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Severine

Severine Wins Without Fighting

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I'm creating this battle log because I miss the fun social interaction of the boards, and the encouragement and inspiration I get here, but participating in challenges has not been very helpful for me lately. I have anxious and perfectionist tendencies, and I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself during challenges (no matter how gently/flexibly I try to design them) and then I end up feeling stressed and self-critical and the results are often very counterproductive (i.e. exploding volcanoes of failure).

 

The overall trend in my health/self-care strategy in the past year or so has been moving away from the "force yourself to be better" model, which was my approach to self-improvement, especially for food and fitness, for a very long time. Although I've had victories (lost 90 pounds, improved nutrition, developed good fitness) they were only temporary, and I was constantly at war with myself, not trusting myself, and I ended up doing a bunch of damage (like turning my already disordered eating into a full-fledged clinical eating disorder, for which I am currently in treatment). 

 

So, after overcoming a lot of skepticism on my part, and with a lot of prodding from my therapist, my eating disorder nutritionist, and various loved ones, I am trying a different approach based on building up self-trust, being accepting and forgiving instead of self-critical, and learning to trust my emotions and body. Hence the title of the battle log. I try not to see myself as the enemy anymore, and I try not to see every choice as a virtue test with a pass/fail outcome. I try not to see myself as some lazy unreliable figure who must be controlled and drilled into good behaviour. It's hard, and I have a lot of fear of what bad things will happen if I makes choices based on my actual preferences rather than The Rules, but it's a process and I feel like I'm making some modest progress in the right direction.

 

Anyway, it's tricky, because I obviously have goals (I want to exercise more, make nutrition choices that give me energy and leave me feeling good, do meditation, etc.) but like...I don't have any experience setting and working toward goals in a way that isn't all about self-judgement. So I'm figuring things out and experimenting and there's a lot of trial and error (so much error!).

 

But huzzah, the first step is making the bloody thread. Look @fleaball I did it!

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33 minutes ago, fleaball said:

I promise cat gifs when I get to a computer!!

 

I'm open minded. Lizard gifs, dog gifs, racoon gifs, bear gifs - all are welcome here.

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4 minutes ago, Jean said:

Tardigrade gifs ?

 

tumblr_inline_op30ttverp1sndsvm_540.gif

 

No need for fighting when you can outlive them all. Go you !

 

:eek-new:

 

I don't know you, but it's obvious that you are a top-notch sort of person. I am stealing that gif and snuggling it close like a precious internet kitten.

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2 hours ago, Severine said:

I am stealing that gif and snuggling it close like a precious internet kitten.

 

Internet kitten approves :

giphy-2_18b21f7f-5ace-4a1f-96e1-26efd4b3

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Today was a loooong day. Saturday is a teaching day for me (I teach adult education ESOL to immigrants in Boston, and for many of them the weekend is the only time they can come to class, which means I need to work weekends) and by the end of a full day of teaching I'm always totally exhausted. Today was extra exciting though, because I also started teaching a new hybrid class: it combines English instruction with preparation for the citizenship application process. The students are incredibly excited (and nervous) about preparing for the citizenship interview, and I hope that will help keep them motivated to stay resilient when they get frustrated with the English learning part.

 

I meditated yesterday and today (yay Headspace!) and I had the same reaction I always have after coming back to meditation after a stint away: holy crap, this is useful and makes me feel better - why did I ever stop doing it? But instead of lambasting myself for being stupid and stopping (as I would usually do) I'm going to just try to keep reminding myself that it's a thing that makes me feel good, and hope that'll result in me doing it.

 

I'm wearing my Fitbit again on the regular. On teaching days I get about 7000 steps reliably without doing anything extra, so a walk in the evening pushes me over 10,000. I think it'd be a good goal to aim for a morning walk (or some time on the elliptical) AND an evening walk on my non-teaching days. My doctor's office just introduced a new thing where you can connect your Fitbit to their patient portal and your doctor can check your steps. Part of me thinks "oh hey, personalized data might lead to me getting better, more personalized care, and it might be motivating!" and part of me is like "why, why, why would we ever want to do that?" 

 

Have some weird muscle soreness/tightness I don't understand. Like, the bottom and side of my right foot, and the side of my left hand. Okay? No idea how that happened. It's annoying.

 

On 9/21/2018 at 9:34 PM, fleaball said:

anigif_enhanced-buzz-10337-1409845420-4.

 

This is pure magic and I want those dogs.

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Just got back from seeing my ENT, who I actually really like. Well, I like everything about him other than the fact that his office is all the way downtown and I always seem to get an appt at 3:30 which means I get out of there right in time for rush hour traffic. Ugh. I lived though.

 

My throat/vocal cords unsurprisingly show some signs of chronic inflammation characteristic of reflux but he says it's not bad, and definitely not too late to turn it around. Yay for that, obviously. I'm currently not taking anything for it, so he put me on prilosec (20mg in the morning 30 min before food) to control the reflux while I work on losing a bit of weight and making some dietary/lifestyle changes. I feel good about that plan, since I'm already planning on making those changes anyway, and it prevents damage in the meantime, which gives me time to figure out complicated but important things like how to reconcile the eating disorder treatment with a desire to lose weight for medical reasons.

 

One thing that made the appt not suck, other than me liking him in general: he was very forthcoming about his own personal experience with reflux. He said he used to have really terrible, almost constant reflux, and took the same med he just put me on for over a year while he worked on cutting back on trigger foods and losing a bit of weight. He was extremely realistic/nonjudgmental about how hard all of that is, and honest about how he struggled with it, which I appreciated. Encouragingly, he said when he did lose the weight and clean up his diet, he was able to come off the meds and be fine - which lines up with my previous experience of the reflux going away when I lost weight. 

 

Anyway, it's amazing how the same advice can feel so different based on delivery. Sometimes when a doctor wants to talk about weight stuff it makes me feel so awful even when I agree with them. But this felt compassionate, nonjudgmental, and helpful. Yay for having a good doctor. Please never move, Dr. B.

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Just went for a half hour walk around the neighbourhood and it was lovely. Full moon, nice crisp cool autumn night. Autumn is my favourite season and night is my favourite time to go for walks, so I am a happy camper right now.

 

Plus it put me over 10,000 steps for the day, which confirms my theory that teaching day + evening walk = 10K steps. Excellent.

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If I ever need an ENT remind me to ask you about this guy. He sounds awesome. Hooray for him being open with you about that, especially given it's not at all his specialty so there's no real obligation to talk about it. I mean yeah there's "whoops there's the potential for damage to your throat" and then there's going into the level of detail he did. And hopefully now that you've got this bit of a reprieve where you don't have to worry about damage, you can work on the rest of it with your ED therapist. Brains are so stupid in how you can be like "it's an objective fact that I feel better when I eat like this instead of like that" and your brain goes "OKAY YOU CAN NEVER EAT THAT AGAIN OR THE WORLD WILL EXPLODE." No brain, no. Bad.

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9 hours ago, fleaball said:

If I ever need an ENT remind me to ask you about this guy. He sounds awesome. Hooray for him being open with you about that, especially given it's not at all his specialty so there's no real obligation to talk about it.

 

Yeah I'll definitely hook you up with him if you ever need. I see him for sinus issues primarily, and the throat stuff is secondary because it's also part of his area. He also is the assistant director of a sleep apnea center, for what that's worth, if you ever have issues with that. Thankfully I never have. 

 

9 hours ago, fleaball said:

I mean yeah there's "whoops there's the potential for damage to your throat" and then there's going into the level of detail he did. And hopefully now that you've got this bit of a reprieve where you don't have to worry about damage, you can work on the rest of it with your ED therapist.

 

Yeah, I can already feel what a huge difference the medication is making. If reflux is even still happening, I can't tell. I'm happy to be catching it/dealing with it hopefully fairly early in the process. He did say it takes a little bit for the damage to become irreversible (although, for the record, he was not cavalier in the "ehhh it takes yeeeears" way as your dude was) but he said that it's still better to fix it as soon as realistically possible. and obviously I don't want to go anywhere near the irreversible damage line especially since it's impossible to know exactly where the line is for any specific person.

 

9 hours ago, fleaball said:

Brains are so stupid in how you can be like "it's an objective fact that I feel better when I eat like this instead of like that" and your brain goes "OKAY YOU CAN NEVER EAT THAT AGAIN OR THE WORLD WILL EXPLODE." No brain, no. Bad.

 

Yes, so much this. I'm actually working on this with my eating disorder specialist now. Because as soon as there's even a suggestion from a medical professional that I should avoid food X, my brain activates dysfunctional restrictive behaviors and I start to feel panicky and preoccupied about it - it suddenly feels like an emergency that I never eat X, and I start spending a ridiculous amount of energy and thought trying not to want/eat it. But this is incredibly self destructive, and it's stupid anyway because inevitably, after weeks of restriction, it ends up with my bingeing on way too much of X, and then feeling awful physically and emotionally.

 

M. (which is shorter than typing "my eating disorder specialist") emphasizes choice and agency, without judgement and with the goal of taking care of myself in every sense of the word. Kind of like a cost benefit analysis. Like....okay, curry might give me some heartburn. Does that feel worth it right now? Sometimes the answer will be yes and sometimes no - the goal is to make the question morally and emotionally neutral. Because for me, when the spectre of failure is removed from the choice (i.e. when choosing to have some of a beloved trigger food is not a character flaw or sign of weakness) I end up choosing to eat way less of the thing. With less pressure to restrict comes less urge to overindulge. That has basically been the biggest takeaway from ~5 months of treatment.

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3 hours ago, Severine said:

M. (which is shorter than typing "my eating disorder specialist") emphasizes choice and agency, without judgement and with the goal of taking care of myself in every sense of the word. Kind of like a cost benefit analysis. Like....okay, curry might give me some heartburn. Does that feel worth it right now? Sometimes the answer will be yes and sometimes no - the goal is to make the question morally and emotionally neutral. Because for me, when the spectre of failure is removed from the choice (i.e. when choosing to have some of a beloved trigger food is not a character flaw or sign of weakness) I end up choosing to eat way less of the thing. With less pressure to restrict comes less urge to overindulge. That has basically been the biggest takeaway from ~5 months of treatment.

 

I love this approach and since we're having a similar conversation in  @Tobbe 's thread, I'm going to  indulge myself and chime him in (not so that you have to take part in this discussion but so that you don't miss it ;-) ).

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On 9/21/2018 at 6:53 PM, Severine said:

It's hard, and I have a lot of fear of what bad things will happen if I makes choices based on my actual preferences rather than The Rules, but it's a process and I feel like I'm making some modest progress in the right direction.

 

I can relate with this so much! (the "my actual preferences rather than The Rules" part). I've never though of it as "The Rules", but it's a very good description!

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Got over 10,000 steps today, woo! Went for a nice walk with L in the evening to get the last few thousand. Walks are always a nice chance to spend some time together and talk without interruptions.

 

Also today was the second meeting of my new "wellness group," which is organized by my doctor's office. It meets once per week (two hours Wed night) for three months and is hosted by my new primary care physician (who is awesome - probably my favourite primacy care doctor of all time). The goal is to provide a chance to spend more time with the doctor in a "whole health" setting, talking about things like meditation, nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management, and other things that are important for health but which there often isn't time to delve into when you're visiting the office for some acute problem. Which is a rare thing in the health care system, and really awesome.

 

It's also supposed to offer a kind of social support, via the other participants. I was a little skeptical at first, because I guessed that most people who came to the group would be super weight-loss focused (and I was right about that) but so far the doctor has been really good about compassionately shutting down any body shaming talk or diet myths. So I haven't wanted to claw my eyes out yet.

 

So yeah, that went well. Also I decided to sign up for the program to share my FitBit data with the doctor's office. So...we'll see how that goes! He stressed that it's optional and we can disconnect anytime if we change our minds. Also, the office gave out free FitBit Charge2s to anyone in the group who didn't already have a fitness tracker, which seems...really generous? I already had one but I thought that was really nice. I helped a couple older ladies set theirs up at the end of the session.

 

Session with M (my eating disorder specialist) yesterday which was good and thought provoking but will save writing about that for tomorrow.

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On 9/23/2018 at 5:07 AM, Severine said:

Have some weird muscle soreness/tightness I don't understand. Like, the bottom and side of my right foot, and the side of my left hand. Okay? No idea how that happened. It's annoying.

 

My wife had something similar. Combined with tingling sensations and some numbness. Turned out to be all stress related. As soon as she managed to calm down, and be more peaceful for a few weeks in a row it all went away. It still comes back when work or other situations stresses her out for long periods of time, but now she recognizes the symptoms early, so she can do something about it before it gets too bad. 

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20 hours ago, Severine said:

Kind of like a cost benefit analysis. Like....okay, curry might give me some heartburn. Does that feel worth it right now? Sometimes the answer will be yes and sometimes no

 

I think a lot of people actually think like that. "Is this cookie going to be worth it". My wife is slightly allergic to citrus fruit. When she eats an orange for example she will get a really itchy rash that she has to scratch for a few days. Sometimes the orange is worth it for her, sometimes its not. The "problem" with general health/nutrition choices is that the effect isn't as instant as for example her rash is. You can say "yes, the cookie is worth it" a huge number of times before anything bad/noticeable happens to you. The change to your body is so gradual that you don't notice it until it's gone really far. At which time it might be hard to go back. If that cookie instantly made the extra chin pop out, I think a lot more people would say "no, it's not worth it" a lot more often.

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5 hours ago, Severine said:

Also, the office gave out free FitBit Charge2s to anyone in the group who didn't already have a fitness tracker, which seems...really generous?

 

That is generous, and definitely not something that would happen here! But I guess they got a good deal on the Charge2 now that it's the old model, and everyone wants the Charge3 :) 

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4 hours ago, Tobbe said:

 

My wife had something similar. Combined with tingling sensations and some numbness. Turned out to be all stress related. As soon as she managed to calm down, and be more peaceful for a few weeks in a row it all went away. It still comes back when work or other situations stresses her out for long periods of time, but now she recognizes the symptoms early, so she can do something about it before it gets too bad. 

 

Huh....that's eerie, because it sounds very similar to what I have. I too have occasional tingling and slight numbness in the right foot and right hand, along the side (same areas where I have the muscle soreness). I was afraid it was something serious such as circulation problems or a signal of oncoming diabetes, but my blood pressure is normal and my bloodwork shows normal levels of glucose and everything else. I did sustain some nerve damage in a work injury about 5 years ago in the right leg (I used to work in agriculture - one of the reasons I left farming was the high injury rate!) but the numbness comes and goes so it can't be purely related to that. I honestly hadn't considered the possibility of it being stress related. It seems incomprehensible that "only" stress could produce such a drastic reaction. Interesting though. I am certainly a ball of stress most of the time. Something to talk to my doctor about. Thanks!

 

3 hours ago, Tobbe said:

 

I think a lot of people actually think like that. "Is this cookie going to be worth it". My wife is slightly allergic to citrus fruit. When she eats an orange for example she will get a really itchy rash that she has to scratch for a few days. Sometimes the orange is worth it for her, sometimes its not. The "problem" with general health/nutrition choices is that the effect isn't as instant as for example her rash is. You can say "yes, the cookie is worth it" a huge number of times before anything bad/noticeable happens to you. The change to your body is so gradual that you don't notice it until it's gone really far. At which time it might be hard to go back. If that cookie instantly made the extra chin pop out, I think a lot more people would say "no, it's not worth it" a lot more often.

 

Yeah, I agree. The further away consequences are, the worse we are at taking them adequately into account. I suppose my goal is to get my body (which craves the sweets) and my brain (which logically knows about the nature of sweets and their effects) to work together to make decisions about what to eat based on all factors. To think about the cookie's delicious taste but also about longer term consequences, albeit not in a fearful/judgemental way, and make a balanced decision.

 

I spent my high school years making food decisions with only my body/instinctive brain, and my rational brain was not allowed to be part of the food choosing process so instead, to make itself heard, it just created an after-the-fact court of judgement about what the body/instinctive brain had done, in hopes of making it do better next time, because it was afraid of things like weight gain. Of course this did not convince body/instinctive brain - it just created a bad pattern of unhealthy choice --> self-judgement. So now my rational brain sees my body/instinctive brain as an irresponsible untrustworthy fool who ruins everything,  and my body/instinctive brain sees my rational brain as a judgemental tyrant who wants to stop them from ever eating anything enjoyable, and it's a war. I want them to stop with their separate agendas because we're all on the same team! They need to work together.

 

3 hours ago, Tobbe said:

 

That is generous, and definitely not something that would happen here! But I guess they got a good deal on the Charge2 now that it's the old model, and everyone wants the Charge3 :) 

 

Haha, I actually didn't even know about the Charge3 until last night, so that didn't occur to me at first...but when I got home and learned about it, I had the same cynical thought.

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4 minutes ago, Severine said:

It seems incomprehensible that "only" stress could produce such a drastic reaction.

 

Yes, that's what most everyone thinks! They even went as far as taking a brain scan, thinking it might be a tumor or something. That was really scary! Thankfully they didn't find anything.

 

6 minutes ago, Severine said:

tyrant who wants to stop them from ever eating anything enjoyable, and it's a war

 

Yes! This! I too am really tired about this war. This constant back-and-forth in my brain about food all the time. It takes entirely too much time and energy that my brain should be spending on more important things! It's really tiring.

 

8 minutes ago, Severine said:

I want them to stop with their separate agendas because we're all on the same team! They need to work together.

 

Agreed. And they need to do it without me even noticing it. Ideally it should just come naturally.

 

8 minutes ago, Severine said:

Haha, I actually didn't even know about the Charge3 until last night, so that didn't occur to me at first...but when I got home and learned about it, I had the same cynical thought.

 

 Rolling on the Floor Laughing

 

I actually kind of want this one https://www.fitbit.com/versa But I'm holding off, hoping the next version of it will have an always-on screen. Seems silly to have a watch that doesn't tell the time most of the time, but instead only shows a black screen...

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29 minutes ago, Tobbe said:

Yes! This! I too am really tired about this war. This constant back-and-forth in my brain about food all the time. It takes entirely too much time and energy that my brain should be spending on more important things! It's really tiring.

 

Agreed. And they need to do it without me even noticing it. Ideally it should just come naturally.

 

Yeah! One of the things that surprises people when they talk to me about eating disorder stuff is how high this is on my list of motivations for recovery. People know about the health impacts and the emotional distortions of eating disorders, but they don't think about the cognitive/personality impacts as much. But one of my major motivations for recovery is reclaiming all the space in my brain/life/personality that is currently wasted thinking about food and managing my worries and feelings and fears about it. Not a lot of people realize how incredibly draining it is. I honestly feel like I am less able to be my real self, because every moment I am spending battling food issues is a moment I am not thinking about my interests, family, etc. I want to read about ancient history, not protein ratios. I want to spend my time on the bus daydreaming about an upcoming festival or thinking about some nice surprise I could do for a loved one, not thinking of strategies to handle cravings.

 

Anyway, inspired by you, here is a picture of today's breakfast. I won't do photos of all my meals, but maybe just once in a while. Today was an orange, ryvita with peanut butter, and two eggs scrambled with a leftover hash (black bean, corn, tomato, onion, flavoured with cumin and coriander). I know the egg/bean mixture looks a bit gross but it's really delicious.

 

wfwslCT.png

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1 hour ago, Tobbe said:

I actually kind of want this one https://www.fitbit.com/versa But I'm holding off, hoping the next version of it will have an always-on screen. Seems silly to have a watch that doesn't tell the time most of the time, but instead only shows a black screen...

 

I have the Versa. It'S great and you can configure that it's screen on when you rotate your arm to look at it.

@Charge 2 from your doc: Sure they got a good deal on the Charge 2 and also they get a lot of data from the patients, this may be a good deal too ;)

 

It seems incomprehensible that "only" stress could produce such a drastic reaction.

 

"Only" stress gave me shortness of breath, panic attacks, chest pain and fear of death. And it wasn't even conscious stress.

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48 minutes ago, Severine said:

I know the egg/bean mixture looks a bit gross but it's really delicious.

 

Not at all! It looks great! I love the texmex flavors you've got going there Yummy

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5 minutes ago, Arkania said:

you can configure that it's screen on when you rotate your arm to look at it.

 

I know. That's how most smart watches work. But it's also one thing I love about my Pebble watch - the screen is always on, no matter how I hold it. And still the battery lasts for almost a week!

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