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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Intuitive Eating??


It’s Eating Disorder Awareness week. In honor of that I wanted to write a blog a day. Which I have. I haven’t had a chance to post them all, but don’t worry, they’re coming.
I’ve been reading a book. Intuitive Eating. We all read it here, and I have really enjoyed it. My favorite part about intuitive eating is the not dieting part. How great does that sound?? I enjoyed this part of the book, and I wanted to share it with you.
”A dieting body is a starving body. Drastic comparison? No. While a dieting body may not look like a starving person in Ethiopia or Somalia, the “symptoms” from dieting exhibit a striking resemblance to the starvation state. The body does not know that there is a McDonald’s on every corner as you embark on a diet. As far as the body is concerned, it is living in a famine state and needs to adapt. Our need for food (energy) is so essential and primal that if we are not getting enough energy, our bodies naturally compensate with powerful biological and psychological mechanisms. 
The power of food deprivation was keenly demonstrated in a land-mark study conducted by Dr. Ancel Keys during WWII, designed to help family sufferers. The subjects of the study were thirty-two healthy men who were selected because they had superior “ psycho-biological stamina”—superior mental and physical health. 
During the first three months of the study the men ate as they pleased, averaging 3,492 calories per day. The next six months was the semi-starvation period. The men were required to lose 19-28 percent of their weight depending on their body composition. Calories were cut nearly in half, to an average of 1,570 per day. The effects of the semi-starvation were startling, and strikingly mirror the symptoms of chronic DIETING. 
·         <!--[endif]-->Metabolic rates decreased by 40 percent.
·         <!--[endif]-->The men were obsessed with food. They had heightened food cravings and talked about food and collecting recipes. (sound familiar??)
·         <!--[endif]-->Eating style changed—vacillating from ravenous gulping to stalling out the eating experience. Some men played with their food and dawdled over a meal for two hours.
·         <!--[endif]-->The researchers noted that, “Several men failed to adhere to their diets and reported episodes of bulimia.” One man was reported to have suffered a complete loss of “willpower” and ate several cookies, a sack of popcorn, and two bananas. Another subject “flagrantly broke the dietary rules” and ate several sundaes and malted milks, and even stole penny candy.”
·         <!--[endif]-->Some men exercised deliberately to obtain increased food rations.
·         <!--[endif]-->Personalities changed, and in many cases there was the onset of apathy, irritability, moodiness, and depression.
During the re-feeding period when the men were once again allowed to eat at will, hunger became insatiable. The men found it difficult to stop eating. Weekend splurges added up to 8,000-10,000 calories. It took the majority of men an average of 5 months to normalize their eating.
        It’s important to remember that during the era of this classic study, there were no Arnold Schwarzeneggers or fitness and food divas. Nutrition research was just in its infancy. Yet these men experienced a primal obsession with food that was not media-driven or society-driven; rather it was triggered by a biological survival mechanism. Such behaviors had never been observed in these men prior to their food-deprivation encounter! Although this is a classic starvation study, the caloric level is representative of a modern weight-loss diet for men of 1,500 calories. These men were eating. Imagine if the same study were held under today’s pressures to be thin.”
        -- Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, Intuitive Eating, pp. 59-60

I hope you all can see how insane this is. The diet industry didn’t really start until the 1970’s, and did it make America thinner? Nope. The opposite.

I’m just saying. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Good Luck Camilla


Have you guys seen the movie Good Luck Chuck? Me either. BUT, I have heard about it. Today I learned that another one of my ex-boyfriends is engaged. Congratulations. I am jubilant that my former paramour is jubilant. (Anyone know that reference??). Seriously though, I am happy for him and I do want him to be happy, but I’m a little annoyed. His engagement marks the fifth man I’ve dated seriously and broken up with who has married the next girl they dated seriously. (Chris, Chris, Matt, Scott, Matt—apparently if your name is Chris or Matt you have an EXTRA good chance of this working.) Every one of those girls was blonde, fair, and basically the opposite of me physically. And also probably not crazy, which is great. Anyway, I’m convinced that I’m some kind of lucky charm thing.

So, men of the world, if you want to get married, be my boyfriend for at least 5 months. That should do it. (Again, it helps if your name is Matt or Scott.)Then I will break up with you. You will be sad, but then you will meet a beautiful blonde and subsequently thank me for your eternal happiness for the rest of forever. And sing songs about me. (Possible lyrics: “Camilla is great. She and I used to date! She dumped me, but it was fate! She helped me find a mate! Now we can pro-create!”) And name your oldest girl Camilla. And hope she doesn’t have the same problem. 

Beauty.

“All standards of beauty are time limited and arbitrary, determined, as they are, by qualities a particular culture values. You have simply learned the beauty rules of your culture. Indeed, you have learned them too well. . . . Challenge the external authority that taught you to look at yourself with disgust. Who says that one body is more attractive than another?”

--Jane R. Hirschmann, When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies

It’s really weird to me that I tried so hard and almost killed myself to achieve a standard of beauty that is not only bound to change, but also impossible. Seriously. With the amount of photoshopping and airbrushing that happens these days, the media is imprinting on our minds a standard of beauty that can’t and doesn’t exist in real life. Cover models don’t look like that in real life.

Standards of beauty have changed over time. Even in my (relatively) short life, the beauty standard has changed from big hair, broad shoulders, tiny butt in the 1980’s, to waif thin in the 90’s, to athletic (“strong is the new sexy”). Even more pronounced is the changes in beauty standards over time. Historically, paintings, sculpture and other art forms have shown the evolution of beauty. The only consistency is that what is beautiful is determined by what signifies wealth and success. From pale skin and curvy, voluptuous bodies, to skinny and tan. Back in the day, pale skin meant you didn’t have to work outside. A voluptuous body meant you were well fed and therefore well off. NOW a tan means you can afford to travel (or go to the tanning salon), and a thin body means you have the money and time required to maintain it.


Here are some arbitrary beauty rules I have noticed  in my time:

1) Skin should be blemish and wrinkle free
2) Hair should be shiny and full at all times, even when just out of the shower or in bed
3) Men may go bald, get a belly, age . . . their wives must not (see any commercial ever)
4) There should be less of me in the world (“more grains, less you”--Cheerios)
5) You legs should be long and lean even if you were born to be 5 feet tall
6) Face must be symmetrical
7) The body is made to show off current fashion trends, not the other way around
8) You must look like you have makeup on without actually wearing makeup
9) You must be hairless all over your body, except your eyebrows (which must be perfect without grooming), eyelashes, and hair
10) If you are ever happy with your looks, you are not only vain, but also wrong.
11) You must be skinny, but also have a plump behind and full chest. And they must not be fake.
12) Rules are subject to change for no apparent reason. FOREVER. And you must change with them.

Apparently being beautiful is for a select few only. And too bad for the rest of us. Studies have shown, ironically, that people whose features are more representative of the average in terms of size and shape are considered more attractive. So I guess to be beautiful, you have to be average. But the right kind of average. . .

At CFC we’re guarded from the onslaught of media-produced, computer-generated women. I’m learning to be glad that I’m not one of them. I’m learning to be happy being “unconventionally beautiful.” I think some of the most fabulous women in the world are also fabulously “flawed.” And lets be honest, if someone is ugly on the inside, no amount of money or surgery or genetic blessings can cover that up. I think the standard of inner beauty has remained consistent, timeless; it won’t ever be out of fashion.

So maybe that’s a standard more worthy of our effort..



Here is an interesting article from stylecaster.com about the evolution of beauty.

Monday, February 25, 2013

You All Deserve Capes. . .

For being my HEROES!!

I haven’t posted anything recently because my last post resulted in some scathing e-mails. I do have feelings, especially now that I’m not malnourished! Hurrah!! When I said I wish I could stay longer, I definitely meant it. However, I did not say that I was unique or alone in that desire. I know most people wish/need to stay longer. I’m sorry if that was lost in translation. I also know that I will likely feel fear no matter when I discharge. Saying that I’m scared and don’t want to leave is true. I really hope you all understand that by saying that I am not negating the gratitude I feel for my time here.

I really really truly do know how lucky I am to be here. I think about it constantly, and I already feel undeserving and small for receiving so much help. I’m here and I watch people discharge, only to come back. I know insurance SUCKS. I know better than a lot of people because I couldn't get any!!

I am very aware how many people sacrificed to get me in these doors--can you blame me for wishing I could stay?

Many of us here feel a lot of guilt for how much money our families are investing in us. Because I DON’T have insurance, I’m not using money from some big, faceless conglomerate. I’m using money from my grandparents, from my best friend’s life insurance, my parent’s second mortgage, the LDS church, and strangers’ generosity.

I know I am lucky. I write about it every day in my journal. I don’t know how to change my brain any faster than I’m currently doing it. Frank is 18 years old. I’ve been in treatment for 4 months. I think i’ll let everyone down if I lapse, or relapse, but I AM committed to stick to my daily plan and take it one day at a time.

Maybe it’s good that I’m leaving when I’m scared . . . I’ll be more aware that I could slip, which I think is a really good thing.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday Blues.

I’m discharging on Monday (incidentally I hate the word “discharge”), and all I can think is “I can’t wait to get out of here and lose some of this darn weight.” Therapist wanted to do my “Goodbye Group” tonight (because we usually do them on Mondays) and I said I’d rather not have one. Goodbye groups include inspirational words from whoever is leaving, and I don’t have any today. I could say a lot of things about how much I believe in everyone else, and how recovery is going to be great . . . for them. I really believe they deserve it. I really believe they can do it. I really believe they will be happier. I think I believe I might deserve it. But I’m so uncomfortable in my body. I feel swollen. I feel exceedingly large, like unto a mammoth. Or Africa.

I’m so scared because I don’t think I should feel like this so close to departing from CFC.

I’m really glad today is almost over.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

MINE!


As Valentine’s Day approaches I am very aware that for the first time since I was 16, I have no Valentine. I know, I’ve been lucky. The thing about Valentine’s Day is you either love it, or hate it. It’s a totally commercial, Hallmark holiday, and I LOVE IT. It might be my favorite. I don’t need a specific day to tell people I love them, but it’s fun to have one anyway. :) It’s like,
"TODAY I’m EXTRA aware of how MUCH I LOVE YOU!!”
or
“I Love you Every Minute of Every Day, but today I will buy you something and give you a card.”
So yeah. My lack of Valentine is really bumming me out. Especially since my body image blows, and yesterday I attended a wedding where I was VERY aware that I was the only unattached person at my table--including my 18 year old cousin. Actually the only family members at the wedding who WEREN'T attached were me, a 16-year-old, a 10-year-old, and my Dad.

These events have combined into a storm that has led to some serious nostalgia for ex boyfriends. . . Only the good ones, of course.

Actually that's a lie. Oops.
"There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up." --Oscar Wilde
This is a fancy, adult version of this:
“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my toys to break. So none of the other kids can use them.”

Or

"Toddler Rules Of Posession: If I like it, it's mine . . . . If I had it a little while ago, it's mine. If its mine it must never appear to be yours . . . if it looks like mine, it's mine. If I had it first, it's mine. . ."

I totally do this. Even if I did the dumping, I have this crazy wish that in the back of their heads my exes pine for me; the one that got away. The one no one else compared to. Luda ris, irrational, embarrassing, i know.

I've said before that I struggle with mind reading and black-and-white thought distortions. Either everyone loves me, or no one does. Either everyone wants to be with me, or no one does. If they aren't with me it must mean I am practically deformed, stupid, uninteresting, unworthy, unlovable, and destined to be alone for all of eternity.

Lest you think I'm totally delusional, I am aware there are much worse things than being single; having an eating disorder, for one. Being in an abusive relationship, for two. (I've done both.) And the list goes on. And yet, I still completely love V day. I love flowers and hearts and flying, winged, diapered babies carrying weapons.

 *sigh*

Frank was a terrible valentine. . . He hated chocolate. Who needs that? Pffffff.
Mr. Darcy, I'm waiting!
Or Clay Matthews.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Peace Out, CFC

For the next 4-5 days I will be in Gilbert, AZ. visiting my big brother and sister-in-law for a “Home Pass.” It’s designed to gently re-introduce us to “normal” life so we can see how we do, practice healthy coping skills, figure out where we struggle, and what we need to work on. I will be exposed to real meals, real non-eating-disordered people, real situations, real celebrations, real life. I’m really nervous. The nice thing about a home pass is I get to come back to CFC afterwards. So if it goes really badly I can get more support and help and figure out how to do things better next time.

Wish me luck!!


Me and Kristian circa 1984
Also, my last scheduled day is the 22nd of this month. I would really like to stay longer. Well. . . not LIKE to, exactly. I really need to. Please donate if you can!

LOVE YOU ALL!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Amenorrhea


“Nearly all women with anorexia will experience amenorrhea, which is a cessation of the menstrual cycle. The body knows it could not possibly sustain additional life, so it negates its own ability to reproduce. Although a woman’s ability to bare children usually returns once sufficient weight is gained, there is no guarantee”

I read this on the Remuda Ranch website this morning, under “Medical Complications from Anorexia.” It made me sad--I haven’t had a period in almost three years. And in the year before that I only had 2. I was thinking about how I’d have to tell men I date that I can’t have children because I was stupid and starved myself sterile (Darwinian?). Depressing. And I was very angry with myself.

About 2 hours later I went to the bathroom.
I got my period.

Despite feeling depressed about my LACK of period earlier, I still had mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I’m very happy and relieved; on the other, it’s proof that I’m physically “healthy.” Meaning I no longer have a starved, emaciated body. And as I’ve said before, I liked my emaciated body. . . I thought it looked better.

But that’s just Frank. And also my vanity.

The good things about this FAR FAR FAR outweigh the bad.
I think I can hear my future children cheering in Heaven.

YAY!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Woman who Saved my Life.


Lindsey Marie Orser.
If you didn’t know her, you really missed out. She was 6 feet + of pure unadulterated love. She was not judgmental, she loved everyone she met, she made friends wherever she went, she knew everyone and everyone knew her. She gave people multiple chances when they messed up. She saw divinity and goodness in everyone.

 Once she told me, “Milla, there are two kinds of people in the world. People you love, and people you don’t know yet.” I know that's a quote from somewhere, but it's wisdom. And it described how she lived. She gave peoplethe benefit of the doubt, and saw goodness in everyone. That is something I am not capable of. I hope I can be more like her someday. She was my best.

The only time I’ve seen her mad is when someone hurt someone she loved. If someone insulted or hurt one of her friends, she became Momma Bear Lindsey. You should have heard her when my ex husband left—I feared for his life.
When we were in High School she sat next to me in German class. The rest is history. She had me at, “Hallo, ich heisse Lindsey.” She drew pictures or wrote little notes to me during school, probably out of sheer boredom, but I treasure them.

She was very thoughtful and always smiling. Not to mention insanely gorgeous. Like the kind of gorgeous that snaps necks. When I moved home after my car accident she refused to let me sit at home and mope. Even with my bum knee. We went dancing. And by dancing I mean swaying and little and then sitting down because my knee hurt. It was still fun. It was impossible not to have fun with Linds. We spent the summer eating egg-free cookie dough and watching Sex and the City in our bras (Seattle=No AC). We got mani-pedis. We shopped. We protected each other from drunk douche bags. We laughed. We danced. We drank Diet Coke. We saw each other nearly every day. She helped pull me out of a depression and love my life again. That’s not an exaggeration

She cried with me when I broke up with my boyfriends. She came straight over when I made a huge mistake that went against my values. She always was willing to come see me if I needed it. She threw my bachelorette party. She was a bridesmaid at my wedding. She came to visit me when she was moving home from AZ and we road tripped like champions (with a cat crawling on our heads). 

When I got divorced she offered to fly out to Utah as soon as possible. When that didn’t work out she texted or called me every day to make sure I was ok. She never forgot a birthday and would always sing that German birthday song, “Wie schoen das du geboren bist. . . ."
Right before she died I constantly butt dialed her. I think it was a gift from God. I butt dialed her several times a day, and she got annoyed with me. The last time it happened I heard “Milla! Milla!! MILLA!!!” being yelled from my pocket. I picked it up and we laughed about how annoying I was. We talked for a long time about everything. School, work, men, family, weddings, dumb celebrity gossip . . .  She frequently mentioned a guy who she was “good friends” with. I hated him, but, true to form, she saw something good in him...
At her funeral the entire chapel was filled, the entire foyer was filled. I believe it was standing room only. I don’t know how many people were there exactly, I think we stopped counting at about 575. She touched so many lives and I miss her every day.
(Looking out of the Chapel into the foyer: PACKED)
This is not something I've shared yet. It is sacred to me. But I want to honor her, and let you all know that miracles are real and angels are constantly watching over us. Angels who LOVE a good pedicure. . .

November 1, 2012
Dear Linds,

Hi sweetest Angel Girl of my heart. I just checked in to treatment for Frank. I really wish you were here. I wish I could talk to you about this process and hear your words of encouragement. You always knew the thing to say to pull me out of my funk, or make me feel strong. You were such a support for me. I wish I had been able to be that for you. I never knew you were struggling as much as you were; it breaks my heart that I wasn’t there when you needed me most. Or that you felt like you couldn’t be totally honest with me... I’m mad at you for that. I literally talked to you the day before you died ... You seemed so happy. I hope you know that I would have done anything to keep you here with me. You were going to be in my next wedding. At the birth of my babies. We were going to grow old together, you and I. When I pictured my life, you were always in it. Holiday parties, graduations, weddings, babies, vacations, retirement, funerals. I knew you’d be there with me. If not physically, then just a phone call away.

Sweetest Linds, you are saving my life. You are a huge reason I walked into this center and signed those papers. You are a huge reason why I stay every day. I know you always wanted me to get help. You always said that my life was worth more than I can imagine and that ANY cost was nothing compared to the value of my life. I didn’t believe you. I still don’t know that I do, but I believe that YOU thought that. And that YOU valued me that much.
I’m sure you already know this, but I need to write it here and feel like I’m acknowledging it to you and the world. One Sunday I was delivering some pink frosted sugar cookies, feeling all at once grateful for the donations and also overwhelmed by how far I had to go to raise all the money for this treatment. While I was waiting in my car, Your sweet mom called me. 
She offered me your life insurance. 
It was going to go to the scholarship fund your sorority set up in your name, but she, your dad, and Celeste wanted me to have it, to be paid back to your scholarship when I recover. They said they knew it’s what you would want.  
I was speechless. 
I started to cry and your mom did too. I couldn’t find the words to accept or decline such an amazing gift. It’s not something I ever thought I would be able to accept, which is basically what I told your mom. But as we continued our conversation, I felt peace. I felt a big blanket of a hug from heaven and I believe with all my heart that it was you. I felt you there by my side and I knew it was ok, that it was exactly what you would have done if you were here. You are not only saving me, but I promise I’ll spend the rest of my life helping other people. I know that you struggled with your own deamons and that you always understood mine. I won’t let you down, Linds. Because if I did I know you’d kick my bum.
I miss you, my Linds. But I know that you’re still you and I’m still me and who we are to each other is still real and intact—you just went ahead of us. I can understand why God wanted you home early. I would’ve wanted you with me too. I still do. I am so sad, but I know you are with Jesus and Grandma and other loved ones. And I know you wouldn’t want us worrying about you, because that’s just how you are.
“These words are my own, from my heart flow, “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…”
Love Forever,
Milla