Saturday, July 18, 2009

People don't get it...

I had something really frustrating happen to me today. Basically, I'm teaching English to toddlers, and today I had classes from 10 to 2, with only 15 minute breaks. However, the room is really never without kids, so basically I was on the job for 4 hours straight and right through lunch time. I stressed about this a bit, but decided that I would simply eat an extra morning snack at around 12, to hold me over until my 2:00 lunch. This sounded like a good idea until I pulled out my sandwich. I was eating it quickly and still playing with the kids, but the fact that I was eating it at all was apparently not OK. A parent came in to the classroom and started yelling at me. Later, my boss called me, very angry, and now I'm not sure I'll even be able to return. All because of a sandwich??

The reason I'm frustrated is that I was trying to take care of myself, not let myself get too hungry and listen to my body. Because I'm in recovery from an ED, its different for me- I CANNOT allow myself to be really, really hungry.

If I was a diabetic they wouldn't have a problem with me eating. But if I was a diabetic I would tell my boss my reason for eating. I still can't bring myself to be upfront about my ED. I still feel like I'll be judged.

Hopefully it'll all work out, but its just so frustrating sometimes when I need to eat differently than other people, and then it gets me in a pickle. And this isn't the first time its happened.

Sorry for the rant!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Recently I've just been, well, tired. First of all, I haven't been sleeping very well, and it seems that I'm waking up in the morning exhausted but just can't go back to sleep. But I also think that boredom, lack of structure, and my feeling that I'm just waiting to go to school are contributing to this.

I feel like I'm really in limbo- I'm not at college yet so I can't start making friends there, but I feel like putting effort in to new relationships here is sort of pointless. So, instead, I've just been maintaining my close relationships at home which, thanks to my ex-best-friend, ED, are few in number. I just wish I could find a better balance between preparing/getting excited for college and enjoying my summer and the awesome opportunity for unstructured relaxation that I have. Plus, often the most fun experiences happen when you least expect it.

When I came home from treatment in March I felt like I would have nothing to do. None of my close friends were home and I thought I would just be going to work and then sitting at home all day. Well, some sort of higher scheming occurred (I don't really believe in God, although I have many friends with different beliefs systems, all of which I respect immensely) and I found an amazingly close friend in an 'acquaintance' from High School. Lucky? Yes. But it also worked out because I gave it a chance. Because I put myself out there despite my fear of being rejected. Because I didn't go into the friendship with a 'goal' in mind... all I wanted to do was enjoy myself, and I ended up with an awesome support.

I'm trying to treat the last month of my summer with the same attitude: I don't need to get anything out of it, I just want to enjoy it. So, I guess I better be off so I can start doing that!

Love x

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ups and Downs

Sometimes, I have a really hard time telling the difference between listening to my "healthy living" voice and my "binging" voice. Today was one of those days. I ate an optional snack when I wasn't hungry at all, just bored. And I felt like I had 'given in' to my binging voice and had taken a step back in recovery.

I have a hard time with emotional eating or, more frequently, boredom eating. It always seems fine at the time: my boredom eating doesn't get in the way of my life, it doesn't make me physically uncomfortable, so it seems fine. But it makes me EMOTIONALLY uncomfortable. It makes me feel incredibly guilty for eating when my body doesn't need it. The voices in my head tell me that "excess calories WILL make you gain weight" and "if you aren't hungry, then whatever you eat IS excess calories". And its hard to shut those voices up.

So, while my "healthy eating" voice tells me that if I can stop the guilty feelings by stopping my boredom eating, my "healthy living" voice tells me that sometimes I'm going to want to eat when I'm not hungry. On birthdays, celebrations, or even just when I pass an amazing-smelling bakery. I don't want to live my life afraid of indulging, afraid of being just a little gluttonous once in a while.

So I guess today wasn't a bad day after all. I ignored ED today and got one step closer to getting over my fears.

sorry if this is a jumble, its late and my thoughts are all over.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Taking a leap into the unknown + college nerves

So I went to see my nutritionist today. I just came back from a 4 day vacation during which I had really no say in any of the food I ate (except for my snacks) and had to eat "off plan" due to the fact that I was in China, and eating Chinese food at every meal. I ate well and made it through the trip no problem, so my nutritionist decided it was time for me to bring some of the lessons from my vacation back home. This week, I have to eat at least one full day "off plan"- no counting exchanges, measuring, nothing. I have to listen to how my body feels. Of course, I knew all along that this was the ultimate goal, but it still seems daunting. On my meal plan I eat (and am hungry) six times a day... how will I stop myself from eating too much at any given meal or snack? I can use my plan as a guide... I know that 1 piece of toast isn't a good breakfast, nor is an entire loaf, but my BODY will be making a new plan, and one that I have to follow.

Despite my nervousness, I'm also really excited. I haven't listened to my body in 4 years. I spent far too much time ignoring both my hunger and fullness signals. For the past 5 months, I've been eating "normally" but now I'm starting to eat MY way. Listening MY preferences, cravings, schedule, and body's needs. And, in the end, that is the goal, isn't it?

On another note, I'm getting nervous/excited/anxious about going off to college in just SIX WEEKS. While I'm thrilled about the independence, I'm intimidated by the fact that I will have to make decisions on my own and live with them. What if I choose classes that are too hard? What if my roommates think I'm obnoxious, loud and annoying? What if I don't make friends? What if I can't balance studying and having fun? There's all these what-ifs, and they all scare me. It seems like so many things could go wrong. But, then again, I'm only looking at the negatives. There are so many things that could go RIGHT. What if...
My roommates and I become really close and all get along well?
My classes challenge and interest me, with some that push me harder than others?
I find a great group of friends with varied interests who support me?
I think its the last one that's most important. I feel if I have support- genuine, kindhearted support, I can deal with any of the other what-ifs. I just have to remind myself that I have NO REASON to think I won't find friends. I have tons of awesome traits (as well as some quirks, let's call them) and if I can accept myself as I am, I'm sure many other people will be able to as well.

Has anyone else experienced similar anxieties about either of these issues? I would love to know!

x Ellie

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Learning to live

I firmly believe that when you have an Eating Disorder, you're not truly living. A friend told me this a few months back, and while it hurt SO much to hear, its true. Every thought, action, decision I made was based on being perfect and skinny. I would go out with friends to appear social, not because I actually enjoyed my time with them. I made friends with athletic people so I could exercise with them. I always ate lunch at home instead of with friends so I could eat my own 'healthy' food. When I first stopped using symptoms, (almost 5 months ago!!) I found that it was hard for me to create balance in my life, to find a happy medium. I would either drink a TON of coffee or none at all. I would stay up until 2 am or go to bed at 9 pm. I would spend all day out with friends or spend the whole day in the house. I was just testing the territory. I was new to LIVING.

At first it was really tough. I felt like I had to catch up. I had no idea who I was or what I wanted my life to look like. That's scary. But I also saw it as an amazing opportunity. Since my ED had stripped away my identity, I was free to create within myself exactly who I wanted to be. I was able to discover sides or myself I never knew and relish in them.

My recovery is still very fresh and I know that I have to ALWAYS be aware. By no means do I think I'm done getting to know myself. I don't think anyone ever is. Its a life-long journey. My recovery has given me the gift of being aware of that journey and really, truly, finding out who I am. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I don't do that whole normal thing

So I'm not really sure why I wanted to start a blog, but here I am. I've read some food blogs in the past and I always loved reading about the bloggers' lives as well as their food. So I decided I would share my journey with you. I'm and 18 year old American, but I have lived in Hong Kong for most of my life. I'm currently finishing up a gap year before I go to College in the US next year, where I plan to study Chemistry. I love hiking, playing sports, cooking, and, well, Science (Yes, I'm a nerd).

I suspect that a central theme will be my struggles with an Eating Disorder. In Febuary I pleaded with my parents to let me go to residential treatment in the US. I did and it was the best experience I've ever had. 5 weeks later, I was back at home and now, 5 months after I started my journey towards recovery, I'm going strong.

As for the title of the blog, let me explain. When I was in treatment everyone talked about how "normal" people did things. How would a normal person react? How does a normal person eat? When I got home I quickly realized that I am NOT normal, nor do I want to be! I set my own standards for what is normal for ME. Now, of course, for my eating and exercise habits, I do want to adhere to a more publically accepted standard for normal. But in the rest of my life, I want to feel free to break norms. Not because I want to be different, but because I want to be ME. And I feel better when I am. So join me on my journey to discovery who I am and who I want to be.