Sunday, 30 December 2012

Christmas @ NEDIC

I'm blessed to say that my work has been published by NEDIC once again! This is a piece I wrote about Christmas and how the holidays are truly enjoyable, yet the focus around food and weight can be difficult for those with ED. It is one of my favourite pieces because it really expresses how frustrating this season can become for people who struggle with these issues, yet it also provides hope and tips on how to deal with this stress.

Please take a look and it! And I am wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

I just got back from a wonderful vacation at Antigua with my family. First, I want to say Merry Christmas to everyone! May this time of year give you peace, joy, and hope.

Next, I want to say thank you to all my readers and followers. You all are so great! This blog would not be possible without you!

A little bit about my trip....

It was fun! For the first time in my history of vacations, I didn't have to worry about the food. I had planned my meals earlier and so I just used the clock to know when I had to eat. My family was so supportive and we enjoyed our time. It was VERY relieving to not have any anxiety around mealtimes or open buffets. This made us all relaxed. For once, I did not feel dread before we all ate, and I didn't need to think of ways to avoid eating. It felt as though a big burden was taken off my chest.

We had a great time swimming, touring the grounds, reading, playing board games, watching TV, etc. it was a much-needed break. I was exhausted after exams and couldn't wait to relax!

By the way, exam marks are in! I did well, thank God. I guess I should expect that...I do tend to study a bit too hard!

All in all, I had a very Merry Christmas and am looking forward to a happy new year! I'm also interested in hearing how your holidays are doing! Let me know!

P.S. during my vacation, I had some time to reflect. The first thing that came to my mind is how truly lucky and blessed I am to have this blog and all of you who support me and show me love. I actually started to tear as I read all the comments wishing me a Merry Christmas. You all have no idea how thankful I am for each and every one of you! I pray that God grants you success and happiness always!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Weight on Report Cards?

Recently, there has been talk in Australia that a child's weight should be listen on their report card. Read about it here:

By now, you should all know what I think about this. But, I'm going to say it anyway.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?! The argument of these people is that putting the weight on report cards will make parents aware if their child is obese or overweight. It is thought that this will stop or help to reduce obesity.

And I can see why they think this: parents will get to know their child's weight because they will see it three times a year on the kid's report card. But I also think that the harm that this will do is greater than the benefits. First, how humiliating is it if teachers have to weight each kid in order to report it? That is not the school's job. It is a medical issue and can be dealt with in the context of a doctor's visit.

And what about the comparing that will occur? Kids already compare grades - with this, they will start to compare their weights. And this can cause bullying. Or trigger eating disorders. Low self-esteem. Shame. Embarrassment. Isolation.

Weight is not a school issue. Sure, the school can make healthy food choices available for kids. And they can promote healthy eating and physical activity. But it is NOT their job to put the weight on a child's report card. This makes it seem as though the child is being 'marked' or 'graded' for their weight. The risk is too big. This should not happen.

Obesity is a problem. I am not denying that. But I think it should be dealt with at the doctor's office. Not by putting weights on a report card. Not by promoting the talk of weight and comparisons among children. And just like obesity is an issue, so are eating disorders. So is low self-esteem. So is bullying.

To make a long story short, I don't agree with this. AT ALL. I think people need to think about the pros and cons before they go about deciding or suggesting that policies take place. It's not hard - it is called DECISION MAKING. And wise decision making. When it comes to sensitive issues like body image, we need to be more careful and aware that these are delicate topics - and thus, they must be thought about rationally.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Okay, we have a problem!

I don't know if you have ever seen the show 'The Biggest Loser'. If you have, you know that this show is about overweight people who compete to see who can lose the most weight. It is basically for adults to get 'healthier' but to 'win' a show at the same time. Sounds harmless, right?

Well, it WAS. Until the show recently (about a week ago) announced that they would now be putting children on the show.

DOES ANYONE ELSE SEE THE PROBLEM HERE?! It is one thing to use people's weight to entertain others....and it is another totally different thing to be putting children on a show where they are forced to lose weight as a competition with others.

You can visit this site for more info, or simply type 'the biggest loser kids' in google to know what I am talking about.

What is this telling kids? That they should be forced onto a program that makes you diet, excericse, and restrict food in order to become 'healthy'. The kids invovled in this show will no doubt feel a great deal of pressure to 'win' by dieting and excercising.

NOTE: I am not against people losing weight or excercising to become healthy. Sometimes people need to do this, as occurs when they are SUPERVISED by a doctor and are deemed NECESSARY to lose weight. In that case, they are not doing it as a source of entertainment for others. They are doing it to keep themselves healthy.

But this is different. Even if these kids need to lose weight, they really should not be on a TV show that does so. It sends out the wrong message to kids, who will watch the program and think 'gee, that looks fun. Maybe I should try not eating and just drinking water and see how long I can last...'.

And BOOM. We have set the path out for an eating disorder, or disordered eating. We have created within a child the ideas of losing weight and restricting, even if they do not intend to actually become thinner. To those with ED, this show will just make it worse.

I don't know what else to say. I am shocked that someone actually came up with the idea to put children on this show. What is wrong with the media?! Simple: they want money. If putting kids on a show to lose weight will make more money, it is going to happen. Even if that means it is harming the self-esteem or thoughts of viewers. Money, money, money. That is all that matters to the media.

I sincerely hope that more people speak up about this issue. It is not just important to people who have ED - it is important to everyone around the world. Kids should not be on a show to lose weight. If they need to do so, they should be doing it with a doctor. Not to entertain others on a TV show.

The media, unfortunately, is again not showing realistic or healthy behaviours. It is not surprising to me. But I thought that some people would realize that some things are going too far - like this is. *Sigh*

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Recovery as a Destination?

I've been asked many times if I consider myself recovered.

The short answer is, no. I do not think that I am fully recovered. However, I am IN recovery.

It does not sound like there is big difference between the two. But there is...

Saying that I am recovered is like saying that this is all over. That ED is completely gone, and that I am like a 'normal' person who has never ever had anorexia.

But that is not the case. I still have thoughts that try to sway me over to restrict, to hate myself, or to not eat. I still have moments when my self-esteem is very low and where I wish that I could be as thin as I used to be.

That is why I am IN recovery. To me, recovery is not as desintation. It is more of a lifelong adventure. It is not somwhere that I will arrive and then 'be done with it'. It is something that I need to work on for the rest of my life. I do not starve myself or restrict food, but I still do not feel hungry. I still do not really enjoy eating like others do. In this way, recovery is something that I need to do for my entire lifetime. I need to keep working on it, each day getting stronger and stronger. I'm learning new things about recovery each day. For example, yesterday someone said a rude comment to me regarding my body size. In the older days, this would have caused me to restrict and not eat. As angry and sad as I was, I did not do this. I still ate. I was angry, but I ate. I did not give in to ED.

There are still things I am uncomfortable with. I hate when my clothes feel tighter. I hate looking in the mirror and seeing myself bigger than I used to be. I still have no appetite. I get uncomfortable when people remind me that I am eating a lot.

This is why recovery is a lifelong adventure. There are ups and downs. There are times when I am strong, and times when I feel weak. There are moments when ED is not there, and there are others when his voice creeps back in. Recovery is better seen as a job - I know that this sounds tiresome, but it is true. It is what I do. My wages for recovery are the improvements in my health and life. The hard work I do in recovery is part of my job. But the rewards are worth every struggle, every tear, and every fight.

Each day in recovery makes me aware of how much work recovery is. It takes a lot out of a person to recover from ED. It is truly a full-time job. But it is made so much easier when you have readers that read your blog and comment, show their support, and make you feel loved. It helps when you have a family that is willing to be there for you 24/7. It is humbling to know that you have a God who watches over you every second. It is empowering to see yourself tranforming into a stronger and knowledgable person.

Recovery is definitely not a desintation. It is an adventure. But it is an adventure that I would never give up on. Because each day in recovery helps me realize how much of my life I deserve to get back.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Do YOU like YOU?

Stop what you are doing. NOW. And think about this: right now, there is a person around the world thinking of how they hate themselves.

Have you felt like this before? Have you had the feeling that you are just irritated with who you are? You if you are frustrated with your life. And so you start to think about what is bad about you and what you would change if you could.

I'm like this a lot. Well, I don't think about what I'd change, but I do think about what I don't like about me. I start thinking about how I don't feel as beautiful as others. How I feel worthless and useless and lazy. How I'm tired of people bring rude and mean to me. How frustrated I am because I feel as though I'm not successful or special. Much of this is because of ED - he likes to make me think this way because it makes him feel good. It gives him the chance to get me down, hoping that I will hate myself so much that I'll return to him.

We all feel this way sometimes. It's as if we are just tired of who we are. At the same time, I struggle with listing good things about myself. I feel like saying that I'm good or strong or smart is being inflated and ignorant. Perhaps this is why I feel bad about myself sometimes - I've gotten used to seeing negative things about me, that saying something is good is like I'm being puffed-up.

But it's not. We all need to compliment ourselves. We need to appreciate what is special and good about us. If we don't love ourselves, who will? We can't depend on others to boost out self-esteem because this needs to come from within. Others can only see what's good in you if you have confidence. You need to know that you are talented. You are beautiful and handsome. You are strong and special. You ate unique because you are a child of God. You are wonderful because you are simply YOU!

No, it's not being arrogant or puffed-up. It's called 'being grateful for who I am because I am God's creation. And because I am me'. Arrogance is when you are overly-inflated and think that you are so great and that you can do all things alone. Confidence is when you know that others and God have helped you become who you are, being thankful for that, and learning to be appreciative of what you have and who you are.

So today, stop and take a second to thank God for who you are. Not because you are superior to others, but because you are special the way you are. Because inside of you is a world of gifts and talents that make you unique. Because you are loved by God.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Why isn't it all better?!

I thought that once I recovered from ED, life would be so much easier. I thought that everything would be perfect and happy. That nothing would go wrong.

But I was wrong.

Don't misunderstand me, recovering from ED was the most important thing that I did. It gave me back my personality, my health, and my life. But that does not mean that life is 'peachy-key'. Life is still full of it's wild and crazy rides. I'm busy with school, I'm studying for exams, I'm trying to stay on track with recovery, I'm balancing my social obligations, etc.

But what really gets me is that I still struggle a lot. I'm pretty sensitive to things that happen around me - for example, I want everything to be happy all the time. I try to avoid any argumenets because I just want everything to be okay. It feels like since ED is not here anymore, nothing should go wrong or give me a hard time.

I know that this is impossible. Recovering from ED is great - but that does not mean that life will be prefect from now on. There are still so many problems - but that is life. Recovery does not mean that school will be easier, that people will be nicer, etc. Which is what gets me annoyed. WHY IS EVERYTHING NOT BETTER?!

ED tries to tell me that since problems are still in my life, recovery 'is not all that it is set out to be'. He tries to convince me that recovery is not worth it, since life is still full of challenges.

But I'm stronger now. And I know that this is not the case. Sure, life is not all perfect and happy now. But that does not mean that recovery is not worth it. Life is still hard, but I am stronger. Life is challening, but I am determined. Challenges come and go, but I am more prepared to deal with them. Yes, life is not perfect now. But I AM BETTER NOW. That is the difference between my life now and my life a year ago. I have gone through so much and now see that although life is still hard, so many things are not. I am eating now. I no longer have to lie about my food intake. I am stronger now. I no longer have to worry about restricting. I have my old personality back now. I can laugh when I want to. I can make others laugh. I can be myself and love me for ME.

So, life is definitely not always happy or easy. But no one said that recovery would change my life's circumstances. But recovery DID change ME. It changed the way I am able to respond to the ups and downs of life. It changed the way I am able to look at challenges and accept them. It changed the way I feel about myself. It increased my chances of living a happy life.

Recovery is worth it.