My first priority when I started gaining weight was just to improve my general health – my digestive system was a mess, I wasn’t sleeping, I had no energy, my muscles had wasted away and I was being colonised by a fungal infection with a Napeleon complex. Okay, where does this myth that eating disorders are glamorous come from again? In amongst the vast array of medical complications I’ve suffered as a direct result of the eating disorder are mild bladder incontinence (damaged muscles from too many sit ups, lasted all through my teens), kidney stones (from chronic dehydration), a complete lack of sex drive (poor ex-boyfriend) and the numerous indignities of Irritating Bowel Syndrome (yeah, that wasn’t a typo), none of which strike me as particularly desirable.
Anyway, although that was a bit of a tangent, it is related to what I was meaning to write about, which is another ED complication. Now that my general health is a lot better, I’m on a bit of a mission to stop my osteopenia from getting any worse, and hopefully reverse it. I had a DEXA scan last July, and after only 10 months without getting my period I had osteopenia in my spine (-1.7, half way through osteopenia towards osteoporosis) and my hip score was on the border between osteopenia and normal (-1). I can’t believe I did that much damage in only ten months – and apart from one half-period last September it’s been another ten months without periods since then, so goodness knows what sort of condition my spine is in now. I actually got my mum to measure my height this morning after getting a bit freaked out by one book, but I haven’t shrunk yet 😛 so that’s a good start. The radiographer told me I should get a scan done every two years, so I have just over a year before the next one. Obviously the biggest help for my spine will be getting my period back (I’m still 10-12lbs off the point at which it usually returns), but until then I shall be taking calcium supplements, drinking my fortified rice milk (I would be grateful for ideas on how to make rice milk taste better – I don’t own a blender, so I can’t make smoothes. Sad) and eating my weight in tofu and almond butter. Yay for almonds! A bit of strength training would be a good idea too, but I have never been taught any exercises and all the information out there is rather overwhelming. Has anyone been given exercises which are good for helping bone density?
Other than scaring myself, I haven’t done much today. I finished making a necklace for Kim (very grown up and mature it is too, I may have raided my button collection…), looked through some old photographs and diaries (never a good idea, when will I learn?) and did fifteen minutes on the exercise bike because I felt like I was getting DVT sitting on my butt all day and the weather was too rubbish for walking. I had to run for the train a couple of weeks back and nearly died, so I thought I should start getting some light aerobic exercise in on days that I don’t go out for a walk. I can’t help thinking that I used to be able to go for ages on the exercise bike, or run for ten miles – now I do a good impression of Bridget Jones falling off the bike after fifteen minutes! Bah. Slow progress is frustrating. Necessary, but frustrating.
I noticed something odd about my photographs when I was looking through them earlier. I have a bag of loose photos, and a few albums of my favourites. In the loose ones I look decidedly…un-thin (I was never overweight as a teenager, I didn’t even get to a BMI of 20 until I was in my early 20s, so goodness knows how I managed to look so rough in these photos. Bad angles?!), but this isn’t the case in the albums – I look a lot slimmer in them. I didn’t pick my favourite photos for the albums based on thinness when I was sorting them out, but there is a definite bias. As for the diaries…oh dear. I was a very depressed and…dramatic teenager. That’s not to say that I wasn’t in real pain, because I remember it all too well, but I cringe looking back at some of the things I wrote. The first website I joined for people with eating disorders encouraged a very flowery view of recovery, everything was affirmations and loving yourself and ‘digging deeper’, and being desperate and suggestible I obviously sucked it all right up. It doesn’t sound like me in those diaries at all, it’s quite embarrassing. Was I 16 or 10?! I shouldn’t be so hard on myself really, I was just a kid, and a very lonely and sick one at that. People do strange things to feel like they belong.
Ever since I left that website I’ve had a real thing about being honest in my diaries, online and on paper. If I am doing crap, I say I am doing crap. If I am not eating enough, I say that, I don’t say ‘oooh I’m trying but it’s sooo hard’ – yes, it is hard, but not eating enough is not eating enough, my body isn’t kind enough to decrease my calorie requirements on especially difficult days. If I only eat the right number of calories when it’s not a challenge then it’s hardly recovery, is it? I know that in the past I have even fed this bullshit to my therapists – telling them that I want to recover, I am trying really hard, I am doing everything right and I just don’t understand why I’m still losing weight. I think it’s much better, in that circumstance, to tell the truth – I am losing weight because I am not committed to recovery at the moment, for whatever reason. They might be perfectly legitimate reasons in my head, it doesn’t make me a bad person, usually just a very scared or depressed person. Struggling isn’t a crime, but lying about it just makes everything worse. (by the way, these are all just examples, I am not losing weight or not eating enough at the moment, I’m still behaving myself 😉 )
I really need to stop beating myself up for being a crazy teenager. This shit was ten years ago, why can’t I just accept that teenagers are weird at the best of times, even when they don’t have eating disorders – and burn the damn diaries?! Probably because I’m afraid that I will forget my adolescence entirely without them. I don’t remember much of it as it is.
I did come across some fun stuff in amongst all of this though – some photos of me doing fire poi! I am going to scan them and put them up on my next post. I can’t wait until I have my own car so I can take myself off to the fire spinning nights in the nearest big town 🙂
Not a particularly positive or insightful post today, I’m having a bit of a frustrated day. Sorry about that!
Three good things about today:
1. I chose and registered a place on an Open University course for October. FINALLY. I am 99% sure that I made the right decision…but it’s nothing to do with physics or astronomy. Ooh. ?
2. Out of curiosity I have been keeping tabs on my fibre and protein intake today, since being gluten free makes getting enough fibre a challenge and I’m always wondering how much protein I get since it’s virtually all from nuts, seeds and beans. I haven’t had my dinner or evening snack yet and I’m already up to 32g protein and 22g fibre, so nothing to worry about after all 🙂 hehe, I’ve never counted anything other than calories before – don’t worry though, I’m not going to make it a habit!
3. I found a copy of a book I’ve wanted to read for ages for £3 at Tesco yesterday, and started it while I was on the exercise bike. So far, just as good as I hoped 🙂 I love it when I find new series of books to read, this is the first of about ten so it’ll keep me occupied for a while! I should probably get the rest out of the library rather than buy them all though, I already have 80+ unread books in my room…ack!
Oh, and another thing – a few days ago I got a voucher for £50 off a food intolerance test. It’s a legitimate one, the York test 113 foodscan intolerance test (an antibody blood test), endorsed by Allergy UK. I already had it done so I was wondering if anyone out there would be interested in it. It’s an expensive test – £265 usually (I was desperate, not rich!), but it’d be £215 with this voucher. I don’t know if it’s available to people outside of the UK, but if there are any UK girls out there with unexplained digestive problems and £200 to blow, let me know 😛 lol, bit of a tall order probably! I thought I would offer anyway.