just don't let myself do it. Why? Maybe it is because I am afraid. I am scared to admit that 'everything is not perfect' in my life now that I am recvering. It is as if I expect that once ED is out, everything will be beautiful and happy and I will live the best life ever. I wish it was that simple.

Yes, having ED out of my life is a big relief, as well as a blessing. I am blessed and lucky that I have comet this far. But that does not mean that I cannot have a day when I'm tired and frustrated - we all do. I guess now the important thing for me to learn is that it is OKAY to have a day when I'm tired, and it is alright to complain. In fact, it is NORMAL to do so. Keeping it in is what is wrong - that is what I did with ED, and where did it get me? Nowhere.

So I guess what I'm learning is that yes, life is good now that ED is gone. But that does not mean that life will be perfect with no problems and frustrations. It is normal to have times when you want to complain. But keeping it in to yourself means that it will build and accumulate, until one day you just BURST. And when you decide to burst, you will feel that it would have been so much better if you had let it out at the time. Trust me, I have experience.

It is going to take time to get used to letting 'stuff' out like this. It will also take time to learn that it is alright to have bad days when I am frustrated. But most of all, it will take time to realize that I am human, and I am ALLOWED to have these 'icky' feelings. We all do. I hope and pray that one day, whenever I get these feelings, I can look back and realize that this is a good sign. ED is not nagging me anymore to keep my feelings inward, to pretend that all is perfect when it is not. I am learning, as weird as it sounds, to be 'human' again.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Media and Weight

It's been the only thing on the news lately: Lady Gaga has gained weight and has told the media that she once suffered from anorexia and bulimia.

http://www.torontosun.com/2012/09/25/lady-gaga-battled-bulimia-and-anorexia

Lady Gaga, a famous singer, struggling with ED? It is, sadly, not an unfamiliar tale. We have heard, multiple times, that celebrities are more at risk for this. Why? Because of all the pressures on them. They must look thin because they are always being watched, photographed, or talked to. They need to have the 'ideal' body - mainly, that women need to be tall, thin, beautiful, and blemish-free.

Is this possible? Obviously not. But this does not mean that the media will stop telling us that it is. And so it comes as no surprise that many female celebrities are going through ED.

Lady Gaga, in her statement, told the media that she struggled with eating disorders and is now learning to accept her body as it is. She encouraged all girls to do the same - to accept and love their body for its natural shape.

Of course, the only thing the media could do was begin releasing stories like 'LADY GAGA'S WEIGHT GAIN ' or 'GAGA GAINS WEIGHT'. Sad, is it not? Do you notice that none of these titles focus on the sad reality that she actually struggled with ED? All they seem to care about is that she gained weight because she used to have an eating disorder, and now, because she is not engaging into symptoms, she has become larger.

But is she FAT? No. She looks healthy. She does not look emaciated (note: you can still have ED if you are not extremely thin, but I'm just trying to make a point). What is wrong with the way she looks now? It is as if the media is saying that she looked BETTER and THINNER thanks to her ED - and now that she is not listening to ED, she automatically looks 'fat' or has 'gained lots of weight'.

This is terrible. I am shocked by the media and what it tells us. Instead of praising Gaga for not lsitening to ED and instead staying at her natural weight, the media goes crazy because she has gotten larger and no longer fits the 'ideal' look.

And so, we are left with one more example of how disgusting and absoluetly terrible the media is. Personally, I am proud that Gaga has admitted this. First, she has showed the media that she is accepting herself the way God created her. Second, she is saying that many people suffer from ED and are not found out about until something goes wrong. Third, she is breaking the stigma and letting people know that ED is not something to be ashamed of, and that we need to start realizing how sick the media truly is.

It really is time that we stop believing the media and letting it tell us how to look, dress, act, etc. There are so many people out there that have ED, and you may not realize it until they tell you or something happens to them. We need to start getting smarter about what we listen to on TV, the radio, in magazines, etc. The media will only show us what it wants to - we need to be smart viewers and see that the media has unrealistic and unhealthy demands for all of us.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Credit That I Deserve

Have you ever stopped to take a break and realize just how busy and hectic life can be? There seems to be so much going on at one time: there's school, homework, work, friends, family, events...the list goes on.

I find myself waking up in the morning and feeling like there is simply too much that I have to do. I have to get up, get dressed, get to school, attend my classes, study for my tests, finish my assignments, stay in touch with my friends, see how my family is doing...WOW! I'm so overwhelmed.

What am I forgetting? Oh, yes. To eat and take care of my health. It is not that I forget this per say...it's more like, 'wow. I'm so busy that I can hardly realize that I need to take time to eat'.

And I never forget to eat, because I make sure that I have my eye on the clock - all the time. This may sound absurd, but it is the way I keep myself safe. It is how I remember to take care of ME while the rest of my life is demanding so much.

Life is so hard to juggle. Everyone struggles, once in a while, to finish all that they have to do. So it becomes so easy to remember that we actually need time for ourselves. To feel that we deserve a little 'free time'. But life makes it so difficult to get this time.

ED makes it especially hard to give myself the credit and time that I deserve. He tells me that I don't need to take time 'off' for myself. He constantly pushes me to work and to not give myself the credit for all my work. He downplays all my efforts at success and makes me feel that I am not doing anything worthy of praise or satisfaction.

So what? You are eating and doing your work? That is nothing. You are doing nothing special. There is nothing to be proud of. You are weak, you gave in and started eating. You silly girl, you have failed at everything. There is nothing worthy of praise in you.

It really hurts, to be honest. It makes me feel as though all my efforts to be successful are meaningless. As though what I am doing - recovering from an illness and continuing with the rest of my life at the same time - is not hard work. But deep down, I know that it is. I feel this every single day as I make myself eat, despite not wanting to. As I feel that I have gotten bigger and that I look different. Everyday has it's own struggles and challenges.

So, what to do? Well, it is enough that I am working so hard at my recovery and the rest of my life. I do not need ED to come in and try to bring me down. He tries to tell me that I am not successful? Well, I have proof that I am. I survived my stay at the hospital, I got back up, and I am eating again. I am defeating him everytime I put a bite of food into my mouth, everytime I ignore his irrational commands, and everytime I decide that he has no place in my life. It is much easier said than done. But it is what has to happen.

Because I have proof that I have done a good job. I have fought my way through ED and I have emerged as a stronger and healthier individual. I have realized that ED does not need to take space in my life. I have seen that I am worthy of happiness and freedom. I deserve to feel successful, just like everyone else. I deserve credit for all my work. And so do you. It does not need to be ED that tells you that you are not successful - it can be a little voice in your head, it can be friends or family, or even people at work. But you must not let them tell you that you are not worthy of credit. Because you are. Each day you open you eyes, do good, be kind, and do the work that you need to, you deserve to know that you are successful. So give yourself the credit that you deserve...you owe it to yourself!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Life is Hard!

Life is hard
The challenge is tough
Study and work
It feels so rough

We become so busy
Caught up with things to do
We feel so trapped
The free hours seem so few

We deal with difficult people
And we are faced with long days
It becomes too much and frustrating
And sometimes, we can't see any of the sun's rays

But just when it feels like it won't get better
When it feels like you've taken it all
A sense of hope fills your heart
And you find strength to rise from the fall

Yes, life is crazy
With its turns and surprises
But you have God,
And His help comes in all sizes!

So when you feel down
As though you cannot persevere
Just remember that there's always hope
Because our God said, 'do not fear' (Isiah 41:10).

Friday, 12 October 2012

The Extremes That People Go To

If you have not seen this already, I suggest you do. WARNING: this is just sad, plain wrong, and terrible.

http://ca.shine.yahoo.com/blogs/beauty/nerina-orton-britain-8217-tiniest-waist-203600464.html

The story, as you can see, is that a woman tried to shrink her waist by wearing a corset for nearly an entire day. Apparently, this did the trick. She shrunk her waist to a tiny size. Interestingly enough, the end of the article mentions that she had anorexia nervosa (AN).

What bothers me about this is not that her waist is so small. It is the fact that she went to such an extreme to do so. She manipulated her body to get a small waist - in such an unhealthy manner. Sad, isn't it? What does this say to people today about their body size? That we have to go to such terrible ways of changing our bodies because we need to look a certain way? And what about the fact that this story made the news? It is REALLY so wonderful that she has done something like this, and that she is famous for letting ED drive her to do this?

I was shocked when I saw this. I mean, is it one thing to have a natural waist that small - but it is certainly another thing to do this to yourself. It makes me wonder - I was so terribly sick this summer, I was dying, and I had every possible organ fail on me. But did I make the news? No. Why? Because the media does not care if someone is sick and dying - they care about someone who is sick and who is doing such extreme things that seems interesting to others.

NOTE: I am not saying that I wanted to make the news. I'm just trying to show that the media really filters what it wants us to see. Clearly, this story of this girl was interesting because of the extreme and horrible things that she did to her body. And yet, she stands very proud about it because she has nearly broke the world record for the smallest waist. Really, is this something to be proud of? That an eating disorder is controlling you and that the world can now see how sick you are?

And what message does this send to all of us, sitting here and reading about this woman's actions? Does it not send out a terrible message to everyone about manipulating our body shapes? How does this compare to what we are trying to tell our loved ones - to love themselves for who they are? This is just disgusting. I am horrified.

I think this is a perfect example of 1) how ED can really take control and make people so awfully sick; and 2) how the media so negatively affects us and promotes unhealthy lifestyles or actions in order to change our bodies to unrealistic ideals.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Counting calories?!

Yesterday I was standing behind two girls in a line-up.I heard her laughing with her friend saying that she "could NOT eat that cookie...it has too many calories!".

Now, normally, this would mean nothing to anyone else. But to me, it kind of hit a soft spot. I have never counted calories...it was simply not part of my eating disorder. But it can be a problem for many other people.

When I heard this girl say this...well, it got me thinking. Why count calories? It seems so mind-boggling. Imagine sitting at your desk and adding up everything that you ate in a day - it kind of seems depressing to me. Unless you are on a calorie-restricted diet, it seems to me that you would not need to count. I mean, how many people actually sit and add up their total calories?! It does not appear to be healthy, in my opinion.

But hearing people say this made me feel uncomfortable. These girls were not fat, not even close! And yet she was saying that she could not eat something because it had too many calories. But then I saw her eating a massive sundae (which, ironically, would technically have more calories)...weird. It did not make sense.

It occured to me, much later, that this girl was simply restating what she heard on TV or in the media - "eat low calorie foods" or "count your calories" or "now, burn more calories". CALORIES CALORIES CALORIES! It is so frustrating! A calorie is simply the amount of energy needed to raise one gram of water by one degree. That is all. Nothing more, nothing less. So why are we all falling victims to this?

ED plays very with calories. In some victims, calorie-counting becomes obsessive.

Count everything you eat. You ate too many calories todasy! Nope! You must eat less tomorrow. You do not need to eat that many calories....eat less...

And he can be quite convincing. The hype over calories is getting to be too much these days. People do not even know what calores are, yet they are counting them. Honestly, eat healthy and all things in moderation. And listen to your body, when it is hungry and when it is full. Do not be obsessed with counting calories. It may not turn into an eating disorder, but it certainly can.

It makes me realize how much the media makes us act or speak differently. The media has such a big impact on all of us, whether we know it or not. Think about it: how has the media affected you today? Have you seen a commercial about lowering calories, losing weight, or soemthing similar? I guarantee that you have. This madness has to stop. It is simply not healthy, and it is not doing us any good. When was the last time you saw a commercial that advocated for healthy eating and all things in moderation, plus being happy with who we are? (*Silence*)

Exactly. Point proven. This needs to change. And maybe we can't change it alone. But we can be the change that we want to see in the world (Ghandi). So take action - love yourself for who you are, and help others see that it is not all about the food/calories/images that the media promotes.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Becoming Happy

What does it mean to be 'happy'? I know that this sounds like it has a simple answer...but think about. REALLY think about it. What do you feel when you are happy? What makes you KNOW that you are happy?

When I really reflect on it, I think defining happiness is hard! I suppose I can say that when I am happy, I feel safe. I feel free. I feel that although hard times may soon come, right now, I am okay. Life can have good moments, and happiness is one of the best things about life.

Deep into ED, I had lost any sense of feeling emotions - especially good ones. I never felt 'happy' because I was a slave to this hostile monster. ED filled my head night and day with harsh comments, reminders that I was fat and ugly, and the constant orders to inflict starvation upon myself.

Don't eat. You must isolate yourself. Do not watch that movie, even if people call it funny. You do not need to laugh. You do not know HOW to laugh. You silly girl. No one likes you. You are fat and ugly and useless. Stay close to me...I will give you what you want. You don't need anything or anyone else.

And for a long time, I listened to ED. Having this disorder made me different from people - I didn't 'need' to eat because I was somehow special that way. I did not have to laugh because there was simply nothing good in my life to laugh about. I did not feel happy because I was not enjoying life. I was stuck in a never-ending hole of darkness, pain, and struggles.

Even in treatment, I have to admit, I was NOT happy. I was full of anger, hurt, and confusion. It was only when I realized that I had to overcome ED that I felt the need to be happy. If I did not want to get better, I could not beat ED. I had to feel that I was done with him. And thank God, I did. I started to take control of my health. I did not wait for doctors, my parents, or anyone else to tell me to care for myself. I did it. For me. Because I was worth it. And because I wanted to know what it really felt like to be 'happy'.

I cannot say that all my problems are over. Let's face it, everyone has obstacles in life. I have many. But I also have a God who cares for me, a family who loves me, and friends who support me. I can smile when I see a familiar face, I can laugh when I hear a funny joke, and I can confidently say that ED is not winning. I feel as though I have broken the chains that have held me victim for so long. I feel this sense of power and achievement. It feels great.

I suppose this is what feeling 'happy' means. To enjoy life to the fullest, knowing that I have done whatever I can to defeat ED. And knowing that at the end of the day, I refuse to let ED take over again.

"Cheer up, for I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Mood Swings!

 I know what you are thinking: mood swings are only for girls at a certain time of the month. In one way, this is true - menstruation does cause mood fluctuations. On the other hand, we ALL get mood swings - it's human.

There can be many reasons why our moods can bounce around the charts. First, we are leading difficult lives. One moment you are happy because you got a good mark, and the next second you are devastated because you have an upcoming test. One moment you are distressed because you have a problem at work, and the next second your smiling because of a funny joke.

Mood swings are difficult to handle. If your feeling great at first, feeling low the next second is devastating. It feels like the happiness is being swept out of your soul. And if you feel sad one minute and happy the next, it feels as though your problems have disappeared. Strange, isn't it?

But what's important is how we deal with these moments. Sometimes, I just want to scream because of my unstable mood. I'm frustrated how quickly life can change, and how these events impact my mood.

It may sound silly, but I've come to simply accept the mood swings. It's part of life, and I can't change that. But what I CAN change is how I react. I might hate that something turns my mood upside down, but I can attend to my emotions and realize that there are ways to deal with this. So, the next time I suddenly feel down after being happy, I'll remind myself of how joyful I was before. Of course, this might not always work - sometimes we just need to feel certain emotions. But making the effort to lighten your mood can be the difference between a good and a bad day.

I like a saying that empowers me daily: you often can't change the ACT, but you can change how you REACT. In other words, life throws us surprises - what's important is that you control whether or not you let those events take you down.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Insecurity

I think at some point, we all feel a bit insecure. We may question why we are doing what we are, why we are on this earth, or how we will manage with all the obstacles in life. It gets so overwhelming when we have too much to do, but so little time. Sometimes, I question whether or not I'm actually 'up to' my life - can I really do it? Will I survive?!

This insecurity can be really bothersome. No one wants to have doubt that they can accomplish great things. But then there are days when it feels like we are getting nowhere...and this insecure or unsure feeling aches in our hearts, threatening to take away our hope and joy.

When I feel like this, I don't want to do anything. I feel like I CAN'T do anything because I'm unsure if I can actually succeed. Honestly, when I feel this insecurity, I get nothing done because I'm too busy worrying about everything in my life.

What's a person to do?! Feeling insecure is so debilitating - it makes us feel powerless and incapable. And when we feel like that, we cannot and will not do anything.

I've found that the best way to handle this insecurity is to challenge it. Basically, I ask myself: why do I feel this way? What proof do I have that tells me that I'm a failure?

ED loves to tell me that there's A LOT of proof of my failure.

You silly and foolish girl. Don't you remember all the pain you made your family and friends go through? You ruined everyone's lives. You are a selfish and worthless girl. You can't beat me - you are too weak.

But even if you don't have ED, there are days when we all feel 'down' and question where our lives are going. And sometimes, it can truly feel as though it isn't going where you want it to go.

But don't submit to this feeling. We mustn't admit defeat. I learned that I need up stay strong. To show ED - and myself - that I AM successful. That although I may not know exactly what will happen in the future, I DO know that my God has a plan for me. And I know that as long as I do my part, I'll be fine. There's no need to feel insecure or to despair. I have no concrete evidence that I'm destined to fail - actually, all of my experiences show that I have great things ahead of me. And you do, too. No matter what happens in your life today, know that the temporary feeling of insecurity shall pass. Do not let yourself feel this way - pick yourself back up and realize your potential. You are loved. You are worthy of good things. You will be successful.

Grey skies are always followed by sunshine. And sometimes, you need to have the rain before you see the rainbow.