High: Hiking in Arizona : This was such an appropriate start to the new year and reminder of how far I’ve come in recovery. Check out the link for more! Low: Family illness: Fortunately all is well, but some family matters drew my mom away from […]
Month: January 2018
I hope everyone is off to a good start to their week! It’s cold again, but still sunny here in Bartlesville. Hope is at her first visit to the groomer (pictures to come), so I’m using this “down time” to catch up on podcasts, projects, […]
This season has been a rough one. When I arrived home 7 weeks ago, I was at the lowest adult weight I’ve ever been and I told my parents I didn’t think I would ever have the strength to return to residency. I can easily say this was the “rock bottom” period of my eating disorder. This is a profound and rather shocking contrast to two days ago. I had a bright day filled with a beautiful walk with Hope outside, volunteering at the local food pantry, and chocolate chip cookies. I also had my weekly therapy appointment, and my therapist commented that I looked great and even suggested I start sharing my story more with others because I’m doing the right things for my recovery and I’ve “got it going on”. I was grateful for the progress I have made and hopeful for the life to come. I figured the worst of the recovery process was behind me and that things would only continue to improve. And then yesterday was what my sweet mother would call a “low ebb” day. My spirits were down, the weather was cloudy, Hope almost got attacked by a neighbor dog, and I just had little motivation or energy, which seemed so cruel after being so depleted for so long and then finally working toward getting it back.
I processed my low affect with my mom and together we came to some conclusions and progress steps going forward.
- Everyone has “less than stellar” days, it’s inevitable: I can’t expect to never feel low just because I’ve made so much progress in my recovery. Everyone has “bad days”, and in fact, bad days make the good ones that much brighter. Going forward, it’s best to acknowledge that bad days will happen, and have plans in place to make them as positive as possible.
- Now that I have more energy, I need to “get out”: one of the reasons I felt so low was because I had pent up energy and spent a lot of time in the house. The previous two days, I had gotten out to volunteer, but yesterday, I did not have any big “time fillers”. A goal going forward is to get out of the house to either a coffee shop or the library to read or to do work. This is such a nice change from the girl who did not think she would ever want to go back to work again!
- Routines are helpful in “riding the wave”: I’ve noticed Hope is happiest when she is on a schedule. We tend to get up, go for walks, go outside, and eat at the same time each day. Maintaining my routine, even when I feel “crummy” helps me get through those low moments, and ensures I’m still getting adequate rest and nutrition.
- Even though I felt low, I did not fall back in to old restrictive habits:Previously, I used a bad mood as an excuse to “numb out”—spending countless amount of time working out or going to fitness classes and avoiding food. I’m happy to say that I did not do this yesterday: I followed my meal plan and engaged in healthier behaviors such as reading, drawing, and watching The Crown with my parents.
I’m grateful that I’m at a point where there are more bright days than low days in my recovery. All the same, low days, or “lemon days” will occur throughout life. I hope to remember these lessons that I processed with my mom whenever the lemon days come.
…an aunt, sister, and daughter.
…a dog mama
…worthy of love and recovery
…a sports fan
…empathetic, smart, and dedicated.
…no longer defined solely by my profession or my ability to restrict and overexercise.
How do you think your self-identity will change when you pursue recovery?
Last Thursday, I was volunteering at the front desk of a local food pantry, when a client approached me and unabashedly said, “You’re teeny”. I attempted to brush the statement off, and replied, “Yes, I’m actually working to put on some weight right now”. Her […]
Ah, limiting beliefs. Let’s go ahead and admit it, we all have them. I’m a big fan of the Jen Hatmaker “For the Love” podcast, and on this week’s episode, she hosted Rachel Hollis.
Rachel discusses the obstacles she has overcome, experiences she has had working in the entertainment industry, and the dreams she has been able to manifest. What I loved about the message in this episode is the emphasis placed on the importance of dreams and that the ability to achieve our dreams is in our control.
What usually stops us from pursuing these dreams is limiting beliefs. AKA the falsely powerful voice in our heads that tells us all the reasons we can’t do “the thing”—whatever “the thing” may be: going back to school, taking a yoga class, writing a book, initiating a new relationship. No matter how small or insignificant a desire may be, you deserve to pursue it. This spurred me to evaluate the limiting beliefs that cross my mind on a regular basis.
- When an old friend I hadn’t seen in at least two years invited me to lunch: “you can’t go to lunch with her because she will think you’re boring and wish she hadn’t invited you”
- When I brought Hope home and she took a while to adjust to her new surroundings: “She [Hope] is never going to like you or be the fun, playful dog I wanted her to be.”
- When I had a frustrating day on the scale, weight wise, in my pursuit of weight restoration: “This is taking way too long and is too hard. I’m putting in so much effort to this recovery, but not getting the results I want, so I should just quit”
- When two old friends drove out of town to visit me this past weekend: “They’re going to be so bored and wish they hadn’t have come. I should just isolate myself more while I’m here”
- When I follow my meal plan and have GI distress: “See, this is why restriction is better. You’re in so much discomfort now”
- When my clothes get too small or fit me differently than I’m accustomed to: “Because these leggings (or whatever clothing article it is) are tight, you must be unattractive now”
- When my friends or classmates get promoted, start new jobs, or get awesome interviews: “you’re such a failure to launch. You should be making career moves, but instead you’re working on recovery”
There’s a couple of key takeaways from bringing these dark thoughts to light:
- They lose power: Rereading these, I observe how insecure, illogical, and altogether false these beliefs are.
- If I were to believe these thoughts, I would miss out on some great opportunities: community is the ultimate joy in life, and I see that a lot of my limiting beliefs stem from fear of rejection. I could have declined the lunch date or told my friends not to drive to Bartlesville, but then I would have missed out on valuable relationships and fun experiences.
- They exhibit black and white, all or nothing thinking: When I was a student, I frequently had True/False questions on exams where the question stem included the words “always” or “never”. When this happened, the answer was almost always false. Life is not absolutes: there’s always exceptions. Just because the scale went in one direction today, doesn’t mean it will go that direction every other day. Just because something no longer fits, doesn’t mean something else can fit and will also look good. Just because something doesn’t agree with my stomach today, doesn’t mean it will never agree with my stomach.
- Comparison is the thief of joy: Limiting beliefs prey on the belief that we aren’t “enough”, which involves comparison to others.
How I’m working to overcome limiting beliefs:
- Reframe them: For me this involves acknowledging the source of the belief. For example, when my favorite leggings no longer fit me, I acknowledged that truth. But I reframed my reaction: “Because these leggings no longer fit me, I am healthier and closer to the life I want.”
- Prove them wrong: Even though my insecure voice did not want to go to lunch, I knew it was in my best interest to. So I went, and I had a great time. Similarly, I told myself that my friends were driving two hours to see me because they value me and want to spend time with me, so it does not matter if we have the most exciting weekend of our lives or if we just sit at home. They came, and we laughed, played with Hope, and enjoyed each other’s company. All of the sudden, the limiting beliefs lose credibility the next time they come around.
- Focus on the positive: Positivity has a snowball effect. Positive thinking leads to continued positive thinking, which inversely lessens limiting beliefs. To do this, I write 5 daily gratitudes at the end of each day and emphasize my “Positive Paula” mantra.
- Remember the absolute truth: Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)-“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” We have these dreams and gifts for a reason. We are supposed to use our gifts and pursue our dreams. To do this, we must accept change, leave comfort behind, and follow the dream.
If this resonates with you, I hope that you are able to take some of these strategies and apply them to your own limiting beliefs. We all have our own unique talents to use and dreams to pursue. Don’t let limiting beliefs stop you from using your gift or chasing your dream.