Roots

Sometimes, all I can do is sit back and marvel at how things in my life literally come full circle.  Over the summer, I had the possible eating disorder clinic job come up, which would incorporate teaching and and music therapy…what I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  Full circle.  Today, it’s the burger issue.  My very first blog post ever, (which is actually on a different blog) was about a burger, and in a way, this blog post is about a burger too.  Or at least, it all started with a burger.

My sweet roomie and I went out for a fun, Red Robin dinner last night.  We split a burger and a wrap, and man-oh-man, it was tasty!  Well, at least the half-burger, fries and salad were.  I was too full for the wrap.  But with that sense of fullness came a sense of guilt.  And the sense of guilt created what felt like an all-out tailspin of anxiety, fear, nervousness, and a desire to restrict my eating and/or exercise a lot.  Sigh.

As you might imagine, I greatly looked forward to going to church today – looked forward to the uplifting, the encouragement, the deeper knowing of God.  But sometimes I forget about one factor.  That factor is Satan…and I specifically forget that he can have an affect, even in church.

The sermon dealt with Sin (big S) being the root, and sins (little s, plural) being the external evidence of the root, Sin.  It led me to wonder what or where the root of this Eating Disorder is.  I began to wonder how I could get at the root, rather than just trim the branches that everyone can see.

Home.  Lunch.  Difficult.  Cranky.  Tears spilling over, even just in a text conversation.

I talked to my mom and dad.  I told them that I was trying to figure out the root sin of my eating disorder – was it vanity?  Perfectionism?  I didn’t know.  And I felt so anxious, nervous, afraid etc.

And like parents always do, they had a weapon to use against this enemy, Satan.  They reminded me that eating disorders are medical conditions, not based in sin.  And if there IS sin at the root of it, guess what?  It’s forgiven.

“as far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us.”

Psalm 103:12

I talked to Ron next.  And you know what he did?  He prayed for me.  Of course, he talked to me – encouraged me and such, but he did battle by praying.

I keep coming back to John 10:10

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I Came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Burgers are meant for enjoyment, not to blind the eater with guilt.  Food is meant for nourishment and life, not as a tool of torture anguish.  And life.  Life was not meant to be lived in fear of food, or fear of anything, really.  Life was not meant to be lived void and empty, but full of joy and peace.

Friends, we all have Sin and sins.  But while we were sinners, Jesus died for us so that we could be forgiven – and have a full and abundant life.

What is keeping you from that?

Blessings,

Beth

It’s Like a Bagel

Hello Friends!

How many of you are familiar with the concept of “fear foods”?  It sounds pretty obvious…foods that cause fear, right?  Basically, yes.  The difference is that the level of fear surrounding that food is irrational or completely nonsensical.  For example: I may be terrified of eating a pancake with butter and syrup, but have no trouble with an english muffin with peanut butter and jam.  Or maybe I couldn’t stand the thought of an ice cream sandwich, but a scoop on a cone?  No problem.  And my personal favorite: Terror at the sight of a burger, yet no problem with a sloppy joe.  Silly, right?  Sheesh!

Part of my recovery process is to develop a list of fear foods (CJ talks about this!), then forge right ahead and tackle each one.  My list includes things like burgers, fried foods, blizzards, etc.  One food I used to struggle with was bagels, but I just decided to hop in and start eating them, and I haven’t looked back :)  THEY’RE SO GOOD!  But what do bagels have to do with anything except that I like them, I eat them, and that’s a good thing?

I’ll tell ya.

Bagels have become a “lunchtime standard”, if you will.  I’ve become pretty comfortable chowing down on one, and when I say comfortable, I’m referring to the number of calories.  Oh, and this bagel does have cream cheese and almond butter on it.  Anyways.

The other day, I was craving a frozen burrito for lunch (don’t judge).  I really wanted it, but I felt a little scared.  What if it was too heavy?  And doesn’t it have a MILLION calories?  And maybe I’ll just have a wrap.  But then I flipped the package over and read that stinkin’ number.  And it wasn’t much different than a bagel.  So I ate the burrito, and quite enjoyed it.

However, I hadn’t really put the pieces together until yesterday.

While dusting off some merchandise at work, I took a gander at the stats on the Easy Mac package.  My first reaction? “Sheesh that’s a lot of calories!”  But on second thought I realized…it was about the same as a frozen burrito…about the same as a bagel.

So now, I have two new weapons for combating fear foods:

#1. I can think of a food similar to the fear food (burgers vs sloppy joes) and

#2. I can relate the number of calories to something else I’m comfortable with.

After all, it’s just food.  Bagel or pasta, ground beef in a sauce or a patty – it’s just food.

Hey ED…go eat a bagel.  :D

Have a lovely day!

Beth

Full Circle

Hello friends!  Boy, do I have a story for you.

When I was about 13 years old, I had one of those moments of “Oh-my-gosh-what-am-I-gonna-be-when-I-grow-up??!?”  When I was little I wanted to be a doctor…and then I discovered that I couldn’t handle blood in large quantities.  By age 13, though, I knew I really liked music, and wanted to do something with it…but what?  I asked a friend what he thought, and without batting an eyelash, he said “music therapy”.  He knew that I wanted to help people, and although medicine may not be my forte, providing therapy would allow me to still work in that type of field.  And with music!

I found that a Music Therapy degree would probably be obtained through a Master’s program – and I would need a Bachelor’s of music something…so I opted for Music Education.  But by the end of High School, I had pretty much give up on the Music Therapy idea…Music Ed just seemed like what I wanted to do.

Of course, in college, while studying Music Ed, I felt pretty sold on it.  At least on the surface.  I mean, I had to throw myself into the classes, writing papers as though becoming a music teacher would be my dream come true – and while I do have an interest in teaching and helping people, maybe the standard classroom isn’t quite the place for me.  However, in taking upper-division classes and preparing to student teach, I had essentially resigned myself to the fact that I would be a teacher.  Just ask me – I’d probably robotically tell you that I plan to come home after student teaching and hope to find a job in elementary music.  At least…I think I do?

While attending family therapy at UCSD, my dad remarked one day “Wouldn’t it be somethin’ if you ended up working with eating disorder patients some day?”  It was like permission to NOT teach classroom music if I didn’t want to!  And it got me thinking.

I want to help others who are fighting eating disorders.  But I’m not exactly sure what that will look like.  Will I work in an eating disorder treatment center?  Will I mentor others like Barbi (my mentor)?  Or would I be an advocate for healthy body image in my classroom?  So many unknowns!

A bit of a back story:

My therapist for this summer is opening an in-patient treatment center sometime next spring.  This will be the only service like this in my area, if not the whole state.  This is really exciting!!!!  In a conversation with Chelsey, I told her about this idea of working in the Eating Disorder field and I said “Heck, you and me should go work at the new clinic!”  Chelsey stopped dead in her tracks.  See, just days before, her and her boyfriend said essentially the same thing.

So last week in therapy, my counselor and I began talking about jobs working with eating disorder patients.  I mentioned that it was interesting that he had brought up jobs in the eating disorder field because I had taken part in several job related conversations lately.  And then I expressed my slight concern over the fact that working with Eating Disorder patients wouldn’t really make use of my degree…”…but I suppose that’s life!”

My therapist said, “Ah, but music is being used in Eating Disorder Therapy more and more.”  SAY WHAT?!?!  So I told him the brief history I just told you – about wanting to do music therapy, but leaning more towards the Music Education side of things.  There was a bit more light on my horizon.

It seemed like things were coming full circle – back to Music Therapy!  And what my therapist told me next literally blew my socks off.  And I mean that.

He said “Can I bring it around even further?  Because in-patient clinics are working with teens in school, they need tutoring in order to keep up with their classes.  You’ll have the Education degree, and will be certified to take a job like that.  You can use Music Therapy as part of the tutoring.”

Could someone pick my jaw up off the ground please?

We continued discussing this type of job and I became more and more excited.  I light up when I think about taking this type of job – much more than I do when I think about teaching 500 elementary children.  It ties right in to my desire to help people – and use music.  And it’s possible that I could have a job near home doing this work with eating disorder patients.

Not only is this exciting because of the notion of the job, but it emphasizes the hope I’ve carried through the entirety of journey through anorexia: I want my experience to have a purpose – a meaning.  I want it to be used for something.  And perhaps working with young people in recovery is one way my journey would be useful to another.

Guys, I’m so excited!!!  I’m praying and trusting that God will guide me and lead me, opening doors when and where they need to open.

Have a great Sunday!

Blessings,

Beth

Pizza Veggie Quinoa

Well hello!

It’s been forever and a day since I’ve posted a recipe…or anything for that matter.  I’ve been a busy gal, with work, nephews visiting and just…well…living life!  I think I feel like I’ve blogged recently when I put some time in on our new website at work.  Click here to see it!  I’ve mostly done some editing and tweaking, however I did do a fair bit of work on some pages in the “Amenities” section as well as “Area Attractions”.

Anyways…on to the food!

This recipe for Pizza Veggie Quinoa comes from Sarah over at Gazing In.  Elizabeth, my (former) roomie and I made this near the end of school, throwing in a few modifications, and really REALLY liked it! Cheesy, warm, soft, salty, and full of veggies – what more could I ask for?!  Seriously.  Give this a go.

Pizza Veggie Quinoa

adapted from Gazing In

The Goods

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • dash of salt
  • splash of olive oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup pizza sauce
  • grated Parmesan cheese, as desired

Method

Rinse and drain the quinoa thoroughly.

Add the quinoa, water and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn temperature down to the lower end of medium, cover and cook for 20 minutes.  And please do remember to turn it down.  I promise, it turns out much better that way!

While the quinoa cooks, heat the oil in a large skillet over med-high heat.  Add the onion, zucchini and garlic, then sauté until slightly softened. Turn temperature down to medium-low, and add the pizza sauce, gently stirring to combine.  Let the sauce heat for a bit, then turn off the heat and add in the quinoa.

Stir in some Parmesan cheese, then serve, topping with more cheese if desired.

But I don’t know why you wouldn’t put more cheese on it.

This was such a tasty dinner!  I especially liked it served with a green salad – a nice cool and crunchy contrast to the warm and soft entree.  Delish!

I’m still working away at implementing the things like learned in San Diego.  I’m freaked out glad to report that I’ve gained weight each week since returning, and it’s getting easier (not easy, easiER) to eat the amounts I’m supposed to eat, and feel okay about it.  It’s getting easiER to block out that ED voice that tells me to restrict, among other lies.  It’s all a work in progress :)

Take care, friends, and go make some pizza quinoa!

Blessings,

Beth

San Diego – The Work

Hi Friends!

Apparently, school getting out didn’t make me any less busy…just changed the type of busy-ness.  Oh well…I won’t complain about making money at work ;)

In my last post, I told you all about the fun things I got to do in San Diego…visiting Old Town and La Jolla, eating some tasty food…it was a good trip!  But let me tell ya…it wasn’t all fun and games.

On the first day of therapy at UCSD, it became clear that I would have to eat more.  Duh.  But seriously, I would have to eat more.  And really, that’s what everything else is based on.

It would take me weeks to recount to you every detail of the week…and to be honest, I can’t remember it all.  But there are a few things that were very significant to me.

Weight Restoration

Without becoming “weight restored” any work was basically pointless.  Starvation does crazy things to our bodies and has significant effects on the brain.  Basically, a starved brain can’t rationally process whats reasonable vs what’s emotional, making weight restoration priority numero uno.

Physical Effects of Starvation

Obviously, starving oneself will cause significant weight loss.  But what does that weight loss actually do to the body?  The answer is frightening.  Starvation shrinks the brain.  You know that lack of focus?  It’s not just because you’re hungry…it’s because your brain has actually changed.  Thankfully, it’s reversible when normal eating resumes.  Oh and you’ve probably heard about heart issues in Eating Disorder patients.  It’s from the heart actually shrinking.  And that just terrifies me.  Again, this is reversible with normal eating.  And lastly, bones become more brittle which can lead to a host of other problems.  Of course, there’s the issues of messed up hormones, lack of energy etc, but those three….they kind of slapped me in the face.

Causes of Eating Disorders

It seems like the generally accepted cause of Eating Disorders is media and peer pressure, poor body image and low self esteem.  Those probably contribute, but the current research has a different answer.  Experts are discovering that the brains of those with Eating Disorders are different than those without.  I’m know there’s WAY more science behind it, but here’s what I understand: There is a genetic predisposition to eating disorders.  This doesn’t guarantee that someone will develop an ED, but they are more likely to have issues with one.  So basically, us ED folks aren’t just nuts…we have different brains!

The structure of the program was very conversational and team oriented.  We worked with our families a lot, but also discussed things as a group.  Self reflection was a huge element also.

The basic structure of each day was discussion, snack, discussion or activity, lunch, discussion/activity snack, discussion, end.  And these snacks were not optional.  No, they didn’t tell us exactly what to eat, but the therapists watched and would give us feedback.  We also discussed how meals away from therapy went, and sometimes, what we had for those meals.  Between the snacks, meal reporting and weight checks every other day, my intake increased, literally overnight.  I had no choice.  I began eating a starch in the morning (previously too scary).  I moved beyond PB&J for lunch.  Dinners grew and evening snacks were also more substantial.  And it was terrifying.  Yet liberating.

My parents and Ron were able to ask questions and learn so much about exactly what I’m up against.  They went to San Diego with a basic understanding and a desire to help me however they could.  The left San Diego with a much greater understanding and the tools to help me.  Again, terrifying yet liberating.

One key part of this therapy is writing a contract – what I agree to do, what my parents agree to do, and the rewards and consequences of adhering to or breaking away from the contract.  Basically, I have a range of weight to gain each week.  There are weekly rewards (a few dollars in a clothes fund), monthly rewards (manicure, pedicure, etc) and bigger rewards for continued maintenance at graduation in December.  Consequences include less walking time (less than the 20 minutes I’m currently allotted), increased intake, and a loss of freedom around plating my own meals and snacks.

Basically, it’s a lot to swallow.

So how am I doing with all of this?  Well, I’m doing okay.  I will not sugar coat one bit of this and say it’s easy.  Because it’s not.  It’s hard to eat enough.  It’s hard to put together meals that are adequate.  It’s hard to not feel like a bum when I walk for less time.  You know what’s easy?  Gradually slipping back to restrictive behaviors.  Choosing the lower calorie option.  Settling in to being back at home and loosening up…not working as hard.  But guess what.  That’s just not gonna work.  I have to eat well to be healthy.  That’s all there is to it.  Whether or not I’m hungry, or whether or not I feel fat, or deserving, or good enough, or whatever — I have to eat that snack or adequate portion.  That’s just the way it is.

So here I go!  My week in San Diego was challenging, but it is now that the hardest work takes place.

Feel free to comment with questions – I’d love to talk about the program!

Blessings,

Beth

San Diego – the Fun

Hey friends!

Last week in San Diego…well, it was life changing.  We flew in to Spokane last Friday night Saturday morning (EARLY), then drove home a bit later Saturday morning.  I was tired, and ready to be home, but inspired and motivated to work hard.  This post will be mostly the fun stuff…I’ll get into the program stuff a bit later :)  And I still have a Graduation post to write….haha!

The UCSD Multifamily Intensive Therapy is vigorous, challenging, and INTENSE, but motivating and inspirational.  The facilitators and therapists are caring and very competent, and through the week, a general sense of comradery is developed between the families.  I would highly recommend it to anyone struggling with an Eating Disorder.  I’ll talk more about the program in another post :)

Are you ready to see some fun San Diego stuff??

Monday morning, we needed to be at Rady Children’s Hospital (where therapy would take place) bright and early to get all set up and checked in for the week.  Our hotel, the Holiday Inn (in Mission Valley) didn’t have continental breakfast, but they did have a nice little restaurant, so we had breakfast there the first morning in town.  Here is my “little” parfait!  The fresh strawberries were AH-mazing.

Even though we were busy all day, we were sure to get some touristy sight-seeing in!  Our first adventure took place in Old Town San Diego.

  There were palm trees…

…and nifty buildings.

Dinner was our first stop, though!  We checked out the menu for El Fandango, and liked it, but were completely won when they gave us a 15% of coupon!

Here we are, goofing off a bit while waiting for our scrumptious dinner

Besides the obligatory chips and salsa, mom and I shared a salad to start.

Here’s my dinner – chicken tacos…REAL chicken tacos.  Corn tortillas rather than flour, big chunks of chicken, lettuce and tomatoes, topped with queso fresco or cotija.  The beans and rice were flavorful and soft, and the guacamole was SO fresh!  This was my first experience with authentic Mexican food and man…I can’t even look at Taco Bell!

The next evening, we decided to check out the La Jolla beach.  One of our friends from the program told us about the seals and lovely beach, and we decided it would be a great place to check out.

  God gave us the perfect weather for our beach excursion!

And we got the PERFECT parking spot.  We stepped out of the car, walked a couple of feel to a railing to look down at see this!!!

Perfect backdrop for a photo, don’t you think?

Well, I certainly thought so! :)

We wandered a long for a bit, and looked back to where we parked…how gorgeous is this?!

Mom sent us down to the rocks to snap this photo before we set off on a dinner-searching expedition.

We found this little place, Krafty Krepes.  They have crepes and paninis, and being hungry, I opted for…..

…a turkey and avocado panini.  It was SO.MUCH.FOOD!  But it was so tasty!  Flavorful deli turkey gave it some staying power,  while  the avocado slices and mayo made it creamy.  The  bread was slightly buttered and perfectly toasted.

And we all got free salads to boot!

And of course, sunset by the beach was BEAUTIFUL!

Our last night in town, we went back to Old Town…we just really liked it!

I only remembered to take a photo of my dinner…

But it was so great!  We went to Cafe Coyote which is apparently quite the happenin’ place!  We got a table right away, though, and made our decisions.  I went with one chicken taco and one potato taco.  Yes, potato taco.  Served in corn tortillas as well, the quality was right up there with El Fandango.  The potato taco was interesting.  I expected diced potatoes, but they were mashed…and SPICY!  I enjoyed it, but the chicken taco was my preference.

That brings me to the end of my best photos!  We had a really great time in San Diego, but don’t let this give you the false assumption that it was all fun and games.  I think I can truthfully say that last week was some of the hardest ED work I’ve done.  I’ll write more soon.

Blessings!

Beth

 

A Saturday Tea

I just love this time of year – the sun shows its face a bit more often, and we pull out our spring clothes – lighter and brighter colors, flowy fabrics, and short sleeves.  It just makes anything you do that much more enjoyable!  Even cleaning becomes fun! ;)

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of going out in the sun and wearing some bright-colored, spring clothes to have tea and lunch with a few dear ladies – Marisa, Jocelyn (Marisa’s mom) and Sherry, three of the sweetest ladies you’ll ever meet.

We convened at Three Cups of Tea, a cute little tea shop in Bothell.  It’s such a sweet little place – lots of bright colors, flowers everywhere, and perfectly portioned light entrées.  It really is the perfect place for such a lunch time meeting as this.

Each tea-drinker receives a unique and lovely teacup and a personal tea pot.  I loved the delicate flowers and gold edging on my cup!  If only I could take it home… ;)

Before we knew it, lunch arrived.  I chose a half turkey-cranberry sandwich with a side salad.  This sandwich was a perfect choice!  It had a nice, light amount of turkey, which contrasted nicely with the cranberry-cream cheese spread.  The lettuce provided a nice crunch against the soft, pillowy croissant style bread.  Yum!

Marisa and Jocelyn both decided on the individual-sized quiche.  It looked pretty tasty to me, and both ladies quite enjoyed their choice!

Sherry opted for the curried chicken sandwich with chicken noodle soup.  Despite my lack of curry-love, this sandwich looked pretty tasty.

Look at this adorable heart-shaped scone!  So precious – especially when it’s served with jam, lemon curd and clotted cream in a heart-shaped dish!

The obligatory photo of me eating…did I mention that sandwich was tasty!?  I think my favorite part of this photo, however, is the elderly fellow in the background.  He looks like he’s thinking “Oooooh, is that my lunch coming?”  Love it.

Here’s evidence of Marisa getting a bit silly with the camera.  Because I obviously wasn’t being silly at all!

Now, aside from being insanely cute and having delicious food, Three Cups of Tea has a special spot in our hearts.  Two years ago, the four of us ladies came here for a little brunch get-together.  At the end of that meal, we took photos of each other from across the table.

Here is Sherry and Jocelyn then:

And here they are now:

As lovely as ever!

And now for the children then…

And here we are now:

How time flies!  We almost look like grownups!  But not quite.

I just love spending time with these ladies.  They are undoubtedly my Seattle family!  And with graduation quickly approaching – Marisa’s next weekend and mine in a few months – lunch dates like this become even sweeter and more precious than before.

What joy!

This Saturday (as in yesterday) my roomies and I spent the day adventuring together on Whidbey – I promise, there shall be a full recap!  Once I get my photos organized… ;)

Take care!

Blessings

Beth