Month: March 2014

Add Fat?-excerpt from Life Without Ed

Life is not static,especially the life of the creative individual. I had spent all week on an entry and then just now realized I didn’t want to publish it. Maybe it wasn’t ready or maybe I don’t want to write about that, I don’t know. Maybe I will proofread it again for the hundredth time and finally publish it or it may never see the light of the blog universe. Who knows….Instead I am sharing with you an excerpt from the book, Life Without Ed by Jenni Schafer and then following it up with a little bit of my own experience on dietary fat/dietary fat fear/my dietary fat status…

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Add Fat?

Add more fat to my diet? Why didn’t Susan just tell me to jump off a cliff, spread my wings, and fly? Add fat? Why didn’t she say, “Jenni, you need to go out, buy a gun, and rob the nearest convenient store?” Add fat? She might as well have told me to print all of my best friend’s deepest secrets in the New York Times. Add fat? It goes against my core values–against everything I am…no mayo, no butter, and no regular soda.

That is how I initially felt when Susan told me that I needed to add more fat to my diet. Then I really thought about it, and I realized that adding fat does not go against my core values, but it goes against everything Ed believes in. Ed’s value system is the one that says, “A person’s worth is dependent upon the amount of fat in her or his diet.” My core beliefs focus on more important things like how much I value life, respect other people, and honor my friends’ secrets.So, even though adding fat shakes Ed’s entire sense of being, it doesn’t have to disrupt my world.

I will admit that I practically have a second B. S (and I do mean B.S) degree in how to avoid fat in my diet. But I also have a real degree in biochemistry, which tells me that my body actually needs fat in order to function properly. For instance, fat is an essential component in the walls of every single cell in my body. Also, not getting enough fat tend to set me up for bingeing. After going a long period of time without eating fat, I usually end up bingeing on lots of high-fat items–because my body needs it.

So, today, I am taking a step into the unknown world of fat. The next time I go into a restaurant I might actually get to use my butter knife! And maybe I will choose real ice cream over frozen yogurt on occasion. I might even toss my I Can’t It’s Not Butter spray and buy something that I really can believe is butter. Adding fat is an adventure into a new world. It actually might be fun.

Whether it is fun or not, it is definitely terrifying. As I write this, Ed is painting a horrible portrait in my mind of what I will look like after I add more fat to my diet. I actually kind of agree with Ed at this point. But I am still going to disobey  him. In my years of experience in agreeing with Ed, he usually ends up being wrong when all is said and done. So, I am sure that he is wrong about this, too.

Add fat? Yes, I am going to do it. In fact, I am about to go to the grocery store to stock up on those items that I have never purchased. I will get to explore grocery aisles that I have never walked down before. Of course, Ed will be kicking and screaming the entire way. I’ll just distract him by encouraging him to play his favorite grocery store game–analyzing the items in every other person’s grocery cart. While he stares at the woman in aisle three putting a bag of microwave popcorn into her cart, I will choose 2 percent of skim. While determines whether the man in aisle four will buy corn flakes or Froot Loops, I will buy cheese and peanut butter. While Ed tries to count the exact number of regular soda’s in the young boy’s cart in aisle seven, I will live my life.

I remember sitting in my dietitian’s office one day. I said, “Susan, I don’t understand why I need to add more fat to my diet. I think I could live another fifty years without adding more fat.” Susan replied, “Maybe. Maybe not. But even so, it’s not about surviving. It’s about living.”

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 Adding fat into a recovery diet is not easy. Just like Jenni, this was one of the hardest parts of restoring my relationship with food. Looking to food as nourishment and sustenance, not something that I had to partake in. When I was deep into my eating disorder my fat sources compiled of the following: nut/seed butters, and eggs. When I ate meat that fat would count but I would make sure to eat less fat in other dishes throughout the day. If I did not eat the large amounts of nut/seed butters during that time I would have had no fat in my diet and been in worse shape than I was. I would look at nutrition labels and look at the fat to fiber ratio or the fat:fiber:protein. Having a degree in Exercise Science I could easily manipulate what I know to fuel Melvin. At the same time though, Melvin would manipulate me and even though I knew via my major what I was doing was wrong, I couldn’t do it because Melvin controlled me. I was not able to separate.

I began my “fat phobia” (of the dietary kind) probably around the age of eight. I grew up eating the Southern staples of butter rice, butter pasta, buttered peas. Then I stopped. No butter rice,  no butter pasta, no butter on my peas. No butter on toast. No butter on my grits. If I was eating a dish and could see oil separation I would not eat it (I am still that way, there is just something about seeing fat/oil separation on a dish that makes me sick).

Just like Jenni, if my eating disorder allowed fat, for example in a binge, I would eat all the fat I want. Usually in the form of cupcakes or nut/seed butters. Then I would have to exercise it off and begin the whole cycle again.  My body would never catch up to the needs it craved. My body would be tired and weak from this cycle of bingeing and purging and not getting the nutrition I needed.

After much discussion with others and using my knowledge of nutrition I am getting more comfortable with fat. Fat keeps hunger at bay. It aids in fullness and helps regulate your blood sugar. I look at my cabinet and can’t believe all the variety of oils in my pantry, or healthy fatty foods in my fridge. One would not be able to guess I had a “fat phobia”. I have coconut oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, canola oil, vegan butter, avocados, sunflower seeds, sunflower/pumpkin seed/soynut butter, eggs, coconut yogurt. I will admit I still struggle with dietary fat. There are days I am preoccupied with how much I ingested or the saturated fat content. I will have thoughts of no fat, or limited fat, or I am getting fat because of my oils and avocados. It is then I have to separate and revisit my nutritional knowledge. That I am doing my body a favor not a dis service. And maybe one day I will relive my childhood and eat butter rice or pasta-all with vegan butter of course.

Soulprint, part 4

Almost done with Soulprint. I have just finished section four, getting ready to start the last section. I will say this has been one motivating and challenging book. For those who are new to this blog or checking this out for the first time you can look at these previous entries to see what I have been sharing: https://imageoftheheart.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/soulprint-part-3/, https://imageoftheheart.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/soulprint-part-2/, https://imageoftheheart.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/soulprint-part-1/

Out of all the sections so far I believe this past one was the most challenging and provoking for me. There was a lot that spoke to me and provided a lot of discussion in my therapy sessions.the title of part four was called Alter Ego. All about who we are inside, who we are when no one is looking, breaking down barriers, being awkward, and letting ourselves become embarrassed, which all leads to greater intimacy with God, our self, and others.

Here we go….

*But we need to be embarrassed for the same reason we need to fail: it keeps us humble. And humility is the key to fulfilling our destiny.

*All we have to do is stay out of the way. And the way we stay out of the way is by staying humble. If we stay humble, there is nothing God cannot do in us and through us. And nothing expands our capacity for humility like embarrassment.

*Embarrassing moments…purge the ego of prideful impurities.

*Few things are as freeing as a little embarrassment. It frees us from the burden of pretense, and it forces us to stop taking ourselves so seriously. In a sense, embarrassment is one way we die to self. And dying to self is one way we come to life.

*Too many people live as if the purpose of life is to avoid embarrassment at all costs. They never put themselves in situations that might be awkward. So they forfeit joy. They never reveal who they really are. So they forfeit intimacy. They never take risks. So they forfeit the opportunity. They try to avoid embarrassment at all cost, and the cost is their souls. Or should I say, their soulprints.

*Criticism is a defense mechanism for fragile egos. We criticize in others what we don’t like about ourselves. And part of our soulprint dies in the process.

*You have to be stripped of the things you find your identity in. You have to let go of the things you find your security in. And it will feel like you are losing yourself in the process. But it is only in losing yourself that you truly find yourself.

*Is there something you find your identity or security in outside your relationship with Christ? Is your identity based on who you are or whose you are? Is your identity based on what you can do for Christ, or is it based on what Christ has done for you? Do you find security in what you have? Or is your security solely found in the seal the Holy Spirit set on you when you submitted to the Lordship of Christ? Discovering your soulprint means finding your identity and security in Christ alone. He becomes your identity. He becomes your security. Nothing else. Nothing less. And the Cross becomes your status symbol.

*The way you see yourself is determined by what you base your identity on. And you have lots of choices. You can base your identity on how you look or who you know. You can base your identity on what you do or how much you make doing it. You can base your identity on titles or degrees. You can even base your identity on what you wear or what you drive. There are a million factors that form the composite of our self-concept, but all of us base our identities on something. And what we base our identities on will make us or break us spiritually.

*Are you willing to do things that feel awkward, like kneel at an altar or obey a crazy prompting of the Holy Spirit or have a tough conversation with a good friend? If you are, then God can use you!

I’m a woman, W-O-M-A-N…

March is Women’s History Month so I want to share some of my favorite female role models, inspiring women, with you today. It is hard to really pin down my favorites or those who have made an impact on my life/lives of other females.  Sometimes making a list brings out the worst of the perfectionist in me because I always feel like I am excluding someone or missing out, maybe even offending someone. So I am not going to worry about it. I will stick with ten women and that will help me stay on track.

The following women below all have one or more of these qualities: strength, beauty, class, humanitarianism, fights for rights, artistic, pioneers in their field of work, hard working, religious, bravery, a champion, and can serve as a role model.

1) Audrey Hepburn

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“The beauty in a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart; the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring and that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows and the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”

2) Maya Angelou

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If you have not noticed from previous entries, especially:  https://imageoftheheart.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/when-you-dont-know-what-to-say-let-maya-angelou-do-the-speaking/

3) Loretta Lynn

3) June Carter Cash

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Fun fact:   June learned to play autoharp by her mother Maybelle Carter.  The Carter’s are from VA.

4) Condoleeza Rice

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Fun fact: She is the ONLY female who belongs to Augusta. Which is an all male golf club that holds the Masters Tournament.

5) Gloria Steinem

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6) Isadora Duncan

7) Pina Bausch

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Check out my previous entry on Pina here to learn more about her and see some of her work:

https://imageoftheheart.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/dance-dance-or-we-all-are-lost/

8) Rachel Carson

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“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” Silent Spring

9) Michelle Kwan

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Who didn’t want to be her in the 90s? I had the necklace and all the books. Kwan was the reason I took up figure skating in elementary school.

10) Oprah Winfrey

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Starving for Love

I was reading through my recovery journals and I came across this article that I had penned in my journal. I can’t remember where I got it, but I love it just as much now as I did then.  Enjoy!

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Starving for Love, by Nina Savelle-Rocklin LMFT

Disordered eating can be an expression of an internal conflict about needs. We all have basic needs for love, attention, comfort and so forth. If those needs are not met, or not consistently met, people feel humiliated about having needs. That’s when “needs” are seen as “neediness” and experienced as something negative, to be avoided.

Those struggling with anorexia resolve this conflict by restricting food and often relationships. The unconscious thought is: “I don’t need anything, not food, and not friends.”

Men and women dealing with binge eating disorder resolve this conflict by attaching all their needs to food. They unconsciously believe: “People can’t be trusted to meet my needs consistently so I will always have a relationship with food, which is always available, always consistent, and fills up my internal emptiness.”

People struggling with bulimia combine the two strategies by expressing their needs by bingeing, and then purging their perceived neediness. Their unconscious thought: “I need so much, so I will binge. But I hate that I have needs, so I will purge.”

What do you need more of in your life? In what areas do you feel deprived? What’s it like to think about your own wants and needs?

When you can change you relationship to yourself, you relationship with food will change too!

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Peace and Namaste

NEDA Awareness Week Recap

This past week the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) had their yearly awareness week. For those of us suffering from ED’s or better yet, know people who have suffered or died, it is a great way to bring awareness to this disease.  All over America people join together to bring light to this subject through a variety of mediums. Some participate in NEDA Walks, college campus’ (much like my Alma Mater,  ETSU) hold a week worth of activities, buildings get lit up, people watch movies, there is always the NEDA Jeans Giveaway, and more. For the past two years I have participated with my Facebook page. Where I live now currently doesn’t do anything, I might need to change that, so I post daily information/graphics/pictures/stats/positive messages on my page.

I would like to share with you what I posted each day this week. Below you see pictures, articles, and a link to a blog I follow of a fellow dancer in recovery.

Day 1: The theme of this years week was I Had No Idea. I found this graphic and this article that truly backs up their theme. Also, being an individual who has been told, “you don’t look like you have an eating disorder”, that statement hurts more than people will know and it prevented me (and I am sure others too) the treatment they needed….

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Amazing article to go with this:

Weight Stigma Viewed Through the Eating Disorders Lens: Chelsea Fielder-Jenks, M.A., LPC Intern

Day 2: We all need a little encouragement and reminder of how beautiful we are. The below picture also reminds me of how I had a friend who offered to take me out shopping and rip the tags out of them so I wouldn’t know the size, and she even offered to help me with my clothes already in my closet.

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“To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself.”  Simon de Beauvoir

Day 3:  Who doesn’t love a good infographic?

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Day 4: “A good addiction is a contradiction in terms. Anything people cannot give up or must have is not healthy, no matter the activity.” Jody Dean

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Day 5: An awesome read by a blog I follow. It really captures “ED Logic”.Those of us with ED’s all have our own “ED Logic”. I love that I have found a fellow dancer who is sharing her story…

http://thefatballerinablogs.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/eating-disorder-logic/

Day 6:  I love yoga. I love how it helps to manage my anxiety as get me more in harmony with my body. Yoga has been shown in a few research studies to be a good supplement for an ED treatment program. I hope when I go through with my teacher training, I can help those with ED’s through yoga too.

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A good read: http://www.yogapsychology.org/art_yogatherapyfored.html

Day 7:  “Beauty shouldn’t be about changing yourself to achieve an ideal or be more socially acceptable. Real beauty, the interesting, truly pleasing kind, is about honoring the beauty within you and without you. It’s about knowing that someone else’s definition of pretty has no hold over you.” ― Golda Poretsky

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Peace and Namaste.