Monday, July 30, 2012

Goals of the Week 3

I made it a few days into vacation before breaking my goal. It was impressive, since my boyfriend's house is littered in double stuff oreos and hostess donuts and sodas and all sorts of crap. 
My new binge/purge goal is to not binge/purge in any consecutive meals for the remainder of the week.
My non binge-purge goal is to have a good attitude throughout the rest of vacation. I can probably do that for one day, but I've been sour the past couple.  

As for challenging m beliefs, that didn't happen much this week. Except that my boyfriend still loves me, even though I've gained some weight. 
I feel fat. I look fat. I feel like I have no control over what I'm eating. I'm forced to participate in meals at restaurants lunch and dinner every single day through tomorrow. When I'm home I have to eat what my parents make for dinner. I wish I could be free of triggers in my environment. That's the reason things got better when I went to college last time. Because FINALLY, I could control what I was tempted by, and when I was tempted, there was always the knowledge that next time that temptation would be gone and I would have time to recoup before the next one.
Peanut butter, desserts, starches, fatty cheese, chocolate, butter...
These are the gods of my parents. I feel surrounded by them. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I just finished reading Aimee Liu’s book Gaining. It was a very interesting book, full of great personal anecdotes from the author as well as many many people who have recovered from eating disorders. The book really treats eating disorders as serious diseases, and gives the problem the respect it deserves. It also addresses multiple perspectives on eating disorders, from the causes to the recoveries to the behaviors. It was a great read, simply because I could see myself in every page. What the book didn’t do was give me motivation to recover. Lots of the recovered anorexics, including the author, from the looks of her picture, are still very thin, and many sound like they’re rather attractive. Recovery from anorexia seems so much safer than recovery from bulimia, because it you’re anorexic then you have leeway to gain some weight. If you’re bulimic, you’re already a normal weight, so…
My current plan is to ride out the rest of the summer, maybe try hard to lose weight before I head back to school, but once school starts, I want to eat as little as possible.  
Who am I kidding? I’ve only failed at losing weight so far. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Binge Power

My therapist says that I give a binge too much power. Her advice for not gaining weight is to do exactly what I’ve been doing, except without the binge and purge. Pick a goal weight, allow yourself a little wiggle room to use if you binge, and compensate for it by eating less the next day or exercising more.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MS. OBVIOUS. That’s what I was doing at the beginning of the school year, when I had no energy and was always hungry. There are a couple problems with what she advises.
1.     My goal weight, although it is a healthy weight for my height, does not come naturally to my body. She didn’t have anything to say about the goal of 115 pounds, and I’m not entirely sure why. This failure to address it says to me that that’s a reasonable goal, which gives me permission to try to achieve that goal by any means. I have proven to myself that achieving 115 pounds takes restriction for weeks on end, and then I have to keep restricting to maintain that.
a.     The obvious solution to that is to choose a healthier goal weight, but hell no. I don’t feel comfortable in this weight, and I never will. I look relatively normal, but that isn’t good enough. I need to look and feel my best, otherwise my life is a living hell.
2.     There is no wiggle room. Wiggle room is an excuse to fail. If I allow myself to use that wiggle room, by gaining a few pounds after a binge, then I feel like there’s no way out. I give up, because any shift upwards in weight is a colossal failure. It means I have to start all over again to achieve my goals, and thinking that is so demoralizing, especially after a string of successful restriction days. I do not accept wiggle room. In addition, the wiggle room becomes my existence. Do you know how long it takes to recover from a binge if you eat normally afterwards? At least a week. And even if I scale down my binges to their lowest ever, once every two weeks, I spend half my life in freaking wiggle room! Fuck that.
I need to stop binging. Forever. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Goals of the Week 2

Well. As for my goals last week, I did not keep to either of them. The Binge purge goal didn’t hold for more than two days, which was a disappointment, but I can put that behind me now. My new goal is to not binge or purge while on vacation. It will probably be fine while I’m with my boyfriend, since I don’t feel like he’s judging what I eat all the time. I can eat so much less when I’m around him, which means I don’t feel the compulsions to binge or purge. Also, since none of the food in this house is mine, I’m less inclined to take it. That didn’t stop me from taking my roommate’s food earlier in the year, but it was a while after I started fantasizing about the candy bags under her bed before I actually acted on those wants and took some. I think I can hold out the rest of the week.
The harder part of this goal comes when I leave my boyfriend and continue the rest of the trip with my family. My boyfriend's family doesn’t care about food. They have no unspoken passion for it; it’s just a necessity. With my family I feel like there’s a food aura around them, which makes me anxious. My parents are both overweight and they absolutely love good food, which means that we’ll be eating out all the time, and I’ll have to watch them scarf down delicious-looking cheesy pastas and delectable pizzas while I either pick at the slim but healthier portions on my plate or chow down in a brittle salad. Eating out is a trigger for throwing up, and I don’t want that to happen.

My non-b/p goal for last week was to record negative thoughts. I did that for most of the week, but stopped during the latter part. It didn't really make me feel much better, but I did notice the sheer quantity of negative thoughts about myself. It's a lot. And that made me feel even more guilty because that's time I spend thinking about myself when I should be focusing on the needs of others. Anyway, my non binge-purge goal for this week is to have a good attitude about vacation. The part with my boyfriend is easy. The part with my family is hard. I figure if I don’t give up on myself before anything happens something is less likely to happen.

Things that challenged my beliefs:
1.     BF still loves me, even after my recent weight gains. Clearly, gaining weight is not the worst thing that can happen to me.
2.     When asked to make a list of some of my traits, I listed a lot of positive things, and most of them had nothing to do with weight or bulimia. This challenges the Bulimia is my Identity con. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Goal of the Week

I have decided that each week I am going to create two goals and try to find evidence challenging my cons. Then every Monday I will post the results and new goals.
BP Goal: No BP through getting on the plane to my boyfriend's house.
Other Goal: Journal any negative thoughts about myself.
Evidence to challenge cons:
1.     My girl friend contacted me out of the blue and asked me to hang out. I was overjoyed. The only thing with that is that she implied that she did it because she was “bored” and not because she wanted to hang out with me. But she still contacted me! This challenges the I Won’t be Interesting con, since it shows that people do want to get in touch with me even when they don’t know about my illness.
2.     One of my guy friends from college contacted me every single day, which is normal, but I can’t dismiss it now. I’m grateful. This challenges the I Won’t be Interesting con.
3.     My bgf is coming to the movie! This challenges the I Won’t be Interesting con.
4.     My family and I had wonderful times playing games and spending time together. Why shouldn’t they count as people who seek me out and care about me? This challenges the I Won’t be Interesting con.
5.     I ate a normal sized sandwich for lunch outside of my meal plan and did not binge. This challenges my belief that if I don’t restrict, I will lose control and gain a lot of weight. Clearly, I didn’t lose control this time.
6.     I’m sure I gained several pounds, and my clothes still fit. My pink, strapless, dance dress still fits, although it is a bit tight. I’m not sure whether or not this is a challenge, because I want the clothes to be falling off of me, not fitting, but whatever. This challenges the Gaining Weight is the Worst Thing belief.
7.     If I did gain several pounds, NO ONE NOTICED. This challenges the Gaining Weight is the Worst Thing belief.
What are your goals for the week? What kinds of things did you do that challenged your beliefs? 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

ED Phantoms

Ever since I started treatment, I've been seeing people with eating disorders everywhere. When I run in the park and see someone else sweating their ass off, I think "hmm, I wonder if she has an eating disorder?" When I walk around the mall looking for clothes, I see people pass and the thought occurs to me "She could have an eating disorder." Obviously, I know most of them don't have EDs, but ever since I met some other girls with problems like this, it seems like everyone could be in the same boat!
Does that happen to anyone else? 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Eating Disorders as Causes of Depression?

I know there are very high rates of depression and eating disorders (especially bulimia) and after going through the diagnostic criteria for depression a thought crossed my mind. Eating disorders can cause a lot of the symptoms of depression. Does that mean that in some people with eating disorders, depression isn’t its own separate problem but something that will go away once the disorder is alleviated?
To have a diagnosis of depression, a person needs to possess five of the following:
1.     depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
a.     I don’t think this can really be caused solely by an eating disorder, although if someone binges and purges a lot I’m sure they would be entitled to feel bad about it.
2.     Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities most of the day nearly every day
a.     Well, if all you can concentrate on is not eating or your own illness, then your interest in other activities could certainly be diminished. In addition, the eating disorder kind of saps pleasure out of things. Dancing, an activity I used to enjoy, became something of a chore that I convinced myself I enjoyed because it burned calories. I was too tired to take pleasure in it.
3.     Significant weight loss or weight gain
a.     This can obviously be caused by any eating disorder
4.     Insomnia or hypersomnia
a.     If someone is starving themselves to the point of malnutrition, I think it’s harder to get to sleep. Conversely, the person might feel so tired all the time that she’s sleeping extra hours. That definitely happens to me, although I try to stay awake if it’s a weekday.
5.     Psychomotor agitation or retardation
a.     When I starve myself, my mental clarity goes way down, and it’s obvious, because after a binge, I feel sharp and alert. Or even after eating normally. Retardation is a natural effect of decreased mental clarity, so I think this could definitely be caused by an eating disorder.
6.     Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
a.     Purging takes all the energy out of you. Starving takes all the energy out of you. Exercising until you drop takes all the energy out of you.
7.     Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
a.     I think almost everyone with an eating disorder feels this way.
8.     Diminished ability to think or concentrate or indecisiveness.
a.     Again, starving and the fog of binge/purge cycles decreases mental clarity, which causes decreases in concentration ability.
9.     Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation
a.     I don’t think that eating disorders alone can cause this, although there are certainly people who have suicidal thoughts along with eating disorders or because of them, or before them.
The total is 7 symptoms that could very easily be caused be eating disorders.
What does this mean?
I have no idea. It doesn’t mean that people with eating disorder and depression aren’t facing extra challenges, it doesn’t make anyone’s diagnosis less serious, and I could very well be wrong.
Food for thought though.