Today when I was volunteering at the local food pantry, I got to talking with one of the other volunteers about our shared interest in hiking and adventuring. This conversation filled me up in so many ways, because it reminded me of the many “bucket […]
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, emails, and write this post.
This was one of the slower weekends I’ve had in a few weeks, and while I’m becoming more excited to enter the “hustle and bustle” of my life back, I am grateful for the opportunity to slow down and continue restoration before jumping back into the craziness.
Friday was largely spent at home. My dad loved the extra snuggle time with Hope 🙂 I attempted to take her on an extra walk before dinner Friday night, but unfortunately, she got chased by a larger dog and she got pretty worked up so we went home. I cooked a Mediterranean spaghetti squash for my parents, we watched an episode of the Crown, and then I had a snack and went to bed.
Saturday morning I took Hope for a walk at the pathfinder. Little Bit is getting better at walking on the leash and meeting new people and dogs! She did get nervous and pee in my car on the way home…anyone else have a dog that pees when they get nervous? It’s a good thing she is cute…
My mom called me after the gym and asked if I wanted to go on errands with her. I met up with her at Food Pyramid and we picked out cheese for a wine and cheese get together she is hosting. We both agreed it’s a source of joy to be able to meet up with each other on a whim—something we will both miss when I return to OKC. I came home, ate lunch, and watched OU lose to Alabama in basketball…
It hit around 70 degrees in the afternoon, so my mom and I let Hope romp around the front yard without her leash while my mom did some yard work. Little Bit found plenty of new branches to play with and even got excited about meeting a neighbor’s lab. She is starting to grow up 😉
After our play date, my dad and I went to watch the local college team (Oklahoma Wesleyan) play basketball. They were randomly giving away bacon for community appreciation day, but it was all gone by the time we got there! The game was fun—basketball has always been something my dad and I shared together, so it’s neat to reinstate that tradition again. Watching the cheerleaders reminded me of my Highstepper days in high school.
We came home and my mom grilled some hamburgers for dinner. They were delicious 🙂 Then we watched the Crown, played with Hope, had a snack, watched Fixer Upper, and went to bed.
Sunday started with church at City Church. This weekend was the last of the “You Versus 2018” series, and like the other three weeks, I found the lesson extremely relevant. The sermon covered three main types of days one will encounter throughout life: 1. Days of Suffering, 2. Days of Confusion and Doubt, and 3. Days of Breakthrough and Joy. In my story, I feel that the events of 2017 were largely days of suffering, and that I’m currently in a state of confusion and doubt as I wait for my breakthrough to come. The sermon reinvigorated my hope for what this year will bring (and to be honest, has already brought…I never would have thought being in this stage of recovery with such a sweet doggie and support team to be possible two months ago). Another key takeaway that I intend to apply to my prayer life is the three part model in which one begins by affirming God’s power, then expressing one’s personal desires, and finishes with offering your trust in the Lord.
Sunday afternoon I walked Hope, and took a nap. My parents and I went to dinner at the Hideaway with two of their friends. I had a Caesar salad and some vegetable pizza. The meal was tasty, but I had some challenging thoughts after that my mom encouraged me to process and then write a blog post about.
The weekend wrapped up with more Fixer Upper and Modern Family.
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 […]
I’ve only had Hope for ten days, but it’s definitely not too soon to conclude that this little goldendoodle is making my life golden.
In the short amount of time I’ve had her, Hope has added joy to my life in so many ways:
- I spend more time outside: my parents don’t have a doggie door, so I spend a lot of time taking Hope out to the backyard, to the dog park, or on walks around the neighborhood or at the Pathfinder trail. I’m a firm believer that the more time you spend outside, the better, so this has been a welcomed change!
- I’m more outgoing: having a cute doodle as your companion naturally sparks more random conversations. I’ve found myself chatting with the mailman, neighbors, and people on trails—none of this would have happened normally because I would have been walking around with earphones in looking rather unapproachable!
- Movement is joyful and not associated with obsessive patterns or eating disorder behaviors: I used to wear a Fitbit and obsess over how many steps I was getting in or how far I had walked or gone on the elliptical. Since getting Hope, my walks are no longer tied to these things. Instead, I focus on spending time with my dog and how happy the walk is making her.
- I appreciate “little things” more: when I take Hope to the backyard, I try to see my surroundings the same way Hope does. I love how excited she gets when she finds the perfect stick/twig, her curiosity when deer pass by, or how quickly she runs for her favorite red ball. Hope’s authentic joy when my mom, dad, or I come to see her also shows how wonderful it is to be greeted and valued by others.
- I get to see the constellations: the night sky from my parent’s backyard is gorgeous! I never would have known this if I hadn’t gotten Hope. I’m no expert on constellations, but I can always recognize Orion’s belt and see a plethora of other stars. Quite different from OKC!
- I’ve established a healthy routine: I awaken at a healthy and consistent hour every day to take Hope out, and similarly put her to bed at a reasonable time. In between, I take her out at regular intervals, which causes me to assess my own eating patterns and water intake. Lastly, I can’t be away from home from too long, which is a good change from my old mindset in which I always needed to be busy or on-the-go.
- I see the strength I’m gaining through pursuing recovery: It was twelve degrees and windy the week I got Hope. And I could take her outside and not be overly cold. Similarly, Monday morning I needed to take her out at 3:30 A.M. Half asleep, I didn’t put on a jacket. It was around 30 degrees, and I was able to tolerate it. This may not seem like a big deal to someone who has never experienced the profound cold of living in an eating disorder, but for me, this has been huge. I also have energy to walk her and corral her around, which I see as definite progress.
- I have an added layer of accountability: I’ve vowed to reach and maintain recovery regardless, but having Hope adds another layer of accountability to the mix. I must be my healthiest, strongest self to be able to give her my best.
- Plus she is so cute
Getting Hope was not a decision my family or I took lightly, but so far we are all so glad she is here. Keep following for more stories about the hopeful doodle!
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 response surprised me. She said, “well you’re teeny, but you don’t look anorexic or anything.”
I smiled, chuckled, and continued on with my day. Once I had time to process the interaction, I realized that my response to this comment, and the comment itself, was a huge recovery win.
As one progresses through recovery, inevitable changes occur to the body. This experience is bittersweet, necessary, and scary. Additionally, these changes are frequently accompanied by comments (usually well-meaning!) from family, acquaintances, and (in this scenario) even strangers. These seemingly innocuous comments can become triggering threats to one’s recovery.
I’ve received other potentially triggering comments in my time home.
- “Your legs look fatter”
- “Your face is fuller”
- “You don’t make my eyes water anymore”
- “You have a butt! And it’s rounder!”
Being prepared for comments such as these is crucial when recovering from an eating disorder. One must have their “armor” to curtail any regression (or as my mom says, “backsliding”). Here are some of the tools I have found useful so far:
- Reframe the comment: I mentioned this strategy in my post on limiting beliefs, and it’s equally appropriate in this scenario. For instance, no longer appearing anorexic can be reframed to no longer looking sick, and therefore looking healthy. Isn’t health what everyone wants? Similarly, the statement that a particular body part “looks fatter” can be reframed to “looks stronger”.
- Remember why you’re recovering: Initially, I chose recovery solely because life in my eating disorder was miserable and unsustainable. As I’ve progressed through this season, I’ve identified so many additional reasons, such as a desire to help others/share my story, increase awareness, become a wife and mother, fulfill my full potential as a pharmacist, go on outdoor adventures, and play with my puppy Hope. The changes that have occurred only support these desires. For instance: stronger legs=sustenance for hiking, having a butt=the ability to support life, and a fuller face is indicative of more fuel for the brain, allowing one to perform one’s job and share one’s story in a more successful fashion.
- Tell the person that the comment triggered you, or even better, suggest a more appropriate comment to make in the future: This tool works best when the comment was made by someone you’re close to. I couldn’t very well tell the woman at the food pantry that I am in fact recovering from an eating disorder, but often these body comments are made by family and friends. I believe it’s best to just tell the person why the comment is unproductive, so they know not to say it again. To individuals without eating disorders, all of these comments sound like compliments! After all, logically, you are trying to gain weight, so corroborating comments should be compliments! When I was told my legs looked fatter, I frankly told the person that this statement was not okay. My family is extremely supportive, and always asks me what they should say instead. Some of my favorite “appearance” adjectives:
- Write down what you like about yourself: So often one becomes caught up in the negatives, or what they dislike about oneself. Reminding oneself of one’s attributes belittles any negative thought that may enter. For instance, I like that I’m educated, empathetic, decent at art, flexible (yoga flexible, currently working on being “life” flexible 😉 ), and that I have long eyelashes.
Ultimately, your body is your friend that will support all the fun that life offers, so do your best to take these comments as compliments. I hope that these tools are as helpful for you as they are to me.