Monday, 28 October 2013

Healthy Weight Loss After an Eating Disorder.

****TRIGGER WARNING**** Weight, BMI and ED behaviours mentioned.

As some of you may know, I have been purge free for the last year now (can I get a whoop whoop!) which is a HUGE personal achievement after years of bulimia ruling my every waking hour. The only thing is, I unfortunately am still not 100% ED behaviour free. I am still over eating and sometime binging, although nowhere near as frequently as before now I don't have a 'release', a way to 'get rid' of that post binge, horrible full feeling. None-the-less all that chomping on cream cakes and late night pizza parties have taken a toll on my body, my health and on my emotional well-being.

I knew my clothes size had gone up but I had gotten used to it going up after re-feeding. So I was NOT prepared to be told my BMI was in the overweight section during a recent Dr visit. I was shocked. She recommended cutting back on the sweet stuff and taking up exercise. 

In the last two years I have gone from being under weight for my height; bringing with it all the negative health risks that go along with that, to being over weight for my height, which has brought about some unexpected twists to my long list of maladies. My blood pressure is now high for the first time ever, I have nasty stretch marks on my legs and boobs. My iron levels are all over the place and cant make it up a flight of stairs without feeling like my heart is going to explode. 

Now I must say that I am not obese or anywhere near that category on the BMI scale (not a reliable scale I know, but I use it from time to time) I am just tipping into the overweight category. I'm super tall (5''11) so I tend to carry weight easily without knowing it, especially if I am not weighing myself, which I haven't as it used to be a major trigger in the past.

My Dr and I came up with a plan. Go to weekly weight watcher meetings, do one fitness class a week and get back running twice a week also. And also check in with her monthly to discuss any returning ED thoughts or behaviours. She also singed me up to an 8 week mindfulness programme to re-assert myself with awareness skills which will allow me to notice any negative thoughts creeping back in. A solid plan I think. My team believe in letting me make my own choices, including how I life my life. I love how they don't coddle me or insult my intelligence. I told them that I felt I could trust myself not to take the weight loss to the extreme and they agreed with me.

So I joined my local weight watchers last Thursday and found it really motivating. I've been cooking healthy home-made meals everyday from scratch, taking into account all the food groups and incorporating knowledge I learned from nutrition sessions over the years. Nothing is off limits, just eating in moderation. My goal weight gets me down into low end of the healthy weight BMI section. 

I'm back to tracking my daily food intake and now add values to everything I eat in the form of weight watcher pro points. The Weight Watchers program is based on a points system. Food items are assigned a point value, and based on your current weight you are given a daily allowance of points to consume. Weight Watchers also encourages a continuing education in nutrition through weekly meetings, which also offer support and accountability. The Weight Watchers program encourages slow and steady weight loss, but like any diet plan it has its dangers....

The main concept in the Weight Watchers diet is portion control and limiting the daily intake of calories. Each food item is given a point value based on the number of calories, fat and fiber it contains. Many vegetables have no points while a piece of pizza will have five or more, depending on the size and toppings. The problem with this system is that it recognizes points instead of the quality of those points. Two points is two points whether is a cookie or a small serving of low-fat cottage cheese with pineapple. The latter is the healthier choice, but the system sees them as equal. It is up to the individual to make healthy choices.

I have some peeves with adding these values to foods but I think I will do a different Blog entry on that though ... I can ramble a bit if you don't know!

Okay, so in the interest of accountability I am going to do a weekly weigh in on here to chart my weight loss. I do like a chart, I'm a numbers geek and proud of it. So here is week one.

Preview of your graph

I would really love to hear your thoughts on whether weight loss can be achieved in a healthy way when there is a history ED and disordered eating.

Stay mindful xxx

Monday, 7 October 2013

Lying as a way of avoiding distress.

Masking the truth

This is a topic I find quite painful to discuss. It brings up a lot of shame, leaving me feeling as if I tumbled naked out of a warm bed into a cold room and there was no time to cover up before a crowd arrives to view my embarrassment. Yet, I feel it's important to talk about this. After doing a good deal of reading on shame recently, I see how confronting it head on seems to be the only way to dissipate it fully. 

I must have been about four years old, when my nursery school teacher turned to my mother with a furrowed brow, a concerned tone and said something along the lines of ... "Some children lie, maybe to get out of trouble or to play 'make believe'.... that's harmless and can be corrected as the child grows older, learning it's not nice to be dishonest. But your little one's fibs are troubling. She truly believes her made up fantasies are real. I don't think she sees the difference between reality and fantasy."

When I was in second class in primary school (8 years old) I told my teacher and friends at the time that my Mum was expecting another baby with my Dad. My parents had been separated since I was four, it was a messy break-up, with lots of anger, manipulation and public arguments.  So you can imagine my Mother''s surprise when she came to pick me up and the other Mum's were congratulating her on her pregnancy and recent rekindling of her marriage. Looking back now, I think I did it to try and solve the problem. If I told enough people I had a happy family, then maybe it would come true. I remember fully believing what I was saying was real. This particular lie had a horrible outcome, it was of course found out and I was humiliated by having to publicly apologise and recant the lie to all my classmates. It not only filled my heart with shame, but compounded the reality of my distress of living within a fragmented family.

Another example is a bit more recent. I don't tend to tell people I had to leave my university course because of illness, I mince the truth, I brush it off, say I did finish and quickly change the topic. There are sooo many other examples, but I don't feel able to disclose them just yet. but I can allow you a glimpse at some conclusions I have come to about my lies.

I lied to avoid the distress and the chaos in my life. However, the truth can and does emerge at times which leads to more chaos in an attempt to avoid the past and the destruction that always follows. I can understand why so many family members and friends started to distance themselves from the me. This then started the cycle of avoidance and low esteem. The feeling of abandonment and the lies. No one likes to admit to making mistakes or "wrong calls".

It was about control with me. When my life was so out of control, I could have a little through lying. Sometimes it was to avoid conflict. I couldn't stand anyone being mad at me. I often find myself lying simply because I can't stand one more moment of my real life. Sometimes the lies are of how I wished things were or happened instead of what the real situation is.

When I am really distressed I can't tell the difference between lying and telling the truth because I say what I think people want to hear. I don't tell whoppers as I am too terrified of being rejected if I am found out - but I fudge, exaggerate, deny things and change my facts all the time. I only just discovered this as I have been lying to myself for so long too about this! It's really hard to realize and admit that lying comes so naturally to me that I don't even notice I'm doing it. I would characterise it against the DSM criterion 'frantic attempts to avoid real or imagined abandonment' - I would say my pathological lying is part of my ongoing attempt through frantic 'relationship management' to make others happy and therefore unlikely to reject me.

People with BPD often experience deep and entrenched shame; lying may be one way to conceal mistakes or weaknesses that increase shameful feelings. People with BPD are often also very sensitive to rejection, so one function of lying could be to “cover up” mistakes, so that others will not reject them.

I think I lie lie as a means of protecting myself from rejection or a survival technique, and it did seem that a good deal of my lying was some kind of defence mechanism to avoid any intense feelings of failure and self-loathing.

Given that a BPD hallmark is interpersonal relationships that alternate between idealization and devaluation, the person with BPD may distort facts aimed at the person with whom they desire a personal relationship. … In the moment, their desired objective, whatever that may be, takes such precedence over speaking the truth or behaving honestly that the potential consequences of their conduct are reduced to shadowy details.”

Sometimes we may judge ourselves harshly and expect others to do the same. Lying serves to deflect shame when something might make us look bad, thereby maintaining whatever self-esteem we have on a temporary basis. … We believe that anything ‘bad’ would make others reject them. … Lies may mask real feelings and put up an impressive fa├žade. Lies may help make sense of why things happen to us in our mixed-up identity.

In other words, some of us with BPD lie to avoid abandonment or to avoid self-hatred.

What are your experiences with lying and the presumption of lying?