Good morning, Wednesday readers! I hope your week has treated you right thus far. I’m almost a week into my month without exercise, and I would be lying if I said it has been easy. I’m glad to be addressing this pillar of my disorder, but doing so has forced me to look long and hard at the disordered link between exercise and food that I have continued to cling to. The past week has been one of second-guessing, increased fears around eating, and flirtation with calorie counting. It has been tough, but I have tried to prioritize recovery by reminding myself that the most challenging tenets of my disorder to push through are the ones that most need to be destroyed.
Through all of my months of attempting to recover while still dieting, I have never allowed my body to reset. I haven’t let it see food as just food, not as something that is linked directly to exercise and needs to be burned off. I haven’t allowed my body the rest that it desperately needs. This month, as hard as it may be, is a chance to finally let my body carry out these important tasks of healing.
That being said, I’m linking up with Peas and Crayons to share a day’s worth of food with you once again. Yesterday was fairly standard as far as food is concerned, but the added stress of not exercising posed additional challenges.
I started the morning with my breakfast of choice: oatmeal with egg whites, a few hemp hearts, almonds, and a banana along with a cup of coffee. It still feels strange to not wake up and do sit-ups first thing in the morning or spend time thinking about how I can get in some exercise before breakfast. I have intentionally set my alarm a little bit later each morning, in order to not give myself the extra time in the morning to spend exercising. Not having excess time on my hands has helped remove the temptation of exercise, and it has also given me a few more minutes of cozy sleep and bizarre dreams. Win-win!
After a couple of hours at work, I was hungry for a snack. I decided to eat one of these Kashi granola bars. In retrospect, I should have eaten something more substantial. During this week of no exercise, I am aware that I have struggled to allow my body to eat enough food. My disorder had me convinced that I wouldn’t be hungry this week because I’m not exercising, and finding that I am still hungry has been anxiety-provoking. Sure, this little granola bar was good, but I know that I needed something more substantial.
Luckily, I was able to take my lunch break a little bit early. It was Taco Tuesday at work again, and I brought supplies to make a taco salad. It contained a variety of vegetables, hemp hearts, some avocado, black beans, and vegetable tortilla chips from Trader Joe’s. I ate my salad with carrots and hummus, as well as a container of yogurt. Speaking of which, if you haven’t tried this yogurt with steel cut oats in it, get on that. I’m a big fan.
Later in the afternoon, I felt like I needed a small dose of caffeine. I made a single shot of espresso and topped it with a kiss of leftover steamed milk from a customer’s latte. It was the perfect little energy boost. I also had a piece of dark chocolate, which was delightful.
After work, I ran some errands around town and then headed home. I was rather cold, and a warm snack sounded nice. I had a bowl of instant oatmeal with chopped almonds added to it and a Hershey’s Kiss. When I had finished my snack, I spent a good bit of time journaling and did a short guided meditation.
Around dinner time, I was feeling frustrated with myself and frustrated with my recovery. I had been toying with calorie counting for a few days, which was driving me absolutely crazy and really bringing me down. I was in the mood for incorporating yams into my dinner, but the calories were scaring me away. I drove myself to the brink of insanity adding up calories in my head, panicking about whether or not I was “allowed” to have some yams. It reminded me of the old days of my disorder, which were days of weighing everything on a food scale, isolating myself, and being completely consumed with the idea of calories. These are not fond memories.
After standing in the grocery store, staring at the yams for much longer than is socially acceptable, I bought one and defiantly went home to turn it into dinner. Ultimately, I had to remind myself that it was a fucking yam, not a line of cocaine. Of course I could have yams, because I was hungry for yams and I have the right to eat what I want when I am hungry.
Although I’m well-aware that this picture does not look appetizing, my dinner turned out quite tasty. I cooked up part of the yam with other vegetables in a little coconut milk, seasoned with curry powder, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes. I ate vegetables with chicken and lentils, which I haven’t had in some time. Damn, lentils are delicious.
After dinner, I went over to my grandpa’s house to spend some time with him because he has been struggling with anxiety and depression quite a bit lately. I took a thermos of tea with me and spent my time doing a People Magazine crossword while I was there, since my grandpa was watching Trinity Broadcasting Network while half-asleep. If you ever want to feel smart and accomplished, I highly recommend the People Magazine crossword.
I stayed with my grandpa for quite a while, but eventually went home and got ready for bed. Before I resigned myself to sleep, however, I had a couple of pieces of toast with peanut butter and a few Bunny Grahams, of course.
This past week has tested my commitment to recovery and my anxiety management skills. I have become acutely aware now of how much I have connected my permission to eat with my activity level, and I know that I need to remove that link if recovery is going to happen for me. I am so grateful to be tackling this large recovery hurdle, but the going can get tough. Each of us can only do the best that we can every day, and it is easy to get discouraged in times like these. Over the past week, I have taken to ending my days with the following questions for myself:
-What did I do that was good for my recovery today?
-What are some ways that I can try to improve tomorrow?
Asking myself these questions allows me to see the ways in which I am excelling in recovery, as well as bringing to my attention the areas I hope to improve upon. No day is perfect, but that’s recovery. It’s messy, it’s exhausting, and it is fucking hard, but it is entirely worth it.
Today, I hope that you are able to celebrate your accomplishments while continuing to push toward success. Have a great day!