Body Image

Oh…and I totally forgot…So, today is a bad body image day for me.  It actually started last night…Or really, Tuesday.

Tuesday, I went on the Meal Challenge where a dietitian takes a handful of us on a restaurant outing for lunch.  It went as well as could be expected….I mean, I ate at a restaurant, I enjoyed some of the food, I felt anxious and guilty.  And I worried about the impact (i.e. gaining weight) from the trip.

Tuesday afternoon, we had Snack Challenge, for which I had to eat a doughnut.

Tuesday evening, I had a dinner date with one of my peers.

Last night, I ate left-overs from the evening dinner.

And then I had yoga.  And when I was sitting there in yoga, I looked down at my stomach and I could tell that it was bigger.  And I looked at my thighs and they were totally bigger. And I felt very self-conscious and embarrassed. Now, I know that technically, my body wasn’t bigger…I can intellectualize that.  But my distorted sense of self saw that I am fatter.

This morning, I was obsessing about what to wear and hating my body.  I had a full outfit on and was sure that everything didn’t fit right.  And I was in my closet going to pick out a different outfit, but couldn’t figure out what to wear because none of it would be better.  I would still be ugly and fat.  I am still ugly and fat.

I just am convinced that everything I eat will make me fat…Like, every single bite of food. My dietitian and I talk about this a lot.  That it is not actually true, that it is a manifestation of my ED.  And still, I can’t shake it…I know that eating will make me fat.

I really wish I could count calories.  And weigh myself.  I just need to know what is going on with my body.

Self-Worth and My Body

(This was a homework assignment written Sunday evening)

How I Define Self-Worth and How This Became Correlated to My Body

I am not even sure how I define my self-worth.  What things make me worth anything?

  • My intelligence
  • My sense of humor
  • My persistence/perseverance
  • My work ethic
  • My creativity
  • My compassion
  • My love of nature
  • My love of my family

What makes me feel like I am not worth anything?

  • That I am not smart enough
  • That I am not skinny enough
  • That I am ugly
  • That I am disgusting
  • That I am never good enough
  • That I am damaged
  • That I am bad
  • That I am stupid
  • That I do stupid/embarrassing things
  • That I am fat

Just looking at these two lists, it is clear that my sense of worth revolves around things that are intellectually/brain based and the things that make me feel worthless are all about my body.

I guess that the reason my body measures my lack of worth is because of messages I got over and over as a child. I was never good enough because I wasn’t lady-like enough. My body betrayed me by attracting sexual abuse.  Puberty came before I was ready.  My peers teased me relentlessly, first about my early puberty, with ogling and snide remarks about my breasts, and then because I got fat and thus my peers bullied and tortured me for the next 6 years over my size.  Basically, I learned at school to hate my body because my body was what made me a social pariah.  And it was my body’s fault.

I also had lots of criticism about my body at home.  It was never spoken directly, my mother never said to me, “Heidi, you are fat. Lose weight.”  But I was told how to dress and what to wear to make me look good/smaller despite my body size.  I also was told what to wear and how to dress to minimize my busty chest.  And then there was the time that my parents made me do Nutrisystem with them.  No…no one at home ever said I was fat, but the message was there loud and clear.

And the constant focus on my size and my feelings of shame and subsequent hatred of my body because of that focus, consumed my thoughts and emotions and became the central point of my self-worth.  Being smart wasn’t good enough, being funny wasn’t good enough, being kind and compassionate wasn’t good enough.  All people saw when they saw me was my body. And then that’s all I saw too.

So…the past few weeks, at HillTop, I have been feeling a bit better about my body.  I had started to accept my body…I mean, in tiny baby steps, but I was starting to like what I was seeing.  Maybe it was just over-confidence, but I was seeing my body as smaller and feeling some acceptance of it.

But then this afternoon, I undid all that.  I went out shopping with Mel and tried on a bunch of shirts because I wanted some new shirts to wear with my new leggings.  I have been wearing the leggings because they are really comfortable and I really want to be comfortable.  I am also really attracted to the prints and patterns on the leggings.  But when shopping, none of the shirts I found fit right.  And I got to actually look at myself in a mirror and I got to look at myself in my leggings…And I hated what I saw.  And I realized that I have been fooling myself and that I still am disgusting and ugly.  And not worth having any self-confidence.  There is nothing about me to like or feel good about or to even tolerate.

When I look at my body now, like even just sitting in this chair, it looks different.  I am huge.  I can see how big and fat and ugly I am.  I feel stupid and embarrassed that I actually thought any differently.  And that I let myself start to feel comfortable.

This means that everyone is wrong.  I can’t eat food the way I have been eating it.  I can’t not-exercise.  And Mac is wrong.  I do need to know how much I weigh so I can keep everything under control.

And what I really need now is to lose weight.  And a lot of it.

So…I guess the only way I can define self-worth is by my body size.  And right now, I am not worth anything.

 

Tuesday update:  After losing my shit and crying most of yesterday because I hate my body and I am so disgusting….I woke up this morning and pulled out my favorite pair of leggings, put them on, put on a tunic top (which is super comfy and shields some of my awkward body spots) and am trying to wear my leggings again.  I am going to try to tone down the hatred and dial up the fact that I enjoy the comfiness of the leggings…Not sure how this will play out…But I am giving it a try.

 

 

Social Stuff, Compliance and Integrity, I Have to Know and What Else?

Social Stuff

I was right. The two newest admits have totally changed the social dynamic.  It’s fascinating as one was here very recently and has returned.  That’s not the fascinating part, the fascinating part is how some of the staff have responded to her and allow her lots of lee-way.  I suppose it could be that the rules are different because she is not brand-new to the place. But even so, there is a definite vibe going on that I am not really liking.

Such is the life of a constantly changing social group with ever shifting dynamics.  And the life of someone who hates it.

Compliance and Integrity

I worked hard to be compliant yesterday as I really want to go on the outing to Michael’s.  If you are non-compliant within 24 hours of an outing, you can’t go.  So, I need to get through the next two meals.  Of course, the goal is to stay compliant after that too, but I am focusing on these couple of meals.  Oddly, even though I had counted two non-compliances this week, I am only marked down for 1.  I talked to my favorite Direct Care person about as I wanted to be honest about it, but she said it wasn’t recorded.  I guess I won’t complain, as didn’t try to hide it, so I am feeling like I did the right thing.  My integrity is important to me.

I have to know

So…I am kind of losing my shit.  I cannot stop checking my body to see how much weight I have gained.  Like, I obsessively use my hands to body check during groups, I start off my mornings now by body checking in the mirror (I hadn’t done this before).  I have devised plans as to how I can measure my body to see if it is getting bigger.  And over and over I body check and body check and body check with my hands. I am going to lose my mind if I don’t know how much I weigh.

I also cannot stop obsessing around calories.  Yesterday, about 6 times, I started mentally calculating the calories I had eaten.  And six times, I stopped.  One of the last times, I was sitting on the porch, phone in hand, ready to google the calories and one of my peers came out onto the porch to.  I confessed that I was about to do an ED driven behavior (didn’t say what though to not be triggering) and I allowed her to distract me.  I also texted one of my ED recovery friends and told her I was struggling to not count calories.  Her response was, “It’s not going to help.  Feed yourself, don’t feed the ED.”  Of course, she is right.  And I knew she would say something like that which is why I texted her.  But it hasn’t lowered the level of the urges.

I am still beyond self-conscious about my meal sizes and portion sizes.  I am going to start a list of things to not request for snack anymore because I feel so awkward.  Snack is more social and interactive and the table is such that more people can see what you are eating.  Yesterday, I just wanted to die from shame because of my snack portion. Honestly, it is was so little food that I don’t even know why I bother to have snack anyway.  And if I wasn’t trying to be compliant for the outing today, I may have just walked away.  Instead, I just burned in shame and made a note that I need to figure out better ways to do snack.  I had the same issue with the sub-meal this week (you can substitute a meal 3x/wk if you don’t like the meal being offered.)  The sub meal is a BLT with Doritos and fruit.  Only, because I am gluten free, I can’t have the vegetarian bacon, so I have a Sunbutter and jelly sandwich which looks tiny compared to the BLTs and of course, ¼ of it is cut off.  Again, it is so glaringly small on my plate….It is so obvious…they may as well just spell out the word FAT with my food.  Basically, if meals weren’t hard enough already, this whole Portion-of-Shame business is killing me.

Ugh…I am just not a happy camper.

All I need to do is get through today and go in the outing and come home with some projects/craft supplies that can take my mind off of things for a while.

What Else?

Oh…I did mention my portion size issue (though not at all the depth to which I feel it) to the dietician the other day.  I got the impression that I was not the first to speak up about being uncomfortable with the comparing.  Last night she made an announcement about how meal plans are individualized and that comparing is not appropriate and can lead to colluding with other people’s EDs.    Will it make a difference?  I am guessing not.  At dinner, I was sitting next to the woman who I am most uncomfortable with at meals because she is always looking at my plate and talking about comparing (and for some reason, I am always sitting next to her or directly across from her.)  Anyway, as I slowly ate my 3 pieces of asparagus, TVP patty (which was cut in half) and small scoop of scalloped potatoes (1/2 cup maybe) which was all served on an 11” inch dinner plate, I caught my peer making sidelong glances at my plate.  I really wanted to just say “fuck it” and get up and walk away.  But….the Michael’s trip. It has been a huge motivation for me the past few days.  So, instead, I just sat there and wanted to die and ate my food as slowly as possible to make it look like I had more food than I had.  And then, I had forgotten that the meal ended with a dessert.  I am only hoping she didn’t see that the ice cream cup I was handed had ¼ of the ice cream scooped out.

There has got to be a better way to do the portioning.