Thursday, December 16, 2010

Update

So I haven't seen a therapist in the last two days.  That makes this officially the longest I have gone without a session since the beginning of November when I began intensive treatment.  It's weird and it's not.  I am at home visiting my family.  I am in a completely different (less definitively trigger-laden) environment, and there are a lot of distractions.  It kind of scares me how at ease I am sometimes.  But at the same time, I haven't been doing much exposure either...and that certainly makes things easier.  So the decrease in therapy comes with an increase of other things to do and things to hold my attention.  But at the same time, like I said, haven't been doing much exposure :/.

One thing that has been on my mind a lot (and a bit more than usual) is my weight.  Here at home with my family I can weigh myself (I have resisted buying a scale over the years because I know it would probably only lead to bad things, but here at my parents' house we have several), there are far more, and far larger mirrors for me to stare at myself in, and there are more regular meal times and other people against whom I can compare my eating habits.  All great fodder for turning up the volume on my perpetual desire to lose weight.

Anyways, I get SO confused.  I'm not happy with my weight, but who is?  All through college I had wanted to lose the weight I had gradually gained since the last year of high school, and a year ago, I finally did.  Because of OCD.  Because I found it hard to feel clean enough to eat.  So I just didn't eat.  At least not nearly as much and as frequently as I needed to.  I lost a whopping 20 pounds in a matter of a few months without really trying.

Now I have gained most of that back.  I think some of it is muscle, not fat.  But on the scale it's all the same.  The number doesn't differentiate "good" weight from "bad" weight.  And I hate it.  I despise the number I see with all my might.  But people tell me, "You're fine. You don't need to lose weight."  Or, in the past my therapist has said, "I don't want you dieting right now, given your history with an eating disorder and the current intensity of your OCD."  I never know where to draw the line.  Am I happy with my weight?  NO.  A resounding no.  Do I have the determination to change that?  I don't really know.  It's hard when the two sides play off each other in my head:  "Do you need to lose weight?  DEFINITELY!!!!  But do you really?  Maybe I'm fine..."

Ugh.  It seems like I am never happy with it.  Is that an eating disorder mentality or is that just the way we are, especially women?  Do I really have an excuse not to go on a diet because of my history with eating disorders?  Or is desiring to go on a diet normal for my age/gender, etc?  I go back and forth in my mind.  I go between feeling guilty for letting myself gain weight, and then trying to dull that feeling of guilt and disgust with myself with the words of others telling me not to diet, at least not right now.

I LOVE food.  It is one of very few things, and sometimes it seems, the only thing, that I can consistently enjoy no matter what.  Even when I was anorexic I was enamored with the taste of food, perhaps even more so, because every bite I took had that much more value when I took so few.  It's hard sometimes, when I feel I must slog through life, like I must just get through each day one after another for the sole sake of getting through them, to go on a diet.  Meals are the reward, the landing point of each stretch of time spent not eating.  I just have to keep going until my next meal.  I just have to keep doing and pushing forward, and then I can relax and get true enjoyment out of something - i.e. food.  Dieting takes that shining point of hope, that reason to keep moving forward and doing, away from me.  And when I have less freedom about when/what I eat (like while I am staying with my family) I can't as easily regulate when I eat and schedule all the hard things around my meals.  Life can't revolve around my eating schedule and my tendency to plan meals in a way that they become the motivation for getting things done, my reward for doing something I find so difficult to get myself to do.  So I am all confused.  How I am supposed to manage what I eat and how much when everything is so off kilter?  When I can't time my meals so that they provide the drive I need to get through the day?  I want to eat less, but when I can't sync my activities and chores with my meals in a way that maximizes the amount I do and minimizes the frequency of my eating, it's hard to regulate.

It probably doesn't help that I spend a fair amount of time denying myself the full calorie/full fat versions of all sorts of things.  I feel like I am constantly slightly denying myself which makes me feel like I am always a little bit on a diet, so that the idea of going on an actual diet sounds like complete deprivation.  It's like, ideally, I would always like myself to eat less.  And I am always thinking that I should be eating less every time I eat.  And sometimes I do eat less and sometimes I don't.  The result is something along the lines of always being slightly disappointed in myself.   And even when I am at a pretty good weight, I can't enjoy it, because I feel like I'm on a roll, like I have momentum.  The number on the scale is on my side and I just want to lose a little bit more so I will finally be thin "enough" to really like the way I look.

Furthermore,  I have no faith in my ability to go on a reasonable diet and lose weight.  I am horrible at sticking to middle of the road plans.  It's all or nothing.  I am obsessed and rigid or I'm not.  I'm not good at taking the middle road.  Or maybe my idea of a "middle road" is somewhat distorted.

What do you think?  Is it "normal" to be perpetually unhappy with your weight?  It seems like it is.  I have friends who are constantly trying to lose weight.  I just never know what to do.  I want to commit to a diet but then I start thinking about the things other people have said to me and I start using them as an excuse not to.  I never know.

Battling OCD is tough enough.  Battling OCD while on a diet - well, it's a bit tougher.  It takes away one thing I can count on appreciating and enjoying when sometimes it seems like the point of the day is to just make it through.  I know I could do it.  I think I've proven to myself many a time that I can push myself to do all sorts of things, even if in the process, they make me numb and dysfunctional.  Can I push myself to lose weight, too?  Do I want to?  Should I?  I never really know.  But what I do know is that I am not currently satisfied.

2 comments:

  1. When I get more upset, I don't want to eat. When I'm doing better, I sometimes actually enjoy food. I think enjoying food is a gift, even though it seems to be a straight-hair, curly-hair issue with everybody wanting what they don't have.

    And I worry, I'm on meds that can bring about weight gain, so maybe I should drink fat-free milk. It tastes okay, and I don't need as much food to live as my anxiety level decreases. But I don't want to get OCD mixed up in my eating, either. It seems that OCD can leave us more vulnerable to eating disorder-type problems.

    I asked one psychiatrist if I should worry about eating too much, and he said not for ten years. I, of course, interpreted that as a literal ten years, to my counselor's amusement.

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  2. I know when I was disordered in my eating, and desperately trying to be vegan and eat perfectly, it was both a symptom of my ocd and made my ocd worse, because I couldn't really think clearly, due to not eating enough. It was hard at first tolerating the thought that I couldn't eat perfectly, but ultimately, doing that exposure was very helpful, since the anxiety became less intense. There's so much in our culture to stir up thoughts about weight, that getting into a fight with it or trying to get it to go away really exacerbates everything.

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