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Saturday, February 15, 2014

NEDA Walk Orlando 2014 - My Binge Eating Disorder Speech

This morning we had the Nat'l Eating Disorder walk for awareness at Lake Eola in Orlando Florida. We almost got rained out, but it passed quickly and turned out to be a beautiful morning.

We had a lovely singer and then I got to do my little speech, about 9 minutes or so, about Binge Eating Disorder. If the video will post - I'm about to find out - here it is!

I didn't get nervous until it was time to walk out on the stage, and I spend the first 7 minutes or so shifting from side to side. Feel free to scream "Be still!" at the video-me as often as you like. Afterward I pretty much just hugged the first person that I saw so that I wouldn't start crying.

Okay, here's the YouTube link. It's too big to load to Blogger... NEDA Walk Orlando 2014 Speech

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Coping Mechanism

It's nice sometimes to remember that bingeing wasn't my ONLY coping mechanism. For instance, when I was upset enough that I couldn't hide it I would go and take a very long, very hot shower and bawl like a baby. No one could hear me, the heat hid the puffiness and red eyes, and the hot water was very soothing. It still is. I don't necessarily need to go hide in order to cry anymore, but when I'm having a sad day, sometimes a good hot shower is just the thing.

One of my sisters sometimes gets frustrated with me because I never call to "talk it out" when I'm upset. It's hard to explain, but that's not how I'm used to handling things. Sometimes I don't want to talk about IT because it will just make me cry (and I still hate to cry in front of other people) and sometimes there is no IT to talk about. Sometimes No Thing is wrong, or maybe it's just that No Thing is right.

There's a web comic that describes depression quite brilliantly. I imagine almost everyone has seen it, it went around Facebook for a while (which might tell us something about why we're on Facebook to begin with). Here's a bit of it that might explain....

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html
I can have a conversation with you and try to talk about Stuff or No Thing or, sweet jeebus - FEELY Things. But when No Thing is Wrong or No Thing is Right, I can't always tell if I'm doing IT right: talking, smiling, relating, laughing, gesturing. So I get more worried about whatever IT is than about the actual conversation and eventually I just fake being okay so that I can stop being uncomfortable.

Does that make any sense?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Catching Up To Do

It's been too long since I posted last. I have definitely had a busy end of the year, trying new hobbies and dealing with becoming truly diabetic. All things considered, I'm doing pretty well. I have definitely had some ups and downs and a couple of really bad moments, but no binges as of yet - some close calls, the *desire* to binge maybe, and some overeating.

I took up sewing early in the year and have made quite a few skirts for myself (which is new, as I never liked wearing skirts or dresses before). I also made a few costumes for DragonCon 2013 and actually wore them out on the floor (I usually chicken out). Later in the year I went to a painting class for a NEDA (Nat'l Eating Disorder Association) fundraiser and that turned out to be slightly life-altering. I really took to it and have been going back to the class quite a lot and even started painting at home on my own. I'm no great artist, but so far my work isn't too bad.

Here are a few pics of some of my recent sewing:



I didn't actually make the black & white one, I just shortened it. It had an extra layer at the bottom and I'm just too darn short for that! I wore this one to the wedding of some dear friends of ours.

And here's my little art gallery:










I'm also working on a diary project right now, which I will start posting here in a few days. I'm trying to deal with diabetes with "lifestyle changes" and right now that essentially equates to a "diet" for me. I know I shouldn't think of it as such, but it sure feels like a diet. So I'm journaling the experience as a way to survive it and possibly as a way to show people what dieting is really like when you have an eating disorder.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Why This Fatty Quit Going to Your Gym: An Open Letter to Fitness Professionals

An Open Letter to Fitness Professionals

[Please note that this is my personal experience, and I can’t really presume to speak for all overweight people. I’m not an athlete, not even a “fat athlete,” though I understand that some people are. I currently participate in Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating, but right now, today, I am Not Healthy. I am choosing to address that, but first...]

A few years back I used to go to the gym at my University, and I really liked it. Despite my weight, nearly 300 pounds, people left me alone and let me do my own thing. Within about a year there, I had lost over 50 pounds and had gone from barely being able to do 30 minutes on the treadmill to doing 30 minutes on three different machines plus a mile walk for warmup and cool down. But then I graduated and had to find a new gym.

I wasn’t worried about that. I had gotten used to the workouts and was ready for a change, a challenge. No one messed with me or picked on me, and I didn’t anticipate that a new place would be that much different. After all, we were all there to get healthy and were far too busy doing what we needed to do to worry about someone else’s workout.

What I hadn’t counted on were the trainers. Yes, my university had trainers too, but they were students in the fitness courses and I guess there just wasn’t a ton of money to worry about with amateur trainers, or maybe they were doing it for class credit. Either way, I just didn’t see much of them, and they never bothered me.

But out in the real world, things were different. Out in the real world, I met You.

I was ready to increase my workout. I was still doing my own workout three days a week and then I joined Zumba for a fourth, just for fun. I thought that starting to learn weight training would be a good idea. Even better, I got three free sessions with a trainer for signing up and to learn the equipment. Good enough, that sounded like a great idea.

It could have been the best thing that ever happened to my workouts, enriched my gym experience, and set me on a new path for achieving health. Except for You.

You don't get it both ways, you know.

You took one look at me and apparently You knew my whole story. Surely I was a lazy and stupid fatty, joining the gym in January like all of the other fatties (I graduated in December), and had never ever set foot in a gym before. In fact, You knew me so well that You didn’t even need to bother to hear me when I tried to tell You about what I already did, what I was already capable of. What You did do was hand me a print-out of Your special, guaranteed to burn the fat right off workout plan. It didn’t matter that I had existing health problems - that’s why I was trying to get fit and lose weight in the first place - and that despite losing 50 pounds that I still have chronic bronchitis and have trouble breathing well during a workout.

You didn’t care about what I needed from a workout or from a trainer. What You cared about was shoving Your special, soon-to-be-famous program down my throat, whether it was good or safe for me. At any time when I tried to mention my own capabilities and limits, You let me know in no uncertain terms that what I had being doing was completely useless. If I wasn’t working out Your way, at Your suggested intensity, then I was wasting my time (and perhaps, by extension, Your time).

And I tried it. You were the expert, after all. So what if the past year of “wasting my time” had netted me a 50 pound loss? So what if it had worked and had kept me coming back? You had the training, the education, and the experience.

But I was miserable. I hated every workout, and every time You would pass by in the gym I would shrink, worried that I wasn’t doing it right. An entire year of healthy living and 50 pounds gone and suddenly it just wasn’t good enough anymore. *I* wasn’t good enough anymore. Within a couple of weeks I started skipping gym days because I hated it. I felt uncomfortable and self-conscious and worried the entire time during my workouts. Not long after that I just quit going altogether. Exercise was no longer fun, it was just hard and humiliating.

You convinced me that I wasn’t good enough. In truth, that part is my fault, because I let You do it. You reminded me that no matter what I did, no matter how hard I worked, no matter how much weight I lost, that I was still just a lazy, stupid fatty to people like You. I was still an object to be ridiculed and hated. And why should I bother to take care of something worthless?

A person will only stick with something they hate for so long, even if they are doing it for a good reason.

So after all this time, after I gave up on myself and haven’t been back to Your gym, to any gym, for years now, here’s the question I have for You and all the other Trainers and Fitness Experts and Gym Rats and Life Coaches... what’s actually better: The exercise that’s done perfectly or the exercise that I will actually do?

Dear Fitness Professionals, please please just listen and pay attention to me, the “disgusting” fatty (don’t think that I don’t know what you think of me). I can tell you what I am capable of today - it might be even more than You expect. I have a history. I got this way for a reason. It could be that I really *am* lazy and uninformed and spend all day stuffing my face with cake and cheese puffs. But it’s actually more complicated than that. Maybe I’m sick, maybe I got hurt, maybe I’m just broken. Or maybe, it’s just the way my body was made, maybe I’ve been fat since the day I was born, and trying to diet has just made me fatter and fatter.

I am unhealthy today, but I didn’t really plan it that way; I didn’t mean it. But at least now I’m here, in front of You at YOUR gym. Find out why. Find out what went wrong and what I need to fix it. And keep in mind that not every body needs the same thing fixed, nor do they need it fixed in the same way. Maybe I don’t need fixed at all, and I just came to you for advice or for a new challenge. But, for the love of crunches and cheese puffs, don’t assume that You know all about me by looking at the outside - find out what I NEED, and help me get that.


Image from http://www.stumptuous.com/no-fat-chicks

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Brain Freeze

I had a strange moment yesterday.

Not to provide TMI (though really, what else do I do here?), but I noticed that many of my panties are just getting too large on me - the ones I've bought most recently and in a larger size. A couple of pair of pants are too large as well, but that's what belts are for. And I found myself wondering if I should take them in a bit (they are in quite good shape) or just put them away for "when I get big again."

For just a second, my brain froze as something astounding occurred to me...



I am not on a diet.

Image via fitblogger.ca

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pieces of Me

So I found this thing, this letter I wrote to myself in my journal just about a year ago, March 2012. Early in that month I had an episode of Bell's Palsy and was still dealing with a droopy face, pain, and all kinds of trouble with simple stupid things like eating and talking.

This one is kind of special. It isn't really about being fat. It's actually about just being. Maybe even about just being enough.



Here goes...

Can you imagine the things I've been saying to myself? Freak, gimp, ugly, monstrous? The self-hate and self-pity are pretty much back full force. I have let the pity party go on for a couple of days now, but I think I'm getting tired of it.

But those thoughts stick with me. I went to bed and had a good long cry. I just let myself feel my feelings(!). Pity, yes, but also anger, and fear, and sadness, and shame. I have depleted myself; I am sick, as sick as I've ever been, broken and stressed out and just finished. I make myself smaller to make other people feel bigger. I have spent my whole life chipping off pieces of myself to shape into something acceptable to someone else. I don't think that there are many more pieces left. I'm a shell. I am afraid that I am too sick to ever get well again.

I am sad for the little girl inside who is so lost and alone among these little statues of me that I keep creating. I'm ashamed that I found her too unworthy to just let her be.

So I'm angry. I'm angry at me for doing this to myself, angry at everyone else for letting me do it. I'm angry that people need me to be something for them. I'm angry that they need me to be "less than." I'm angry that different people need me to be different things; I'm angry that the same people sometimes need me to be conflicting things. I can't be pretty, and perfect, and normal and also broken enough to not be scary.

Because I would be scary. I AM scary, if I were to let these people see all of me at once. A lot of it is luck or hard work, but I'm actually kind of awesome. I'm smart, I'm talented, I'm nice, I have a great life, a great partner, a great job. I have enough. I have the things I need to get by and I have a few really great people who I have chosen to be in my life. I'm stronger than I let on and I'm better at a lot of things than I seem to be. But I compartmentalize those things because I want everyone to feel bigger than me. All of me at once is too much.

Yes, I am big. I am huge. I am more than meets the eye. I have hated this body for so long, not realizing how it has served me, protected me, and even housed all those beautiful little statues that I trade in and out as needed: Perfect Daughter, Perfect Sister, Perfect Wife, Perfect Diet Girl. I am just as big as I've needed to be to hold all those pieces of all that amazing stuff that is me. I have earned every fat cell, every wrinkle, every grey hair, every scab, every scar, every damage, every bit of broken heart. I have done all of this to myself in order to survive. I am a museum of wonderful and horrible things.

I can no longer be everything to everyone, but I am everything I need to be and that's going to have to be enough for all of them. Because I'm done tearing myself down and building smaller, more acceptable versions of myself. Any future building to be done will be done in order to support me, sustain me, and heal me.

Now on Adios Barbie!

Happy news! Earlier this year I took a chance and applied for an internship at an online magazine called Adios Barbie, one that I had been following on Facebook for a while. They have been one of my favorite sources for body-positive information and uplifting articles. Well, I did get the internship and I am writing at least one article a month for them now.

My first article went up on the site this week and I am so proud that I could pop! Now, those of you who have been reading this blog all along (thank you, thank you!!) will have already seen most of the content of this article. I drew large portions of it from my very first blog post, by way of a kind of introduction of myself and Binge Eating Disorder to the Adios Barbie readers.



So, here's a link to the Adios Barbie version. Let me know what you think!