2018 New Year’s Resolution: I want to lose……

2018 New Year’s Resolution: I want to lose……

Okay so I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to lose weight in the New Year and “get healthier” and all that jazz…. but for me, making a New Year’s resolution to lose weight is like making a deal with the devil and basically making a New Year’s resolution to lose in the battle against my ed. Now… let’s unpack the very popular New Year’s resolution to “be healthier.” It seems innocent, but for me… and many others that struggle or have struggled with eating disorders in the past, it can be a slippery slope back into orthorexia… But the thing is, it doesn’t have to be. It’s all about what your New Year’s resolutions mean to YOU… or what mine mean to ME.
Being “healthier” can actually be a really great thing… but it all depends on your definition of healthy. I’m not going to sit here and try to tell you why YOUR health shouldn’t be based on how many vegetables you eat, the amount of carbs you cut, how many pounds you lose, or how hard you push at the gym, although I know I easily could. What I AM going to do is tell you how MY definition of health has changed into something far beyond pounds shed, calories burned/consumed, or inches lost. This doesn’t make me any better of a person than those who are focused on weight loss, calories, clothing sizes, etc., but changing my definition of “health” has saved my life and so you know what?… I think I’ll try and stick with it.
Sometimes even hearing the word makes me cringe. It’s a trigger. A word my orthorexia uses to try and lure me back in. It’s a reminder. A reminder that I’m far from all the previous definitions of health I used to live by or measure my worth based off of. According to my ed, health is a number: a weight, a pant size, a resting heart rate, a calorie count, or a workout length. But where has that measure of health gotten me? Ironically, using those metrics as a way to measure my health has actually brought me closer to death both physically and mentally.
Physically, this eating disordered view of health has kept me in my eating disorder behaviors and eating disorders have the highest mortality rate out of any other mental illness. Mentally, this eating disordered view of health has kept me in my eating disorder mentality and depression, both of which tell me that if I cannot attain those goal measures, I would be better off dead.
So… I think it’s rather clear that a new definition of “Health” is in order. Let’s make it super corny and do an acrostic poem…
Eating intuitively
Allowing for mistakes
Listening to my body
Trusting the process and my body
Head up
Healing… I need to put my healing before anything else. I need to heal my heart, soul, body, and mind. Healing my heart: The more like Jesus I become and the closer I draw near to Him, the more pure and whole my heart will feel. Having and spending time with amazing friends, family, and an awesome boyfriend helps too! Healing my soul: I need to focus more on soul moments- those moments where I don’t even think twice about my body, what I look like, or the things I hate about myself because I am living from within. This means reading my Bible, meditating, spending time with friends, family, and my boyfriend, playing music, creating art, being out in nature, along with other things that remind me why I’m okay with being alive. Healing my body: I have to throw a big “Eff you!” up to the eating disorder and commit to fueling my body appropriately, moving it lovingly and consistently, and resting when it tells me to. Healing my mind: Through this eating disorder and my other mental illnesses, Satan has grabbed hold of my mind and kept me in these negative patterns of thinking that lead to self destructive and unhealthy thoughts and actions. What I need to do is tell myself the truth and create new neuropathways that lead me to not only cope in a healthier way, but also to think healthier thoughts about myself and my life. I will do this through prayer, reading my Bible, surrounding myself with positive people that push me to grow and to be better, by reframing negative thoughts, and by taking opposite action when the negative voices from within tell me to act in maladaptive ways.
Eating intuitively… I need to eat intuitively. This means eating when I’m hungry, stopping when I’m full, and not trying to compensate when I feel I’ve had too much or have had something I don’t feel comfortable with. This means following the plan that my dietitian has given me. This means including all food groups in my diet and eating the cookie when I want to eat the damn cookie. I could go on and on about intuitive eating but I’ll just leave it to the professionals and you can learn more here.
Allowing for mistakes… I need to allow for mistakes. This one is pretty simple. I can’t expect perfection… and striving for perfection isn’t healthy. Self-compassion is key and having patience with myself is what will get my through this recovery process and will keep me in good mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Listening to my body… A lot of listening to my body has to do with diet and exercise… but throughout my recovery process I have realized that listening to my body can be so much more than food and movement. While eating intuitively and moving mindfully are extremely important, something I have always struggled with is know when to slow down. I’ve been in and out of treatment for the past three years and whenever I am out of treatment and back in my life, I am quick to take on everything and try to do it all. Something I’ve learned is that it’s important to take things slowly, especially when just coming out of treatment or when I’ve been struggling, and that doesn’t mean that I’m being lazy. Right now, I can only be working part time and although I would rather be working full time so I could make more money and feel more like an adult and a real human, I have to listen to my body and slow down and know that healing takes time.
Trusting the process and my body… I’m not going to act like I don’t feel like giving up every. damn. day… I do. And not only am I so frustrated by the lengthiness of this recovery process, but also by the discomfort I feel in my body, I often times just want to throw in the towel and return to my eating disorder or sulk in my depression and hide away from the world. But this process isn’t meant to be quick or easy and while I’ve been struggling with my eating disorder for over ten years now and depression for mainly my whole life, I must find trust in the process that it will get better… not all at once… and not linearly.
Head up… This is probably one of the most important determinants of health I must focus on in order to move forward in my recovery and attain good health. I must keep my head up and seek help when I cannot keep it up on my own. I will fall… probably even daily. The problem is not the falling; the problem is the getting back up part. Falling is inevitable but falling doesn’t mean that I am doomed to be stuck in a pit from which only treatment can pull me out. I am 100% capable of picking myself back up and the key to being able to do that is resilience, to be able to get back up time and time again, as well as self compassion, to be able to get back up without keeping myself down because of self hatred and disappointment. And when it feels too tough or too impossible, that’s when I look to others to help bring my out of the pit. The Lord has blessed me with so many people that have and will run to my side to bring me out of innumerable pits; it is up to me to call upon them.
So there you have it… Not your average definition of health but this is what I must come back to when the voices get loud and struggle gets harder. But, this is what health must mean for ME. What are your determinants of health? What does health mean to you? What will you focus on this coming year, 2018, to be the best you that you can be? What can you get started on TODAY?
Happy holidays and I hope everyone holds a loved one close and enjoys something special about this holiday season whether it be a trip home or simply a mug of hot chocolate. Have a happy, “healthy,” holiday!

Values, values, and more values


It’s about time I write on here again as it’s been a while and a lot has been going on in the past few weeks.
To keep it real, I’ve been really struggling when it comes to mood and food. My depression is a real b*tch, especially as we roll into winter and gloomier weather. Struggling in the ed department doesn’t help either.
I don’t need to get too much into detail; what really matters at this moment is what I choose to do to move forward. It’s not only about how I get out of this “stuck place” in which I find myself, but it’s about how I create meaning so that I feel more fulfilled and therefore can better build a life where there is less room for sinking into my depression and listening and succumbing to ed thoughts and behaviors.
I’ve been talking with my treatment team and have been thinking about what I can do to find satisfaction and joy rather than trying to find that through food, or control over food rather, exercise, or sleeping away the depression and numbing out from feeling the discomfort or lack of contentment and purpose.
So, what is truly important to me? What ignites my passion and zest for life? I don’t think there is a fixed answer to those questions. Values change all the time, and while many of my values have remained the same throughout much of my life, the relevance of some of them shift as I change, mature, and come into who I am as a person.
In treatment, we used to draw our core values on these big targets and where they fell on the target signified how much you felt you were living out certain values. Sometimes values would fall on the outer ring on my target, some closer to the center, and sometimes all of my values would be on the outside. But the goal of the exercise wasn’t to be critical of myself for not having my values closer to the center, signifying that I was living them out more. The purpose of the exercise was to show that these values can move from ring to ring at any given time and I have the power and ability to take committed actions to move closer to my values and live them out more fully.
So, which values do I want to focus on right now to move towards a more meaningFULL life? While it’s hard to choose, I’ve taken some time to look inward and really connect with what feels important to me right now and which values will bring me closer to being the person I want to be. Passion. Spirituality. Connection. Authenticity.
It may be difficult to hone in on a specific list of values as it may seem like there is a lot that could be important. Or maybe, it may seem like nothing feels important at all. It’s easy to TALK about values you are or are not living out once they’ve been narrowed in on,  but, what does one do to actually live out these values? First, I’m going to have to break it down and see both where I want to go with each value, as well as where I’m falling short.
Passion. To be honest, in this moment, I don’t feel much passion for anything. Depression tells me that I’m not good enough or even capable of finding passion in anything. Luckily, I’m at a place in my life where I have so many things that I can grow more passionate about. My relationship, my job, my faith, my friendships and connections, my yoga practice, my recovery, and even rock climbing. So how do I move towards passion? Practice. Consistency. Patience. Persistence. Practice is simple. In order, to build my passion and zest for something, I must commit to practicing that thing as often as I can without getting to the point of burnout. Consistency can be difficult in execution. Life seems to like to keep me on my toes and depression likes to tell me that I’d be better off not doing anything at all rather than attempting to do something and failing, but I have to commit and keep at it. Patience. Developing passion and zest and living them out isn’t going to happen immediately. It’s a process and I must be patient and have compassion with myself. And, persistence. Much like consistency, I need to keep on keeping on. Day in and day out, I must choose to follow through and explore these things in which I long to find passion and commit to them.
Spirituality. The actions for moving towards this value are rather simple, but there is a lot of internal work that needs to be done in order to move towards and connect with my spirituality. Actions: reading my Bible, going to church, going to Bible study, spending time in prayer, following along in my church’s Advent Reading Plan, and acting more like Jesus. Internal work: Love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. This isn’t easy, but the more I commit to the actions I have listed, the more I draw near to the Lord, learn more about who He is and what He is about, and the deeper I will fall in love with Him.
Connection. This one is pretty straight forward. Make time to spend with my loved ones, explore opportunities to meet new people, follow up with people, and be truly present in each interaction I have.
Authenticity. This one is very much an internal commitment. In order to be truly authentic, I must be honest with myself about whether or not I am being true to my values, who I believe I am and want to be, and the identity I have in the Lord. This means I have to really check myself and make the conscious decision to present as who I am and take down the facade I am so naturally inclined to put up.
So there it is; my comprehensive guide that I commit to following in order to move towards my values, find meaning, and come out of my depression and ed slump.
Feel free to check in with me and keep me accountable, and if you want to identify some of your own values or if you already have an are looking to find new ways to pursue them, please reach out and I would love to embark on this journey with you! Email me, Facebook message me, or DM me on Instagram.
Until next time,

A meaningFULL life. 

I’ve been sleeping a lot lately. I’ve always been a sleeper, so when I say a LOT, I am talking 11+ hours here. Sure the hours are not usually slept consecutively, but sleep is sleep, and I’m definitely getting it.

However, I somehow still find myself exhausted… day after day. Initially, and probably still currently to an extent, I saw this exhaustion as frustrating and discouraging. Living a meaningful life is supposed to invigorate me and fill me with energy and vitality. So what the hell am I so tired for?

Well, I’ve started to shift my thinking and my energy, a practice I’ve been taught by my amazing aunt, Li, and I’ve been trying to shift into a posture in which I find hope in the truth that I’ve been working so. damn. hard. that I’m becoming emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted. Could that be something to take pride in? Working so hard that I need some rest?

So what are the implications of this if I do indeed buy into this shift in thinking? Well, if I’m honest with myself and the reality I’m experiencing, I might just have to accept that making and eventually living a meaningFULL life doesn’t exactly equate to happiness………. Wait, what?!

First of all, if a meaningFULL life isn’t just a happy life, than what the hell is it? Well, I guess that’s something I’m learning as I go along in this process, but I am discovering that a meaningFULL life is more about finding purpose than it is finding happiness. Happiness can certainly be a byproduct of finding meaning, but it’s not a constant nor is it a guarantee. 

A meaningFULL life is a life that I’m looking to create, with no specific end product in mind. It’s not something I’ll ever be able to obtain or some destination I’ll eventually arrive at, but pursuing this kind of life is a shift in perspective and a shift in my way of living. 

For the past decade, if not a little longer, I’ve been abusing my body, soul, and mind. I’ve been looking for meaning through my body, my eating, my exercise, my grades, and my happiness rather than through my faith and my wellbeing. So, what’s wrong with finding meaning through happiness? Well, first, what exactly is happiness? Being delighted, pleased, or glad over a particular thing. When I find meaning through happiness, I completely disregard long term consequences and implications. “What makes me happy in this moment?” Well, the answer to that question has, in the past, often been maladaptive or self destructive tendencies. Maybe skipping a meal delights me in the moment because of the hope for a sense of control, discipline, or body manipulation. Instead of pursuing a temporary, short term high, I have started to ask myself, “What can I do in this moment that will make me whole, content, and stronger in myself and my identity? What can I do that will contribute to my sense of purpose?”

Maybe I’m not going to be happy today. Maybe I’ll have to fight just to get my meals in or to stop myself from exercising excessively. Maybe I’ll have to fight to get out of bed because my depression is strong and I’m exhausted with no energy from the day before’s battle. Just because I might not be happy for that given day or moment, doesn’t mean that I’m not getting closer to a more meaningFULL life. To me, a meaningFULL life consists of ups, downs, highs, lows, the good, the bad, the ugly, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and faithfulness. It consists of loving my body and myself, and loving the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. It means traveling the world AND staying at home and letting myself have lazy days, moving my body AND letting it rest. It consists of choosing, one minute at a time, to better myself and honor not my impulses or disorders, but my heart, soul, mind, and body. 

Today, I am tired. The fight is constant,the  battle grueling, and the discomfort seemingly unbareable. But I am up, on my way to work, ready to fight, and prepared to fall more times than I’d like to. I will find meaning and fullness in the Lord and in my healing and recovery. So yes, I’ll probably need some extra rest, but I will fight until the battle is won. I will live for a life that’s meaningFULL. And I fully plan on kicking ass and taking names. 

Follow me along on my journey of recovery and self discovery. Please be prepared for rawness, authenticity, honesty, and setbacks. I accept all forms of prayers and good vibes and would love to hear from you with any comments, questions, advice, or stories about your own experiences.

Until next time.