Thankful in all Seasons

With Thanksgiving being two days ago, I cannot help but reflect on all that I have to be thankful for this year. Truthfully, Thanksgiving is my least favorite holiday. Outside of the obvious reasons as to why a recovering anorexic would hate Thanksgiving, something about isolating Thankfulness to one day of the year just doesn’t sit right with me. I also find it ironic that as a society, we choose the one day we set aside to be thankful to eat more food than is necessary and plan out all of the gifts we need to buy for Christmas. Somehow we go from feeling hashtag blessed to hashtag I need a new clearance T.V in less than 24 hours. It’s a day focused on abundance instead of appreciation. I don’t mean to hate on Thanksgiving because I do love spending time with my family and wouldn’t trade my family traditions for the world; however, I just wish as a society we could make Thanksgiving a little more simple and a little less selfish. This year there was a Verizon commercial with the slogan  ThanksGETTING!!!! I literally do not understand how that idea made it past the drawing board. Ughh. Rant over.

Today, I feel overwhelmed with blessings. In fact, everyday I feel overwhelmed with blessings. Every morning, I wake up excited for something. I love my job and the people I work with everyday. I am surrounded by loving friends and family. I am passionate about what I am studying in school, and for the first time can see myself being successful in the future.

Three months ago, I felt much different. I would wake each morning only excited for 6pm when I would get to come home from work. It wasn’t like I hated school or work, but compared to other college students, I felt like my life was lacking. I’m spending my first two years at community college to save money which means sacrificing the “college” experience. I am working 25-30 hours a week which means sacrificing afternoons studying in a coffee shop. I am booked from 9-6 almost everyday, and the lack of flexibility can feel restricting ( I know…welcome to adulthood). I was comparing my life and schedule with my friends’ schedules, and it made me feel like I was missing out. The problem with comparison is that it establishes someone as either better or worse than someone else, and we are neither.

“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct” (Galatians 6: 4-5).

I had been making myself a victim of my life, and I was walking with a spirit of defeat and dread. Finally, it occurred to me that my schedule wasn’t the problem, my perspective was. Choosing to live with a spirit of thankfulness daily will change your life without actually changing anything about your life. I began praying for a spirit of content, joy, and peace. I began to pray that God would open my eyes to the miracles around me. I have never felt happier, despite the fact that my life is practically the same today as it was a few months ago.

In life, we tend to be thankful for the things that are going great in our life. We are thankful for our health when we are healthy. We are thankful for our finances when we feel secure. We are thankful for our family and friends that we get along with. But what about the things in life we don’t think are going the way we want. It’s a lot harder to be thankful for our health when we are sick, or for our finances when we are struggling to pay the bills. Today, God is reminding me that there is ALWAYS a reason to be thankful. More specifically, there is never a reason NOT to be thankful!

“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:7).

Having a spirit of thankfulness is not dependent on life circumstances. A spirit of thankfulness comes from realizing God’s love and grace for his undeserving children is the biggest blessing we can have. A relationship with God leaves the spirit with abundance. I am thankful for God’s unrelenting, unconditional love. I am thankful that through Him, I am fearless. I am thankful for the unknowns in life, the closed doors, the hard days, the times I failed, the times I faced rejection, limitations, embarrassments, and the disappointments. I am thankful for these things because I know that because of God’s grace, these things do not define me and they can not stop me from achieving God’s plan for my life. I am thankful because God is on my side in all seasons, and I don’t know what else I could ever need.

 

Losing My Voice

I was sick.

What started out small, cough and slight congestion, had undeniably turned into a cold.

After a few days the manageable cold had evolved into a hindering cocktail of symptoms and with the sickness

I lost my voice.

I never realized how much my soul longed to sing until I lost my voice.

Long drives and morning showers felt incomplete without my self-proclaimed Grammy worthy solo.

My daily routine felt different, unlike me…But I suppose from the outside it appeared nothing had really changed.

I remember you sat next to me.

The silence was the loudest thing in the room, and both of us wanted to say something.

But I knew my body wouldn’t allow me to speak, and you knew if you did speak, it would be a one sided conversation.

Somehow, I still longed for you to entertain the silence. Any noise would distract from the discomfort I found in the quiet.

I had no way of telling you what I needed in that moment, so I couldn’t blame you when your response was inadequate.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Sure…but who is there to care.

No one.

I learned to play charades.

Frustrated, I acted out my thoughts and feelings while you misinterpreted try after try until we finally agreed on a loose definition of what I attempted to communicate.

Always slightly off, but close enough for me to finally stop dancing.

Other times, I would just give up…leaving me feeling trapped in my broken body.

Thankfully, after some time my body began to find healing.

It started with a cracked whisper. My words often broken

and unfinished

I didn’t always trust that my body was ready to speak, and my confidence was shaky after multiple failed attempts to proudly proclaim and demonstrate that my voice was restored.

But my voice did come back.

I have a new appreciation for the power of words.

Finally free after feeling trapped in my body,

Finally able to communicate without restraint.

I speak with a new admiration of how words feel as they depart. I’ve become more intentional of what I say, realizing that sometimes words are limited.

Research in Recovery

As I have stepped up my game in terms of recovery over the past three weeks, I have had many, “OMAHGOSH I THINK I AM DYING MY BODY IS FOREVER BROKEN” moments. In these moments of panic, I have learned to seek out answers on the good ‘ole internet! Google search has become my best friend. Over the past three weeks I have learned a lot and thought it would be very informative to share some of the wonderful articles I have found! The blogging world is full of gems! Plus, eating disorder recovery basically breaks every diet and “how to stay slim” rule out there. It’s terrifying, counter intuitive, and often feels uncomfortable; however knowledge is power. So, below are some of the articles that I am basing my recovery guidelines on and some articles that have helped explain some of what occurs during the very uncomfortable and painful recovery process!

Bloating (so much pain but not permanent…and my least favorite phase of recovery): 

Bloating and Water Retention

The Truth about Bloating in Recovery

Psychology Today

Personally, I experienced very painful bloating and edema my first week into eating a consistent amount of calories. It made wanting to continue eating very difficult because physically I was in so much pain. My face and ankles would swell, and my stomach felt as if it was stretching my skin. Ouch. What I found to help me was continuing to nourish even when I didn’t want to so my metabolism and body could continue to heal, drinking lots and lots and lots of tea and water, exercising lightly, and doing yoga that aids digestion. I still suffer from bloating; however, after about a week and a half everything seemed to become less painful and severe. The important thing is not to restrict fluid or food despite what appears to be fast weight gain. Your body will normalize!

Calories and Meal Plans: 

A Life Without Anorexia

I NEED HOW MANY CALORIES

I have been aiming to eat between 2500-3000 calories a day. I was SHOCKED to see how little my weight was affected when I increased. Yes, I gained weight (because it was needed), but it wasn’t nearly as fast or dramatic as I expected. I have learn more and more each day that maybe I am not the exception after all.

Parents Point of View:

Family Experience Video

I found this video very enlightening and enjoyed hearing the parents point of view. It’s a little lengthy to watch but very informative!

Weight Gain and Natural Set Point:

What if we viewed weight as we view height?

Set Point Theory

Not Being the Thinnest

Partial Recovery

These articles have become reassurance and some what reminders that recovery is not about weight. I have found myself aiming to hit that magical BMI of 20 so that I can call myself recovered. When I was inpatient three years ago I was told that the minimum weight I could maintain was a BMI of 20. My disordered brain interpreted this minimum as a maximum and ever since I have found myself measuring my health based on this number. The thought of weighing more than a BMI of 20 is terrifying but necessary to achieve full recovery! It is more important to discover your bodies natural set point which will likely take a year for me to figure out as my body still has lots of healing to endure!

HUNGER WITH A CAPITAL H!!! 

Stopping Half-Way

What is Extreme Hunger

Picture of the Cycle of Hunger

Feeling hungry after a year of suppressing this feeling was very scary. What was scarier was feeling hungry even after eating 2000 calories. Extreme hunger is a part of the process and should be honored…not ignored.

All of these articles I found very helpful and informative! One of the best tools in recovery is just knowing what to expect so you can prepare for each and every stage!