1100: Reflecting on FEAST

You know that doctor’s appointment I was so excited about last week? Well, I went and I got… well, you can’t really call them answers. But I was given a directive.

Before we test this ol’ body of mine for thyroid imbalances or food sensitivities or wonky hormones, I must first adhere to a very strict diet of 1100 calories per day. To be issued this ultimatum on the week I had hoped to cook a large meal of comfort foods (green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, red wine, and sous vide steak) was a pretty devastating blow. And not just because I would be missing a night of calorie laden delicacies.

You see, when that number was presented from the registered dietitian I had spoken with immediately following the weight-specialist MD I’d provided my history to, my heart sort of collapsed. A large portion of my adolescence was spent battling undiagnosed anorexia. And once I’d overcome not eating anything, I succumbed twice in my 20’s to orthorexia and exercise-induced bulimia.

Memories came flooding in — obsessively comparing my seated waist circumference with the stuffed monkey that lived on my bed throughout high school. Daily gym sessions where I wouldn’t allow myself to go home until I had burned off at least as many calories as I’d eaten that day. Compulsive food journaling, body measurements, scale notations, scouring cookbooks for the most nutrient dense, calorie light recipes I could find. Dreaming of food I could no longer eat. Pervasive hunger pains in which I’d guzzle two or three glasses of lukewarm water to curb, cursing my thin tooth enamel for not tolerating anything colder because I heard once it helps burn calories. Anxiety and brain fuzziness. Counting calories. And counting calories. And counting calories counting calories counting calories.

I explained to the doctors this history, of course. And I also explained my challenges around working out presents since my heart disease is exacerbated by exercise. I wanted a change but I felt stuck between the rock of my mental illness and the hard place of my physical disability.

And the MD’s in turn explained that if my body was resistant to weight loss at these measures then there’s a strong indication that something else is at play. Then the tests will come. And despite my assurances that I ate a rather healthy diet (with added proof of the food journal I had kept for two weeks prior to my appointment) and that I had a strong foundational knowledge of nutrition (ironically I once dreamed of being a dietitian a few years ago),  I was told that I needed more protein and less booze and that integrating those changes is the first step.

So tear-filled and anger-fueled, I drove my ass home and flat-out wallowed for a couple hours. I sobbed into Josh’s shoulder. I texted Steph with updates. I marveled at how I finally, finally, attained freedom from food obsession. I have been so happy and it appears that happiness made me fat. Really fat. Like, obese fat.

I fluctuated between fear, despair, frustration, indigence,  panic, fury, and disappointment. In short, I was a fucking mess and work was not a possibility. And after a few hours of feeling all the feelings, I collected myself enough to do some research between my still-leaky eyes. I distanced myself from the helplessness with the order of a well-drafted spreadsheet. Calorie counts of my favorite foods for quick reference, protein-rich snack ideas, calendar dates of potential booze cheat days  during the month (a ZZ Ward concert and trip to Nashville to see Brene Brown speak). I broke down my meals into regimented eating times and calorie amounts and assigned snack and meal ideas to each. Josh surprised me throughout the weekend by conducting some research on his own and purging our kitchen of temptations.

With that order and control I regained some of my faculties. Mind you, I’m still an emotional wreck at times. Especially since I’ve maintained a constant state of hunger aside from two shockingly filling 300-calorie dinners. I don’t miss booze as much as I did and food is certainly at the forefront of my mind almost every hour (sadly even when I’m sleeping). I read that it takes about two weeks for your body to adjust to a smaller stomach so the stomach pains should subside. And I meet again with my team of docs on October 3 to reevaluate.

And possibly for a prescription for appetite suppressants.

It’s hard to imagine how, but this week we strip down for BARE.

And check out Steph’s delicious post on #VOWfeast here

Can We Speak in Cheese Plates? #VOWfeast

Food and I have a complicated relationship.

Some days it’s the ex-boyfriend I send a drunken late night text too even though I know better.
Some days it’s the perfect yoga class.

My interactions with food are a barometer of how I am feeling about myself.

Some days I’m preparing whole foods and healthy meals.
Some days I’m binging pasta boxes.

Food is how I speak most authentically about my feelings for you.

Some days I make homemade cashew cheese for the vegan pizza I crafted just for you.
Some days I say we should go out, because I have no interest in putting my heart on a plate for you.

I know that food is my love language.

Decanting a bottle of red wine hours before it will be poured for Sunday night dinner is perhaps the greatest display of kindness a person can demonstrate. The preparation of that dinner, the greatest of affection. The sharing of the meal, a bond of trust. The second bottle…words we can’t and won’t say but are the most sincere we have ever spoken. Dishes are intimacy.

And after a week of #VOWfeast, I’m know where I have come from and just how far, but I am all too aware of how much I left to do.

This week, we get naked as we

BARE.


Steph’s FEAST mantra: Enough is a feast.

Steph’s Song of the Week: Tribulation by Matt Maeson

& Don’t Miss Lin’s #VOWfeast post 

The Antidote to Holding On: #VOWthank

I finally did it–I signed up for my 200-hour yoga teacher certification program. I start in October and finish in February. (Goodbye, Weekends!)

Anyway, I’ve always loved school, and given that most kids (and Sister!!!) are starting back and I don’t have that option any longer, I decided to get a jump on one of the texts for training last week: Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life.

One of the first few chapters is called, Letting Go, and it talks about how a lot of us (ME! ME! ME!) struggle to loosen our grip on this life. Especially on the things and, more often, people, we love in it. And by refusing to open our fist and let go, we actually give up being present (one of the most foundational aspects of Buddhism, mindfulness, and yoga) and attach ourselves to suffering.

The author, as she does in every chapters, gave some practical and very accessible ways to try to release things, and her first strategy blew my mind:

“I feel that paying attention to those very moments when I feel attached to be an effective technique of letting go.”

You know what happens when you pay attention to those very moments?

You don’t worry about what happens next.
And your first reaction isn’t anxiety or fear; it’s gratitude.
You give fucking thanks.

 

This isn’t my default reaction yet, but I’m trying, especially lately.

And this week, I will continue too, especially before I…

FEAST.


Steph’s THANK mantra: We’ll eat with much gratitude.

Steph’s Song of the Week: Surrender by RIVVRS

& Don’t Miss Lin’s #VOWthank post, because Sister is the most badass and wholehearted human ever and her post is bomb.