Weighty Matters

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Nourishing Recovery

Feeding my recovery is as important as feeding my body. It’s sometimes more difficult. Protein, veggies, fruit, fluids, the occasional carbs, good fats — that kind of nourishment I understand and everything is readily accessible. Figuring out the nourishment for my emotional and mental recovery is challenging because what I need changes and it isn’t something I can find at the supermarket.

I’m still focusing on the “success breeds success” idea. By acknowledging each positive step, every good day on my food plan, making my daily exercise goals, I positively reinforce myself for my own effort. It’s like a self-delivered pat on the back and “atta girl” instead of a head slap. This nourishes the mental aspect of my recovery. When I do it successfully, it helps me do it successfully again the next time.

I guess it’s the emotional aspects that are the most challenging to feed and reinforce. Maybe it’s more that they can be the most uncomfortable to examine and then develop new ways of feeling and reacting which leads to improved, healthier choices. Choosing an attitude of gratitude first thing in the morning helps. Feeling grateful sets me up in a good way and opens up my spirit. Owning my awesomeness might have sounded cutesy to some, but it’s serious stuff to me. As confident as I am in many areas of my life, I can backslide into esteem issues.

Recognizing the challenges and setting up a proactive mindset usually impacts my emotions. Thinking of things for which I’m grateful, leads to voicing those things and that creates the positive emotion. If I acknowledge an awesome thing about myself — whether it’s an ability, an attitude, an — and really own it, that makes it real and keeps my esteem and the way I feel about myself at a good, steady level.

Even choosing this as a topic matters. It reinforces the importance of tending my recovery, nourishing it with everything that it needs to grow and thrive. My recovery isn’t just important. It’s important. Without it, my life and health can disintegrate. I want to always remember this and keep putting the emphasis on it that it deserves and needs. That I need.

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Unfocused and Unproductive

Ever since Wednesday, I’ve had problems focusing on tasks. I appear to either get distracted by outside forces or manage to distract myself. As a result, I feel unproductive in all areas of my life.

I loathe not being productive. It drives me crazy. I am an efficient, get-it-done person. This doesn’t mean that I can’t kick back and relax. I don’t need to be accomplishing tasks every second, minute and hour of every day. Au contraire, I can spend hours on a warm day lolling on my porch and reading a good book.

So what’s the difference? Why is it roiling me up and emotionally affecting me now? Simple. It’s because I’m not making the conscious choice to relax and let the world spin around without me. I feel like it’s somehow out of my control. That’s the danger zone. When I feel like some area of my life is not within my control, I generally see an increase in my eating impulses. It’s like when one thing’s off kilter, it drives the rest of my life out of balance, too. Or, when one thing’s off kilter, I feel like my life is out of balance which stresses me out and triggers the desire to eat.

Crazy stuff, huh? Conversely, I can have a dozen projects going at once, be in charge of keeping them moving and in balance, and that won’t stress me out in the least. When I set the projects in motion, I’m golden. Now, if someone else has put the plates on the wobbly poles and then made it my responsibility to keep them spinning, that’s different. Again — it’s the balance between what is mine to control and what isn’t.

None of this actually makes good sense to me. You’d think that if I had an area out of my control, I’d work harder to keep other areas in line and functioning according to plan. As I ponder this whole thing, I wonder if I have a knee jerk reaction, decide that lack of perfection is an unbearable character flaw, and then punish myself by compulsively eating.

This is really messed up thinking. Then again, nobody claimed that those of us with disorders are the last bastions of rational thought at all times. Nor do I pretend that rational thought and rational behavior go hand in hand anyway.

So for right now, today, I’m trying to mitigate the damage. I’m telling myself that it’s okay for me to once in a while be unfocused and unproductive. Okay, I can’t accept that completely. Unfocused and not-quite-as-productive-as-I-usually-am will have to do. My life is not going to crash and burn. The sky will not fall. All is and will be well. I’ll get to that “being well” part sooner if I resist the urge to let my eating disorder pile on the pressure. I really don’t have to inappropriately eat over the whole thing.