10 minutes with Blair Thompson

Welcome back guys! Today’s interview is with a wonderfully gorgeous aspiring undergraduate/ aspiring dietician / warrior, Blair Thomspon ❤

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Blair runs an instagram account: @bodypositiveeverydamday (*hint hint: go check her out and also, yes its dam!). I decided to reach out to her because she posts the most amazing inspirational posts and messages. She reveals her hopes, her dreams, her fears and her vulnerabilities in her posts & whole-heartedly shares with her followers her journey toward body acceptance and recovering from her eating disorder. Her triumphs and her struggles reflect those of ours and that’s what makes her so incredibly relatable. In a way, she’s us. Its as though there’s a bond because she makes one go “oh my god yes that’s me I was going through the same thing and I’m not alone”. In a way I can’t help but feel connected to her, tied by our shared understanding of the same trials and tribulations about our bodies we go through as we continue fighting our eating disorder; as though we know each other even though we live on opposite sides of the globe.

That’s the beauty of it all – shared struggles bring people together.

Blair’s responses came at such an opportune time, because the day I received her responses and read them (August 29), I was going through an incredibly bad body image and eating day. PMS was currently still is hitting me, and when that happens, I get really bad bloating. Its so bad until my tummy actually hurts and I can’t stand up properly and need to lie down because it feels as though my tummy is about to burst. I start swelling & puffing up like Violet Beauregarde in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and it was giving me really bad body image issues. Plus, I wanted to eat so many things & it was bringing back a lot of unhealthy negative thoughts about restricting and body-bashing. It made me feel like I was taking 53 steps back in my recovery, that I was relapsing because I was slipping over and over again.

Not only did Blair share some of the current struggles I go through, she spoke about some of the things that I actually, up til now, still fear admitting. But then I learned: There is NO one way to recover. People are going to struggle with negative thoughts handout disordered eating, sometimes on some days, sometimes everyday. But that’s all right, and that doesn’t make you a failure. It makes you human. When I slip and make mistakes, binge or cry and restrict or throw tantrums, I always end up thinking that there is no other person out there going through what I’m experiencing because like what a wise friend once told me, when you’re hurting, little else matter. But then there are people like Blair who remind me that I am not alone, who share their accounts of same pains and use their struggle to help others and help themselves.

So thank you Blair, for sharing your story with me and reassuring I’m not as wrecked as I make myself out to be and that even though I am still broken, still recovering, still fighting, still bingeing, still struggling, still crying, what’s more important is that I am still brave enough to continue fighting these demons that I have been fighting since Day 1.

I will share some of her personal Instagram posts with you at the end of the interview so as to give you a sneak peek into how she motivates her followers. Until then here’s introducing to you, Blair Thompson ❤

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Hi! For those unfamiliar with you and what you do, please introduce yourself.

Hi, my name is Blair Thompson; I am currently recovering from binge eating disorder. I developed this disorder while I was recovering from anorexia. I am getting my degree as a dietitian, so that I can help people with eating disorders, so I will specialize in eating disorders. Right now I am trying to help others by trying to spread the word to be body positive, to love yourself at any weight or at any size.

Why did you decide to create an Instagram account about eating disorder recovery and body positivity?

This is an awesome question. I created mine because when I deep down wanted help with recovery I never got the help. I got dangerously thin, and I knew there was something wrong, I was tired of being afraid to eat, afraid of fat. I always thought about food and working out. I wanted help, but I never got it, so I tried to recover on my own, I had no support, so I ended up developing binge eating disorder and now I have so much support and I go to a therapist and a nutritionist. I really want to give back to every person who is suffering with an eating disorder, so I use my instagram to help others.

Could you share with us your eating disorder story?

I will gladly share my story. Growing up I was chubby, I was not a little thin person, and I am short but compact. I was very athletic and good at every sport I tried. All I wanted to do is have fun and run around, I did eat a lot of food, mostly junk food, but I was happy and so healthy. I moved a lot and at every school people noticed that I was fat, and they would tell me. I got called fatty all the time, people would make fun of my chin and tell me that I had no chin. My dad told me that once I got older I would be more concerned with my weight. I did not understand what he meant. Then in 8th grade I really liked this guy but he did not like me because I was that fat girl that was shy but really nice. I decided to leave and go to boarding school, when I got there, people called me fat, guys were like “ I can’t date you because you are fat”. I had to be “small”, “thin” to be attractive. I took all of that to heart; I was tired of being ignored. I started to eat healthier, eating less, and working out a lot. I came back sophomore year and lost about 15 pounds, over a year. Everyone told me that I looked so much better. I felt so good, people who ignored me, were in love with me. People treated me with respect and they treated me so much better. Then I had guys flirting with me and complementing me from left to right. I was in heaven. I had a ton of boyfriends from sophomore year to junior year. I loved the attention. Most guys I dated were over the Internet, some in person. The guys at my school were starting to notice me, and one guy touched me in a sexual way, and I felt so uncomfortable. I told a teacher about it, and it was called sexual abuse, he was so mean to me. Each guy that I dated tried and did force me to do things that I did not want to do. They were attracted to me because of the way I looked; I tried to find self-love through an unhealthy way through guys. It did a lot of damage on my self-esteem, I thought that when I got thin, I would feel loved, more importantly I would love myself. Turns out, I did not love myself, I hated myself, I would workout and eat nothing because I thought that it would help me with my self-love problem, but it didn’t. I had poor relationships with guys, one guy tried to have sex with me, but I wouldn’t let him, so he forced me to give him a hand job, I was so scared, I couldn’t move and then after I just cried and cried. I ended that, and I thought it happened because I was ugly, and not thin enough. My problem got worse and worse, my negative thoughts were awful, I self harmed every time I ate, I hated my body and that fact that I had to eat. Eventually I got into a relationship with a guy that I am with now, it is a serious relationship, but he had to deal with me cutting, and being depressed and anorexic. Our relationship almost ended so many times because I cared more about being thin, and feeding my eating disorder rather than focusing on our relationship. It happened again when I started binge eating. Eating disorders love to ruin relationships because it wants you in isolation, and it will do anything to get you there. Now I am still struggling with negative thoughts, and my binge eating disorder, but I am trying to take it one day at a time, hopefully one day, I will be binge free.

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What made you decide to seek help?

The fact that my eating disorder ruined my life, and it made it so that I was not able to function in life, I couldn’t do anything, or enjoy anything. My relationship was falling apart, my grades were falling apart, I was falling apart, I just honestly wanted to die because I couldn’t and can’t stop eating. I knew that I needed the help, and once I decided to get help, the easier it was for me to chose recovery and learn how to deal with my mental problems.

Have there been times when you felt tempted to return to your old habits? How did you overcome them?

There as been meaning times I have felt tempted to return to my old habits. I don’t starve myself anymore; it has been 2 years since I last starved myself. I actually binged ate today (August 28, 2015). I have not cut since 2013. I overcame not starving myself because my body was slowly breaking down and shutting down, I needed food, so my body made it so that I couldn’t stop eating because I starved it for 5 years, and I had my binge eating disorder for 2 years. I have not successfully been able to stop a binge, but The longest I went without binge eating was 3 months, but recently I can only make it about 2 weeks. I have been trying to eat food in moderation and eat food that makes me feel good.

What do you think it means to be “recovered” from an eating disorder, and what are some steps that you take to ensure that you stay on the path of recovery?

To me it means that you choose to be recovered everyday, to know when you are having eating disorder thoughts or negative harmful thoughts. I honestly do not think people can get fully cured from an eating disorder. Even though their weight is restored, does not mean that they are fully recovered. Everyday I tell myself to be positive, that my body is beautiful even though I have fat, and that I still have binge eating episodes. I am perfectly imperfect. Yes I am fat, chubby whatever, and I know that recovery is a bumpy path but giving up is not an option, even if I do fall down one day, I get up and keep going.

What happens when you “fall down”? Could you give us some examples? How do you get back up on your feet?

This is a perfect question for right now. Today I have had a hard day because I had an urge to binge eat. I tried to fight it all day, but then after dinner I just ate everything, I couldn’t stop and I can’t stop. My stomach hurts because I ate too much. I try very hard to not let my falls get me down, I try to tell myself that it is okay, that I am okay, to just breath, and just relax. I cry, crying does help, and I let myself feel everything, because I fall every time to quiet my mind from all the feelings. It is unhealthy; it is so healthy just to let yourself feel every feeling.

What has changed since embarking on recovery, in terms of your perception of yourself, your mindset or your attitude?

A lot changed, my life attracts more positive things, like people and more opportunities. My life is so much more enjoyable; I find pleasure in doing the simple things in life again. I can go out, I can eat out and not worry about food, I can enjoy my friends, and family. It just makes life a happier place, it makes my mind a lot healthier, and my mindset and my attitude is les negative than before. I am working on becoming a more positive person.

Recovering from an eating disorder is slow and can be tiring and equally stressful with lots of obstacles along the way. What advice do you have for other women struggling with their own eating disorder journey?

My advice is to meditate, find a place to write how you feel, be open, and be open minded. Share your story, and struggle to the world through instagram, do not hide; you deserve to have your story be heard. Your ups and downs, your advice through what you go through helps so many people as well. Be honest with yourself and others through your recovery journey.

What was your relationship is to your food before recovery? Did you see it as the enemy or something to be feared? What about now?

Before recovery, I couldn’t eat food, I was afraid of it to the point that I couldn’t stop eating it. I only had good or bad food, so I was not allowed to eat bad food, never ever, which lead me here to binge eating. I saw it as an enemy that I should not have or enjoy. Right now I am actually struggling with my relationship with food, because sometimes I do fear it, and sometimes I do not enjoy it, I try to eat it so fast to get it over with, but sometimes I try my best to enjoy every bite because food is not the enemy and it is not something to be feared.

We live in a society that continues to glorify thin bodies. Despite your quest toward acceptance of your flaws and your vulnerabilities, have you at times, wished you were thinner? How do you overcome that? What can we do?

I wish I were thin everyday, even when I was thin. Sometimes being thin is not even enough. I overcome it by remembering what it was like being thin, it did not help me with my problem, I still hated myself, that is when I realized it has nothing to do with my weight but more with my self-love. I was thin, and it is not as glorifying as people make it to be. I think if we just focus on who were are as a person and focus on what we can do for others and ourselves then we will be able to see more beauty. Instead of looking outwards we should look within ourselves, that is when we will realize that being thin will not help with what we are looking for. Everyone is different, some people are naturally fat or naturally thin or in between.

When you look back to who you were before embarking on your recovery journey, what are some thoughts and feelings that you have about how far you’ve come in terms of how the process of recovery has empowered and changed you?

I realize that I was a lot thinner when I started my recovery journey because I had to restore my weight, but binge eating has had a toll on my weight as well. I am learning to have a balance life, and moderation with everything because I tend to go one extreme to the next. Right now I have come a long way, I use to binge eat everyday, and I use to workout everyday, but I injured myself. So I can’t workout at all, but I can mentally handle that now. I can mentally handle eating too much or eating out. I can eat out with my family or boyfriend or friends. It has changed me in so many ways; I am more flexible with my food and my life in general. I am more willing to do more things because I don’t have to worry about what to eat or what not to eat. The process of recovery has empowered me in a lot of ways as well. I can now share my struggles and my journey with others, and inspire others to do better or be better. I try to be there for everyone, and I can because I have been through the worst parts, and the good parts. I can learn from others as well. I am always willing to learn new ways to recover and help people.

What are some fears that you have about the future when it comes to your eating disorder recovery? How do you stop yourself from stressing out about it (e.g. I personally fear that having children might trigger body image issues!)

My fear is that my binge eating disorder will give me other health problems; I already have a lot already from my anorexia. I have physical injuries from working out too much and starving my body. I am afraid that I will become so physically unhealthy that I will me miserable, I want to be able to go out and do activities, I want to enjoy running around, going on bike rides, and just feeling good mentally and physically. I usually watch tv, talk to a friend that I trust, Post motivational pictures on my instagram. I love listening to music; it helps a lot with stress. I basically fear being unhealthy.

14. Young women are facing a lot of double standards in society as compared to men, and are increasingly becoming sexualized in the media. How do you think this is affecting the way women (and even adolescents) see themselves in terms of their body image and/or other mental health issues?

Ugh. This is another good question. I feel like women are taught that we need to look good and be attractive for men, and only men. A lot of my eating disorder problems come from this. Being that unattractive girl, many older women try to teach us that we need to look good in order to do well in life, we need to look good for men and if we don’t we have basically failed in life. Even women see other women as sexual objects, especially the one’s who are “attractive” and we are all thinking to ourselves that we wish we were attractive like that so we can achieve being liked by men. We can’t help it, we are taught this way and it is put in our heads from the very beginning. I think it is a big thing for mental health issues as well, it is put in our heads that if we are not attractive then we are not good enough, and living life feeling not good enough is horrible. We treat ourselves with disrespect, we allow ourselves to do harm things to our own bodies or we put ourselves in harmful relationships because we think we deserve that because we aren’t “attractive” but in reality every person is attractive. We all deserve to be good enough and to feel good enough. We are more than just bodies and our looks, we are a soul that has a body, and we should take care of it, and take care of our soul.

How do you wish to see yourself in the next 1 year? 5 years?

I wish to see myself binge free in 1 year with a job, and having fun volunteering and getting experience for my dietitian degree. In 5 years I hope to see myself as a registered dietitian that specializes in eating disorders. I hope that I will be living with my boyfriend, and hopefully we will be more than that by then. I hope that I will still be binge free by then as well.

What do you think it means to be a beautiful & empowered woman?

To me being beautiful and empowering has everything to do with personality, you can look good but if you have a bad personality than I am sorry you are not an attractive person because your personality is harmful and mean towards others. If you have an amazing personality and you are a truly amazing human being then you are considered a beautiful empowering person to me. If you are willing to help others and to help yourself than I still will believe that you are beautiful person. I do not believe that there are ugly looking people in this world, only ugly personalities. Looks change, we get older but our souls will live on forever, so love yourself always, no matter what you look like.

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“I am trying to accept my belly and body as it is. Tonight was hard. I don’t know if I would consider if I binged ate or not. I ate a lot of food because I was hungry, but I had that out of control feeling &  started crying because I binged ate on Monday and I was like I don’t need this right now. I also went to therapy on Tuesday. Which helped me a lot. But i am still struggling with food. I probably don’t eat enough throughout the day. And hen at night I get too hungry and can never get full. Ugh. Recovery is hard, but it is worth it. And I never want to go back to starving myself, but I also seem to overfeed myself now. One extreme to the next. I am slowly learning moderation and what it means to have a balanced life and a balanced diet. “

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“Today I had to look nice because of a school project. I felt so good and I actually felt I looked nice lol. But then I sat down. I don’t have a couple of belly rolls. My whole stomach is a roll that rolls over my underwear and sticks out of my dress. It made me so upset that I got a headache and I felt so lightheaded and dizzy, I got so tense and my whole body just started to hurt. I couldn’t focus and I couldn’t think straight. I just felt like I was there. Watching everything happen but not being aware of my surroundings. Then I thought to myself that I need to eat less and do this I need to do this and do that. Or I eat too much or whatever. I get upset because I am a recovering binge eating now. Not recovering from anorexia which wouldn’t be a bad thing for me eat too much, because my body needs the food to live. But now it is like, I need to learn to balance between binge eating and anorexia. Which would be moderation and balance and a healthy mind. I am allowed to feel upset, but I have to accept what I feel and move on in order to grow and recover. “

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wise words to think about when you have a major slip in recovery

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2 days I went through something that triggered a range of thought patterns and behaviors that were most prominent on the height of my eating disorder 3 years ago when I was 21. Usually when I experience a trigger, I slip and I take 2 or 3 steps back in my recovery, but then I’m able to bounce back from it within the hour. This particular trigger however, was much more severe. I didn’t take any steps back. Rather, I fell into a bloody pithole and I’ve been struggling to get out of it ever since.

Sharks are pulling at me. My arms are flailing madly. My mind is overwhelmed.

I was criticizing my body. I was in distress. I was thinking that I needed to lose weight by the weekend. I started thinking of restricting and going on diets, wanting to exercise a lot more, and even contemplated taking diuretics. I was almost tempted to do so yesterday; I was staring at the bottle that’s being kept in the kitchen, playing with it. fiddling it and reading the pamphlet over and over again. After about 5 minutes I abandoned it and went back to my room to continue packing. What’s scarier was that I never took diuretics and/or laxatives during when I was severely struggling. Never. In the past I never dared take diuretics and or laxatives yet now here I was, just suddenly picking it up and wanting to consume them. I had wanted to get skinny so much yesterday that I went to a new extreme of wanting to consume diuretics / laxatives after my meals. This was a new behavior. Very new. I myself was so surprised at how easily the thought of taking it came to my mind.

What had happened to me? Why am I becoming like this? This isn’t me. I don’t know this person. 

I lay in bed at night with my heart racing. I was panicking and thinking of how fat I was. My body felt incredibly big and I didn’t like it. On the one hand, I was attempting to reason the ED voice, but the other, Snix told me to just screw it and do whatever I wanted to get skinny.

I went from practicing mindful eating and learning to love myself to suddenly wanting to starve and restrict, wanting to take laxatives, fearing feeling full and exercising as much as I can to get skinnier.

Something had seriously gone wrong.

I tried changing my thoughts and reading self-affirmations online. It didn’t work.

But so so so thankfully, my bestie said something this afternoon that struck a chord in me, and I want to share some of her words with all of you:

‘What do you think you’ll achieve if you indeed become as skinny as you wanted to be? What is this thing that’s so important to you? You are everything great too, dear. You’ve got a family, a healthy body, a great exercise regime, freedom to eat whatever you want and go dancing whenever you want, so many coo ass friends to chat with, a spiffy blog, a sense of humor etc etc. Why, I don’t understand, out of all these things, being skinny is important to you? Is there something else that’s really the problem?  Do you want other people to smile at you, hiding their fangs, telling you you’re sooooooooo skinny, sooooooo pretty, soooooooo enviable? Because I don’t think you do. I think you’re happy with what you have, but the Devils are telling you you need more when you really don’t. “

If you’re struggling right now, ponder over these words.

What is this thing that is so important to you?

(too) clean eating

Last week for a few days I’ve been noticing a pattern. I’d eat regularly as I always do, but then at the end of the day, I find myself just wanting to have something sweet. Now that pretty much sounds normal, to end of the day with something sweet. But this was different. I didn’t just want it. I needed it. Badly. A craving for sugar would come and I’d ignore it for a while, but then give it and allow myself something sweet. Usually I go for chocolate or Ben and Jerry’s because that’s the only sweet thing available in the house. However the thing was even though I had already let myself have that something sweet, I needed more. Like more of it. And I couldn’t stop thinking about just wanting to have all the ice cream in the world and just continued sitting in the kitchen and having that ice cream and the next thing I know, I had finished half almost half the carton of ice cream. 

Bugger.

This happened again on another 2 separate occasions. I’d eat as per usual, but by the time I’ve showered after my evening run I find myself battling this strange craving for something sweet. I’d fight it for a while, but then I gave it and go back to the kitchen for the same carton of ice cream and smother my tastebuds with that sweet relief until I’d say only a few spoonfuls of that milky goodness was left pooling at the bottom. 

And I just didn’t know what was going on. I was so confused. I was eating normally and running as per normal so why was it that I started battling the urge to eat more at night. It was only when I lay in bed at night and reviewing what I ate and did during those couple of days that I realized something. All throughout day, I had been doing nothing but clean eating. No sweets, no sugar, no cookies, no ice cream, no nothing. I had almost completely cut off sugar from my eating during these 3 days and eating, as much and best as I can”, whole unprocessed foods – wholemeal bread, tuna, chicken, fish, peanut butter, broccoli etc, though with the exception of rice as its a staple in the Asian diet. I’ve been eating very clean without eating a single cookie or chocolate during these 3 days. 

I suspect that in my zealous pursuit to become healthy and get my eating habits back on track, I might have taken it a little bit too far, focusing only on clean eating and cutting out sugar in its entirety without realizing that doing so might have led my body to become deprived of energy. These 3 days I became so dedicated to healthy eating that I forgot that doing the exact same thing in the past had contributed to my obsessive behavior with rigid dieting, cutting out food groups and punishing myself every single time I had a slip up. 

First of all, I really do need to take a step back and congratulate myself on actually not punishing myself for eating all that ice-cream because I know that 3 years ago, I would probably hastily made my outside and run for 2 hours for even start a torturous round of fasting the next day to balance out the calories. Well OF COURSE I felt guilty for eating all that ice cream and OF COURSE I started panicking a little and questioning where and why I went wrong. But it was only after I reassessed what I had eaten during the day that I realized that okay maybe I had been too strict and obsessive with eating clean because I wanted to eat right and not eat junk food the way I did when I was struggling loads with my ED. I couldn’t really do anything about that ice cream anymore could I? So I just went for a long walk round the block, came home, read Harry Potter and went to bed determined to start afresh the next day. 

And it was better. I allowed myself sugar during the day, ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was full and also allowed myself Ferrero Rocher at night. Never once during the day did I obsess about sugar and cravings. 

I’m sure some of you going through recovery have been through this. In your quest to relinquish your bad habits of overeating junk food or for those not going through an ED/recovery and simply wanting to clean up your diet and reduce sugar from your diet, there’d be times when you pushed it just a tad too far – eating nice and clean the entire day, feeling extremely pleased with yourself and going “Yeah this isn’t so bad I can do this healthy clean eating thing for days” and the next thing you know, you’re scoffing down cheese fries and a bacon cheeseburger and wondering where in the world you went wrong before vowing to start over the next day, only to find yourself making the same mistake again in the week.  

I’m no nutritionist and I’ve no clue how body cells work in response to the food we eat, but I suppose this is what happens when we start a phase of eating “too clean” and not allowing ourselves a little sugar in our diets. We become rigid in our thinking and are determined to only eat certain foods that are whole and unprocessed: brown bread and rice, lean chicken and fish, low fat milk, salads and hold the sauce please but I’ll just have one piece of crouton thanks. No cookies, no chocolates, no muffins, no ice cream, no dessert. Nada. You become so conscious of the food you way that you reject foods that don’t fit into what constitutes clean and healthy eating. As humans we’re programmed to enjoy the taste of sweet foods and sugar cravings are a natural thing to experience and so when we ignore our cravings for far too long, we end up binging on the sweet stuff that we’ve been ignoring. 

And that’s what happened to me. A fair number of times I should say before I realized how my restrictive eating was contributing to this problem. I didn’t allow myself a treat when my body craved it. If you’re a Harry Potter junkie like I am, think of it as a Howler – if you don’t open it soon, it explodes. Similar principle: the more you try to control the craving and your body, your body will rebel. 

Such experiences always bring me back to the one important principle my online ED support group told me: always listen to your body because it knows what it needsThere is nothing wrong with having ice cream and chocolate but to cut it out completely from your diet and remaining determined to eat only certain types of foods instead of eating flexibly can be harmful, both physically and mentally. In the long run and if taken to the limit, your body might start breaking down due to its receiving nutrients from a restricted set of foods,  you start developing rigid and obsessive thinking patterns (e.g. I can’t eat this, I can only eat that) and it might also impinge upon your lifestyle (e.g. unable to eat out without worrying about whether a restaurant serves food that you deem acceptable). Its really a very real thing and really incredibly scary because I myself have been through that – eating only brown bread and maybe potatoes but not rice, only chicken and fish but not beef and pork, only salads without dressing. I didn’t like going out to eat because I hated how I couldn’t predict what foods a cafe would serve and it was a hassle to have to look at a menu online and decide I would only eat the rice and chicken when what I really could try was a creamy pasta even though I’m not a fan of pasta but I had deprived myself of creamy sauces for so long that I just wanted to taste it again.

At the end of the day, your body knows what it needs to eat. You can’t be on a diet forever because you’ll end up miserable. Its all part of mindful eating. Listen to your body because it knows what and when it needs to eat. When you’re hungry, eat. When you’re full stop. Eat chocolate and sweets if you want, but keep it in moderation (though I sometimes I find hard to do that) and if you end up overeating. Don’t punish yourself. Drink tea and go for a long walk and start again tomorrow. 

It takes effort to do something like that I know especially because you’ve been eating in disordered patterns for so long, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you won’t get results if you’re not willing to put in the effort to changing your habits. Tell yourself that you are stronger than your old habits, and you are. If you’ve had your share of sugar and find yourself wanting more, get up and walk away instead of giving in again and again. 

You can do it, you may encounter setbacks but you will get up again and you will try again.

You will make it. 

We will all.

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Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2015 (Feb 23 – Mar 1)

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Am doing another post for Eating Disorders Awareness Week, this time its one hosted by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) in the USA (the last one I did was the week for Canda) and the theme that NEDA has for this week is “I Did Not Know”. On social media, individuals are encouraged to post anything about eating disorders, from facts to struggles during recovery to their personal triumphs over their eating disorders to raise awareness about what the mental illness is and the damage it can bring to one’s physical, mental and emotional health.

For this post I thought I’d take a leaf out of many people’s books and share with you a list of things that I myself, based on my personal journey with my eating disorder, did not know about eating disorders. I do believe that some people are under the impression that people who develop eating disorders did so out of choice because he/she wanted to achieve only a certain type of body

She wanted to be skinny so its her fault she got an eating disorder. That’s all she can think about: getting thin, so she has no one to blame but herself. Look at how skinny or how fat she’s become from starving/binging, that’s what you get when you start dieting. She should have known. She could have stopped dieting but she chose not to. That’s what you get when you’re obsessed and self-centered. 

Eating disorders don’t develop out of choice. I most certainly did not wake up one fine merry morning and go “Oh let’s get an eating disorder today, that should be jolly fun” or “Let’s get thin today, and never mind that I’ll lose my hair or lose my muscle mass or develop ulcers or start thinking about suicide” Yes, in my mind, I had a goal of becoming thin, but I most certainly did not bargain for my behaviors to spiral dangerously out of control due to my dissatisfaction with my body that was compounded by my lack of knowledge of the dangers of extreme dieting, the idealization of thin women in society and

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I DID NOT KNOW THAT…

  • What started out as an introduction to meal replacement drinks would start my eating disorder journey
  • I would no longer look at food something to enjoy, but something to fear and even detest.
  • I would start obsessively counting calories and punishing myself by not eating the next day if I exceeded my self-imposed limit of 1400 calories a day.
  • My hair would fall out in clumps and would never grow back the same way again.
  • I would develop ulcers on my lips
  • I would start “diet-hopping”
  • Losing 5kg in a matter of a week wasn’t equivalent to fat loss, but muscle loss.
  • I would become so secretive with my eating
  • I would no longer be able to identify what feeling hungry meant.
  • Loving, hating and feeling scared of eating was a feeling that actually existed
  • I would never eat another single burger for 7 years.
  • I would hate looking at my reflection
  • Binging would bring me comfort.
  • Self-harm would become a coping mechanism
  • My menstrual cycle would be irregular for approximately 4 years.
  • My love for dance would be sacrificed
  • Drink diet coke all day just to feel full
  • I would become addicted to exercise
  • “Normal eating” no longer meant anything to me
  • I would start to abuse laxatives
  • I would develop depressive thoughts when I entered college.
  • I would develop suicidal thoughts in my sophomore year and see death as the only way out of suffering
  • I would develop a self-imposed curfew to get home by 9pm just so I could go running because if I missed a day’s workout, I would start getting anxious.

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I’m 101% positive and if you ask anyone on the street, whether they’d choose to endure any of the above, even for a few days, they’d give you a resounding “no” in your face. All these physical, emotional and mental consequences were outcomes that I did not bargain for nor expect. I went from a confident carefree girl to an insecure and crumbling mess of a person who had no idea how to navigate her way through life and who actually thought that what was happening to her was a phase that would pass without incident if she “just went back to normal eating”. Sort of like the awkward phases of puberty – you have to do your time with the acne, the braces and the social awkwardness before you emerge out of it into a better person. Only it wasn’t. It persisted for a long time and I was just about ready to give up.

I think I understand why people don’t treat eating disorders as seriously as they do with other conditions, such as depression. Its to do with eating, something that’s a normal process in people’s life. Just eat normally. I know that. But its hard to do that when you’ve lived a long time restricting and bingeing and reading up on ways to lose weight by eating all sorts of strange foods at odd hours. Normal is relative, and its hard for people to believe that something as normal and simple and innocent as eating can be so harmful. There is nothing glamorous about eating disorders. We don’t end up looking like Hollywood actresses. This is the price many of us pay.

I’m not fully recovered. I still struggle with normal eating at times. I battle fears and anxieties with food and a part of me still wishes I were thinner. But I’m still fighting.

It’ll take a longer time for society to fully grasp the seriousness and ramifications of what an eating disorder really is. I can’t possible change the mindsets of everyone but I hope that every little thing I do in my way contributes to raising awareness and increasing understanding in what other people as to what really happens when one person experiences an eating disorder because we are such misunderstood people. Its not just about eating. It extends into your health, your emotions, your happiness and your lifestyle. Eating disorders rob a person of that and here’s hoping that this post will be one of the many that will change your “I Did Not Know” to “I Now Know” or ” I Now Have a Better Understanding”

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Thoughts? To those going through an eating disorder and/or recovery or if you’re an advocate for raising awareness about the dangers of eating disorders, join the online community and share your stories or facts about ED and recovery on social media! I’d love to see them.

Enjoy the weekend guys!

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  Here are some videos that I’ve been watching over and over again the past couple of days:

I must have watched this trailer at least 10 times and I don’t know what it is about the storyline that attracts me but I definitely am catching this when it gets released AND HOLY SMOKES THE GUY PLAYING YOUNG HARRISON FORD – THE BOY ON THE BIKE. THOSE CHEEKBONES.

ADELE IS PERFECT END OF STORY I WANT HER AS MY CELEBRITY BEST FRIEND.

Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2015 (1st – 7th Feb)

So this week (1-7 Feb) is Eating Disorders Awareness Week, and the primary aim of it involves raising awareness and understanding of eating disorders. I initially thought of writing a piece to raise awareness about eating disorders for the purpose of education with a “coming-out” piece. Or rather, the “ED story” in which I tell you all the details about my eating disorder, starting from what I believed started it, to the disordered eating patterns I engaged in, to how I am faring during recovery. But I decided not to because (a) I still don’t feel fully comfortable with that and (b) I thought of providing a different perspective to help raise awareness and understanding by providing but brief snippets of what I personally went through. The questions below are, again, taken from the 30 Day We Bite Back Challenge organized by @webiteback on social media that I think paint a picture of what my journey was like since recovery. As I mentioned before, this post doesn’t speak for every other person struggling with an eating disorder, going through recovery or have recovered. This is but my way to help raise awareness about eating disorders by showing you a brief snippet about the experiences of a 24 year old girl to hopefully, help you understand what people who are going through/have gone through an eating disorder and the recovery journey a little better.

What motivates you to recover?

Reflecting on the life I had during the height of my ED days. I was depressed and shit-miserable and incredibly obsessive. I was jumping from counting calories to cutting out food groups to just fasting the entire day then bingeing at the end of the day, followed hours of running. I once ran for 3 hours nonstop after what I believed to be a binge and it was perhaps the best and worst feeling in my entire life. I remember crying in bed after that. Trust me, you don’t want to be doing that. It takes time and energy away from other things you could be doing, like dancing and going out with friends and doing all the fun stuff you should be doing when you’re 20.

Does your family support your recovery? How do they help or hurt your efforts to recover?

The only people in my family who know about my eating disorder are my mum and maternal aunt. In fact, the first relative I told to was my aunt who isn’t even living in Singapore, but in the UK and she was the one who offered to tell my mother on my behalf. My mum then told me she would bring me to see the clinic for help via text message. Yeah you heard me right. A friggin’ text message. But that’s actually how my family works. We’re not that close. We don’t talk. We text.  My mum wasn’t very supportive of me in the early phase of recovery actually. She believed me to be seeking attention and after our first argument, I truly believed her to be disappointed that I turned out to be like my big sister, who also was sent to a therapist for her anorexic-tendencies. I think she was hoping that I would turn out to be the “better” daughter.  It kind of sucks to keep your recovery and ED a secret from your family but I’m used to not relying on my parents when it comes to such personal matters. They didn’t know I was depressed, didn’t know I was cutting, nor did they suspect that I might have an eating disorder because I managed to hide it so well. I went to my first consultation with the psychiatrist with my mum but she left even before I got to see her because she had to go pick up my brother from school. So…yeah.

Do you have a turning point or a certain moment that made you decide to want to recover? Or was it a decision that happened over a long period of time?

Being suicidal. I was at the lowest point in my life and really believed that if I didn’t end this on my own terms, then my ED would. My weight was fluctuating like crazy, I stopped indulging in my favorite hobbies, I had mouth ulcers, I was depressed, my hair was falling, I was losing muscle mass, my concentration was badly affected and I feared my grades would be affected and I no longer knew being hungry felt like anymore. When I realized I didn’t have the courage to take the next step, I decided that it was either going forward with my plan or getting better and since I had already backed out the former, the only option left was to go for choose the latter.

What part of your eating disorder is hardest for you to overcome or let go of right now?

Still wanting to be thin instead of being healthy. Its not as intense as before, but its definetely a significant factor in my ED that affects the recovery process. I admit that there’s still a tiny part of me that still wants me to be a certain body shape and body size, that there are times when I feel too big for my skin and start thinking that I need to eat less and exercise more. Am I the only one in recovery still holding on to this kind of thought?

What are some things your eating disorder has taken away from you? 

  • Dance. With the amount of time I spent starving and bingeing, I would sometimes skip dance lessons just so I could go jogging to burn off whatever I ate. Yes, dance is a form of cardio, but I didn’t want people to see me in the body I had. During dance practice and lessons I had to look at myself in the mirror and all I could see what a big lump of mass moving very ungraciously on the floor. I hated my physical appearance so much, and the fact that there were so many other dancers who were skinnier and leaner than me made me so self-conscious and made me feel unworthy of being a dancer. I felt like I didn’t have the right body to dance hip hop and street jazz and so I gave up dancing for 2 years at the age of 20. I did go back to dancing when I was 22 when I was in New York, but it was Latin dance instead of street dance since the school didn’t offer street dance. No regrets and its given me a new perspective on dance and I am fully intending to try and go back to the street jazz scene again this month.
  • My confidence. I was still a big girl even before I developed my ED, and some of them immature bratty boys made fun of how I wasn’t skinny like the other girls in my class. Here’s thing. It didn’t bother me at all. Not one friggin time did it bother me. It didn’t affect me and I honestly just let their comments slide. I wore whatever clothes I wanted without a heck in the world; I threw on sleeveless tops and shorts skirts and I didn’t even think about how my arms or calves looked like. I can’t begin to explain to you just how I did not care at all. All that came crashing down with my ED. I started hiding my body and crumbled at comments about my body. Even the slightest things like “you’ve got a curvier body” made me hate myself more because I wanted a thin body. I equated curvy with big, and that was something my mind refused to accept. I hated shopping for clothes and moped at how I couldn’t wear whatever I wanted without feeling like a big lump of mass and ended up living in jeans, shorts and dark colors. I wanted the world to notice me, but I wanted to disappear at the same time because I was ashamed of how I looked.

What do you want your life to look like when you’ve recovered?

  • Not obsessing about my body parts
  • “You look so beautiful!” instead of thinking “I wish I looked as beautiful as her”.
  • No longer be afraid of eating
  • Accept compliments without rejecting them and thinking that the person who said them is lying.
  • Not getting anxious should I miss a workout.
  • Eat that extra cup of Ben and Jerry’s and saying “f*** it” instead “no more ice cream for 2 weeks”
  • “My ass looks good in these jeans” instead of “I wish I had a bigger booty”
  • Smile and truly mean it
  • Like what I see in the mirror instead of avoiding it.
  • Carefree
  • Empowered
  • Self-confident
  • Self-accepting
  • Free
  • Secure.

What is something you learned about yourself in recovery? 

  • That what is killing me isn’t just my disordered eating patterns, but my desire for acceptance and approval from others & my desire to live up to a certain beauty standard.
  • That whatever negative thoughts that consume my mind will control me and therefore, I need to learn to change my thought processes – something which I never did before.
  • That my strength did not emerge from a particular conspicuous instant, but during repeated trials and failures during which a pattern emerged that revealed my determination and refusal to give up.
  • Putting myself first isn’t egotistical. Its necessary.
  • That I am a f****** fighter.

 

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Eating disorders claim the lives of many and its a disorder that isn’t just about wanting to be thin and pretty, but more about fighting inner demons everyday that tell us we aren’t beautiful. Yeah, everyone wants to be beautiful, but to have a voice in your head telling you that you are ugly and that you need to go on a diet for the rest of your life by counting calories and exercising hours and hours a day all day every day is definitely not what everybody goes through.

 

what scares me about my eating disorder and recovery

I realized I haven’t been talking a lot about my ED and my recovery experience, probably because I’m not sure exactly what to talk about and also because I’m not sure what my boundaries are or should be when it comes to talk about my eating disorder. I’ve written about my experiences with eating disorders in some previous posts, though they’re but brief snippets of the entire experience. I admit, as much as I would want to raise awareness about the perils and dangers of eating disorders, there is a part of me that is afraid to tell others exactly what are the disordered eating patterns I have gone through and/or am going through. As of now, only 2 or 3 friends, my therapist, psychiatrist and dietician know the nuts and bolts of my eating habits. I’ve actually also submitted an essay to a project on raising awareness of marginalized eating disorders in which I talk about a particular eating habit that I was, and I admit, still am a little embarrassed afraid shy (something) to talk about.

Anyway, I’m following an Instagram account called “@webiteback” and they are currently hosting this online campaign called “We Bite Back 30 Day Recovery Challenge” in which the @webiteback posts a  “challenge” or question for each day related to eating disorders/recovery and have IG users leave their answers with #wbbchallenge to facilitate interaction among the users and read each other’s responses. I’ve responded to quite a few on IG but I thought I could also share some of the challenges here on my blog to raise awareness on EDs as well.

So the challenge, or rather challenges –  since I wanted to talk about them both and found them both to be related – I picked out for this post is this:

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I picked this out because I think a lot of people assume that people going through eating disorders are scared about these few things: weight, body size and food. These 5 are I suppose, the ones that impact me most, though of course there are many other things I experience in my struggle that I’m afraid of but I thought I’d share the first few that really bothered me since Day 1. My answers don’t speak for others because as I always emphasize, each journey and circumstances is different, but I merely wanted to highlight that there are other types of fears that go deeper than just eating and physical appearances in an eating disorder.

That if I have children in the future, they might develop an eating disorder as well. Especially if I have daughters. There’s empirical evidence that eating disorders can be genetically inherited from family members, yet genes don’t always account for the incidence of disordered eating. Mothers are role models for their daughters and when they themselves disordered and/or unhealthy eating patterns (e.g. picking at food / skipping meals / unhealthy eating), daughters can unwittingly pick up these patterns, especially when they are at a young age. Of course I hope that 10 years from now my disordered eating patterns would have been suppressed to the bare minimum and no longer control my life, but the fear of one day going through an unexpected relapse going back to starving, bingeing and throwing up my food might affect my children’s relationship with food. I may not be a mother, but I definetely don’t know my own children to go through the same struggles I did because I cannot even begin to tell you the amount of physical and emotional pain I went through, and am still going through fighting my eating disorder. I don’t want my boys and girls growing up obsessively counting calories, cutting out entire food groups and think that if they should overeat one day, they will become fat the next day

InfertilityAccording to amount of research and reports I’ve read, there seems to be a link between eating disorders and a woman’s menstrual cycle. There isn’t a clear cut explanation but one speculation I’ve read is that dysfunctional eating wrecks your body’s metabolism and this results in suppression of normal functioning in the brain that releases hormones. Release of estrogen, needed for ovulation, therefore also becomes suppressed and therefore a women doesn’t ovulate and have her period. My own periods were oh-so incredibly irregular during the height of my eating disorder. I’d miss a period for 4 months, and after that miss it again for another 5 or 6 months. I always hear girls telling me how uncomfortable they feel when they were on their periods and I remember always sympathizing with them whenever they relay they discomfort and annoyance but the truth was, I wanted them to shut the hell up. I wanted to tell them that yes, your uterus is bleeding a crimson tide and yes, you get cramps but I sincerely hope you know that this means that your body is functioning normally and that your body is capable of releasing and egg and holding a baby. My period was irregular for 3 years and when my period didn’t come each month, I got so frustrated and upset and this only added to my worries that I’d have fertility issues in the long run. Yes, I want to be skinny but I still want to have a normal functioning reproductive system capable of creating and sustaining life.

RelapsePerhaps nothing frightens me more than the possibility that I might go back to the days of starving and bingeing and purging after my efforts and trying to recover. Now that I’m recovering and finding a life from my eating disorder, and also knowing what kind of a horrible life I had when I was struggling with my eating, I know that I definfelty don’t want to go back to the latter. I don’t want to lead a life of intense insecurity and fear where I count calories, cutting out carbohydrates, binge and then purge in shame, crying whenever I overate, surviving on liquid meals and once, even taking diet pills because I hated my body so much I resorted to doing that.  I was normal on the outside, but on the inside, it was a disgusting chaos. I’m frightened that I will experience a situation that may cause me to relapse. 

Changing my eating habits but still hating myself, especially my looks. I afraid that even though I’m eating better by not restricting and engaging in mindful eating, my mind will not accept my current body size and that I will still exhibit disordered thoughts about my body. Eating disorders and poor body image are not independent of each other mind you. For me, it was because I was disgusted at my body that I developed an eating disorder. I hated being a big girl and wanted to be as skinny as possible. I once went through 2 weeks of eating nothing but an apple and a ham sandwich 3 times a day. I lost so much weight but it came with terrible consequences. I lost muscle mass, my concentration was so affected that I couldn’t focus on my schoolwork and my hair was falling out. I remember being so frightened of combing my hair because I didn’t want to see how much hair I was losing. Thinking about this still makes my heart beat very fast because it was a traumatizing moment for me. Anyway, even now as I’m learning to engage in mindful eating, to not restrict myself and also not freak out when I overeat, I still have problems with accepting my body because I’m not skinny. As much as I preach about body diversity and acceptance, there is a part of me that is still fighting to embrace my current physical appearance and not succumb to the pressures of being thin. To recover from an ED is one thing. To fight body image demons is another thing as well, and til this day even though I am practicing mindful eating & reminding myself of the health consequences of restricting and bingeing, I still ook at some girls and think that I need to go and eat less and become thinner so I can have a better body (I’ll talk about this next time). The struggle is intense and I get so tired after it all. This is probably why I love sleep. Sometimes. You forget about struggles and problems after you wake up, or rather, it becomes minimized and it takes up less space in your mind and for some reason it doesn’t seem so bad after that 3 hour nap. So in a way this relates to relapse. I’m afraid that my disordered eating patterns will go away, but that my negative thinking patterns about my body and what is considered beautiful might lull me back to a “get-thin” induced disordered eating patterns again

That I will never get better and will live the rest of my life thinking about food and fearing weight gain. As much as I’m eating better now, I still have slips every now and then. And that sucks. Recovery doesn’t happen in a snap and you need time to alter eating habits that have taken years to develop, but sometimes I wonder how long I will need to come to the day when I no longer worry about food or whether eating this will make me gain weight or how much I should eat at a given point. I don’t want to be 30 years old and still getting anxious about little things, especially things like food when its supposed to bring joy and not worry and panic. I thought about this point for a long time and finally, I decided that I won’t worry too much about the future, because what’s more important is the effort I’m making to eat properly. Every positive action I take towards recovery minimizes the potential long-term effects in the future. Just like quitting smoking. Stop smoking for a week and your life expectancy increases by this much. Stop smoking for a month and it increases even more. Same with my own eating disorder. The more I engage in positive eating habits, the more I minimize the urge to engage in disordered eating. Sure, right now its still there, but its much less than before and occurs in times of really bad stress or when I really just didn’t eat enough during the day (oops). Focus on reovery on the present and spend less time worrying about what could go wrong is what I tell myself. And also, focus on the awesome kick-ass things I can do when disordered eating doesn’t rule my head and my life. 

What are your fears with regards to your eating disorder and/or recovery?

I’d want to end this post on a nicer note, but I’m too exhausted. So if you spotted any spelling or grammatical errors, sorry (not sorry). I had 3 hours of dance rehearsal today and yesterday and I am aching. One of the moves was so fast that my fingers smashed into my partner’s hand and the pain was so bad I thought I was going to pass out. The joint of my fourth finger hurts. Don’t be all “its only a finger” ERM. It is not JUST a finger. I can’t bend or straighten it fast without it aching which might be a problem because I need to use my hands a lot for salsa and bachata styling. Please please please let it be better by tomorrow morning because I still have rehearsals tomorrow please kay thanks.

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Went shopping for wedding dresses with my sister because she’ll be walking down the aisle! Apparently the dresses are “reserved” only for brides and so I wasn’t allowed to try on any dress. BUGGER.

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I’m actually okay with being an Asian woman without the supposed “hairless Asian skin” and that I’m oddly proud that I have US 8.5 / EU 39 size feet which is considered big in Asia, but no I wouldn’t want to have hips of a 9 year old boy actually.

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NOTICE DAT ABNORMAL RED SWELLING ON MY FINGER? I CAN’T STRAIGHTEN NOR BEND MY FINGERS WITHOUT A STABBING PAIN DO KIT KATS COUNT AS PAINKILLERS?

when inner demons take over my mind: mad musings about my body

 Lord knows how difficult it is for people with body image issues to struggle with fighting their inner demons. We have perfectionistic streaks inside of us that demand for our bodies to look a certain way and when we don’t look like whoever we want to emulate, let me tell you, hell breaks loose in our minds.

If you’ve been read my previous posts, you’ll know that one of my biggest physical insecurities is my calves. I have athletic muscular calves, thanks to a combination of genetics and my years of sprinting in primary school. I hated how my calves weren’t long and skinny like my friends, and also like those female media personalities I see on the telly or in magazines. For years people have commented on my calves and saying they’re so muscular and, well, its made me incredibly conscious of how its not long and lean like I desperately want them to. In pictures though, some people tell me my calves look perfectly fine but the problem is that with photography, the right angles can sometimes create illusions and I guess from the angle that I tend to stand in my calves look different than what they really are. You’ll actually have to stand next to me to see how athletic my calves can be. Anyway, I always thought the fashion industry to mock me when it created skinny jeans and knee high boots. On Instagram its always the girls with long skinny never ending legs that get comments from people who clearly have noticed how outstanding they are and go something like “LEGS”. The girls with legs in different shapes never get the comments. And okay I know you shouldn’t let silly things like that make you want to have skinny legs, but growing up it had a huge effect on me

I’m not sure what came over me, but a few days ago  I experienced a complete meltdown. A major slip. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, and I don’t know what caused it, but one day I just woke up and felt huge. Bloated. A whale. Like a big kid trying to squeeze into a small girl’s dress. I felt like I was taking too much space. I looked in the mirror and thought my face looked too puffy like I was a chipmunk stashing goodies for the winter. My arms seemed to have magically become puffy sausages and jiggled too much in my opinion, and I thought my calves suddenly had morphed into this mass of lumpy…mass. The next thing I knew, my heart was pounding super fast and all sorts of wild thoughts went rushing into my head:

1. Oh my god I gained so much weight

2. Oh my god my arms look so fat and disgusting. And ugly

3. Oh my god my face looks so fat and disgusting. And ugly

4. Oh my god my calves are ginormous. And ugly. Why?!

I immediately started thinking of reasons as to why my body might have suddenly ballooned. My first thought was that I had been dancing in my heels too much, because I learned from my obsessive investigation that wearing high heels for too long exerts pressure on the calf muscles and causes it to develop. One part of me reasoned that (a) my heels were only 2 inches and (b) I don’t dance in my heels everyday, and so it couldn’t possibly lead to an unnatural expansion of my calf musucels, but then another part of me immediately went “Okay then. No more dancing”. Literally. That’s what I had told myself. Stop dancing. The sudden intense disgust that manifested for my calves had somehow, on those particular few days been so incredibly strong that it transcended all reason and made me want to give up dancing just because I hypothesized that it was making my calves too muscular for my liking.

The next thing I knew, I experienced an intense rush of escalating thoughts; thinking patterns along with some behavioral tendencies that thrived during the worst of my ED days. I started cursing at swearing at my body (which is ridiculous, really) at how it didn’t look tall and thin. I started tugging at my clothes because I felt like they had suddenly shrink and I felt like I took up too much space. I began criticizing my arms and sobbing and how they weren’t skinny like I want them to be. I began an obsessive Internet search on ways to reduce the size of my legs (I highly doubt daily massage can do anything). I even wanted to cancel my plans with my homegirl for the next day because I couldn’t stand the idea of wearing anything and feeling that all my clothes had somehow become too small and wearing them would just make me feel worse about my body. 

I actually also began thinking of going back to dieting and not eating to lose weight because just thinking about how my arms and legs weren’t skinny just made my heart want to explode. Scarily enough, my distress was so high and intense that I had toyed with the idea of self-harm to relieve the pain. You heard me right. Self-harm. I was that emotionally distressed. I used to hurt myself a few years ago before I entered therapy because it had made me feel better (NOTE: DO NOT EVER DO THIS BECAUSE IT DOES NOT SOLVE ANYTHING TRUST ME BEEN THERE DONE THAT) even though that feeling of relief was incredibly short-lasting because my body still looked the same. But yes, for about 2 days I stayed home and refused to leave the house. I wore a jacket at home even though it was 32 degrees outside (or about 90F) because I wanted to cover my body & pretty much lived in my pajama pants so I wouldn’t have to look at my calves.

For people who don’t go through these demonic body image problems, you probably won’t ever fully understand the chaos in our heads. To us, the struggle is real. Objectively, our bodies may not have changed overnight, but in our minds, we woke up and we suddenly look different. We try so incredibly hard to suppress the voices in our heads because there is a part of us that knows our fears are unfounded and our expectations too unrealistic. Sometimes we win, sometimes we don’t. There is always a voice in our heads telling us we are still too fat no matter how hard we work at accepting our bodies. Maybe to others, the body parts that we are insecure about look perfectly normal, but to us, it is flawed.

We have perfectionistic streaks and many of us have grown up thinking that thin is beautiful. To others, we may came across as egocentric – the constant obsession about our looks and our food and our desire to have a thin body. But we’re not selfish people. More often than not, many of us are simply insecure and experience low self esteem and we want nothing more than to feel better about ourselves. We’re not egocentric. I mean, God didn’t you read about Kanye West and how he practically demanded for one of the members of audience to actually stand up for him during his performance along with the rest of the concert-goers even though the poor guy is in a wheelchair? 

So yes. We’re not egocentric. We act and think the way we do not because we are narcissistic, but because our insecurities are so overwhelming that it tends to control our lives every now and then.

So of course I had to figure out a way to stop my mental outburst before it went out of hand. I’m amazed at how conscious I am about making the decision to change my thought patterns. In the past, I would just cave in like a hungry beast and let my mind take over and swill in self-hatred. But this time it was different. I knew I wanted to change because I remember how draining it was for me. It was tough to break free from this sudden thought pattern because to do so was equally effortful and  thought it was best to do small simple things. I avoided mirrors for a while because I knew that looking at it would make me even more anxious, I busied myself with reading, I wore loose comfortable clothing and I went for a run to take my mind off things. Well, I get that these are activities that provide short-term immediate relief but I do believe every single thing counts, especially when you need to make yourself feel better at that very moment. Like giving morphine to someone in utter pain to relieve him/her of her discomfort before further figuring out the cause of the pain and dealing with it at a more in-depth level. Or giving sedatives to someone having a panic attack to calm him down before engaging in deeper conversation to find out the root causes of his anxiety.

One small step at a time right?

In the long run however, I always need to remind myself that looks are not everything and that I shouldn’t let my body define who I am, but sometimes, I fail and I fall. But I guess its okay as long as you continue fighting the demons that haunt you, as long as you don’t give up and that you are motivated to find a way to change your situation. I really do hope that 1 day I won’t need to remind myself all day everyday and spend less time and energy obsessing about my weight, the food I eat how my body doesn’t fit the thin-ideal, my calves and arms that aren’t long and lean and the fact that I don’t have a flat belly, and basically just do the best I can do treat my body right.

When I was younger I wanted to be tall and thin and beautiful and have heads turn. Now I just want to be intelligent and soak up as many literacy artworks as I can, I want my heart to burn with passion for dance and travel and art and revel in the anticipation and ecstasy of discovering a new hobby. I want people to love me for my mind, my intelligence, my compassion, my sensitive spirit and my loving nature because I know that those qualities touch more hearts than looks can ever will. What’s beauty if one has a heart devoid of passion or a mind lacking in opinion? I don’t want people to dismiss me as a bimbo, talk to me about mindless things and see me as a woman without ambition. I want them to look at me and see a woman with an amazing mind and with opinions of her own who is unafraid to educate you about the struggles many women face with body image and the subjugation of many women in the Middle East and also see a women who fights to not let her insecurities get the best of her.

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Homegirl and I decided to get cultured at the museum. Decided to play with colors today and opted for my orange tank and a green skirt with my fabulous black-and-white loafers which I’m so glad I bought. I threw on an opal necklace at the last minute as I felt like I needed a break from my stud earrings.  I was still in my “i-hate-my-body-because-its-not-skinny” phase and was reluctant to take pictures but I decided to do it in the end, because well, pictures capture moments that you can never take back again. Moreover, didn’t want to let my dissatisfaction at my body ruin the day, and its proof that I went to the museum.

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Boo went to the vet yesterday to get a jab because his skin has flared up and he was itching everywhere. He must have been digging for scraps in the trash can and eaten something nasty.

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I bid adieu to my old run down running shoes I had for many years and bought this shiny new pair. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t think that green and pink would go well together.

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TIL THE NEXT TIME BYE