So, if you’ve seen my earlier post about prepping for February (if not, it’s here), you’ve no doubt that I’ll be falling asleep equally nervous and excited.
A quick content warning: I will be discussing eating disorders and disordered thoughts, in a personal context. I talk also about the improvements I’ve made recently, and question where I’m heading with these goals of ‘fitness’:
Excited because it (a little oddly) feels like a fresh start, and god knows I’ve missed my flexibility and yoga. Nervous because I’m scared of dancing on the edge: where the eating disorder and “healthy lifestyle”/”clean eating” blend. I’ve seen a lot of friends, from hospital and from home, retake absolute control of their eating in the name of recovery. Using detoxes, cleanses, lifestyle changes – the kinds of things you read about on Fitblrs, glossy women’s health magazines and fancy instagram pages – as a means of letting the ED take over again. These are means of control that are socially acceptable. Therefore, it’s a wonderfully easy excuse. Didn’t have breakfast – no, no I did, it was a juice. That’s a thing now, you know, juicing. And it is! It is when you’re invested for the right reasons. The majority of the time, unless you’re taking your first tumble down the rabbit hole and into the abyss of an eating disorder, I’d say that it’s really about intent. Conscious or otherwise.
Of course, this adds a complex layer to the whole thing. Do I really, genuinely, truly, honestly want to start doing yoga again because I miss it horribly, because I miss how flexible I used to be? Yes! Yes is the answer. Then there’s a silence, and a slow ‘but’: I miss the calories being burnt, I enjoy the idea of toning and leaning up. My interest in ‘health’ is questionable; my interest in being thin, losing weight, is the trump card.
I’m on a dangerous path, perhaps. Teetering about. The past months though, have I been behaving in a disordered fashion? At times, yes, and enough to get EDNOS stamped on my forehead if I so wished. Not binge eating enough for bulimic, and no longer using laxatives or, and we should really take a moment here, even purging. I’ve thrown up five times since being in London. That’s six months. Considering (almost exactly) two years ago my legs were still healing, I had been spending up to AUD$50 a day on foods, solely to throw them up. I was very weak, very depressed but refusing to take my medication (I can’t use this as a comparison: I still have a lot of trouble taking my medications), with gums bleeding almost constantly. I was a wreck, a familiar face in the waiting room, and waitlisted for inpatients before then becoming a day patient. If we compare, I am currently the picture of health.
Let’s do another flashback. Now, one year ago – again, exactly a year ago. I have lost a lot of weight. In day patients I became overweight (by BMI standards) for the first time in my life. Post ankle surgery and two month recovery, I’ve wasted away a little bit. Grey looking from being indoors, at odds with my mother who’s threatening to send me back to the hospital if I don’t eat my porridge (“I would eat it, but this is too much! You’ve made it wrong, it’s disgusting and so much! No one cant eat this much porridge!” Flashback again: day patient program, pouring premade desserts into my porridge, caramel and white chocolate). I’m still five kilos off my lowest weight, but I am beginning to infringe on that ‘ill’ look. I count calories again, I start exercising. I am Bambi, with no muscle to speak of – lying on your back and refusing food for eight weeks will do that to you.
Where am I going with this. A justification perhaps. I am well enough, comparatively, to embark on a month long escape. Back into the world of gyms, classes, sweat, all under the banner of ‘health’. I’ve never been very good at trusting myself, I think this will be a good test.
I’ll keep this all updated. And most importantly, I think, I’ll keep this honest.