Not Missing Out

ED is like what I would imagine an abusive boyfriend to be like.  He sweet talks me into believing that he’s good and trustworthy, then tells lie after lie about how I’m not good enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough ad nauseum.  And when I’m not good enough, pretty enough, thin enough etc, I’m probably not worth going to that party, or going to that restaurant.  There’s no way I’d consider roasting hot dogs and marshmallows with the family, attending a church pot-luck or going on vacation.  Too complicated.  Not worth it.  Not happenin’.

Except, that’s what ED wants me to believe.  ED, and ED alone.

In a recent meeting with my dear mentor, we talked about this very thing; how ED wants us to just stay home instead of living life.  It’s a load of garbage.  Lies.  Deceit.  You know what my mentor’s motto is?

“I’m not missing out”

For my mentor, this could mean taking a chicken sausage along to roast while her family has brats.  It could mean packing dinner to the farmer’s market to make sure she gets good nutrition in a place that can feel overwhelming.  Telling ED to “shut up and leave me alone, I want to do _________ with my family!”

Not missing out.

Not missing out on a vacation.  Not missing out on a Scentsy party with my mom,  sister and dear ladies from my church.  Not missing out on a double date.  Not missing out on that church pot luck.  Not.Missing.Out.

I’m tired and frustrated.  Tired of dealing with ED and all his deceptions and belittlement.  Tired of skipping a get-together because I have a tummy ache.  Frustrated with this Eating Disorder taking up so much thought and planning time.

Tired of missing out.

John 10:10

Our lives were not meant to be lived sitting on the couch in fear or despair.  God intends for us to live a full and abundant life.

Are you done missing out?

Blessings,

Beth

Sticks and Stones May Break my Bones…

Sticks and stones may break my bones…but words may break my spirit.

We all know that the words we speak can have a significant impact.  They can build up – confidence, strength, happiness.  They can act as a commitment – to a task, to an event, to a person.  But words can also tear down.  Wreak havoc.  Break hearts.  Break spirits.

And words cannot be taken back once they are spoken.  Putting words back in your mouth is about as easy as putting toothpaste back in the tube after you squeeze it out.  Yeah, it doesn’t work out so well!

The power of words is not a new concept.  But ED directs words to the most sensitive place possible.  Have a little wound of insecurity?  ED will gladly direct the salty words of an ill-delivered compliment straight to the open skin.  Then, ED will proceed to rub and chafe and scour the wound with the salt laden words until he almost wins.  He used to win.  Now, he’s not usually so lucky.

But the salt still stings.  That ill-delivered compliment plays in my mind over and over…and over.  I feel resentment towards the complimentor, although I shouldn’t.  She’s not exactly young, and she has some significant medical issues that probably affect how she interacts socially.  She doesn’t really “get” eating disorders.  But still, her words…her words.

Her words were meant well.  She certainly intended good.  But when I walked up to her to greet her this morning, the first words out of her mouth were “Ohhhh look at you, you’ve gained weight!  You look so good, you were too thin before, but you’ve gained weight, haven’t you?”  and on and on.

Yes, what she said was true.  And yes, what she said could be encouraging and complimentary.  However, it was the delivery.  She spoke loudly in a crowd.  She made my weight and appearance the heart and focus of our brief conversation.  And that’s what got me.

Here is my request (whether your my friend or have friends who deal with an eating disorder):

Feel free to compliment.  Please don’t feel like you have to walk around on egg shells (at least around me).  But when you do give compliments, think a little about your words before they leave your mouth.  Think a little about being tactful with your words.  Use words that will build up, not tear down.  Use words that will strengthen a spirit, not break it. 

Blessings,

Beth

A Good Problem

Or at least I’m trying to believe (and convince ED) that it’s a good problem.
Let me paint you a picture.

This morning.  5:45 am.  Getting ready for work.

I put on a pair of jeans that I haven’t worn in a few weeks.  I wondered how they’d fit.  Well, they were snug.  I fit into them – buttoned and zipped without much work, but they were tight.  More tight than I’m comfortable with.

Good morning, Beth, you’re jeans don’t fit you so well, now do they?

Blah.  Except then I remembered something.  In my closet, I have a couple of pairs of jeans that are too big…saved for this very moment.  So I grabbed a pair of Calvin Kleins that would hardly stay on my rear end 7 months ago.  And they fit – loosely – but well enough to wear to work.

Huh, so these jeans fit you now, eh?  Wow.  Just wow.

ED, would you just shut up?

Source

The fact that these jeans were in my closet was quite serendipitous.  My aunt happened to notice them on the side of their road one day, folded, with tags attached.  She picked them up and sent them to me.  But it’s perfect.  My counselor suggested having a pair or two of jeans that I could grab for a day like this.  God is so good.

So the problem was that my first choice of jeans didn’t fit so well.  But it’s a good problem.  It’s a good problem.  And that number on the tag?  It doesn’t matter.  It’s just a number.

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18

This is a sign that I’m getting closer to recovery – to health – to normalcy.  And I’m thankful.

Blessings,

Beth

A Slow Fade

Throughout the course of the day, I’ve had three songs stuck in my head.  One of them is “Slow Fade” by Casting Crowns.

A back-story:

Today, Ron came up to have lunch with me at work.  Towards the end of my break, I mentioned that I’d been noticing myself choosing lower calorie items when there was an option.  And Ron had just began to notice also.  It’s been nothing drastic, but my recent plateau in weight gain might indicate that I need to bump it up.

This definitely bothered me.  I’m so badly want to keep climbing this mountain of recovery…I don’t want to slowly slide back down.  Shortly after my conversation with Ron about this, the Casting Crowns song came to mind.  It fits perfectly.

The chorus says,

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It’s a slow fade, it’s a slow fade

(source)

This Slow Fade, while not unique to eating disorders, fits so perfectly right now.  When I begin to let ED back in, even on a subconscious level, destruction begins.  What once was black and white – foods that provide enough nutrition vs foods that don’t – becomes gray.

Sure, you can have that lower-calorie yogurt.  What’s wrong with that salad?  You don’t need that much of a snack.


Those thoughts come in which lead to a choice.  The choice always leads to a consequence of some sort.  And the point the song makes is spot on – ED never comes back in and demolishes the walls of recovery in a day.  He begins chipping away, little by little, until enough has crumbled away that he can get in and get to work.

It’s so easy to backslide.  Often, we don’t even notice how far we’ve fallen until we’re sitting there looking at where we used to be, wondering how we got way down here.

It’s a slow fade.  A fade that ED delights in, to the detriment of my health and well being, not to mention relationships, focus and school.

Slow fades occur in all areas of life.  From finances to stress management, nothing is exempt.  And I think one really great way to avoid this slow fade is to avoid the things that trigger the issues.  Because:

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 4:23

Blessings,

Beth

Which Voice?

So many voices compete for our attention.  Most of them are good/necessary.  There’s the voice that tells you when to eat, or when to give someone a hug.  There’s the voice that gently insists that it’s probably not a great idea to have a second piece of cake, and the voice that reminds you to give strangers their space.  Then there’s a voice that tells you to have no cake.  Or to not eat.  Or that you’re fat, and your pants look horrid.

It seems like the solution would be easy: just listen to the nicer voice (the reasonable voice).  Ignore the nasty voice (the ED voice), right?  Well, it would be a great solution, except that it’s not quite that easy.  The ED voice has a way of drowning out the nice voice – a way of hiding the reasonable option.  ED makes his victim believe every word, and take it to heart.

Here’s a story:

The other day, I put on a pair of pants that I hadn’t worn for a couple of weeks.  They seemed a bit tighter, and ED flung a dart.

Wow, your pants are already tighter.  Sheesh.

But I was on my way out the door to church, and I didn’t have time to really negotiate by changing my clothes, so I just went with it.  After Sunday School, I remembered that I should eat my snack.  It was nothing big, but it was a snack…and ED fired another arrow.

You don’t need that snack.  Remember how your pants fit?  Just don’t go there.

But after some thought, I ate part of my snack anyways. But by the end of church, I burned through my too-light snack, and the hunger was about to throw a tantrum.  I.was.RAVENOUS.

We went to our typical Sunday-after-church- restaurant, but found it to be jam packed.  A cranky customer and a cranky waitress later, and I was a cranky mess. I needed food and I needed it fast.

We headed across the street to another restaurant, and after we were seated, mom offered to order me an appetizer.  My family rarely orders appetizers, and as she placed the order, and ED realized that he couldn’t keep me from eating, he decided to use another tactic.  He said,

You are SUCH a burden.  Look at this, ordering an appetizer, bending over backwards just to get you something to eat.  And look how cranky you are!  Man-oh-man, they’re all just walking on eggshells around you.  What a burden.

And I believed him for a while.

Of course, after eating, I felt much better, and I was able to talk through the situation with Ron and my parents, but that sense of being a burden lingered.  So I brought it up in counseling.  Wanna know what I learned?

ED is the burden.  We all bend over backwards for ED.  We all walk on eggshells around ED.  Not me, but ED.  Even I walk on eggshells and bend over backwards for ED.  If I didn’t cater to him so, I might very well be in a different place today.

In reflection, for every nasty statement from ED that day, there was a counter-statement from the reasonable voice.  When ED berated me for my pants feeling tighter, there was another voice cheering – by the grace of God, I’m meeting my goals.  When ED didn’t want me to eat the snack, there was a voice reminding me that I need the snack for energy and body repair.  When ED told me I was a burden, there was a voice reminding me that my loved ones want to take care of me.

Two voices.  One constructive, the other destructive.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

Two voices.  One the voice of God, the other, the voice of the enemy.

Which voice will you listen to?