Yesterday was kind of a big day.
7/11. (And y’all know I couldn’t care less about cheap Slurpee day)
Another year marker.
I don’t know what I thought the year would bring. I could have ended up a lot further along, I could have ended up a lot further behind. I think I expected to be a lot further along. But I’ll take what I’ve got.
Yesterday marked one year since I started eating again.
It’s a hard thing to mark for some people. Sometimes it’s a gradual change. For me, I had eaten the exact same things at the exact same times of day for a very long time. I only made changes about every 6 weeks when WGT would wear me down. They were small, inconsequential changes that nowadays I would think nothing about adding or removing from my diet, but back then they were huge. Unfortunately, they still left me in a very dangerous place, and left me losing weight every week.
I was on a waiting list to be assessed to be put on another waiting list to be admitted to an inpatient hospital program. (That’s how it works in Canada when you aren’t insanely wealthy. You wait. Sometimes you die waiting. But apparently our lives are only worth what we can pay for out of pocket. Some of us are worth a lot less than others.) I knew if I didn’t turn it around soon I’d either end up dead or in a hospital eating crap food, just getting fat. I’d done it that way before, and look where it got me.
What if I did it differently this time? What if I did it eating the foods I wanted to eat? Still seeing WGT, with whom I’d already gotten farther than any other therapist? Being able to walk around, see the friends who were still willing to put up with my shit, stay in the apartment I’d be paying rent on anyhow, not have to deal with nurses, and weigh ins, and middle of the night bed checks, and weekly bloodwork . . . What if.
So I jumped in. With the knowledge I could run away again at any time, start restricting, start exercising, start life with an eating disorder all over again, I made the leap. I sat down with WGT (who I’m sure was either shocked or in a state of “I’ll believe it when I see it”) and created a new meal plan. The new meal plan more than doubled the number of calories I’d be taking in in a day. It included foods I’d never eaten before. (Strangely enough, I learned to make quinoa from the man who is now my boss while buying it in the health food store that is now where I work). It was a marked difference, so I marked the day.
It was simultaneously relieving and terrifying. It was both bearable and complete hell. It was so much food, and yet I was SO hungry. My body wanted it, but my stomach was ripping at the seams. (That meal plan was not much more than half of what I eat now, in maintenance)
It was a Monday. That Friday I got a call from the hospital saying they could take me for an assessment the next Tuesday. Long story short, I walked in and did the assessment. They told me I was too sick, that I’d never recover on my own, and they’d put me on the waiting list for inpatient, as my weight was too low for day patient. By the time they called me with a place, my weight was at day patient level, and I politely declined.
I ran away many times. My weight went up and down. When I wasn’t restricting, my weight maintained a steady climb, and I gained the exact same number of pounds every week. I was convinced it would never stop. It did. I’ve been maintaining in pretty much the same 3 lb range since January.
I’m doing it, and I’m doing it my way. Sure, if I had done it in the hospital, I’d have conquered many more of my fear foods by now. They’re not easy to tackle alone. Yesterday, however, to celebrate my one year, a friend and I went out and got veggie burgers. It’s more of a “stigma” fear than an ingredient fear, but a fear nonetheless. You know what? It wasn’t so good. It was made of chick peas, and it was like eating a bun sandwiched between . . . a bun. But that doesn’t mean I’ll never eat a veggie burger again. I’m kind of excited to figure out what kind of veggie burger I like, and maybe make my own.
I may not be over all my food issues, but I have such a different relationship with food. I actually touch it now. I cook it. I talk about it. I’m surrounded by it all day every day. I write a blog about it at work (one of my posts was recently cited in by an online magazine as a reference). I’m going back to school to study it. Food is a part of my life.
So, yesterday may be the marker for a year, it feels like the marker for a new life. I still have a long way to go, but I’ve got a different way of getting there. And I hold onto the hope that it’s better on the other side.