a week ago i was talking to someone about the history of my eating disorder. even though my eating disorder is not as impactful as it once was, there are remnants of it that still contribute to how i respond to things.
the person i was talking to wanted to know when the last time i had thrown up was, and i said that throwing up was only a small piece of my eating disorder; my eating disorder has multiple layers to it. the most recent layer i've pulled back was calorie-counting, and that was no small feat. i also mentioned that relaxing my strictness around exercise was (probably) the last layer i needed to work on... and that i didn't know that i wanted/needed to work on it.
is it so bad that i work out every day? that i prioritize it? that i have to run before i leave for work for the day? that i feel like i need to workout to deserve the food i eat?
later that night, i thought more about what i had said, and reflected on earlier layers of my eating disorder that i've since discarded. things i used to think were "fine" include: calorie counting; recording all my food and exercise; constant excessive exercise; minimal binge/purge sessions; binging but just exercising off the calories (instead of throwing up); and extreme calorie restriction. because all of those things weren't as bad as binging and purging every day (or several times a day).
each time i shed a layer of the eating disorder, i am more accepting of the layer under it, thinking that i can live with this lesser version of my eating disorder.
that night, as i thought about what i had said, i remembered a few days before when i accepted an invitation to help a friend with her kids on a road trip this weekend. my only bartering chip had been to ask for time to run/yoga each morning. and i thought, "why did i have to say that? was that what was really most important to me?"
because i'm scared that sometimes exercise is the most important thing to me, here i am, saying that i don't want it to dictate my life.
i don't want to stop exercising regularly; i want to live a healthy life that involves regular exercise but that doesn't revolve around it, so i brainstormed with my art therapist about what a good action step would be. she said that i should "listen to my body, and workout when i needed to."
i couldn't help it; i laughed out loud when she said that. i was laughing hysterically, thinking, "that would never work!" but, as i was laughing, i realized that when people used to say that i should listen to my body, and eat when i was hungry, i had also laughed, thinking that was impossible.
but now that's what i do.
i used to ignore my body's cues around food, hit the "control" button and override what it was telling me. and now, i eat when i'm hungry. i eat what i think my body needs.
therefore, i know that this new hurdle is also surmountable. so i committed: i would listen to my body about when it needed activity instead of setting rules around what must happen.
this weekend, that's what i did. not only did i chill the fuck out, but i didn't force myself to restrict sleep and get up super early for workout time; i didn't demand time to exercise; i didn't freak out about getting "enough" working out in; i wasn't thinking about my workout while spending time with the girls.
oh. and i felt great.
***everything is possible***