Friday, 16 October 2015

Trials & triumphs: Week 1 on a meal plan

This week, I have made radical changes. Following a meal plan has made an enormous difference to my behaviour and thinking. Things have been far from perfect (as you'll soon find out) - but still - much, much better. I've recorded each day.

It all began spectacularly well. For all of day one and most of day two, I was on fire. ZERO disordered behaviours. I was positive, clear-headed and full of hope. I wrote a bit about it here. However... after I posted that entry, near the end of day 2, bad things happened. Afterwards, I trudged back to the computer and wrote this:

Day 2 (evening)

What a shame. I've defiled my meal plan. I was feeling all glowy and positive, then boom. Binge. Vomit.

I am not going to catastrophise. Today was still 90% good. Mentally, for almost the whole day, I won the battle, and I'm not going to let that success go. This is bound to be rocky. I'm reporting my digression to keep myself honest. Tomorrow is a new day, and I will show up. I will show up and fight every day until I beat this STUPID eating disorder into submission.

Day 3

Feeling a bit sad about the vomiting last night. Fears crept in overnight: What if it doesn't work? What if I'm still hungry, even with the right amount of food, and I keep binging and purging? That sort of thing. But I'm here. I've had the breakfast I planned, and ticked the boxes I needed to tick.

I have another challenge today. My therapist just texted and told me I had an appointment with my doctor at the clinic. That means one thing - I have to be weighed. Usually, I don't eat or drink anything in the morning before the appointment. Every detail of what I wear is planned in minute detail (my clothes have to be 'light'). This morning I've already had my breakfast and a coffee - it's too late for all that. In a way, I'm glad, because I don't have to choose between my usual disordered behaviours, and my brand spanking new 'good' behaviour. I'm going to weigh more - I know that much, so this time, I've decided I'm not going to look. It won't help me to know, and I don't want to let the eating disorder win by refusing to be weighed.

Day 3 evening

Success! Today I did everything I was supposed to do and nothing I wasn't. At the clinic, I was weighed with my back to the scales, and it felt fine. I need to let go of those numbers if I'm going to recover.

I cannot wrap my head around all the eating - food just keeps on coming. And my stomach feels so bizarre. There are things in it. Weird.

Day 4

Despite eating everything on my plan, I was ravenous all day. If I could just eat one piece of chocolatey caramel goodness (like someone without an eating disorder), that would be okay. But I can't. If I had one, I'd have five, then panic, then vomit, then restrict... and on it would go. For hours I battled urges and won, spurred on the thought: I value my recovery. It's too important to throw away. It gave me strength. But at the end of the day, I was tired and still ridiculously hungry, and I broke. I binged - big time. I broke into a cold sweat and collapsed on the floor with intense stomach pains... then up came all the food.

It's very glamorous, having an eating disorder.

Day 5

Before the day started, I knew things were going to go awry. Hunger and ebbing hope drove me to binge on buckets of chocolate. Before it happened, as I circled around the confectionary isle at the supermarket, I wished there was someone I could call to help me out of the situation. An alcoholic might have an AA sponsor to contact in vulnerable moments, and that's exactly the type of support I needed.

I feel like I am at a pivotal point - I think I'm done with restriction. It's a blinking MIRACLE. I want to recover, but I need to get on top of the binge/purge behaviour before it becomes a deeply embedded habit. I don't know how or where to get the right sort of help.

One good thing: afterwards, I got straight back on the meal plan. I'd usually write off the entire day and I'd be an unholy mess right up until bedtime. Although I felt like I'd let myself down today, it was an achievement to get back on track after my stuff up.

Day 6

I'm so proud of myself! All day, I fought urges and won. I took it the day gently, made few demands of myself and focused. Each time the call to disorder rose its ugly head (every five minutes) I talked myself through, repeating "Make today a good day. Take care of yourself today" over and over again. My hope and positivity have been restored.

I feel GREAT!

Day 7

8am: I'm gunning for two good days in a row. My plan is to keep things really simple again, stay calm, focused and cheer myself on. My kids have gone for the day, and I have written this on my fridge:

20 minute binge
= 45 minutes vomiting
= loss of hope, feeling of failure 
= continued eating disorder

It links the disordered behaviour directly to the consequences. Binging gives me a brief high, or a sort of release, but it is absolutely not worth it.

8pm: Did not make it. Rubbish afternoon. I feel like I would really benefit from being locked up right now, or maybe handcuffed to a post.

The conclusion...

This week there have been ups, downs, and everything in between. Some miracles, a few abysmal failures, and a lot of weirdness.

The tally for the week:
3 x excellent days
2 x good days but bad nights
1 x shit day
1 x really shit day

The most important thing from now on is perseverance.






xx

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