Eating Disorder, God, Recovery

Self-Care Saturday

Self-Care Saturday.
I like it so much, I might just do it every Saturday!

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Loads of laundry lay scattered around the basement floor. Dishes sat in the sink because the dishwasher needed to be unloaded. I had loaves of bread to bake. Did I do any of it? Eventually, but first I decided to engage in some serious self-care. Today was sunny and 84 degrees in a state that hasn’t exactly had a “nice” summer (more like rain-drenched, cloudy, and gloomy). I laid my daughter down for her early afternoon nap and looked outside. It sure looked beautiful but I had so much that needed to be done…inside. *sigh*

Begrudgingly I went to the basement to tackle the laundry first. As I was throwing towels and swimsuits into the washer from our previous trips to the pool this week, I decided not to waste this beautiful, God-granted day. The laundry could wait until Vivienne woke up, until night, heck until it decides to rain again but I was not going to waste this beautiful day. Sure, I have outside work that needs completed, such as pulling some monstrous weeds (I kid you not, six feet tall thistles) but I decided I wanted some “me time” instead. So I put on my swimsuit, my red aviators, and made myself a “boat drink.” I carried my book, beach towel, and drink outside to lay out and enjoy the day. Beautiful. Add in some steel drum music playing on iTunes and I felt like I was in the Caribbean…minus the sand and the sound of the waves. But as a friend told me, “there is an app for that.” I spent two glorious hours taking care of myself and doing exactly what I wanted, not what *needed* to be done. (I might argue here that self-care is absolutely a need.)

Sun!

When Vivienne finally did wake from her sweet toddler slumber, I decided self-care Saturday shouldn’t end there. We filled up her little baby pool and had a blast. Life wasn’t about to pass by me today! (Carpe diem, anyone?) I decided to live in the moment. To let the chores wait and to embrace motherhood by having FUN. We had a blast splashing the pool and subsequently making sand castles by dumping waaaay too much water into her little green turtle sandbox. I would build a castle and she would knock it down laughing and squealing “uh oh!” Living in the moment and taking care of myself today allowed me to appreciate her laughter and play with her instead of pushing her to play by herself so I could work. Today Vivienne reminded me how fun it is to laugh a genuine happy laugh.

As the sun was setting I hooked up her junior bouncy house and even though I am technically too big for it, I got in with her. She patted the middle and yelled, “Mommy!” How could I refuse?! I thought about it. I thought about the bread that needed to be made, the dishes that needed to be done, and the fact I could watch her bounce in that house from the kitchen widow…but I decided to stay with her. I decided to continue my self-care Saturday and lay in that junior size bouncy house. She jumped all around me and laid beside me; often rolling over to stare at me and kiss me. At one point as I looked into her big, beautiful blue eyes I thought, “This is life. Living my life with my sweet baby girl.” I looked beyond her at our nice house and land, with all the “things” I thought I needed to help make me happy before and I realized I don’t need any of it. All I need is my husband, my daughter, love, God, and a whole lot of self-care.

My day (and heart) were topped off by cuddling on the couch with Vivienne watching “The Princess and the Frog.” Nothing beats leaning over to kiss the top of her head while she strokes my hand she is holding and snuggles closer for the scary parts. Today I chose self-care and decided to live my life instead of letting it pass by because a few things “needed” to get done.

Tonight, as I sit at my computer typing this with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face, the dishes are done, the laundry is still waiting for me, and the honey whole wheat bread tastes delicious. I feel more happiness than I have felt in weeks because I decided to focus on what really matters in my life and take care of myself in the process.

Have you engaged in a self-care Saturday lately?
If not, try a self-care Sunday (or any other day/evening that works for you!)

With Body Love,
Lane

Body Acceptance, Eating Disorder, God, Recovery

Bumps and Lessons Learned

I have really struggled to update lately, as I’ve really been struggling with my own body/size acceptance and what that means on my recovery journey.  I knew if I wrote about body acceptance it would be nothing but hypocritical at this point and I am not about to do that.
Therefore, I knew if I had anything to update it would be this:
what I have learned from these bumps along the road of recovery. 

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Bumps in the road are inevitable.  Days where I don’t fully accept my body or my size are inevitable (at this point).  However, those bumps and rough days don’t mean I have to shut down because even through the difficulty there is always something to be learned.  And it has only taken me several weeks to learn that there are lessons to be learned.

  • I am not my sister’s (or friend’s) keeper.  I am Lane.  I am but one person and I am only in control of my own thoughts, actions, and behaviors.  Giving too much of myself to others who are also in recovery only leads me down the road to my own downward spiral.  I can be a support.  I can listen if someone needs to vent.  But ultimately it is not my job to “fix” them or to constantly hold them accountable.  Some days it is hard enough to make my own correct choices without the added self-induced pressure to ensure others do the same.  I’ve adopted the phrase “not my circus, not my monkeys” to help me reframe this issue when I feel my maternal and social work instincts start to kick in.
  • I am perfectly imperfect. If one thing is for certain, it is that I am not (by any stretch of the imagination) perfect.  Therefore, neither is my recovery.  Just like me, my recovery is perfectly imperfect.  There WILL be bumps in the road and it is up to me to try to navigate around, over, and through those bumps (or man-eating potholes).  To pick up the lessons from the bumps and apply them to the road moving forward because if there is one thing I know now, those pesky little bumps will pop up when I least expect them!
  • Recovery takes dedication and diligence.  I got complacent.  I thought I didn’t need the safety measures I put in place several months ago.  I was ready to take those dang training wheels off and try my hand at not planning my meals and snacks for the next day before I go to bed the night prior.  I couldn’t have been more wrong!  I am still in the training wheels phase of recovery.  I still need that much food accountability in my daily life to help me keep clear of bumps.  I let my guard down and my eating disorder saw the chance to jump right in and take the wheel; steering me right into a relapse and several subsequent small lapses since.
  • Recovery takes time and patience.  See previous bullet point.  No, seriously, I got in a hurry.  I want to be at the end of my recovery road and reach a point of saying “recoverED” right now.  It isn’t a quick process and it certainly isn’t painless.  I need to learn to slow down and focus on the task right in front of me and stop trying to sprint to the finish line (I never was a very good sprinter).
  • Recovery takes a team.  I can’t do this on my own.  As much as I don’t like asking for help I need to reach out and use the supports that are right in front of me.  I have an amazingly supportive husband, who is always asking what he can do to help; an excellent treatment team who go above and beyond to help me in times of crisis; and I have God and my faith.  I will admit, I’ve been slacking in utilizing all three of those during the most recent relapse/lapses.  I stopped telling my husband what I needed, I tried being more deceptive with my treatment team, and I stopped praying meaningful prayers where I asked God to help me through.  I created my own perfect storm.  God placed these people in my life because He knew they would be there to help me when I needed it most.  Now I just have to stop being so stubborn and prideful and actually reach out to them when I need help.
  • Self-care is of the utmost importance.  Just like I stopped praying (and attending church for the last several weeks), I stopped caring for myself.  I stopped doing things that helped me relax and enjoy life.  I stopped my nighttime routine of stretching, breathing, and praying.  I stopped my morning routine of  waking up before my daughter to do yoga, pray, and read the Bible.  I stopped writing and journaling.  When I stopped doing those things I enjoy, that help me appreciate my life, I stopped caring for myself and left a big void that needed to be filled.  How do I fill that void?  You guessed it, I use my eating disorder.

I’m sure there are many more lessons I’ve learned from the recent bumps but that would make this post way too long (it already is).
As I think of them I will add them to my journal because I want to be reminded of what these bumps have taught me about myself and my recovery.  

With Body Love (I am getting back to that),
Lane

Body Acceptance, Eating Disorder, Lactose Intolerance

The Lactaid Commitment

Lactose Intolerance: 
The body’s inability to digest and absorb the sugar in milk.

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And the phrase of the day is….lactose intolerance!  You may be wondering why I am giving you the dictionary definition of something that is a fairly common issue in the United States.  Well, I am one of those people with this fairly common issue.  (Insert annoyed, and/or devious, look here.)  ….And I sometimes use it to fuel my eating disorder.  Recently I started to admit my eating disordered brain uses the “I forgot Lactaid” excuse quite often; even with my treatment professionals, prompting one of them to suggest writing about it.  Hmmm….that’s a good idea…

So, what happens when you eat dairy anyway? I start feeling sick.  My stomach hurts so bad there is no way I can eat anything else because I feel like I am going to throw up for several hours after eating dairy.  (see where I am going with this?)  You know that really full feeling you get when you have just finished up a wonderful Thanksgiving meal your wife/mom made?  That is how it feels.  Which is also how it fuels my eating disorder.  My eating disordered brain uses that full/sick feeling to its advantage.  If I feel sick and full I have a good excuse not to eat for hours.  Typically it takes between 6-8 hours before I feel like I can eat again.  Typically that is just enough to miss a snack and a meal on my meal plan.  My devious eating disordered brain exclaims, “Perfect!  Lets continue to ‘forget’ Lactaid and still eat yogurt, milk, etc.  No one will question your stomach if you have a good excuse like this!”  And my eating disorder is right, it works…until the treatment team and others catch on and start to realize it is becoming a frequent habit.  {PLEASE realize, if you are reading this and in recovery I am NOT giving you a tip about how to lie to those around you, or deceive your treatment team.  The Lactaid excuse is just that, a terrible excuse to continue living in a disease.}

What does Lactaid do?  Allows me to eat dairy without feeling sick afterward.  That is the simple answer.  The real answer is that Lactaid contains an enzyme, lactase, that helps my body break down the sugar in dairy.  When I don’t take it I feel sick and when I do I feel like I haven’t had dairy at all.  Which means I no longer have an “ideal” excuse for my eating disorder.  In the recovery world this is a win-win situation.

How does this help me appreciate my body?  In order to fully appreciate and accept my body that means everything about it; even its inability to break down dairy.  Accepting that I often use that as an excuse to avoid exchanges on my meal plan is part of body acceptance, too.  Knowing my body’s limitations and taking care of myself by taking Lactaid is how I can show appreciation for my body.  Not only that, but I have to accept that by eating dairy and not taking Lactaid will not change my appearance.  It will not instantly help me lose weight or make me smaller; all it will do is cause me to fill sick and continue to be sick in regards to my eating disorder.

My commitment to myself this week, and every week hereafter, is to take Lactaid when I need it.  To store it in my car, my house, my purse, and any other place where I could be when I need it.
This is my commitment to battle my eating disorder and eradicate the excuses. 

 With Body Love,

Lane