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Wednesday, August 23 2017
How Can You Combat the ED Voice

Are you in the beginning stages of an eating disorder? The question is blunt, but if any of you are like me, you may be browsing Manna's blog to get some sort of gauge or grip on where you really stand in the complicated world of ED. If you look on the internet or WebMD definition of and eating disorder, it probably involves BMI and cookie cutter symptoms that a person may or may not experience; however, the only true indicator of mentally ill and needing help is an individual’s state of mind and how much the disordered thoughts run one’s everyday life on a day-to-day basis.

Are you constantly worried about your weight? Are you obsessed with what you do or do not allow yourself to eat? Are you a prisoner to strict rules and regulations? Are your joyful times in life over shadowed by anxiety, fear, regret, and shame? If so- there is hope. No human being deserves to be plagued by the little voice in the back of his/her mind that states over and over again, “you are not good enough” because that voice lies.

If rules, regulations, regret, shame, and food rule your mind, there are a few tips that you can take into battle to help you win the war.

1. Fact-Check

Do you ever look in the mirror and feel as though you have no idea what or who to believe about yourself, your body, or your health? Have you ever wondered, “why does my body need this food?” or “will I be changed from this one meal?” – I have. Still to this day I have a trusted friend and my husband to fact check with when the eating disorder voice is screaming so loud that I can’t hear my own thoughts.

True life example text exchange from my husband and myself:

When I cannot tell reality from ED, I solicit help. Fact checking with a person who knows my struggles and will answer in a pro-recovery manner gets my head back on the right track. Reach out to someone and fact-check when you need reassurance. It is a game changer.

2. Get to or Have to

When faced with a food, exercise, social, or any decision that can be hard to decipher through the eating disorder thoughts, ask yourself this question. Do I get to __________ or do I have to __________. This is a life-saving practice for me to stay in my wise mind.

Example dialogue that will ensue at a restaurant:

Me: I really want a salad.

Counter Me: Do you really want a salad, or do you want it because it is what ED is telling you it is a healthier option?

Me: Well, if I am honest, ED is kind-of loud….

Counter Me: Do you get to have the salad, or do you have to have the salad?

Me: The chicken sandwich really does sound good to me… I feel as though I am need more protein than the salad would offer.

Counter Me: Get the chicken sandwich.

Me: Thank you, I will.

Asking yourself this important question in ALL areas of your decision making in recovery will help you make the right choice to keep you on track. It takes practice, but my last tip will help you get there.

3. Opposite Action

This is one of the hardest, yet most effective ways to counter and conquer ED thoughts and fears in the battle for recovery… opposite action. There will be fears/hesitations that your eating disorder will stir up in you on a daily basis; you have to challenge that thought and take back control of your body and mind by doing the opposite action.

Let me give you an example:

The other morning I was tempted to run while I was on a walk. Running was my addiction when I was deep in my disorder, so it is a definite NO for me now in my recovery… Well, when I recognized this unhealthy want or need in my body movement, I stopped, acknowledged the ED thought of you should run, and I literally sat down on the curb. That small act of defiance to the ED voice helped my wise mind regain control so I could continue my walk in peace.

Other examples: When ED thoughts tell me to order wheat bread, I get white. When ED thoughts encourage me to do crunches, I journal instead of giving into the exercise demand. When ED thoughts tell me to judge my stomach, I rub it and give myself a compliment. When ED thoughts tell me to use olive oil instead of vegetable oil, I grab that liquid gold and veggie oil it up. When ED thoughts tell me “That is enough to eat”, I take one more bite. This practice has helped ground me in my wise mind and help cultivate a healthier relationship with myself, and I know it can help you, too.

In conclusion, if you are reading this, you either suffer from these debilitating thoughts or want to help someone who is… These three actions can truly jumpstart a person into being more aware of his/her wise mind and begin to diminish the ED thoughts that can weaken even the strongest person. Like all good things, this takes time, but what do you have to lose? Time will pass either way, you might as well learn to live fully present in the moment while you love yourself to the core- that is my hope for you, Fighter.

Posted by: Brooke Heberling AT 09:40 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, August 04 2017
Love More, Fear Less

I have always said that in disorder, sickness grows in the dark. Knowing that this is my experience and belief, when I am quite, my eating disorder is raging beneath the surface in the depths of my mind like a storm building on the horizon. I hear the rumble of you are not good enough in the back of my mind long before the full blown ED brain takes the reigns and commences control of my behaviors and actions. I am still in control when I hear that distant rumble, but if I don’t sound the alarm when it starts, the whirlwind of my disorder can sweep me off my feet before I even have a chance.

I have had this experience with my old weight rules recently, and as I need to sound the alarm on myself, maybe you can use a siren, as well.

When I was deep in my disorder, I had a weight that I could not and would not exceed. If I was getting close to this number on the scale, I would use disordered behaviors… ANY disordered behaviors to see that number get back down to a “safe range” (eye roll inserted) for my liking. Well, when I went to treatment, although I did not know how much I weighed, I had done my research with weight restoration, and I had an idea of end weight goal; and of course, it was well over the allotted amount of space I had always allowed myself to take up in this world… So, after months of fighting and griping, I allowed my weight rule to go up to what the doctors were saying would be the best chance of me being recovered…. But a new rule was silently put into place at this point. Sound familiar?

Although I knew I wanted to get better, my rules for my weight have silently still been in place. I maintained the new allotted weight requirement for a good six months into my recovery, and then I began to gain weight. I know this because I had to buy new clothes, my body was changing and developing, and I felt more energy and strength, as well. Nothing bad, nothing drastic, just new. And I am not sure about you, but new to me can be frightening. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a routine blood-work check-up…  Although I did a blind weight check (when a person does not look at the number on the scale), when the sweet nurse handed me my paperwork summary of the visit, there it was. My weight in all its glory staring back at me on the paper in bold print. My heart sank. I was well over my post treatment weight rule. Well over.

This hit me hard. Super hard. I didn’t talk about it to anyone, I crumpled the paper, and shoved my feelings in the back burner of my mind to fester and smolder for months. Now, in full blown summer vacation/bikini mode, my insecurities are rearing their ugly heads. Instead of owing my body, I am feeling shame. Instead of enjoying the ocean view, I am checking to see if I have gained another roll. Instead of playing the waves with my kids, I am contemplating what others may think of me as they walk by. One word to describe those thoughts and feelings: miserable.

So as I sat in silence, my husband called me out, and we finally spoke of the dark place I had allowed my mind to wonder. We brainstormed reasons one cannot put a cap or limit on weight, and I would like to speak them to you and also to myself:

1.  You are human, not man made.

Duh- it seems so simple, but why do we hold our animate beings to inanimate standards??? All living things fluctuate, grow, evolve, change… why would our weight not do the same? I was born six pounds… thank goodness I have grown since then!

2. Nature is on a constant cycle- so are you.

The moon goes though phases throughout the month, and I bet no one ever judges it. A flower blooms and wilts in its own time, not ours, yet we give it sympathy and grace. The cycle of nature is beyond human power, and our bodies are a part of that cycle. Enjoy each season as it comes. Our bodies are no different.

3. Every body is beautiful. Period.

Sitting on the beach, looking around, I saw all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages of human beings enjoying the day. I thought to myself, what a blessing to have so much diversity in this world. How boring would it be for us all to look perfect? And what is perfect, anyway? I know my perfect sure looked different than my husbands. No one way, shape, color, gender, ANYTHING is perfect, and the sooner we embrace that within ourselves, the sooner we will get to share our light with the world.

After further conversation, a little bit of reality check, and much needed letting go, I came to the conclusion. I need to love more and fear less. My body is not something to fear, it is something to embrace at every shape and stage. My body is not something to shame it is something to show gratitude towards and appreciation to. My body is not something to regulate, it is something that will be a vessel for me on this journey through life… and I better treat it well so that life can be one filled with joy, happiness, and health. Weight is irrelevant to joy. Weight is irrelevant to health. I need to start living those beliefs, not letting rules hold me back from joy. How about you? 

Posted by: Brooke Heberling AT 06:39 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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