Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Roar.


First I would like to extend an apology for making you read this. I know it’s not going to be pleasant, and it’s not Sherry who is telling you this stuff. It’s just me, Crazy Des. Sherry asked me to write some of my story for you, and I will be honest, I had serious reservations. I do want to share, but I know that sharing the worst part of me will change what you think of me, and that is terrifying. But sometimes people go through crap, and their experiences can be useful, maybe even inspirational, for other people. So here I go.

I don’t want to provide a fake illusion for you in any way. I haven’t stepped on top triumphantly. I am not displaying a successful turnaround, and in fact, nothing of the sort. I have made progress, but only inside my head. I think a lot about these things, but I lack the ability to follow through. I think I am weak as ever. The student status has been unkind to me in seeking help, which is something I have always wanted, but I do promise you, you people who are reading this, that I really will seek help when the bank account is more willing.

I guess I could start at the beginning, for simplicity’s sake. I think I could say the problems began around 10 years ago, when I was in Grade 8 or 9. It began, first, with a tendency to eat lots of food and in secret, and eventually when the preoccupation for the “perfect body” settled itself in my mind, the obsession with eating and being skinny grew. Now, it’s a twisted two-sided issue.

But if we go back down memory lane, I think I can pinpoint the beginnings of “overeating” to a very, very young age, maybe like 10 or younger. I remember sitting on a beach with my family, and having just eaten lunch, I asked Mom, “hey, what’s for supper?” And she looked at me and said, “Des, you just ate.”

A couple of years later I taught piano lessons to my younger brother, and I bought candy as an incentive for him to practice, but I ate the bags of candy before it even made it to a single lesson. And worst of all, I remember making cake batter, loving eating it, and hiding it in my closet so I could keep eating it away from judging eyes. 

Then came the self-loathing. I grew up. My body changed. I gained weight. I lost weight. I gained weight. Back and forth, never happy, ever consumed. Having an addictive tendency for food and having a preoccupation with being skinny do not mesh well together. It’s a constant battle in my head: what do I really want? I want both. Well, I can’t win. Either way I am miserable in some way. Either way I will lose sacrifice something, but how badly do I want to lose one thing to get the other? I'm trying to have both, but I can’t have both. By trying to restrict the food in order to get the body, I go nowhere. Moreover, my weight loss attempts are intense and short-lived, and yet I hate the alternative lifestyle. Messy.

I don’t blame anyone for these problems. I don’t even blame myself. If I didn’t have this problem, I would have another problem. It’s part of life, being given hard things to deal with. Some of the worst parts of an eating disorder, though, is not feeling that you really have the control of what goes in your mouth, and how worthless you feel in the eyes of others, or when you look in the mirror, or when you see pictures of yourself. The worst part about my eating disorder, is that I feel I have zero chance at marriage because of what I look like. And there is so much more to me than what I weigh! Nasty, nasty stuff.

So after having beaten myself up I think it’s clear that has to stop. But when you have complex problems in which there are many ways to attack to make it better it gets overwhelming if you try all at once. One thing to work on at a time is the only way, I found, to really work on an issue.

And that is what I am doing now. I am working on one or two things. It’s hard. I also try to remember that what you look like is only one part of you. Albeit it’s important to many people, it’s not important to everyone.

Anyway, I hope that helped, or something. It definitely helped me to write it out! Thanks!


Into Adolescence.

So, I have briefly brought you up to the point where I grew into a woman and in my head all I could think about was that I was growing out of my pants. I had always heard that not fitting into your pants anymore was a bad thing, so how was I supposed to know it was not the same for a 13 year old!?

Because I am a super ambitious and self disciplined person, feeling that dieting and thinness equals success and respect as a person caused me to latch on, and it still is a struggle for me to not define myself so much with my appearance. Even if I truly get it one day, this ideas is everywhere around us and I can get thrown back into those patterns of thought. It is in the mall, at school, in movies and even spoken of in families by the people you love most and seek their approval. I have to be aware of the messages that are being sent about what makes a great and desirable woman and reject the ideas that we are here to merely satisfy the eye. In other words we are often reduced to a body. As a makeup artist, I have worked with models and I have seen how they are often treated. One model talked me about it can be hard because when on a fashion shoot, she is treated as if she is just a body without a mind or personality. They seriously forget that there is a human inside. Then, we look at an even greater extreme and think how the women feel who are prostitutes or posing for pornography. Please don't think that I am a feminist. Women can and often do value men for the wrong reasons too!

Others may see us this way, but that does not mean that we have to see ourselves this way. I am beautiful because I am kind, I am intelligent, I am generous, I am forgiving, I am determined, I am pure, and the fact that I am a woman makes my appearance beautiful. I truly do not believe that there is such thing as an ugly woman. A good friend of mine told me that once. He said, that to him, woman are like sunsets. One may prefer some over the others, but it is impossible for a woman to be ugly. He said that it is in their very nature to be beautiful. I am so grateful for him and his perspective. I believe that this is how God sees his daughters.

So, somewhere a long the way I chose to believe that I was fat and it does not matter what size I have been, that belief did not change. Realizing this, if it is possible to believe you are fat when you are not, then it should be possible to believe you are thin no matter what size you are. It has more to do with what you think of yourself then the number on the scale or on the pants.

Well, those are my thoughts for the day. I did not feel like going too much into my past today because I am having a rather hard day. Thanks for reading.

I love you Daddy!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

MC Hammer knows what's up!

It is true, that I have come a long way and that I am in a much better place physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually than I once was. I have figured a lot of crap out with much study, discussions, contemplation and prayer, but I would be a lier to you and myself if I said I was done in my progression. Are you ever a perfect daughter, a perfect friend, a perfect parent? It is a process and you learn as you go. I am in a very good place, but I am still very cautious about what magazines I look at, what internet sites I read, whose face book page I go on and even my own thoughts that drift through my mind during the day. I avoid things that encourage me to feel like I am not good enough. And you know what, that is what most advertisements aim to do. If marketers can make us feel inadequate, then they succeed. This is the golden ticket into our pocketbook.

I try to not live my life for men, for my boss, for even my family and especially not society. I live for God, and I base my decisions around what pleases Him. When I do this, I naturally am good to my family, I am an honest and hardworking employee, and I treat my body with respect. I also am at peace (this is the best part). I am not running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to please everyone. I was reading my journal the other day and I came across a paragraph where I said. "Today I promised God that if He would help me overcome my trial with food and give me a key to healing, that I would share it with others."

This is me fulfilling that promise. I do have the keys to being free from the chains of disordered eating and I want to share them with you each day through my blog. There are many that I have found and although I will share, they may not necessarily be for everyone because we are all different. However, there is one overarching one that applies to all. Whether you believe in God or not does not change the fact that He believes in you.

I am done with wishing that Sherry was not Sherry. I love Sherry. She is not here to please the fashion or fitness industry (although they are SO fun and enrich my life greatly, they do not determine if I am good enough).

I am not trying to convert anyone to my religion through this blog. I am fulfilling my promise that I made that if He helped me I would share the key. Now I know that He is the key. If you want help, Pray. Ask him for help. Ask him to see you the way that he sees you. Your whole world will change from the inside out. I promise.

o...and if you are wondering about the title of this post... this is a part of his song that I really like...

Time and time and time and time again
I kept on knocking, but these people wouldn't let me in
I tried and tried and tried and tried to make a way
but nothing happened til the day I prayed
That's word, we pray
we got to pray
Just to make it today

I love you Daddy!

Monday, February 27, 2012

How did fat become a feeling?

It seems silly to think back, but as a little girl I was way overly concerned with my fat. I remember getting on the scale when first hitting 80lbs and I was soooo very very upset. I remember locking myself in the bathroom and crying as I lay on the floor. To be honest, I still don't really get it. To show you just how silly this is, I have attached a picture of what I looked like at around this age. I am the girl on the left with the blue sleeveless shirt.I would look in the mirror constantly and I remember when I was even younger than this (in grade one) I would not get out of the pool without wrapping my hands around my body so that no one could see my stomach. I was close to the smallest girl in my grade up until gr 8/9 when I started to grow. Then it was disaster. I did not understand that a girl in puberty would gain body fat and as a result when my hips and chest grew my world seemed to be falling apart. I remember going to the bathroom and look down at my hips which had stretch marks and I felt an immense amount of pain. I stil don't get it. I am not quite sure why I had so much pain, I think because they were an outward symbol of what I believed was an inner fault in me.

It wasn't until about a year ago in university that I learned that women naturally have a round belly to protect their ovaries. Isn't that sad how society looks at a rounded belly as undesirable, and a flat stomach as some beautiful ideal? God created most women with that trait so that they could be protected in fulfilling part of their mission as a woman. In other words so that we could take part in God's creation of another human being!!! There is nothing more honorable that a woman can do then team up with God in creating life!!! Yet, many woman I am sure would give anything to have that coveted flat stomach.

So what is the moral of this post!? Fat is not bad, it does not make you bad. AND, just because you feel fat, does not mean that you are. Look at that picture of me. I felt so fat. Your feelings don't always tell you the truth and besides fat is not a feeling it is a highly sophisticated collection of cells. Now that is optimism at it's best!!

I love you Daddy!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

How I AM doing.

As I thought about what to post for today, I decided to jump ahead a bit, or a lot before I continue my story. I want to write about how I am doing today. This way as I talk about my past, everyone can know that I am doing well in the now and that the past is quickly fading.

Life is good. No. Life is great. I feel so blessed to have my life. I feel blessed to have my body. It is beautiful, not because it meets society's standards of appearance because frankly it doesn't and I am beginning to realize that I prefer it that way.

My pledge is to live and love a healthy life style because I love and respect my body and the gift of life. When I decided how I wanted to live in relation to health then I could set it aside and focus on being kind and grateful and more concerned about others. There is a fine line there, because you must take care of yourself in order to best take care of others. In other words, completely neglecting you is not the answer, but nor is only thinking about you.

I am like a knife. Both a knife and I have a purpose in our creation. What good is a knife if it just hangs on a wall looking shiny for all to see. What a waste of a good knife! But, imagine that knife is being used and never sharpened. Eventually that knife would not be as valued as it once was and when given a choice, you would pick another knife over it. This poor knife that once was great, now feels worthless. How sad!! Its worth did not change! It is a knife like every other knife! The only difference is that it worked too hard to be and live up to what others expected of it, that it neglected itself and did not take the time be sharpened.

The purpose of my creation as a woman is not to sit around and look pretty. Although feeling attractive is a great thing and even a big part of me, it is not my purpose. I know now that I do certain things everyday to keep my self "sharp". I exercise, I get 7-8 hours of sleep, I plan what I eat and I eat what I plan, and I enjoy keeping my appearance neat and clean. I do these things because they make me a better tool in God's hands. I am free from disease, I am awake and confident and ready to take what the world throws at me.

As far as food, I avoid sugar, flour, salt, saturated fat, eating in the late evening and snacking. I plan 3 meals using the Canada food guide as my reference point and when I make a plan for the day, I stick to it even when I really don't want to. My body learns to trust my spirit when I make sure that my spirit is strong and true.

My relation with food is rather strict, and in no way am I advocating that everyone do what I do. Just because a pair of glasses or jeans looks good on me, does not mean that you should go out and buy yourself some expecting the same result.

What I do advocate is that you discover what works for you. And above all else, be content with where you are at and be happy. TRUST ME when I say that you will not be happy WHEN you are skinnier. Life is great! Our bodies are great! Today I am happy and tomorrow I will make the same choice. :)

I love you Daddy!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My first weight loss attempt.

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for their wonderful responses to my first post. I have already achieved my goal of helping someone else and hope that my sharing will continue to do that. I was so happy yesterday because of all the the positive feedback so thank you! I would have liked to follow someone else's struggle while I was in my own, so I will continue.

In an effort to tell my story chronologically I decided to start with my first attempt to lose weight that I can remember. I wish I remembered exactly how old I was, but I was young enough to not truly understand the concept of weight loss and how it works. My guess is that I was 5 or 6 years old.

I was sitting on the pink carpet in my mother's room while she was going through my Dad's laundry. I don't remember that much, but what I do remember is that as she held up a pair of his jeans and told me that she is going to have to buy Daddy some new jeans because he had been very stressed lately and as a result he had lost weight.

Her remark was innocent but for whatever reason my mind clung on to that idea like my fuzzy mittens on a the hooks of velcro. No, I do not wear velcro shoes. I speak of my winter jacket. If you are not from the north, take my word: It is annoying. Anyway, I was enthused by the idea that I had found the key to weight loss: I must be stressed! So, for the next week or so I would try really hard to be stressed. I imagine there are not many weighty things that a 6 year old can stress about, but I tried! Perhaps I would try to get worked up when someone would take my spot by my mom at the dinner table or even worse eat with my minnie mouse spoon! Soon enough I realized that it was not working and I gave up. I envied my Dad for his ability to lose weight from stress, and I wondered if something was wrong with me.

I also remembering believing when I was young that Grandpas lost their fingers like they do their teeth and hair because my grandpa was missing fingers. As a child's perspective of the world broadens he or she begins to comprehend what is normal and what is not. For example, in time I learned that most grandpas in fact do have all of their fingers, but for a long time my grandpa was the only one I knew and he was missing hair and fingers!

So, I use this example to show that children take life as they see it. The family is a primary reference point for them in understanding the world. Eventually I figured out that stress can cause weight loss because one may lose his apetite, and that stress was not a direct cause of weight loss. So, we are not children anymore but sometimes I wonder if we are as silly in buying into new weight loss fads that really don't make any sense. If I had talked to my mom about my ideas, she would have helped me to sort out my misconceptions. Because she was wiser than I, she would have been able to help me avoid a stressful week of fighting over a minnie mouse spoon! :)

Similarly, I believe that God has a greater perspective than all of us. He understands our bodies better than any Doctor or Dietician, for he is the one that created us! Doctors and Dieticians of sorts are wonderful because they have taped into God's knowledge and are helping us apply the application of truths about the body into our daily lives. However, I believe that no one on this earth understands me better than God. He not only understands my body like a doctor, but he understands perfectly my past, my present and my future-- something that my Doctor will never know. Not only does God have a complete and perfect perspective, but he knows my most private thoughts and feelings.

I have done a lot of work in my recovery, but never once did I stop praying for God to guide me. Through his guidance I have been led to therapist, friends, support groups, books, church leaders and family who all have been key players in helping me to change.

In summary, I have learned to be careful what I instantly believe. Even if I think I understand, oft times I don't. When I turn to God in prayer each day, he helps me sort out what I referred to in my last blog as "the trash in the wind." We don't want no trash now do we! Til tomorrow y'all!

I love you Daddy!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Post numero un!

This blog is going to focus on the joys of being healthy. Too often it is tempting to feel deprived or frustrated when your initial ambition to live a healthy lifestyle all of a sudden becomes drudgery when you are next to your friend eating a cookie while you are eating ummm like tofu. :) I have struggled for much of my life with figuring out how to have a good relationship with food and my body in the society that we live in. There are messages flying everywhere like trash in the wind about how you should look and what you should or should not eat. The war goes back and forth between, going with the flow and living life "normally" versus living with boundaries. I have chosen the latter, but this is not the answer for all. This is the answer for me. This blog will be devoted to telling my story in hopes that I may be a light and strength for someone else. You will know many things about me that I have never told anyone before. How I used to eat and throw up, how I used to diet feeling like I was not beautiful enough, how I used to not be able to sleep because of hunger and lay there in bed feeling like I was dying, how my heart rate dropped to 37 when I was too thin, my experience with overeaters anonymous and how the world treated me when I was fat. Most importantly what I will share though is how I have overcome. How I have learned to find a balance in life and focus on what is truly important. It will be a blog of gratitude for my body and for what it allows me to do. It will share the joys of living the healthy lifestyle that I am committed to. It will share how I came to where I am today, and about the people that helped form me along the way, including and especially God.

I love you Daddy!