I think I’m going to try taking morning walks over the next 40 days. Getting up more than 15 minutes before my first class would do me some good. Plus, exercising that early helps kickstart my semi-manic, super productive side, which I kind of really need right now.
"To remain as I am is impossible; I must die or be better, it appears to me."
"Our culture teaches us about shame—it dictates what is acceptable and what is not. We weren’t born craving perfect bodies. We weren’t born afraid to tell our stories. We weren’t born with a fear of getting too old to feel valuable. We weren’t born with a Pottery Barn catalog in one hand and heartbreaking debt in the other. Shame comes from outside of us—from the messages and expectations of our culture. What comes from the inside of us is a very human need to belong, to relate."
Day 2 doodle too
Over the past few days I’ve been trying to really pay attention to my own habits, and I’ve realized that most of the bingeing happens at night. I can keep it together for the majority of the day, but I’m in several extracurricular activities that meet pretty much every evening, and the snacking becomes, if anything, a social event. I’m not just saying “no” to myself, I’m saying “no” to my friends, and that becomes even more difficult. I’m anxious that someone will ask why I’m not eating, and then try to playfully force me to eat something, and then once I start eating, I get worried that people will think I’m eating too much, and the anxiety just makes me hunker down and shovel food into my mouth as a coping mechanism. After rehearsal, I just go home with a sort of “fuck it” attitude, because I feel like I’ve wasted yet another day.
I think I need to realize that regardless of whether I partake in the food, I am still 100% present and able to fully participate. Eating chips won’t make me any less of a member. Furthermore, I can say no. I’m not some sort of of mindless infant with the inability to stand up for myself. I’m going to try that today, because last night it was, yet again, the same story.
"Mountains inspire awe in any human person who has a soul. They remind us of our frailty, our unimportance, of the briefness of our span upon this earth. They touch the heavens, and sail serenely at an altitude beyond even the imaginings of a mere mortal."
Day 1: starting early
I’ve been trying to figure out when this habit of mine first started - eating ravenously until I feel like I’ll burst, making every late night spent rummaging in the pantry “the last night” - but I’ve been consistently unhappy and conscious of my weight for so many years it’s hard to pinpoint.
I’ve been on and off various versions of the Atkins Diet (low-carb, high protein) since sophomore year of high school. While that kind of eating works best for my body, it’s been difficult to maintain such a rigid diet while away at college. Plus I like drinking, plus I don’t like having to constantly say “no.” And then, as those of you who have been on something like Atkins know, going off the diet means an almost instantaneous weight gain. And that leads to a horrible, unshakeable combination of anxiety and self-loathing.
It’s ridiculous, to be so controlled by an innocuous number on a scale, but as of yet I haven’t been able to shake it. Because the Atkins Diet is so rigid, I think it instilled in me a deep appreciation for “cheat” days: the 24 hours when you can partake in as much sugar and fat and carbs as you want. And then the next day, you get right back on the wagon. But the thing is, I want to stop thinking about food in such a negative, addict mindset. I don’t want to live cheat day to cheat day and be miserable in between.
Okay. okay. okay.
Lent begins on Wednesday, and it will be the beginning of my forty day binge-free period. I’ll also be giving up sweets, because I’ve noticed a tendency of mine is to really go at it when there’s high levels of sugar involved. Plus, I don’t like being told what to do (ever) and I feel like my sugar addiction is kind of doing that. No food will dictate my actions or how I feel about myself. That’s it.
This “challenge” is not just purely for cosmetic reasons, though my weight and my appearance do play into this to a certain extent. Last summer, I was diagnosed, then un-diagnosed, then sort of re-diagnosed with PCOS. In doing research on treatments, people seem to have found the greatest success with reducing their symptoms and cysts through a combination of “clean” / low-glycemic-index meal plans and regular exercise. I want more than anything for any sort of PCOS-related health problems to be eliminated from my life. The thought that someday I may not be able to have children, or at a young age develop diabetes or heart disease, is so terrifying that most days I just can’t really face it. The anxiety that I attach to this is numbing. I binge eat and drink to forget it.
I’m hoping that blogging about this will help keep me accountable for my actions. I hope, too, that pursuing this recovery in conjunction with the Lenten season will give me enough mental strength to overcome it.
"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."