Thursday, September 16, 2010

As promised

  Well, I promised that I would take the time today to update on what's been going on with me, I guess both diet/weight wise and my life in general. I am fully capable of writing a 700 pg doctoral dissertation on this, but will try to contain myself. That is the worst about not posting in a while-we all know that I'm already a little wordy and talkative as it is, so keeping posts to a reasonable length after an absence is like about 1000x harder than normally for me!
   If I actually went into every detail, I'd be typing here for the next few days. The super-duper-condensed-could-fit-inside-a-FB status-version is this: Stopped taking my meds after moving ->didn't get the job at the law office -> had depressive episode -> did nothing but sleep, cry, and binge/purge every day for about 2 weeks -> finally snapped out of it enough to get some shit together and go on 2 more interviews -> didn't get either of them -> OUCH -> my crazy ex-girlfriend who used to stalk me before I moved and duct-tape letters to my front door, drove 5 hours to where I am now and begged me to see her -> did not even respond, ignored her calls and texts b/c I knew nothing good could come from seeing her -> 1 week later she texted me that she "started purging to understand me better" and that I ruined her life -> told her she needed serious psychiatric help and to never contact me again -> my dad got sick with the flu and pink eye and I spent about 4 days taking care of him and disinfecting everything in the house -> had falling out with my 2 best friends and haven't spoken to either of them since -> still unemployed and running on empty -> only thing that keeps me going is working out right now. WHEW. So, maybe it wouldn't QUITE fit in a FB status, but I think that was a pretty admirable job, knowing me.
   Sorry if it was pretty Debbie-downer-esque, but that's just what's really been going on. Haven't had any good news in a long time, and it seemed like every time I thought "OK, I can't take this shit anymore..." THAT is precisely when something else happened and it got worse. I've been feeling so alone and stressed and miserable and useless. I guess it's not fair to say that ONLY working out is keeping me going right now, to be most accurate it's probably more like working out and my therapy appointments. The only thing that could be called a ray of light since my last post is that I have found a new therapist down here, I really like him, and he's pretty awesome (aside from a tad too many questions about my mother, but I can live with that). Since I'm still out of work we've been meeting on Mondays between 12 and 1pm, but if I EVER find a job, I'm not sure what we'll have to do. Not thinking about that right now.
   To keep myself busy I've basically been cleaning and re-organizing the whole house. It's times like these that my OCD really comes in handy. My parents' told me their kitchen hasn't been so clean and orderly in at least 15 years. BOOM! I also quit smoking (cigarettes, not weed-let's not get carried away here), which has been both good and bad. Obviously, it's good in terms of health benefits and saving money, and I genuinely have seen a marked improvement in my running stamina. But, of course, it's been bad in terms of just being something else stressing me out and one less outlet/release that I have. It's been approximately a week and a half since my last cigarette...which isn't exactly anything to write home about, but every day counts and it's getting a little easier.
   There's also been a lot of changes in the diet/fitness/weight arena. Last I posted I was at 104lbs, and since then I got all the way up to 112 briefly and am currently back down to 103lbs. I've changed my diet and exercise plan entirely from the one I was following before. The thing was, it was working really well for a while, I dropped lbs very quickly while following it-but I was gaining weight even easier if I went off it even slightly. Also, it seemed like no matter how much cardio I was doing and how many calories the machine SAID I burned, I just sort of hit a plateau with my body. I absolutely could not get below 104lbs, and sometimes I'd gain 5lbs in one day from having 1 glass of wine or 200 extra calories. And, I know that when you have significant weight gains like that in such a short amount of time that it isn't REAL weight, it's just bloating/water weight/constipation/etc, but it's still really mentally trying when you kill yourself every day at the gym to see a certain number, then 1 time out of 5 times you decide "OK, one glass of wine with dinner won't hurt, I've been doing so well this week..." and you wake up the next morning and see the past week of work virtually ERASED on the scale. Nothing more upsetting to me than that!
   So, I tried to figure out what I was doing wrong and went about stalking the health and fitness section at Barnes and Noble every day, as well as talking to some of my friends who are really into working out, including one who is a personal trainer. The overall consensus seems to be that you can't have sustained weight loss with such a low calorie diet, which is really difficult for someone with an eating disorder to wrap their heads around. Also, when you only do cardio on top of the calorie-restricted diet, then you are losing muscle mass instead of fat, which is what you want to lose. Everyone I spoke to, including the authors of the books I read (they spoke to me in my head), advised increasing my calories to about 1,600-1,800 per day, adding weight training and strength training circuits to my workouts, and alternating days between cardio and muscle building. It was also recommended that I try taking some creatine supplements for faster muscle growth and work-out enhancers for extra energy and fat-burning.
    None of this was very appealing to me, I absolutely could not comprehend eating that many calories per day and not ballooning to 300lbs within a month. These suggestions seemed to go against everything I stood for, and everything I worked so hard to overcome. But the reality was that what I was currently doing wasn't working anymore, and the common denominator in my life since developing an eating disorder has always been that the second I changed anything, it equalled weight gain. I have always fantasized about getting to a goal weight and just STAYING there, instead of yo-yoing back and forth, which is basically what my life is: a constant cycle of gaining and losing, bingeing and purging, with my happiness and self-worth entirely dependent on the number on the scale.
   So, I integrated the changes by gradually increasing my calories over about 2 weeks, venturing into the weight lifting/strength training machines section of my gym for the very FIRST time, learning what machines I liked best, researching which areas I should be targeting, taking Creatine supplements, adding more protein and HEALTHY fats (monounsaturated) to my diet, adding foods that boost HGH, testosterone, and progesterone production (all are important for burning fat, building muscle, increasing energy). It's been really, really hard. Ironically, I've found that eating and working out like this is actually at least TWICE as hard as the way I was eating and exercising before. Here I was thinking that it took all the willpower in the world to live on 300cals a day, but for someone who has had disordered eating for as long as I have, it was INCREASING the calories WITHOUT purging that has probably been the most difficult thing I've done in an extremely long time.
   The first week was the worst, because I could feel myself gaining weight immediately. I had been warned that this would happen initially because my body was used to living on so much less, that it would store the extra calories for a while because it wouldn't know what to do with them. Everyone told me not to get on the scale until my body had a chance to re-calibrate and my metabolism could catch up. But, of course, that was impossible for me. When I got on the scale and it showed 112lbs, and the last I had been on it I was 105lbs...I almost had a complete nervous breakdown. It took every ounce of strength in me not to immediately purge whatever was in my stomach, do about 3 enemas, drink some laxative tea, and fast for the next three days.  Even now, I still don't know how I calmed down, but somehow I was able to tell myself that I was warned this would happen, that I shouldn't have weighed myself, that it's not real fat weight, that I was also building muscle, etc. I talked myself off of that ledge, and then basically lived in sweatpants, sweatshirts, pajamas, and moo-moo dresses for the next week to avoid any tangible reminders.
    But the crazy thing is that, it really did eventually start to work just like everyone said it would. I started dropping pounds again while still eating a normal amount of calories. Now, I've been following this program for about 2 1/2 weeks, and despite the first crazy insane gain, I'm now back down to 103, which I never in a MILLION years would have said was possible eating the amount I am right now. Also, I'm not just down, but I feel stronger and like I am very slowly starting to get some definition in my muscles. I don't exactly have Madonna arms or a Rhianna stomach yet, but for the first time I can actually envision it in the realm of possibility. I spend a minimum of two hours in the gym every single day, alternating between cardio, leg, arm, ab, and back workouts. I haven't purged since September 8th, so 8 days now...which is the longest I've ever gone without purging in about 4 years. Even when I was in a treatment center or psych ward, I still managed to sneak around enough to purge when I wanted to. I was in-patient for almost 3 months, and basically purged the whole time I was there without them knowing. So this is pretty monumental for me. My therapist thinks that I've just transferred my bulimic tendencies from SIV to over-exercising. This may be true, but I seriously feel the best (about my body, not my life) I've felt in a long time.
   OK, I have to get back to the real world and start making dinner if I'm going to make it to the gym by 6:30 so that I can go out tonight with a friend by 9:30. Tomorrow I'll post some pics and also some recipes and more information that I've learned/stolen from some books. Seriously, I went into Barnes and Noble every day for a week and took about 4 books per day to a little unoccupied aisle where no one could see me, and then I unscrupulously and unapologetically sat on the floor and took pictures of the pages with the best information with my iPhone so that I didn't actually have to spend the money on buying any of the books. Unethical? Perhaps. But you gotta do what you gotta do in this economy! Tomorrow I'll break down what foods contain the highest amounts of certain hormones and nutrients, what they do for you, how many grams are recommended per day, some metabolism/BMR info, how to increase them, and the muscle-to-fat burning ratio. Some of the info has really helped me re-imagine how my body works and understand certain processes better. Alright, ciao for now!


Before Bed

   I just took my trazodone, so this post is guaranteed to be short or abruptly end when I fall over. I was just laying in bed thinking about the current state of my life, and how various circumstances have kept me from updating for the past month-ish, and about how stressed and lonely I've been when I heard my iPhone make the "you have a new e-mail" noise. I wasn't going to read it right now, but something told me to just look at it. I did, and it was a notification that someone had commented on my last post, so I went and read it and decided to muster the energy and strength to write a post.
   Since I usually post my progress updates on Monday nights, every single Monday that has gone by since my last post I've thought "Shit, I missed it today-I'll do it next Monday!" And then the next Monday comes, and so on and so one and it's the same old story. I'm obviously not going to go into everything right now, because I'm already starting to fall asleep, but I wanted to thank whoever the Anonymous poster is who commented and encouraged me to keep writing, because with how hectic and stressful everything has been since my move with job-hunting and my new therapist and some friends and family drama, I definitely let my writing fall to the sidelines-and it's not cool because this is often the only outlet I have aside from my therapist, and even there I'm not as candid and honest as I am here.
   So I figured I owed it to anyone who is still reading or who has just found my blog to get back on the wagon, so to speak. I am still alive, and I absolutely promise to schedule in an hour block on time during the day tomorrow to give a more thorough update and upload some pics (yes, I have still been taking them-just not posting them). Thank you again, I've really missed the community! Good night.