This week, I’m going to be staying at my coworker’s house to care for her dog while she and her husband are out of town. They had me over for dinner tonight to show me around the house and it was a lovely evening. When my coworker asked if I would stay for dinner, I said yes. I didn’t make up some excuse about why I couldn’t. And when she asked if I would eat elk burgers, I said yes. I didn’t say that I was a vegetarian, or didn’t eat elk. I said that I would stay for dinner because sharing meals with people is a wonderful part of life, and accepting the hospitality of elk burgers is acting out of my beliefs and values, while refusing food out of fear of unknown calories is most certainly not.
The past few days, challenging myself with food has felt easier. Perhaps my values are becoming clearer to me. Perhaps my brain continues to heal. Perhaps I am just getting used to eating without overwhelming anxiety. Most likely, it’s a little bit of all three. The most exciting thing is finding that I genuinely care about other things these days. I care about spending time with my coworker more than controlling my caloric intake. I care about lying in my neighbor’s yard, reading Charlotte’s Web aloud while I babysit more than I care about obsessively exercising. I care about nights out with friends more than I care about counting down the hours until bedtime so that I can stop being hungry. One might say that I care about life more than I care about my eating disorder.
Although I’m looking forward to housesitting, it does pose a bit of an exercise challenge. My coworker likes to walk her dog for an hour every day, and she would like me to do to the same. She showed me where she walks the dog along the river, and it was absolutely gorgeous. My disordered mind was instantly excited about the idea of adding more exercise to my regimen over the coming week. Yes. Good. More exercise. More calories burned. It didn’t take long for my disorder to jump all over that idea.
After taking some time to think things through, I reached the conclusion that it would be better for my recovery if I saw walking the dog as my exercise, not something to do in addition to my exercise. I want to live a life that is flexible when it comes to activity, and I know that this will be an excellent challenge for me to take on. In the next few days, I am going to try to steer clear of formal exercise plans except for the dog walking, because walking is exercise. And with views like this on our walks, I anticipate that they will be far more enjoyable than working out on an elliptical machine like a hamster.