I’m Ready to be Normal, Please

Hi Internet, long time no see. There’s a reason for that– that last few months (and years) have been tough, especially for the eating disorder/alcohol abuse stuff. The good news is that my anxiety and depression are at a low right now, and in general, I’m feeling pretty good! As long as you exclude the daily binges and constant reliance on alcohol from the equation.

I woke up yesterday morning after the seventh straight day of (serious) bingeing, hungover, and was absolutely miserable. The voices in my head (metaphorically speaking– if you are hearing real voices, seek medical attention, please) were berating me more than ever. I wanted to self-harm. I always pick at my fingernails and cuticles, but it was worse than normal– my fingers were bloody stumps by the end of the morning. Every day is the same. Wake, and resolve to change. To stop bingeing, starving, and drinking. To eat well, not obsess, and finally get thin. That’s the problem, though. As long as I sought to lose weight, not only would I never succeed, but I would keep on experiencing binge eating disorder, or what have you, for years and years to come. Evidenced by the last nine years of my life.

I’m resolving to recover– for real. Not to eat smoothies and lose weight for graduation. Unfortunately, that dream is down the pipe. I’m resolving to stop obsessing, planning, and counting calories, and to hopefully stop gorging myself every day, and then compensating with a starvation diet and despair.

I’d like to share my plan with you because I think it’s a solid one. Balanced, reasonable, and it might even free me from this psychological pain and physical nausea, day in and day out.

  1. Eat three meals a day, at more or less the same time.
    1. That means no snacking unless I’m really hungry.
    2. The same time for me means that I’ll have breakfast between 8-9am, lunch between 12-2 pm, and dinner between 5:30 and 7:30 pm, but that’s flexible, too.
  2. At each meal, eat until full. No more, no less. 
  3. Eat balanced meals that are physically and spiritually nourishing. 
    1. That means that “junk” foods are okay in moderation. It also means that fruits, veggies, and whole grains are important.
    2. This is different from a lot of recovery advice which says that if you want five slices of pizza for dinner, you should have that. In my view, that can perpetuate disordered eating. Instead, one or two slices with salad, fruit, and maybe some soup is a balanced meal. Or no pizza. Or no salad. You get the point.
  4. Move every day, not too much.
    1. For me, that means getting a walk in every day at a moderate pace.
    2. The reason I say not too much (and this might not work for folks) is that I struggled with exercise addiction in high school and I’m wary of triggering that impulse. No 3 hour walks for me.
  5. When eating, sit down. 
    1. Don’t rush. Taste it. Savor it.
    2. This isn’t always possible, of course. But, it should be the norm. 
  6. Don’t restrict anything. (Except meat).
    1. I’m a vegetarian, hence no meat. It makes me happy, but might not work for other people. You do you.
    2. For me, that means not restricting the things I like but that I think are less than healthy, like cheese, chocolates, and fried foods. Of course, everything in moderation– but if I want a bit of cheese here and there, I won’t stop myself. I’ll sit down and eat it (mindfully).
  7. No more drinking alcohol.
    1. This has been a goal for me for a long time now, and I obviously haven’t been successful yet. So here’s what I’m going to try to get this moving:
      1. Drink more diet soda instead. I know, I know, it’s bad– but I’ll take a slightly toxic Diet Coke over six glasses of wine and a hangover any day.
      2. Read blog posts by (women) people who abstain from alcohol, to get social support.
      3. When visiting a place where you know there will be alcohol, prepare in advance. Meditate, and resolve to abstain. Then bring a Diet Coke with you. That’s what I’ll do.
  8. For the most part, save desserts for special occasions.
    1. A bite of something sweet here and there is no problem. But there’s just no need to eat a slice of cake (or five) every day. It triggers addictive binge behavior.
    2. With that said, if you make cookies, just eat one. Indulgence is not only okay, but it is necessary– just don’t keep sweets a major part of your daily life.
    1. Would a normal person be panicking about eating two chips right now? No? Don’t panic.
    2. Would a normal person be watching hours and hours of YouTube videos of diets instead of getting a snack? No? Don’t do it.
    3. Would a normal person order what they want at a restaurant, eat until they’re satisfied, and take the rest home? Yes? Do it.
    4. You get the memo.

Well, wish me luck. So far today, I had a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast and a veggie burger with fries for lunch. It was AWESOME, and also pretty frightening. I haven’t been this full in a long time, excluding binges.

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