Monday, January 28, 2013

Goals of the Week 28

Last week my b/p goal was to follow my meal plan to the letter, with the intention of losing some of my binge weight from the holidays. I can say that I lost about a pound again, which means I'm doing well, but I didn't complete my goal. And what did I expect? My meal plan calls for 1200 calories a day, and with my exercise and class schedule, I burn at least 1600. So of course I got hungry at night and had some snacks. Overall though, I did well. I binged 3 days and purged 2 of them, but for the last 4 days I've been b/p free. So my goal for this week is to keep the momentum going, to follow my meal plan for at least 4 more days. That will mean I will have gone more than a week without any behaviors. 
My non b/p goal was to have positive interactions with three different people per day, and also to complete my exercise goals. I can say that I did the exercise goal with flying colors, even on the days I binged. And I did make an effort to complete the positive interaction goal, but I didn't. 
How do I have so few friends? To complete my goal, a positive interaction can take as little as a minute, for example if I talk to someone while climbing the stairs to my dorm. So why can't I get three? 
One reason could be that I don't count my boyfriend and my best friend, because I'm guaranteed to talk to them every day. I need more interaction than them, which is why I don't count them, even though time spent with them is great. 
I've been keeping a behavior calendar though, and each day I write down the names of people I have positive interactions with. On days when I don't meet the positive interaction goal, I'm more likely to binge and purge. 
So my goal for this week is to really put myself out there and talk to people I don't know so well to get in those positive interactions. 
Also to not weigh myself. 

What are your goals?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Inability to Purge

Sometimes after a few days of lots of purges I find myself unable to get food out of my stomach. Why is this?
I always told myself it was a message from God telling me that it wasn’t in his plans for me to be bulimic. He didn’t want me to purge. He was planning for me to get better.
I have no idea about any biological basis for this, since it seems like most bulimics don’t experience this. And this past summer, when this happened, I forced myself to purge anyway and got through it. It wasn’t pleasant, let me tell you. My theory is that the body doesn’t want to purge anything so it shuts down the gag reflex somehow. Or it makes it less sensitive.
Either way, I’m fully in favor of letting the body tell you when you can’t purge. It’s such a relief to realize that yes, I have had enough of this vomiting business for now. My body can’t handle any more, and I won’t push it.
Anybody ever experienced this? What do you think? 

Thursday, January 24, 2013


This post wins the award for being most put-off. We learned this ages ago but for some reason I didn't feel like writing about it.
It's a very useful skill.
Basically you visualize your behaviors as one big chain. Each one leads to the other. For example, I got up today with only 4 hours of sleep. I ate more because I was on autopilot, and then I felt overly full and purged (this didn't actually happen today, but it has in the past). Waking up with 4 hours of sleep is a link to "ate more" which links to "feeling overly full" which causes the purge. 
The goal is to break the chain. It can be broken at any link, even after a purge. 
The way you break the chain is by using skills. So in my b/p chain for breakfast, I could have used mindful eating to stop munching. I could have used thought restructuring when I felt overly full, and distraction instead of purging.
I like this skill a lot because it allows me to visualize my behaviors as a string I can cut off at any point. It's also good for figuring out what leads to what.
The only thing I'm not in love with is that it isn't really a new skill. You have to use old ones to help you out, even though you think of things in a different way.
The study is over after today, so this will be my last post regarding skills I've learned there.
But even though there are no more new skills, I still have a wealth of old ones fathering dust in my closet.

Thought restructuring
being assertive
problem solving
surfing the urge
mindfulness/being in the moment
meal planning
giving self a break
alternate behaviors
rearranging cues
changing responses to cues
slip plan

I'm planning to write them in big letters and post them on my closet so I won't forget them. 
The skills do help. If you try to use them. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Death of an Engineer

My grandfather died yesterday. I almost cried but I stopped. I cried three times over his coming death already. I didn’t need to cry anymore.
Most of when I knew him he was witty, funny, and very involved in writing and his faith. Actually, all faiths. He used to go to bible studies and synogagues and mosques to learn about all kinds of different religions. And he could discuss any of them at length.
He always had interesting things to say. I remember one time when I was little he gathered all us kids around, handed out a bag of cookies, and rolled out a coffee-stained map of Treasure Island. He’d spent over an hour burning the edges and staining it to make it look just real enough that we would believe it was real. He told us the story of Treasure Island over the next few days, and I was completely in awe of this man who seemed to have been a pirate in his past.
One time I was sitting at the kitchen table, crossing my legs under me, and he accidentally spilled a pot of boiling soup all over me. He couldn’t help it- Parkinsons was making his hands quiver and shake. I went to the hospital and got to ride in a wheelchair to the emergency room, where they put salve all over my wound.
There was another time where I wrote a series of mini-plays outlining his life. They kind of made fun of him, but I intended for them to be teasing in a loving way. In the play I wrote about how he went back to his house during a flood and saved Lulu the Cat, how he hired black people despite others telling him it wasn’t allowed, and how he met Grandma by pouring water down her dress to put out a cigarette.
Grandpa also wrote plays. He wrote a play about God and Satan that was performed by his church. He also wrote a memoir and a commentary on genesis. The first time I saw his memoir I thought it was boring and kind of self-important. I mean, come on, who wants to read a memoir about some old guy? But now that he’s gone, I want to read it again, just to remember who he was.

Now he’s gone. He’s been gone for quite some time. I think it was a year or two years ago when Parkinson’s really took him away. He got it from a combination of genetics and being exposed to chemicals as a chemical engineer. On the one hand, this is good because it means I probably won’t get it. On the other, well, Parkinson’s is a nasty disease.
At first you don’t notice anything different. Then, you notice that their hands are shaking. Slowly, they begin to get stiffer and stiffer and their memory gets worse and worse. They can’t think properly. Hallucinations being to plague them in the middle of the night. They being to lose control of their emotions, becoming irritated at the slightest thing. Slowly, their descent into dementia becomes complete, until they are completely bedridden and can’t talk to people for more than a few minutes at a time.
I was lucky. My grandfather got drugs which slowed the illness’s progress, and since he understood the disease well he was able to hide a lot of the symptoms from us grandkids. I got a sheltered version of his disease until the very end, when he was scared of being blown apart by soldiers or that people were coming to take away his children.

I love him. And I miss the man he used to be. But there’s no sense in crying.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Goals of the Week 27

I've been doing these weekly goals now for over 6 months! Who would have ever thought. 
Last week my b/p goal was to follow my meal plan, which I did pretty well. I made it an ENTIRE WEEK without purging and any big binges. There were a few of 500 calories or less, but come on, that doesn't even really count as a binge. I lost 1 pound, but I managed to stay off the scale for most of the week and I plan to continue that trend. This week my goal is to follow my meal plan to the letter. No extra snacks or anything. It's time to buckle down and lose the weight. After I eat a spoonful of ice cream, of course.
My non b/p goal was to have positive interactions with at least 3 people a day. I mostly did that, except for yesterday, which I spent mostly hiding in my suite. I didn't mind that though. My new non b/p goal is to continue with the 3 people a day thing and to complete my exercise goal- (200-300) calories a day. The exercise helps me stay in shape but I won't let myself go over 300 calories because that would be overexercising for me. Besides, burning 200-300 SHOULD be enough, if I don't binge on anything. (Which I won't!)

What are your goals?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Biggest Loser 2013

The people on this show are exactly what I hope NEVER to become. Obese, on the verge of death, and ashamed of it. Fat people can’t hide the fact that they’re fat. Everyone notices them and everyone judges them. Everyone knows your inner shame, everyone knows your weakness if you’re that fat.
The people on the show work out at least two hours a day and they work like crazy. Everything they say reinforces the idea of determination- they can’t give up! They have to lose the weight.
Most of them seem like binge eaters. There’s one kid this season who does exactly what I do- he hides food in his room, usually chocolate, and then eats it in the middle of the night. Except he doesn’t throw it up afterwards.
I wonder how effective the Biggest Loser is for binge eating versus other ED programs? It seems like they would be restricted from eating a lot of binge foods, so maybe they become cured. Maybe someone who’s overweight and has binge eating disorder only needs to buckle down and lose the weight and then they’ll stop binging.
 Somehow, neither of those options seem very likely to happen. And yet the Biggest Loser has a lot of success stories. That’s what I’m going to take away from the show this year. That these are people with disordered eating habits who are recovering. I’m going to be inspired. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Slip Plan

So I finally got around to creating a slip plan. Basically I just listed every situation I thought I could find myself in and made bullet points of ways to handle it. 
Here it is:

1. Hunger
- throught restructuring
- chaining
- drink something

2. If I buy binge food
- I can share this!
- It's only $X
- I will eat X amount and then put it away (although this one isn't that great because it's what leads me to binge usually)
- Throw it away
- throught restructuring
- chaining

3. If I Binge
- It's ok, there's always tomorrow
- I do not have to purge
- I'm getting nutrients from the binge! Fat is a nutrient. (heh)
- Play the piano
- read
- go on the computer and read blogs or play stupid facebook games
- ask to hang out with friends
- thought restructuring

4. If I purge
- this does not have to mean a relapse
- I don't have to keep binging
- chaining

5. Social stress
- blog about it
- journal about it
- do a worksheet on the cbt site
- play an instrument

6. If there are tons of choices at dinner
- look at everything and pick 
- go straight for the salad and soup bar and don't look at anything else
- drink 1/2 glass of water before eating
- ask what will be served ahead of time
- throught restructuring at the table

7. I look fat
- so do tons of other people and they're still happy
- people still love you- name them
- think of body parts you like

8. Stress from homework
- blog or journal about it
- take a 30 minute break
- ask for help
- after the break then finish the homework

9. I already binged, so I might as well binge again
- this is a fallacy!
- chaining
- distract with instrument or computer
- thought restructuring
- blog 

Anything you would put on yours?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Goals of the Week 26

My binge goal last week was to not binge on dessert food. I did not complete that goal whatsoever. But now I'm back at college, and I have a meal plan in mind to help me lose weight and to stop binging. 
So my binge/purge goal is to follow my meal plan. 
My non b/p goal was to get 5 useful things done each day. I'm not sure if I achieved that, but I certainly got more done than I was used to. At least over break. Doing useful things made me feel a lot better about myself and helped me to stop binging so much. The moral? Keep yourself busy and you'll engage in behaviors less. 
This week I'm going to recycle an old goal: have positive interactions with 3 separate people each day. This is because I don't want to start off this semester sequestering myself off from everyone. I want to be social and feel good about myself for having friends. Today I'm not sure how that's going to go, since there are no club meetings or anything today. Tomorrow might be better though. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Relapse Prevention

I haven't posted anything about the CBT study in a while, so I think people could benefit hearing what we did this week.
What a great topic, since I'm in the middle of a relapse.. Relapse prevention!
We started by defining a relapse. Not that it matters, but a relapse is when you lose control of your behaviors. A slip is when you engage in behaviors but are still in control and are able to pull yourself out of them. 
In my experience, slips, lead to relapses, and if you can think about a slip a certain way, it could help prevent it from becoming a full-blown relapse. 
My therapist suggested three ways to respond to a slip.

1. Have a rational response ready
This means writing down ways to think yourself out of a relapse before you have the slip, so that by the time you do end up slipping you have a plan that you can go to instead of thinking on your feet. I'm definitely going to do this, so watch for a post about rational responses! 

2. Use fastest and optimal responses.
An optimal response is when you do the best thing you can do to prevent a total relapse. For example, if I have just binged, an optimal response would be to get people to play games with me to prevent me from purging. Obviously, optimal responses are not always feasible, so you should also have a fastest response available- something you can do that will help. 
Take the same situation. I've just binged at dinner and there's no one around to stop me from purging. My fastest response might be to play an instrument. It's not as good as being around people, but it will sufficiently distract me until I can be around people. 

3. Have a slip plan
This is kind of like the rational responses thing, except with this you write out EVERYTHING. 
Every high risk situation you might find yourself in, write it down. Then write what behaviors that situation might evoke. Write rational responses to failures you'll have. Write out optimal responses in each situation. Carry it around with you or put it on the mirror so you'll be reminded of it every single morning. 

I thought this was extremely useful, but I have yet to test it out. 
If you like this idea and write out any of these, please share! :)

Monday, January 7, 2013

goals of the Week 25

I'm just going to say this: I did not even think about my goals this week.
I guess I did think about the not weighing in one, but only before I stepped right up to the new digital scale in my parents' bathroom that is currently telling me I'm much too fat. 
This week, I am going to try. 
My binge/purge goal is going to be to not binge on dessert food. 
And my non-binge purge goal is to do 5 productive things each day. 
And to try to not weigh myself. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Being a Bad Patient

We've all been there. Feeling like we don't want to recover and then just letting bulimia or anorexia take over for a while until we can struggle back to our feet. 
That's kind of where I am right now, especially with being in a house full of food and people with feelings that I can't avoid. 
That would be fine if it were just me, but I'm in a study and I feel like I'm being a bad patient. I'm not monitoring my food choices, I'm making no effort to use any skills, and I'm certainly not doing any worksheets. 
I care about the treatment they're giving me, and I'm tremendously grateful for it. But what if it's all for nothing? What if I'm just too lazy to do it right? Or not sick enough yet? 
I don't think there's such a thing as a bad patient, but I do want the therapist to feel like she's being helpful. Is that enough reason to pick myself up? Not yet. But soon. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Case of the Missing Chocolates

Something was amiss. Lady Anonymous sniffed the air, her nose catching the scent of deception. She slowly stood, glancing around her as she followed the smell to make sure no one was following her. 
The cupboard door was suspiciously open! Lady Anonymous's heart raced as she pulled the door the rest of the way open. Nothing seemed to be amiss, but then Lady Anonymous looked towards the box of expensive chocolates she had received from her lover three months prior. She lifted the lid... opened the box...
the chocolates were missing!

My family really cares about dessert. And we get defensive and territorial about it. As you can probably imagine, this does not bode well for the local bulimic. I often take food that's not meant for me and then try to pretend I didn't do it. Everyone knows I took it, even though no one knows I'm bulimic, but as long as I say I didn't take it I don't get in trouble, I just feel guilty. 
I took the chocolates. People got mad. I pretended I only had a few when in fact I probably had like ten. I hate myself for doing things like this. There's no excuse for thievery, even though I don't really consider it stealing because the chocolates belong to the family. 
I want to leave. I want to curl up in a ball and hide.