eating disorder recovery: anxiety of eating out, why meal plans don’t really work for me and what helped

This is for my brothers and sisters who are currently experiencing an eating disorder, recovering from one, have recovered from an eating disorder, or in between being in recovery and recovered. I understand what you go through, or have gone through. Please continue fighting. To anyone else reading this, I hope this gives some insight into the challenges we face on an ongoing basis and even understand such struggles if you know someone experiencing an ED. Individuals suffering from EDs choose not to eat out, not because they’re selfish

Its because they are frightened.

*******************************************************************************************************

afr

One of challenges we face in eating disorders, and even recovering from eating disorders themselves, is the fear of eating out. We fear eating out, because we:

(1) don’t know what foods are available to us and therefore we are no longer in control of what we eat and this freaks the bejesus out of us                                                                                                                               (2) can’t calculate the number of calories in the food and this freaks the bejesus out of us,                  (3) are torn between wanting to eat that juicy cheesy beefy burger but since we’ve “banned” it, we’d rather save ourselves the anguish of knowing we can’t eat it and rather remain at home eating according to our meal plan.

Have any of you ever been through that? I know I have.

This is one of the ways that eating disorders consume your life. It traps you in a cage. You become focused on eating only certain foods in certain meals with no exceptions. We create meal plans to try and lose that weight. Rigid and inflexible and scarily specific down to the very last detail – military or even OCD style, if I can put it. For the purpose of this post, I dug out one of my many notebooks I had used to record my meal plans and track my caloric intake. I have long since destroyed many due but I kept one as a reminder of the dark days I went through. Here was what my meal plan was like during the height of my ED days back in my freshman year in university:

Good days in my life were defined by  the number of calories I had consumed per day and whether or not I had kept to my meal plan.

Good days in my life were defined by the number of calories I had consumed per day and whether or not I had kept to my meal plan.

Of course I didn’t stick to the exact same food all day. Sometimes, circumstances meant I had to accommodate – albeit unwillingly – to new situations. Such as when my parents had pizza ordered it or when I had to eat on campus instead of at home and had to find substitutes. In any case, other rules still applied and very rigidly. No second helpings, avoid white rice if possible, baked, boiled or steam and not fried and no more than a certain amount of calories per day and no dressing on the side. In fact, you know just don’t even take the damn dressing. Leave it there. 

Eating eventually become an algorithm. It comes with rules and regulations and calorie limits and anxiety and we change our lifestyle to accommodate our distorted eating habits and meal plans. This puts us in control. I control what I eat though unfortunately the things we eat aren’t healthy and enough for us. When this happen, eating out can be a death sentence for us. We dare not venture into the unknown because we have grown comfortable with our rules. And why not? Those rules are awesome. Kind of. Its what kept us from putting on weight so why would I want to risk it?

Hence, throw us into a new situation where we can no longer predict what’s going to happen, plan what to eat or be informed of what’s in our meal, and watch us panic and become lost sheep running loose on the streets. Not that there’d ever be sheep running amok on the street. But still. This is what happens in the minds of us who panic about eating out:

regret

How big is the portion? What’s 1 serving of a burger? How many fries can I eat? How many calories are there in this thing? Does this come with any sauce? Is this wholemeal bread? Is the ice lemon tea homemade and comes with sugar on the side? Do they have wholemeal pasta? Will there be more protein than carbs in this one? How many calories can I afford in this meal? OH MY GOD I CANNOT DO THIS I’M NOT GOING OUT. 

When we perceive a lack of control over our lives, its like World War III in our heads, and to save us the trouble of having to plan for a whole new situation, we opt to remain on the safe side and simply stay home and eat the foods that we know work best for us. We turn down friends’ invitations to eat out and each time we do go along with it, we experience high anxiety. When we do order something, we experience mental anguish, we pick at our foods or simply choose the options that we believe to be the safest of the lot: the salads.

salad

I admit even today I still do go through such anxieties and experience some concerns once in a while. I become a little nervous because as I mentioned, I’m still on Recovery Street and I do my lapses. But I do know this not the way to live life. I don’t want to constantly eat the same food and I don’t want to always turn down the chance to spend time with my amigos bonding over food, and wishing I had a super high metabolism so that whatever I eat burns away in a snap. Life becomes like a doldrum of sorts. Eating become a chore and not something meant to be enjoyed. This is one of the things that we’ll need to overcome when recovering from eating disorders: fear of the unknown.

Plan A: Meal Plans

mealp

In the beginning of my treatment, I was given a meal plan by my dietician. It was somewhat similar to my restricted meal plan that I made for myself, but this one allowed for more flexibility. More food options and yes Serene you can eat ice cream, and yes, do increase your food portions, but no it will note make you fat. I tried going on this meal plan for 2 weeks and I am sorry to say that this meal plan did not work. Why? Because in my mind, I had to stick to a plan. I needed to follow a plan. If I deviated from this plan, something bad would happen and this bad thing would be weight gain. I was still thinking in black and white. Yes I was allowed to eat more foods, but there was a limit still. I shouldn’t eat more than 2 portions because its too much for my size or I should eat less of this because its got too much sugar. Suddenly, there were more new rules to follow. There was too much new factors to incorporate. Suddenly, my old meal plan seemed much simpler. Less options, less rules to follow, less anxiety. My dietician’s meal plan was way out of control.

picture-2

One of the important aspects of learning how to eat out without the social anxiety is to overcome our dichotomous thinking. You give someone with black-and-white thinking a meal plan to change his/her eating patterns and you’re not really going to solve the problem. Why? Because a meal plan, is a plan. Many of us struggling with an eating disorder not only have dichotomous think, but we also have perfectionistic thinking. Its what we’ve trained ourselves to do. We follow things according to a plan. Things must be set and written in paper. Point A to Point B in this direction and nothing else. Our tolerate for ambiguities is low and we need rules to follow. Rules keep us safe. Eating out means stepping away from our comfort zone and we’re entering a gray area where our rules no longer apply as much as before.. To eat out means we need to train ourselves to be comfortable with gray areas. This is why meal plans didn’t work for me. I hadn’t learnt how to deal with uncertainty and a meal plan only served to reinforce my dichotomous thinking.

Plan B: Intuitive Eating

intuitie

After 2 weeks of lapses, depressive thinking and agonizing crying, I finally brought this up to my online support group, and the founder of the support group suggested something called intuitive eating. Essentially, its an approach to nutrition that believes in eating according to our body’s natural hunger cues. We allow our bodies to experience natural hunger and we eat a healthy meal in response. When we eat, we take note of our satiety signals – how satisfied or full we are feeling and we stop when we feel satisfied and full. To recover from an eating disorder, we need to start regulating our eating habits again which has been disrupted by unhealthy eating patterns, be it binging or starving or skipping certain meals in a day. As a result, our body is unable to differentiate between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Our body doesn’t know what physical hunger is because for a long time we’ve binged or starved and ate at unpredictable periods. We can’t tell whether we want to eat because we’re really hungry or because we’re upset, or because we just want to. Intuitive eating helps regulate our hunger signals and help us be able to experience physical hunger.

I admit – its not an easy route. Like everything else that we start off in treatment, it was tough. Remember I was still obsessed about sticking with a diet plan. This one really wasn’t a plan at all, but it seemed simpler. The rule here to follow was: eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Its sounds like common sense, but to a chronic dieter who’s never known how to eat regularly his/her whole life with rigid rules about eating, this can prove to be a challenge.

And that’s what I tried. Before, during and after each meal, I would monitor my hunger cues and determine how much I should eat and when I should eat. I would ask myself, am I feeling hunger? Am i feeling full? Can I eat another bite? I made sure to choose foods that were nourishing instead of foods with “empty calories” such as junk food that would’t help my body. It took a few months, but eventually, it became easier. I learnt to read the signals my body sent and I slowly started figuring out whether I wanted a sweet treat or something protein to fill me up. When I ate too much carbohydrates in one meal, my body understood that it needed more protein and so I chose more meat over rice. Some days I needed pasta. Some days I needed more meat and salad. With help and support, I slowly began to try new foods, or rather, foods I had “banned”: fries, ice-cream, even burgers (I ate burgers for the first time this year after a 6-year burger fast!) and gradually began to feel a little more confident about eating out with company.

I know what you’re wondering: will you lose weight? It depends. If you’ve been starving and restricting for far too long, then regular eating may make you put on a few (needed) pounds. If you’ve been yo-yo  dieting and bingeing, then maybe some weight might drop off because you’re no longer eating excessively. However, weight loss is not, and should not be the focus of intuitive eating. The focus of this practice to regulate your body’s natural hunger signals and get your body’s rhythm in its pre-ED mode. This is one of the key components of recovering from an eating disorder. Restricting, bingeing, chewing and spitting, cutting out food groups etc are all unhealthy and distorted eating habits. A regulated eating cycle is one of the key components to breaking down those unhealthy walls.

Life is too short to spend it on counting calories and keeping detailed notebooks and following ungodly diet plans. Crave fries? Then just get the damn fries, but remember not to overeat them. Listen to your body’s signals and follow them. That way, you’ll get your fix and you won’t feel deprived.

Here are some principles that I learnt and stuck while practicing intuitive eating:

princ

1. Learn to listen to your body. Intuitive eating forces you to practice mindfulness. This means you are aware and stay present in the moment which allows you to listen to both your hunger and satisfaction cues. Respect your body and feed it when it is hungry, and stop when you feel satisfied and full.

2. Be patient, be consistent We all want quick fixes. That’s why we embarked on those diet fads. We want the weight to drop off in a snap. However, nothing good comes easy and recovery takes time, effort and patience. Fads don’t lead to long term results. Consistency and patience, along with a dose of persistence. It took me months to start feeling comfortable with intuitive eating and learn to eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full. Intuitive eating takes time to develop and give yourself the opportunity to let it happen.

3. You need to want this. Intuitive eating won’t help you if you’re not determined to recover. You need to make the conscious decision to want to eat better and healthier and lead a normal life again. You need to acknowledge that your current eating patterns are driving you whacko and its messing with your life.

4. Yes, you will experience failures from time to time. Like anything else, nothing comes without some mistakes or lapses. In the beginning, we might slip up. Its understandable because its such a new concept. We might do fantastic for a few days, but binge on one day. Don’t let that stop you. Don’t restrict the day or continue bingeing. Return to practicing intuitive eating the next day because you will train yourself to eat normally after a binge instead of going back to old habits like you always have. This allows you to create a new habit.

5. Don’t give up. Just. Don’t.

Diets are complicated and there is no one simple, magical “fix-all” diet. You may keep a physical diary or have your own methods, but the method that works is the one that your body keeps to.

Google for more information on intuitive eating! If you’ve been struggling with yo-yo dieting and other disordered eating patterns for so long and trying to regulate your eating without success, give intuitive eating a try. See a certified counselor and dietician for advice and support to help you start this journey, and you may find yourself learning to trust yourself more often. Its quite liberating really.

Listen to your body. Its smarter than you think.

Comments?

child marriage in the middle east: why it happens

pink

I’m glad that I live in an age and society where people marry each other out of love, and not because of fear of being raped and to repay a debt

Child marriage is a sad reality in the Middle East and is an issue that still hasn’t gotten the justice it deserves. When we read about children being sold as child brides to older men,  we wonder how in the world can a parent sell his or her own child to a complete stranger. Unfortunately, it is true that some parents have become corrupted by greed and use their young daughters as a form of payment to settle money disputes. In some other cases, daughters are married to wealthier families to establish ties with them for economic security. It is not about having a blissful marriage; this is a business transaction, plain and simple. In conservative patriarchal Middle Eastern societies where women have little to no say in domestic affairs and where their lives are controlled by the men ruling the family, girls have no choice but to marry the men their parents owe money to or risk being raped and killed.

Child Marriage: To Protect Girls

JORDAN-SYRIA-CONFLICT-REFUGEES

However, in many other cases, as hard as it is to process and understand, child marriage is seen as an act of parental love and a form of protection.

Youth, beauty and virginity are a prized combination, and parents of young girls fear that their young daughters will be kidnapped on the streets by thugs and raped before being tossed back onto the streets, forced into prostitution or killed and never to be seen again. This is a dismal consequence for many parents, because virginity is a prized attribute in the Middle East. In their society and culture, a woman’s virginity is valued more than anything else and to lose her virginity before her marriage is seen as disgraceful and the male head of the household may even order a death sentence if he deems it necessary to punish her and preserve the honor of their family. When a woman loses her virginity before marriage. Her values diminishes; she is seen as a “second hand commodity” and this makes it hard for her to married to a good family. A common practice of newly weds in the Middle East is the presentation of a bloody handkerchief on their wedding night – proof that the woman is a virgin. When the bride does not bleed on her wedding night, she could be divorced on the grounds that she must have had engaged in immoral behavior, her in-laws will banish her and her own family and community many not even welcome her back for fear of ostracism. In such cases, the social exclusion is too much to bear and death is considered a desirable route to end their shame and suffering.

This is why some parents desperately seek out men from respectable families to marry their daughters to; to give them away in marriage so that they will not be kidnapped and raped by jealous malicious men seeking to release sexual tension with virginal women. They do this not because of the money; they do this because they love their daughters. All their parents can hope is that marriage to their husband will not only protect their daughter, but also give them a life far better than the one they have right now.

Child Marriage: A Consequence of War 

syrian girl1

Child marriage is further compounded by the the spat of conflicts in the Middle East, such as the recent Syrian war that has displaced many Syrians. In light of the war, over 600,000 Syrians are now living as refugees in Jordan and this has created an informal trade where men from Suadi Arabia and other wealthy Gulf states scour refugee camps search for young girls to fulfill their sexual desires. These men use marriage as a “disguise” to “rescue” young girls from living in the squalid conditions of refugee camps.

With a desire to protect their daughters from sexual violence and to save them from the emotional, mental and physical traumas of the Syrian war, desperate families see no choice but to accept the lucrative monetary offers and readily agree to the marriage. A dowry is given to the family, yet without the family’s knowing, this dowry –  meant to secure the bride’s security to her groom – is sometimes used by the men as payment for sex for a lesser known practice called “Mut’ah”, also known as temporary or pleasure marriages. Jordan’s legal age of marriage is 18, yet there exists a a loophole in the Sharia law that permits the marriage of brides as young as 15 years of age. This marriage is temporary and in the eyes of many, a sham marriage and a dishonorable one.

These young girls are promised a good home and better lives when they return to their husbands’ home countries. In the meantime, homes are rented near the camp and the women live there where they are told they would be supported until they are brought back by their husbands. However, in actuality, the girls are married for a short amount of time – hours, days or even weeks – whereby the men have sex with them throughout the period of this temporary union before abandoning them and leaving without a trace. This is how many Syrian girls become pregnant and abandoned. Girls spared from the horrors of temporary marriage do not have bleak futures as well, as they are more likely to experience sexual and domestic violence by their husbands and have high-risk pregnancies due to their young age and limited access to maternal healthcare

Is Child Marriage Also a Form of Human Trafficking?

Unknown

Child marriage has been happening for hundreds and thousands of years, yet the fates of many young girls and even women – who marry when they are older – who end up marrying a stranger against their will are bleak and filled with much emotional, mental and physical trauma.

According to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, trafficking trafficking involves the act of recruiting, abducting, transporting, transferring or selling of people within or across national borders through methods such as fraud, coercion or deception that place individual in slave-like conditions, such as sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, forced prostituion or other forms of debt bondage to achieve the consent of a person have control over another person for the purpose of exploitation . When we read of cases of human trafficking, we hear about people being held captive, about girls being forced into prostituion and of people being held in sweatshops doing work for no pay. However, the definition of human trafficking clearly highlights that human trafficking doesn’t just come in the form of slave labor and prostitution. Some types of child/forced marriages can qualify as a form of human trafficking.

Not all arranged marriages have unhappy endings. However, there are thousands of girls and women forced or sold into a marriage, sent abroad and then savagely beaten and treated as a domestic slave and not allowed out the house. Some girls and women are forced into a marriage for the single purpose of providing sex for her husband.  Are such marriages not a form of human trafficking? Are these women not being sold and married against their will and exploited to lifetime of domestic servitude and sexual mistreatment?

Sadly, the laws and customs in many such countries do not see this as human trafficking. Yes, the girls have no say in their marriage and they are physically and sexually abused, but because such happens in the realm of a marriage, the laws don’t readily recognize it as human trafficking and these unfortunate women continue to be be maltreated. Moreover, marriage for a woman is seen as a necessary step in life, and many individuals fear violating long-held tradition. It is not easy for a woman to divorce her husband in the Middle East, and the laws are typically skewed in favor of the husband. If a woman files a complaint against her husband, the judge or head of her community in more remote regions may tell her that is the right of her husband to do as he wishes to control his wife and then dismissing her.

So what happens now?

speak-out

We need to understand that there are many forms of human trafficking, and that it exists in more than just forced prostitution and slave labor. Forced marriages where girls and woman are beaten and abused are a snapshot for modern slavery in the Middle Eastern region.

Governments should work together to create an organized response to human trafficking which can at the same time, help tackle the intricacies of child marriage. Child marriage will not go away anytime soon; it takes more than just advocating for the end of child marriage and educating local communities about the bleak realities of child marriage. Child marriage is now exacerbated by the growing number of conflicts in the Middle East: Iraqis fleeing the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), Palestinians being displaced from their homes from Israeli airstrikes and the flooding of Syrian Kurds into Turkey all set the stage for modern slavery and become exploited: families may sell their children to save them from refugee lives, women sold as wives to protect them from rape and desperate men fall prey to offers to unscrupulous labor opportunities in a bid to earn money for their families.

To help with efforts to end child marriage, visit organizations such as:

too young to wed

Girls Not Brides, End Child Marriage and Girls Up. Alternatively, click here: 16 organizations that work to stop child marriage, that lists both local and global organizations fighting to end child marriage.

To help with efforts to provide aid to refugees: click here:

UNHCR

UNRWA or How to help Syrian refugees. Alternatively, you can Google ways to help refugees in other countries, such as in Palestine, Iraq and even Afghanistan as they all need international aid.

To read up more on human trafficking, start with:

bloggers

 Bloggers Against Social Injustice, a blog that raises awareness about human trafficking and various social injustices around the world.

Efforts to help end social injustice don’t need to be in monetary form! Awareness is an important step and one more person educated and aware of the social injustices happening around the world is enough to initiate change one small step at a time! You can read or write about it on your blog if you have one, sign online petitions and even volunteer at local organizations that advocate fighting social injustices.

Think about it: girls in the Middle East and other countries such as those in Africa are married at the ages of 12-15. What were you doing when you were 15?

updates: drinks, dance and desserts

UPDATES.

So on Wednesday I lost some good sense (or not) and went to a a club and a bar with a friend because it was ladies’ night, and I might or might not have gotten buzzed. I downed a few shots with jelly in it and all I can say is thank god for the jelly because I wouldn’t have been able to down the…whatever alcohol it was, without something sweet to counter the bitter taste. The woman offered me another cup with…some alcohol in it that was topped with whipped cream and then proffered a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting. Apparently I was to drink the alcohol all in one shot and immediately eat the cupcake. I think I ended up sucking up more whipped cream and eating more mini cupcakes than actually drinking the alcohol. I abandoned the alcohol on the table. We went to a bar after to meet another friend and I decided to get all fancy and order a chocolate martini because it sounds like something that Carrie Bradshaw and her posse would order. Of course, there was once or twice while talking I wished the drink had more chocolate syrup in it, but whatever because my martini came in such a gorgeous martini cup(is that the word for it?) and I felt so fancy-schamcny holding it and sitting on the bar stool chatting away like “yeah people I am an adult and I am drinking a chocolate martini and I feel pretty darn good” For the record, me going to a bar and drinking is me moving out my comfort shell and trying something new. In the past during the height of my ED i would never have agreed to drink alcohol. I don’t really like to drink my calories but I figured I’d make an exception that night because I am 23 years old for god’s sake and what’s life if I can’t enjoy a night out drinking a friggin’ chocolate martini?! Its got chocolate. Anyway I came home with a pounding headache. Go figure.

I attended a Latin dance festival last weekend which was really good because (1) I got to meet my bachata dance idols, (2) I got to meet my bachata dance idols and (3) I got to meet bachata dance idols! Evidently I am obsessed with them, but if you’ve seen their routines they’re simply amazing. Just go check them out on Youtube: Ataca y la Alemana. They perform Dominican style bachata and their style is simply gorgeous. Plus, being in the Touch Bachata Team means that I actually got to be able to schmoooze with them over drinks (iced chocolate for me thanks) and dinner because they wanted to personally meet the Singapore Touch team members! AWESOME OR NOT? And of course, I got to dance with so many amazing professional dancers – and even a world salsa champion – who’ve had years and years of training and its done nothing but make me feel so incredibly happy that I picked up latin dance because there is possibly nothing in the world that makes me feel as free and happy as dance does.

IMG_5118

Yes. Its only half a picture, but I was wearing my scandalous lingerie-like lacy cropped top with nothing underneath except my bralette. Hey, I was feeling daring that night, AND I want to look back at this picture when I’m 70 and be: at least I wore something like that once in my life. 

IMG_5155

Got to get 1 final photo with Ataca y la Alemana (or Jorge & Tanja, as their real names are) after their workshop 😀 I think I’m known as the obsessed girl who offers them food all the time. I gave them cupcakes as a welcome gift AND chocolate wafer biscuits as a goodbye present. Hehe.

Baked vanilla cupcakes with peanut butter and nutella filling (my favorite combination in the entire world) with white chocolate frosting with #1homegirl.  I attempted to teach her basic salsa steps after our bake-off and I am proud to say I was successful *fist pump*

IMG_5053

So profesh

IMG_5057

Also very profesh, no?

Adios chums. Til I blog again. In the meantime, the annual haze that hits Singapore is back thanks to forest fires in neighboring Indonesia and the air is now smelling more acrid by the day. Plus, let me now start panicking about my social comms test on Thursday by going to bed and sleeping it off. 

ED recovery and life: transitioning from 1 version of yourself to another

butt

She understood that the hardest times in life to go through were when you were transitioning from one version of yourself to another. – Sarah Addison Allen

I’m at that age in life where I actually now begin to understand what adults mean when they talk about change. I don’t know about you, but I think that my recovery from my ED has allowed me to really understand and appreciate what this quote really means.

Transitioning from one version of yourself to another.

I struggled with disordered eating for 7 years. If you had met me in my teens, you wouldn’t have recognized me. In fact, you probably wouldn’t have wanted to be friends with me because I had so many issues to begin with. My quest to be thin led me on a downward spiral straight into Hell. I was obsessive and compulsive. I was narrow minded and depressed. I shut myself from the world. I refused to try new things. I was critical and judgmental of myself. I was jealous and spiteful. I was a coward. I was stubborn. I was counting calories, and exercising everyday for at least an hour each day. I was deliberately starving myself, and when I wasn’t starving, I was eating whatever the hell I wanted to before going back to punishing myself again the next day. Exercise wasn’t nourishment; it was punishment for me. Food wasn’t enjoyed, but controlled. I was self-harming and cutting my arms. I didn’t understand what change was. I didn’t want to go out; I wanted to stay home only and study my ass off to try and maintain those good grades to please my parents, and also because I hated how I look. I stopped going for dance because I hated how my body looked and was jealous of my skinnier dance mates. I dreaded eating out because I was afraid of eating new food. I wasn’t happy. I was depressed. I was suicidal.

I went for a course of therapy in December 2012 for about 8 months before going to Buffalo, NY for my student exchange program. Being someone who is frightened of change and who fears the unknown, what should have been the most fantabulous exciting thing of all suddenly became like a nightmare. 2 weeks before I was to leave for New York, I was crying to my therapist. I was afraid of the food and whether I would gain weight. I relied on affirmations and struggled to control my though patterns all though out the first few weeks of my trip.

I figured the best way to not think about such negativity was to drown myself with activities. I joined campus events and joined some student clubs to make friends and distract myself. I danced again, but I learned Latin dance instead, which was a blessing indeed. In Buffalo I learned the beauty of a non-city life. My time in Buffalo was my break. I needed it, and I loved it

When I returned to Singapore, I vowed to maintain that improvement, although granted the first half of the year was challenging for me and I found myself in an emotional and mental rut. But I told myself to do it. I was so incredibly unhappy for the past 7 years. I wanted to change, and live life better. I wanted to be able to enjoy life without worrying how I looked or obsess about what other people thought of me. I listened to my body. I tried to focus less on looks and what I think others would perceive of me. So I started going out more. Dancing more. Staying out later. Meeting new people of different ages and nationalities. Going to bars and even getting drunk (though that happened maybe just once or twice tops) just because I wanted to get out my comfort shell.

It sounds easy, doing all of that, but its not. It takes a lot of courage to be able to do something you’ve never done before, especially when you’ve lived your life fearing the unknown and especially for people who’ve had eating disorders, who lived their life in shades of black and white. But that’s part of recovery. To recover, you need to know that you can’t stay where you once were for the rest of your life. To recover, you need to change, and to change, you need the courage to do so.

Change takes time, and transitioning from that stage of my life to the present me is a challenge. I was frightened of doing all those and it didn’t go smoothly in the beginning. I would dawdle and delay and then make up my mind at the last minute, because it was so frightening for me. But hey, I tried. And I’m glad I did. And I did it so with support of good friends and with that of new people whom I’ve met ever since coming back from the U.S. It’s helping me figure out who I should be and helping me become the person I want to be. Am I fully recovered? No. I will always be in recovery and sometimes there are days when I want to starve myself because I feel humungous, or just eat everything in sight because I feel tired of trying to get my hunger cues back in balance, or not think about many calories there could be in a single meal or freak out if I miss a day’s worth of exercise. But I really do try. So for whoever comes into this particular chapter in my life without knowing what the other chapters are, don’t judge me coz ain’t me.

And to be honest, transitioning is exhausting. You need to deal with knowing that you are trying to live life a different way now, you need to deal with your fears and insecurities and gathering up courage and you need to figure out how to move in this world in your changing self as you expose yourself to different situations and find a place that you’re comfortable in.

So to anyone recovering from an ED, I understand your frustration, your fears and your confusion, and I applaud your strength, your courage and your determination.

Transition. Egg to caterpillar to pupa to butterfly.

Eating disorder or not, what stage in your life are you at right now?

(P.S. hi to anyone reading this. I spent my entire day doing nothing productive as I slept most of my day and afternoon away.)

And pardon-moi let me end the Saturday, or maybe start your weekend by asking you to appreciate how amazingly awesome these dancers are? I took Kyle’s class when I was in L.A in 2012 and I was FLOORED. Absolutely floored. Combining salsa and hiphop. Dat man has a fabulous mind.

kintsukuroi

kint

I haven’t had the energy to update this blog in a while. School stuff otherwise, there are one or two other things in my life I’m attempting to deal and get over with. Challenges like the ones I’m dealing with at the moment make me marvel at the resilience and the strength of the human heart and mind. We’ve been through so much, we want to give up, but somehow, we manage to scrape the pieces of our life together and put ourselves back. We’re not who we once were and the next challenge is to try and heal and figure out who we are and how to move in this world in our new self.

And maybe we won’t ever be the same again. And maybe that’s also what makes us beautiful. Maybe with each challenge, each failure, each fall, each fallen tear, each broken heart, we become more beautiful. And perhaps the same can be said for our perceived flaws. Our “flaws” are what make us different from the other. Therefore, this “flaw” also makes us beautiful in another way. Maybe this is evidence that beauty isn’t just reflected in our looks, but is also reflected in what the human heart, body and soul has been through. When our eyes see too much perfection, eventually, perfection itself will fail to astonish.

I don’t know whether I’m using this noun right, but I’d like to think that I’m currently in a state of kintsukuroi.

(P.S. hi to anyone who’s reading this)