Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Very Serious Post

A few days ago a friend of mine sent me a message of a very serious nature. They had been following my blog and my Facebook updates and from those mediums had some concerns. This friend thinks I have an eating disorder. She claimed that she herself has had one, that she knows the symptoms and signs. And through the information I've given she determined that I was obsessed with eating and exercise. Limiting my nutrition and calories too low. And that emotionally I had symptoms of being a disturbed person in need of help.

Now my initial reaction was to get angry...
to blame her...
to retaliate back with a "OMG, You're crazy!"

But instead I decided to take a couples of days... think about it... and make sure I gave her concern some serious thought.

Here's the conclusions I've come to:

  1. I exaggerate. I exaggerate my ASS of on this blog. For reasons of being funny, or stupid, or just getting the point across via emotion. Most of what I say is a feeling that I'm having, but not one that's disturbing my day to day operations. So take most of it with a grain of salt.

  2. I very RARELY end a week UNDER or even meeting my calories per day. In fact, usually the weekend throws me over. However, I maintain that guideline so that it is just that: a guideline. And guess what, I don't feel the least bit guilty about it. I know I'm getting nutrition and enjoying food. I limit the calories to give me the deficit I need to lose weight (and the calories have lowered as I've lost weight).

  3. I have NEVER thrown up or starved myself of food purposefully. I will take a lie detector on this. In high school, I may have gotten depressed at times and dabbled in "not-so-healthy-ways" to get skinny, but ultimately in the past year and a half I've never done those things.

  4. I would recommend my "healthy living" process to ANYONE (including my own daughter). It's safe, its effective, and above all its maintainable. If I thought it was unsafe, I wouldn't let anyone know all my information. Its open and available via LoseIt! as well as visible via my blog.

  5. While being thinner is wonderful, it's not THE REASON. This started off as a very physical goal and has transformed to something much more different. It's NOT about controlling my food, its NOT about controlling my weight, its NOT about getting skinny. Let me repeat that: IT'S NOT ABOUT GETTING SKINNY!
This is a journey about health, and change, and above all: Love. I'm learning to love myself. In so many ways. I'm learning to love fruits and vegetables. To love exercising and being outdoors. To love muscle building and weight training. To love running. To love resting and healing. To love a healthy lifestyle each day. And to love myself even when I don't want to.
Its a lifelong process, and I'm up for the challenge.

All that being said, I think this post needs to really focus on my friend's concern. She brings up a good point. Although I feel my journey is one of health, there are others out there. Perhaps even YOU. Yes, you, reader. Perhaps you are stuck in a situation that you feel you can't get out of. Perhaps you feel that food is the only way to control. Perhaps you're embarrassed to eat in front of others. Or when you do, you feel guilty afterwards.

If you have any fear about the way you are living, about how you are losing or gaining weight. Please know this: You are beautiful. You are worthy of love. And help is there for you.

Here is a link to a website (that my friend sent me) that gives a quiz on symptoms of Eating Disorders. I challenge everyone to take it, even if you don't think you have one. It's important that we all know symptoms, signs, and educate ourselves in these types of disorders so that we're aware for ourselves and for others.

Depression is a serious thing. And it can manifest itself in many many different ways. Eating Disorders is one way. Its hard for outsiders to see this because many people are very good at hiding it. And its hard for people who suffer with it to say anything because they either don't think they have it or are afraid to admit it (to themselves or others).

My blog isn't huge... my twitter followers are tiny... and my message of my journey goes out to very few. But just as my friend was so brave as to send me a message. Here is my message to my tiny audience. It reminds me of "The Starfish Story" by Loren Eiseley:

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."

5 comments:

  1. You know what would make that story even better? If right before the dude throws the starfish back in the ocean, he realizes that it's really his child that has been missing for days, and he's alive and well. Then that other guy that was questioning throwing back the starfish would really look stupid.

    People are gonna say what people are gonna say. As long as you're pretty sure you've got your head screwed on at least halfway tight, that's all that matters.

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  2. This is why I try not to talk specifics about my diet or my exercise. I have doctors, a dietitian, and a trainer.

    What's good for me, what's approved for me, might not be good for another person.

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  3. Yikes...

    First, LOVE the starfish story.

    Second, I'm proud of you for taking a step back and considering what your friend said before flipping out. I don't know that I could have been that disciplined.

    You're right that blogger don't always post a complete picture of diet and exercise, and what works for you works for YOU. But I also applaud you for taking a minute and reflecting on a way to use the experience to help others who might really be having trouble.

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  4. People have opinions. That doesn't mean they are right. I'd be okay with my friend being concerned, but I'd also keep in mind that my journey isn't the same as hers.

    I have that starfish snippet on my bulletin board at work. I read it at least once a week, and with the nature of my work, I'm surprised I don't read it daily...

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  5. That post right there shows just how far along you are in this getting healthy journey. And that you're a far more mature person that me. 'Cause I totally would have egged their house for that comment.

    Eating disorders are not fun. They are not by choice and they certainly aren't anything to be taken lightly. However, I think people toss that word out far too often without really considering what it means. Not only as a disorder, but the impact it might have on the person being accused of having one.

    When we focus on our health, it does become consuming. We are paying attention to what we are eating and what we are doing. So much so, we talk about it all the time. While we don't paint the whole picture of our health, it would seem to others on the outside that we're a tad obsessed.

    I'm glad you took the time to step back and evaluate yourself and your habits and come to a conclusion. Most people would take it and run, or worse, let it it eat away at them until it proved true. You're one strong, smart lady and I'm proud to say I know you.

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