Tag Archives: Body Dysmorphia

Moving On Up

I’d like to start out by apologizing for my lack of posting. I know I promised a series on “How x Saved Me From My Eating Disorder”, but it somehow fell by the wayside. I spent my holiday trying to maximize my free time, and see friends who were only home for limited stays. Then, I ended up falling into a place of uncertainty about using my voice. I tend to be an “all-or-nothing” kind of girl, and when I found out that my voice had been used for harm instead of good, I chose to shut it down completely. I slowly came to my senses, and found a balance.

Since then, I’ve been working on creating a blog/website for my new holistic nutrition business. (If you’d like the link, please contact me. I don’t necessarily want to link all the personal stuff I’ve posted here to a business I’m trying to keep somewhat professional). That, plus school, plus managing a store full time, plus board-of-directoring, plus therapy, plus trying to maintain some semblance of a yoga practice and social life has left me somewhat burned out.

Today, however, I made a big decision, and I thought it should be shared:

I’m selling my Wii.

If you haven’t been reading, or don’t remember, my Wii is the only scale in my house. I figured it was safer than a “real” scale, since it takes so long to boot up (is that the phrase you tech-savvy kids are using today?) and I couldn’t bother booting up more than once a day (usually). Turns out, there is NO SUCH THING as a safe scale. I was still obsessed, and now I had an on-screen chart showing me a graph of my weight loss, and then weight gain. OH! And did I mention that a little voice tells you, after the number flashes on the screen, “That’s Underweight!” The day when it announced “That’s Normal!” nearly did me in. Standing naked on a Wii balance board, sobbing, while being stared at by a computer animated version of yourself is an experience that I don’t recommend.

So this sale marks the end of another piece of my imprisonment. Just maybe, by unchaining my leg from the scale, my heart will feel a little lighter, and my mind a little freer. Oh! And my wallet a little fatter. And you know what? I think I’m okay with not knowing. I’ll never know til I try.

1 Comment

Filed under Blatherings, Fighting Fear, Inspiration

Dammit (Janet) – Exercise Addiction

I’m sick. It’s just a cold, but it’s my first one in a year, and it’s taking it out of me.

The bigger problem: I’m supposed to be going to yoga class right now.

Now, as WGT well knows, while I admit to having overexercised in the past as a part of my eating disorder, I will SWEAR UP AND DOWN that I do not now, nor have I ever had an exercise addiction. As far as I am concerned, the mechanism of my eating disorder was based on a series of obsessive calories in/calories out (and then some) calculations, and exercise was obviously a big part of those calculations. But when I decided to recover, I considered my exercise obsession a thing of the past.

Today, however, I’m beginning to have doubts.

Dammit.

I had a midterm and a presentation today at school, and was fully planning on leaving at lunch (long presentations prevented that), but was still planning on going to yoga class. I have a studio introductory pass: I have to get the most out of that 30 days for $30, don’t I?

So I’m sitting on my couch, binge-drinking water, Emergen-C, and tea, and trying to psych myself up to get out the door for class. It’s cold and rainy in Toronto today, though . . . surely that will make my cold worse? And if I get sicker, and I have to miss work, it’s going to really mess me up financially, especially since it’s the holidays.

But . . . in all honesty, my body has been freaking me out lately. My thighs seem to be touching  differently,  and my waist is looking more solid these days. I haven’t weighed myself in about 6 weeks, which is the longest I’ve gone in, well, ages, by about 4 weeks.  It’s a combination of trying to overcome my obsession with the number on the scale, and the fear of what that number will be . . . as well as the fact that the only scale in my house lives in the form of my Wii Fit Plus, which I only use as a scale. If I stop weighing myself, I can sell it and put the money towards more yoga classes!

Long story short, I didn’t go to yoga class. And I’m freaking out. I’m freaking out about my body, and I’m freaking out about being a lazy person, and I’m freaking out about being faced with the fact that I have to admit to an exercise addiction.

It’s so frustrating. Everyone else seems to get to exercise as much as they want, without anyone telling them it’s a problem, and without having to exercise as much as they can. (insert pity party here)

So I’m sitting with it. I hate it. I keep debating whether to run myself through a yoga sequence at home, or just take a sick day. (Sick days? What are those? As it stands, I’ve only had 3 days off in the past month . . . most of which have been spent studying.)

The moral of the story is: I’ll survive. But it sucks.

5 Comments

Filed under Blatherings, Fighting Fear

Get Out And Stay Out

Get Out And Stay Out, from the musical 9 to 5

This was my “Get out of my head, ED” song during my recovery. This is not my bootleg, nor do I condone bootlegging, but I thought you should see the whole video. SJB is pretty stellar, and you should see her whole performance. 

Have you ever seen the movie, “Sleeping With The Enemy?” Julia Roberts plays a woman trapped in an abusive relationship. She fakes her own death to escape her husband, but he figures it out and tracks her down. *SPOILER ALERT* She kills him.

But what do you do when the abusive relationship is in your own head? It’s not just the eating disorder voice. That one I can recognize and separate myself from, but there is another voice. It’s been with me from my earliest memories, at 2 or 3, standing, staring in the mirror, telling me I’m fat and ugly, that I hate myself, and tearing chunks out of my thighs. That voice uses my own voice. I don’t know where it begins and I end, or if it is, in fact, me.

I was horrified this week in school learning about the extent of the irreversible damage starvation can do to your body. It made me realize: I wasn’t waging a war with my body, I was waging a war with myself. I don’t want to destroy my body, I’ve been trying to destroy myself, to kill off the part of me that is so unworthy and unlovable. I don’t know what part that is anymore.

But how am I supposed to leave my abusive relationship? If I run, it comes with me. If I hide, it’s right there beside me. I feel like it’s come down to the final showdown. I can’t live my life with this battle in my head anymore, but I feel like if I try to run, it’ll kill me anyhow. It’s “kill or be killed”, but it’s me either way.

It’s like being trapped in a burning building. Do you try to jump out the window and take your chances or give up and let yourself burn? I’ve got to find the courage to jump. I’m scared of what will be waiting for me. I’m afraid of what will happen if I catch up with myself. This is it: the big battle. This is where it started, and where it has to end.

Wish me luck.

12 Comments

Filed under Fighting Fear

The Best Body Image Advice

2 Comments

Filed under Tips and Tricks (The Healthy Kind)

Eating Disorder Recovery: Yoga On A Budget

You made it! Part 4/4!

Today we’re covering yoga on a budget, and whatever else I forgot in earlier posts.

You may ask: “Kelly, why is yoga as important as life and food and clothing?” Well, since in recovery you have to heal your mind and your body, what better way to do it than by practising something that is good for both your mind and your body?

For me, most of my life was spent performing: looking in a mirror, figuring out what my body looked like while moving. Who cared what I was doing to my body (ahem, pointe shoes), so long as it looked pretty? That, coupled with the obsessive cardio I did as a part of my eating disorder, meant that I had a pretty messed up relationship with my body. Yoga taught me to pay attention to what my body felt like, instead of what it looked like. It’s also the only time in my life when my head shuts off (sometimes) which is something that I think can benefit anyone, especially those with an eating disorder.

Alas, yoga be expensive. (Especially in France, I’m told). Here are some tips I’ve used to maximize the yoga on a minimal budget.

  1. Lululemon. Most (all?) Lululemon stores offer FREE YOGA CLASSES! I go every Sunday. They get a different teacher from a different area studio to teach for a couple of weeks at a time. I’ve met some of my favorite yoga teachers there.

    Lululemon Yoga Outside

  2. Passport to Prana. A Passport to Prana is a $30 card that gets you a free yoga class at each of many studios in major cities in Canada and the United States. I think there are 40+ studios in Toronto alone, which works out to less than $1/class.
  3. Energy Exchange. Several studios offer an energy exchange program, where you can pay for yoga classes with your time. You can clean studios, work the front desk, help with computer stuff, etc. In Toronto I know Kula, Moksha Danforth, Yoga Sanctuary (take home a communal mat to clean in exchange for a free class), and Sundara Yoga all have Energy Exchange programs. I’m sure there are more.
  4. Park Yoga. Different teachers and studios will offer park yoga classes in the summer months. Usually these are by donation for charity. There’s nothing like lying in savasana looking at the sky.
  5. Karma Classes. Most studios offer karma classes, where you can take classes from new teachers, again by donation.
  6. Share The Love Yoga. Share The Love Yoga is a website that has organized all the free/karma/inexpensive classes in Montreal, New York, and Toronto into a weekly schedule. You can find a class at pretty much any day/time.

There are lots of yoga DVDs and YouTube videos, etc. but use them with caution. It’s really easy to get injured if your form isn’t correct, and it’s important to at least start learning yoga with a teacher.

Okay. On to the “Damn. I should have mentioned that.” section.

  1. Groups. If you can’t afford private therapy (even with all these amazing tips), try to find group therapy. You can usually find inexpensive or free groups in major cities. In Toronto, check out Sheena’s Place, in Burlington, Danielle’s Place, in London (Ontario), Hope’s Garden. Feel free to add others in the comments.
  2. Jobs With Perks. When you are well enough to work, try to find a job that gives you a discount on necessities. Clothing stores do that, but you usually have to wear their clothes, and end up spending your entire paycheque in the store. If you can handle the food industry, do. I love my health food discount.
  3. Campus Services. If you’re in school, check out what eating disorder/mental health services are available. Some schools will even subsidize your off-campus therapy.
  4. Eating Disorder Charities. Beat down the doors of NEDA, NEDIC, or anyone else who might be able to help.

I hope you found something you can use in these posts. Please feel free to keep sharing your tips and tricks (the healthy kind) in the comments. Thanks, as always, for reading.

4 Comments

Filed under Tips and Tricks (The Healthy Kind)

How You Know You’re Having a Bad Body Image Day

Looked in the mirror.

Saw a roll of fat.

Freaked out.

Poked it.

It was a rib.

Well played, brain, well played.

 

3 Comments

Filed under Blatherings, Fighting Fear, Random Funny-ness

Shameless

Today is another anniversary.

One year ago today, I stepped off the bike.

That may not sound like a big deal, but it was. Up until June 5th, 2011, I was absolutely chained to my exercise bike. I had to burn off every calorie I ate before I ate it, then keep going into the night until I hit a predetermined, ever-increasing number of calories burned, or passed out. Some days, even if I’d hit the requisite number of calories, I’d have to keep going, sometimes until 3 or 4 in the morning. That was my whole day.

One day, when I was touring with my last show, we had a drive from Toronto to Ottawa, with a stop to do a show in between. I left my house at 9 am, and we didn’t get into our hotel until 11 that night. For the last hour of the drive, I’m pretty sure I didn’t shut up: “Do you think the hotel gym will still be open? Sometimes they close at 11 . . . Can we call to find out? Do you think they’ll have a staircase I can run up and down if it’s closed? Maybe I can just run back and forth in the hallway if I’m quiet . . . ” I was beyond caring if I sounded crazy. I NEEDED to make up for the day in the car. (The gym was 24 hours. I didn’t see much of the city that trip, but I could draw you a very detailed picture of that hotel gym.)

WGT would regularly challenge me to just step off the bike x number of minutes before my predetermined calorie burn. She was met every time with a flat out “NO”. I wasn’t budging on that one. I couldn’t imagine it. How could I?

Finally, one Friday night, I decided I couldn’t do it anymore. The bike was driving me crazy. The only way I could NOT get on the bike was to sleep the whole day and not have to eat anything. The next day, I would just keep myself asleep. Every time I woke up, I’d take more medication and go back to sleep. Finally it stopped working, and I had to get up. I had to get on the bike. I was never going to be able to stop.

The morning of the 5th, I read my meditation of the day. My friend Dawn had recommended the book The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie about a month before, and a lot of the passages really resonated with me. June 5th’s was titled, “Combating Shame.”

Watch out for shame.

Many systems and people reek of shame. They are controlled by shame and may want us to play their game with them. They may be hoping to hook us and control us through shame.

We don’t have to fall into their shame. Instead, we’ll take the good feelings – self-acceptance, love, and nurturing.

Compulsive behaviors, sexually addictive behaviors, over-eating, chemical abuse, and addictive gambling are shame-based behaviors. If we participate in them, we will feel ashamed. It’s inevitable. We need to watch out for addictive and other compulsive behaviors because those will immerse us in shame.

Our past, and the brainwashing we may have had that imposed “original shame” upon us, may try to put shame on us. This can happen when we’re all alone, walking through the grocery store or just quietly going about living our life. Don’t think . . . Don’t feel . . . Don’t grow or change . . . Don’t be alive . . . Don’t live life . . . Be ashamed!

Be done with shame. Attack shame. Go to war with it. Learn to recognize it and avoid it like the plague.

I knew by that point that my eating disorder wasn’t about the weight, really, but couldn’t figure out what else was keeping me chained to my behaviors. This put a name to it: shame. Being so ashamed of everything about myself meant that I couldn’t stop exercising. Exercising was something I should be doing. That’s what the media tells us. I was so ashamed of the thought of anyone finding out that I wasn’t exercising anymore, I couldn’t stop it. I was ashamed, too, that I couldn’t stop it.

People kept asking me what I was afraid would happen if I stopped exercising, if I started eating, if I started gaining weight. I couldn’t figure it out. It’s because I wasn’t afraid, per se, I was ashamed. Shame is what dictated that my food be chopped in a certain order. I wasn’t afraid of a mis-chopped apple, but I was ashamed that I hadn’t chopped it correctly. It’s what dictated that nobody see me without my make-up and hair done. Not afraid, just ashamed.

Shame was something I could fight. I may still be ashamed a lot of the time, but it’s easier to live with than a nameless fear.

It’s been a year. I never got back on the bike. In fact, I sold it over Christmas. Yes, I still exercise. Yes, sometimes it’s more than I’m “supposed to”. But now it’s at a healthy weight, and without being chained to it. Yes, I’m still ashamed, but I’m choosing to live with the shame rather than kill myself trying to erase it. I’m told there are other ways to get through it. I’ll let you know if I find them.

 


7 Comments

Filed under Fighting Fear, History Lessons, Inspiration