10 October 2011

Thoughts are thoughts...

Thoughts are thoughts, but it is the way I act on them that’ll mean the difference between recovery and living with my eating disorder.

It can work both ways I suppose, I can THINK that I am doing enough and my true self is in control and NOT actually challenge myself enough to restore my weight and recover.


 I can have ANOREXIC thoughts, distinguish that it’s Ana and I can choose to challenge them and work towards recovery OR I can choose to act upon her rules and restrict or measure or weigh.

In both cases it’s acting on these thoughts that can make the difference in recovery or in continuing to live with my eating disorder holding the reigns.

Take today for example. I thought that I ‘Don’t need to eat an apple after my appointment because I am going for a coffee in an hour, and that could be my mid-morning snack.’ I distinguished that this was an anorexic thought, because a) I was hungry and b) I need to have BOTH at the moment to help increase my calories. So I ACTED on this by buying an apple and eating it. Then I went for my coffee, and thought You only need a small coffee not a medium like usual, because there is SO much milk in that and it might make you feel heavy and sick’ at this moment in the queue in Costa, I could choose to act on this thought as Sarah or Ana. Unfortunately in this case I ordered a small coffee. I made a choice ANA wanted, which isn’t helping with my goal of restoring my weight.

This is a habit I have gotten into, challenging Ana with one thing, then restricting because I have already challenged her and I back off and keep her happy. I am becoming more and more aware of this each time I go through my food diaries with my dietitian. Meal by meal or day by day, it's the same habit. I think this is the first step – being AWARE of the thoughts and who is driving them, the step I need to take now is ACTING on them.

I have another challenge tonight too. One of my goals this week is to eat a jacket potato with beans. The anorexic thoughts I have already had about this since leaving the clinic today are;

1) There are SO many calories in that meal
2) You don’t NEED beans, just have the potato plain with salad
3) What could I have instead that ‘sort of challenges me’ but is safer in terms of cal content
4) Just have beans and no potato
5) If that takes me to XX calories, then don’t snack later, it’s ok.
6) Is it bad to eat potato at dinner because it’s late?
7) You don’t like baked beans
8) They’ll make you bloated and grosse
9) Beans are a waste of calories

And there are probably more that I haven’t noticed, which are all Ana trying to talk me out of eating the dinner I NEED to eat and decided earlier I would try tonight. Now, I have the choice to cook and eat this dinner and make it POSITIVE or to listen to ANA and not work towards recovery. These are just two examples of the clouds of thoughts I feel around EVERY drink, snack and meal.

No wonder my head is muddled and obsessed and preoccupied with thoughts about food and eating. If the theory is right, the more I challenge Ana and go against her, the quicker and less significant these thoughts will become….the more I think them, want to challenge them, go through the process and then let her win by acting in her favour, the harder and longer the fight will be. She ISN’T getting weaker if I don’t turn my back each time…

 I have also been told again and again, it is a trait of anorexia to see life as black and white, good and bad and success and failure and I for one am so guilty of doing this. I know I am. Or not feeling like I am doing well enough in recovery and beating myself up about it and then just 'not bothering' or convincing myself that this is all just fake and I could snap out of it. The proof is in the pudding (How ironic?) though, because when I do just try and ‘be normal’ or attempt to convince myself I can snap out of it. I freak out. I ‘run away’ from the challenge and back into Ana’s arms each time I freak out and DON’T try something. That’s my eating disorder RIGHT there. ...

I know it’s all about listening, reasoning and challenging Ana that will eventually mean 'recovery.’ And my gosh, it seems she needs a lot of challenging right now, I better start ACTING on it and showing her who’s in control.

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