Spark People and ED (eating disorders)
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
As I wrote in an earlier blog, I have an eating disorder. Right now, iit is pretty much in control in that I'm not overly restricting calories....In fact, sometimes I wish I could sort of operate it by command. In other words, have it affecting me SOMEWHAT, but not overly so...It would surely help my weight loss efforts.
The only ways it is affecting me right now are:
1) In the way I view my body. I look at myself and all I can see are blobs of fat at every conceivable view. I am grossed out by my body...and while I can sort of, in a detached way, celebrate the fact that I am thinner than I was....I still see that I have "miles to go before I sleep"....and these woods are certainly dark and deep. This helps my weight loss effort sometimes in that it makes me work harder and it gives me more drive....but itcan also have the reverse effect because it looks to me like I have SO FAR to go that it seems to be impossible. Those are the days, when I just eat- blindly, and self-punitively. Or else, I'll eat nothing....and feel very depressed and hopeless about myself.
2) It also affects me at night. I have this horrible disorder (which I am told is actually a separate eating disorder in its own right), where I will wake up...between two times and -yes, believe it or not- ten times a night and go to the kitchen and eat. I don't usually eat a lot on each visit...a diet pudding, or a handful of frozen grapes...or a cup of cereal...but when you multiply it by TEN, you have yourself a problem. You might say, "SIMPLE: just DON't go to the kitchen; don't ALLOW yourself to eat!" If I did that, I would experience horrible anxiety...it would be like being deprived of a cigarette...I wouldn't sleep. I would pace the floor...and ultimately, I have no control...I'd find myself back in the kitchen.
So the way I'm dealing with this is by the damage control approach. I only allow myself SMALL snacks. I do not keep ANYTHING in the house that might tempt me and I mean NOTHING. (You would think that would stop me, but I'd end up eating a piece of bread or some other unlikely snack item). I deliberately have on hand small snacks that are easy to get in the middle of the night (ie: don't require any prep) that are low in calories. The fact is that at these times, I have ZERO self control. No matter how hard I try; how motivated I am during daylight to conquer this...at night...I'm back at ground zero. And the other thing I do is I only eat to my MINIMUM calorie goal during the daytime. I will never exceed 1200 calories during the day. And I "save" the rest, for night time. I've only added up the actual calories consumed, once or twice. Usually I don't even know how many times I've visited the kitchen, nor what I actually ate. Sometimes it's worse than at others. If I'm having a bad night in terms of pain (I suffer from chronic, intractable pain), then I know it is much worse. I guess because I'm up more and also because I'm trying to comfort and distract myself from the pain.
My eating disordered thinking is also evident in my very much all or nothing mentality. I have made progress along these lines however, throughout the years. And I do not hate myself with the passion I used to. I am still extremely critical of myself and I tend to project my own critical thinking about myself onto others and to feel that everyone feels that same way about me as I do. I also tend to be rather extreme in my moods...either up or down. Rarely in the middle. (that is also because I have bipolar disorder as part of my diagnosis).
So, to sum it up. Having an eating disorder is its own particular hell. And, unlike what you might think, it is not necessrily a friend to someone who is trying to lose weight. It also makes that endeavor a bit scary...sort of like a tightrope walk. You must try to be extremely aware of yourself and of the way you're thinking and eating, so as to avoid falling off into the land of severe restriction and unhealthy living. All in all, Spark People has been a great help to me in regard to surviving and thriving despite an eating disorder. Despite it's focus on food and exercise - which can be a mine-field for a person with ED - it is a POSITIVE focus. And yes, there is an emphasis on control; self-control....and taking control of your life. And controling what you put into your mouth. I would have to feel that I was in control anyway...It is so much better to offer me positive ways of doing that rather than negative ones. Also, I would be focused on food ANYWAY...how much better to make it in ways like, trying new recipes...learning more about nutrition....counting calories but with a healthy total in mind....
Spark People takes all the negative extremes of an eating disorder and turns them around...and actually USES those strengths and focii to help you be healthy and live a healthy life style. I could never diet safely again. But I CAN manage what I put into my mouth and how I choose to use my body...and Spark People has helped me to see and to do that.