Appreciation, Body Acceptance, Body Appreciation, Body Image, Body Love, Body Shape, Body Size, Eating Disorder, Emotions, Encouragement, Exercise, Faith, Feelings, Friends, God, Gratitude, Hope, Joy, Love, New Year, Postpartum Body, Recovery, Social Media, Uncategorized, Weight

New Year, Embracing My TRUE Self

As 2015 finds its exit tonight, it leaves me with many memories, lessons, and victories.
It is also setting me up for success and realistic goals for 2016.
So bring on the new year!

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What a year 2015 has been!  I’ve learned more about myself in this year than I ever thought possible.  I didn’t know it was possible to be as happy as I have been and I am elated to discover I can continue to live my life this way–this happy.  Happiness is a choice and I am going to keep using my “wise mind” to choose to be happy just like I continue to choose recovery over relapse.  That being said…

So long, 2015!  Let’s review what you taught me: 

  1. I love the color PURPLE.  Seriously, purple is my color. Can’t. Get. Enough. 
  2. The lotus flower is pretty much my power symbol and represents my journey toward self-acceptance and self-discovery.  Just as the lotus flower must come up through deep, dark mud to bloom and become beautiful; the journey I have walked in recovery has turned me into this beautiful, blooming woman.
  3. Recovery, true recovery, is 100% possible!  Before I always thought people who wrote books about being completely recovered were full of poo but as I’ve walked this road for the last year I have come to understand I, too, can be completely recovered.
  4. I’ll let you in on a little secret…I’m kind of a hippy at heart. 
    1. I LOVE yoga, meditation, hemp products, and fair trade clothing
    2. Side note: favorite fair trade clothing companies: Soul FlowerFair IndigoOka-B, and LulaRoe (softest leggings ever)
  5. I love writing.  Kind of obvious but I didn’t realize just HOW much I love writing until this year.
  6. I enjoy burning incense and using essential oils.
  7. I CAN survive without knowing my weight.  Give it a try…I am certain you have it within you to survive without knowing that number, too!
  8. My clothing size absolutely does not matter.  It doesn’t determine my worth or whether or not people like me.
  9. I LOVE BEING A MOM.  Best. “Job.” Ever.
  10. I can appreciate my body and show it love…even when I’m struggling.

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I would say that is a pretty good list of self-discoveries I made in 2015!  I look forward to putting those discoveries to use in 2016.  For once my goals for the new year have nothing to do with worshipping the gods of thinness and everything to do with embracing my true self.  Curious?  Check them out!

Goals for 2016:

  1. Improve my daily body image.  While my body image is leaps and bounds beyond where it was at the start of 2015, I still have a long way to go.  Poor body image is everywhere and we are taught to dislike what we see, so working to change that will take time but I’m willing to put in that time. 
  2. Cease eating disorder treatment.  Not because I am ready to throw in the towel but because I obtain sustained recovery and no longer need treatment services.
  3. Yoga, yoga, yoga!! The movement I once found “worthless” has become part of my life on a (near) daily basis.  I’m ready to commit to my yoga practice more often and deepen my understanding of self through that practice.  (Hippy, I know.) 
  4. Finish the Beautiful Body Acceptance book I started a few months ago.  Writing a book is serious work; especially when my toddler comes first!  (Writers block is serious stuff, too.)  Hopefully I can carve out more time to work on writing it in 2016! 
  5. Grow the BBA “brand” this year. BBA is still a baby, my (second) baby, and nurturing this blog and book are on my list of goals.  I want more people to see their beauty and begin the journey of body acceptance! 

I hope you take time to reflect on the lessons you learned in 2015 and set goals for 2016 that don’t worship the gods of thinness and weight loss.
Set goals to embrace your true self and let your happy shine! 

With Body Love,
Lane

Appreciation, Body Acceptance, Body Appreciation, Body Image, Body Love, Body Shape, Body Size, Eating Disorder, Emotions, Encouragement, Faith, Feelings, God, Gratitude, Hope, Joy, Love, Postpartum Body, Recovery, Uncategorized, Weight

Hampering the Holidays

“But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
-I Cor. 10:13

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The holidays can be a trying time for those in eating disorder recovery.  As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, recovery websites offer helpful tips and positive thoughts on a near daily basis to help those in recovery withstand relapse. Falsely, I thought I was going to make it through my first Christmas season completely unscathed this year.  I was close this year; closer than I have ever been, but the dominance of the eating disorder voice outweighed my own thoughts for a few hours Christmas morning.  In order to strengthen my recovery and remain on the right path without a lapse, I turned to the true reason for the season in order to remind me that I am more than a number…or in this case a (wrong) size.

I know I have bragged about my husband in previous posts and I am about to do it again.  Always thoughtful, positive, and full of joy, TJ looks forward to surprising me and putting a smile on my face.  He enjoys sending me flowers at various times, such as the beautiful arrangement he ordered from Hawaii for my re-birthday a few weeks ago, and finding the perfect gifts for Christmas.  He puts a lot of time and planning into his gifts and this year the eating disordered voice jumped in and made appear very ungrateful.  I hate that eating disorder voice and when it jumps in and becomes my voice.

re-birthday flowers

 This Christmas was a little different than in years past.  We, as a family, are preparing for a new adventure and our gifts were all centered around that new adventure.  Just as I put a lot of thought and time into what I got for TJ, he put a lot of time and thought into what he got for me.  The item that put the eating disorder volume on “extremely loud” was a beautiful, bright red Henri Lloyd sailing spray jacket.

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sporting my spray jacket and sailing gloves

Now, being completely honest and living out the radical acceptance of my body, I have wide hips.  This is a fact and it cannot be disputed.  It just is.  I just do.  Acceptance.   However, that does not mean that I don’t still get sad about it from time-t0-time. When I tried on that beautiful red jacket I suddenly became very sad and upset about my wide hips.  The jacket fit great…except for my hips.  Cue the tears, the eating disorder volume, and the self-loathing.  Then the waterfall of thoughts began…

“I’m too fat to sail.  I won’t be able to fit in the galley to cook food.  Any bigger than my current size and they wouldn’t even make spray jackets to fit me!  I NEED to lose weight.  I can’t eat today.”  

Poor TJ felt terrible, as he tried to console me while continuously apologizing for getting the wrong size; even though the jacket he bought is the same size as a coat he bought me last Christmas.  The difference being, the spray jacket is unisex and the coat is from the women’s department.  Two totally different styles/cuts/materials of clothing.  Of course I see the logic in this now, but in the moment all I could see were the cascading eating disorder thoughts; turning me into an ungrateful mess.  Once I gave myself some space, began to do some light Bible study, and focused inwardly on radical body acceptance my attitude changed.

The size of the jacket does not matter.  THIS is my body and yes, my body has wide hips, and that is okay.  The jacket can be exchanged and the size in the tag doesn’t matter because my body will be protected and warm, regardless of size.  My body is strong enough to sail and sailing doesn’t discriminate against body types.  God is gracious and forgives me when I “hate” the body He gave me.  TJ loves and supports me and knows the reaction wasn’t mine but one that comes from being overwhelmed by eating disorder thoughts and emotions.  In the end I know I am working on staying in sustained recovery, following my meal plan, and truly practicing radical body acceptance.  Speaking of…I even have BBA vinyl stickers for my car and other whatnots now.  See…I told you I have an amazing and thoughtful husband.

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**Oh, and just in case you were wondering, I did eat breakfast and I fully intend to continue eating throughout the day to celebrate the birth of the risen Savior.**

I hope you find body acceptance this Christmas Day and focus on self-care, self-love, and self-acceptance today and every day.

With Body Love,
Lane

Appreciation, Body Acceptance, Body Appreciation, Body Image, Body Love, Body Shape, Body Size, Eating Disorder, Emotions, Encouragement, Faith, Feelings, Friends, God, Gratitude, Hope, Joy, Love, Recovery, Social Media, Uncategorized, Weight

Crushed and Created: 1 year in recovery

I’m not the me that I started with/I’m freer and I’m wiser and I’m stronger
What I thought I could handle/What I thought I could take/ What I thought would destroy me
Leaves me stronger in its wake
Crushed and Created, Caitlyn Smith

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I entered Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP) at The Center for Balanced Living one year ago today.  One year ago I was making some of the worst decisions of my life and completely living in my eating disorder.  I was engaging in eating disordered behaviors in front of my daughter, who I (foolishly) thought was not picking up on anything because she was only 17 months old.   I teetered on the edge of wanting recovery and wanting to remain exactly where I was and, had my daughter not been depending on me every day, I probably would have chosen to remain exactly where I was.  In many ways I owe Vivienne my life because she is the reason I chose recovery in the beginning.  I was doing it for her, for my husband, for my marriage, but not for myself; that came later.

Recently I found my meal logs I had to keep and bring with me to my intake assessment at The Center and I was astonished at what I was (not) eating.  I was a mess to say the least and continuing to burn as I kept falling further down.  Standing in my kitchen looking at the documentation of how sick I really was brought tears to my eyes because, the day I found those was the day after I had been told by my therapist I could step down to sessions every other week.  It was the day after my dietician told me we were beginning work on the final “layer” of my actual “food” recovery and committing to get me through my last fears and challenges.  In 12 months I did a complete 180 in my attitude toward food, my body, and my recovery.  Now I don’t put much thought into my meals and snacks, or the times at which I eat them, even though my “commitment to my health” still hangs on my kitchen cabinet.

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Looking back, this year has probably been the hardest year of my life.  I have been forced to face demons, misguided truths about myself, and memories from life experiences I never before allowed myself to face.  BUT it has all been worth it.  I am stronger, healthier, and more in love with my life than I have ever been.  I have learned to know and understand myself on a level many people never get to experience.  I’ve spent countless hours in individual therapy sessions, group therapy sessions, support groups, and at appointments with my dietician.  I have also been to the doctor more in the last year than any single year in my entire life because I actually care about my health now.  For the last year of treatment the expense has reached over $22,000 (thank God for insurance) for my outpatient appointments and IOP, but the benefits are priceless.  I understand my body and appreciate it more than I ever thought possible.  In the last year I have gone from sitting in a treatment center having my food monitored, watched while I ate, drinking Boost supplements to make up for food I didn’t eat, and even accompanied to the bathroom to ensure I wasn’t purging; to being nearly behavior-free for two months (I had a one-week slip two months ago or it would have been four months) and purge-free for so long I’ve lost count.  I have met women who will surely be life-long friends and others who came across my path when we needed each other most.  Women who were there to support me when I needed it, cheer me on in my successes, cry with me when I struggled, and laugh when we couldn’t handle the stress any longer.

I made the decision to take ownership of things that happened to me and things I have done.  I went from hating my appearance, hating my body, and not wanting anyone to see it…ever…to running this blog and subsequent Facebook page about accepting and learning to love my body.  I don’t hide my body from the world but wear what I want that shows it off.  My stretch marks tell a story and I am proud of them.  My body is a beast and it is awesome.  And I’ll let you in on a secret…so is yours.  I am proud of my body because it is a survivor.  I am a survivor. I am a fighter.  I’m a survivor of a long battle with an eating disorder, a survivor of sexual assault, and a survivor of self-hate.

Today I am thriving.  I am happy, joyful, and full of life.  While I wish I would have started “living” my life sooner, I am living it now.  I am enjoying life on a daily basis and experiencing true confidence, acceptance, and love.  My little family is moving forward with plans and dreams we had years ago, hindered by life events and my eating disordered challenges.  My husband is incredibly amazing because he married me and continued to love me when I was at my absolute lowest.  Now he gets to rejoice with me in discovering this “new” radiant woman.  For the first time in my life I am making complete wise-mind decisions; meaning the eating disorder thoughts aren’t part of my decision making.

So, here I go, plunging forward into a life where I am truly living instead of existing.
I have been crushed and created, melted and made, broken and built up.

With Body Love,
Lane

Appreciation, Body Acceptance, Body Appreciation, Body Image, Body Love, Body Shape, Body Size, Eating Disorder, Emotions, Encouragement, Faith, Feelings, Friends, God, Gratitude, Hope, Joy, Love, Postpartum Body, Pregnancy, Recovery, Social Media, Uncategorized, Weight

The Great Awakening

Awakening:
a recognition, realization, or coming into awareness of something

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Earlier this week I had a “great awakening” regarding my body and recovery.  While I have experienced many  “awakenings” over the last year this one hit me right between the eyes.   The same eyes that still search for anything that could be used as a mirror (a full-length window, for example) to look at my body and see if it has changed; if it has puffed out or slimmed down.  Despite the knowledge my meal plan hasn’t changed, my clothes still fit the same, I’m not over exercising, and I am completely devoted to recovery.  Therefore, I know my body has not changed but my brain sure is trying to change how I view myself.

My friends are getting pregnant, nursing babies, and adding to their families.  So. Many. Pregnant/Second-Time-Mom. Friends.  Such is the nature of life when you’re nearing 30, your friends are married, and most of you already have at least one child.  While I was lamenting to a friend about how I sometimes get a twinge of jealousy when a friend tells me she is pregnant, posts photos of an adorable baby bump, or shouts to the world she has a new baby, I don’t think I could handle being pregnant ever again.  (Recalling memories of late night feedings, sleepless nights, bottles, puke, etc. also help me remember why I don’t want to do the infant thing again.)  I digress, we were talking about my friend’s adorable, beach-ball-perfect, make-you-want-to-get-pregnant baby bump.  I certainly didn’t have that when I was pregnant.  I often wonder if I got pregnant while in sustained recovery would it be any different? I sighed and told my friend it probably wouldn’t be different because I don’t have a lengthy torso.  Well, I’m just plain not lengthy in any regard (I stand a whole 5’4.25″) so a baby doesn’t have anywhere to grow but out…way out.

This was me, 7 months pregnant, the day before my grad school hooding ceremony…

Pregnancy Photo

Recalling a conversation I had when I was pregnant, I realized I showed so quickly and carried my daughter the way I did because she was squished in my short torso.  My friend with the adorable beach ball belly is much taller and her baby has more room to grow before protruding outwardly.  My body, my skin, stretched to accommodate the growing little life in the best way it could…and that is the great awakening.

A saying often stated in various articles, books, and by professionals, “each person and each pregnancy is different.”  My pregnancy and body are no exception to that saying.  So my belly sags and I have more stretch marks than I would like but that is my reality of pregnancy and my post-baby body.  That doesn’t make my body any less beautiful or less worthy of love and respect from myself or anyone else.  God allowed me to grow a human, to become a mother, and that is far more important than having a “perfect” body or one free from all signs of carrying my child.  My body looks exactly how God planned it for me at this stage in life.  My torso isn’t long and glamorous.  I didn’t carry my daughter in a way that would make the paparazzi chase after me…and that is okay.

Instead of having a body others would covet…
I carried a healthy baby for 40.5 weeks.
My body has been a battlefield of my own creation and it has carried one of God’s divine creations.
My body is mine; designed just for me and provided the perfect home to my daughter when she needed it.

So, I have some serious stretch marks, a scar from a c-section, and some saggy skin.  Oh well.  My body is still a beast and still worthy of my love, care, and respect.

With Body Love,
Lane