More about your body being your friend


mauve six petalsThe comments to the previous article: "Your body is your friend who's there for you 100% of the time," spawned a fascinating and moving conversation in the comments.  Thank you for your candor. I so appreciate your honesty and courage.  pix*

As for number 6, tending your health, that's the key isn't it?  We can twist and turn our thoughts. We can diminish, expand, limit or eliminate, exaggerate our feelings.  But our body is always there and always exhibits the consequences of its experience.

Go out into the cold unprepared, you'll shiver, even get frostbite and die from exposure.
Refuse to give your body adequate rest and you'll suffer illnesses, distorted thinking, inability to concentrate, make poor decisions, reduce your reflex action time, lose your coordination, experience emotional chaos.

We can convince ourselves that our thoughts and emotions are in keeping with reality, but we cannot convince our bodies to respond as we wish. The body is always honest in the here and now and experiences realistic consequences from world experience.

So the body becomes the most powerful marker for our recovery work. Honor what the body needs for health and your thoughts and feelings will adjust to a more realistic position.

In eating disorders we do the exact opposite.  We do our best to control the body in order to limit our thoughts and feelings or channel them in specific ways that are based on our fantasies, not on reality.

Number 6: Support your health. Respect your body and give yourself what you need.  


That gets difficult when supporting your body means you start to feel what you don't want to feel or think more clearly about what you'd rather not see at all.

Having an eating disorder for decades doesn't mean you know a lot about eating disorders. It means you know how to keep your eating disorder going.

Getting the correct amount of sleep, food, water and exercise to build and maintain a healthy body pushes you directly into the path of what your eating disorder is designed to block.  And that's where you recovery work is.

Go, go, go for Number 6.

(I chose the illustration flower, a blue-eyed grass, so common and so beautiful, because it has six petals. It's a reminder of how lovely six can be.)


Towlers Bay Track, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, probably Schelhammera undulata,
24 September 2010, Artist: Poyt448 Peter Woodard  Creative Commons




0 # Body as friendmylifex2 2015-01-12 23:27
those words seem so polar opposite at times. Be a friend to your body. I would hope I wouldnt treat a friend the way I treat my body. That's pretty sad. Thats important to remember. 

the good news is that I've been there before and it's not a foreign concept. 
0 # Thanks Joannashh 2015-01-13 15:15

Thanks for this additional blog post Joanna!

It's such a catch 22 situation... I need to lose weight and keep it off to be able to accept and love my body, but I need to accept and love my body in order to stay in recovery and lose weight in a healthy realistic way and keep it off.

After I read this post earlier today it inspired me to dig out an old journal from a time when I'd worked on accepting my body and learning to love it. It was quite an emotional read ...working through the shame and disbelief that I'd done this to myself and taking responsibility for that, looking at how and why I'd done it and concluding that it had been essential for my sanity and survival.

In one part I wrote:

My body says a lot about me, about childbearing, about my struggles with food, about how much I have abused it, keep just pushing more food’s an unsightly, ugly body....that tells an ugly story.

and went on to give a brief account of that story, of how I was treated that led me to believe that my body was ugly and abnormal and something to be ashamed of, that should be hidden away under clothing that was more suitable for my grandmother than a teenage girl/young woman, and the social isolation that it brought.

But I was eventually able to start to believe that:

Everyone's body tells their story, for my body those imperfections illustrate the enormity of the struggles I’ve had and what I have had to overcome, they reflect the things that have made me who I am now; and the person I am now is someone quite beautiful and deserving of love, therefore the remnants of that journey that show on my body should be accepted and loved just the same as the rest of me 

It's made me realise that deep down I still believe that, it just needs a bit of affirmation work. It's late now, but tomorrow I'm going to force myself to stand naked in front of the mirror, with that last journal excerpt in mind, and start working on learning to love and value my body again.


0 # Something to mull overmylifex2 2015-01-14 18:05
They stop allowing others to drain personal energy.
They use their own energy to build what is valuable and important to them.

these are two of my hardest challenges. More often than not, in my life, I have allowed myself to be the personal doormat of others. I don't like for people to be mad at me- moreover- I just want everyone to be happy, peaceful, calm. My mom wore the pants in the family so to speak, while my dad endured (and still endures) a lot of verbal abuse from my mom. Growing up my dad always pleaded with us to just "let things go". "Don't get your mom started".  

In my entire life, my mom has apologized to me once. ONCE. That's a lot of sucking it up in my lifetime. As an adult she has carried things farther when she doesn't agree with me - she involves my kids in her hate crusade by telling one of them I love one  more than the other.

i was always , and still remain, hyper vigilant to what others think of me. This is very draining. It's so hard to please everyone all the time. It makes me feel less than. It makes my self esteem drop. 

I was proud of myself yesterday. i stay incredibly busy. Single mom, work full time, have a child in 12 hours of gymnastics a week, have a mother with Alzheimer's still living at home with my dad, a sister with bipolar disorder who stirs constant drama over there. A 14 year old with her own teen issues....

a friend called me yesterday needing me to help fix her sons ipod. She wanted me to drop everything I was doing to come help her. I told her I was at gymnastics. She said she'd come to me. That wasn't appropriate and I told her no. Then she wanted to come over after we got home at 8, but I neefed to get homework done and dinner started. So I told her no. Then she wanted to drop by the house and let my daughter look at it. My house is a mess but I almost said yes. Then I stopped and remembered this is her issue, not mine. I didn't want anyone over with my house messy. I'm weird like  that. I did tell her no. It wasn't a life or death situation and my fatigue trumped her need to fix her child's toy THAT NIGHT. She finally got the message. 

i felt bad at first, but later realized that I was proud of myself for sticking to my guns and not giving in- which would have made me feel rushed and frustrated. 

Im in need of utilizing this with other situations. But the sky didn't fall, my friend is still my friend, and I stuck up for my needs. Sounds so simple, but it's not. I think a lot of people with EDs allow people to dictate how they feel and what they think, etc. putting others ahead of ourselves and our own needs is commonplace. Its a way of staying in the shadows - disappearing, not causing ripples in the water. 
0 # Tracyshh 2015-01-15 14:11

Hi Tracy

I can really relate to the things you said above, but as you know already our mothers seem to have quite a lot of similar attributes

I am doing a lot better thesedays at not feeling obliged to put others' needs ahead of my own. I've actually found it really liberating and great for building my self worth to see those that never expected me to, (it was just me feeling like I should and like our relationship depended on it) to like me and care about me just the same. Of course there are the ones that did have those expectaions who have either fallen by the wayside (and rightly so), or had to look at themselves a little and redress their own expectations.

With certain people, like my mother, it has been a long and difficult road, but we are getting there now. I don't regret it for one moment.

I'm proud of you for taking care of yourself ahead of your friend's needs - lets hope this is just the beginning of things to come for you Tracy xx

0 # Yay (for today)mylifex2 2015-01-19 21:15
I want to share that I had a good day. I made a healthy decision today but it was hard for me. it was a decision that most people don't give thought to each day, much less spend most of the day agonizing over. I hate being cryptic but I don't want to trigger anyone in a similar situation.

I hate having an eating disorder. It's unfair. I didn't ask for this, and despite what uneducated people may believe, it's not something a person can just "snap out of" or get over easily. I'm sad because I've spent 34 years with some form of an ED.  I'm smart, educated and know that eating disorders are serious business. 

despite my setbacks, I really want to be healthy. It saddens me that so many people die from ED's every day. I don't want to be a statistic- so I'm working my butt off to do the right thing. I'm sick of focusing on numbers. I threw my scales away recently but I work in a hospital so there are scales everywhere. It's a little harder, though, because I don't want people thinking I have issues because I weigh myself daily. 

Im going through a very stressful situation at work, which makes it sometimes harder to treat myself right. My ED is making me very tired and there are days I'm lucky I don't run off the road driving. My vision has become very poor as well. My hair is falling out...all this to say you would think I would tell myself to get it together- and listen!! But ED's don't work that way as we all know. They are sneaky little liars. We sometimes fall into the trap of believing it's all about how we feel we look or how we feel others perceive us. But it's so much more than that. 

I first stopped eating because my mother told me I had baby fat to lose. She meant 5 lbs. I took it to 25. I was 12. I was sexually abused for 7 years by my grandfather. My ED was and remains a way that I express anger, sadness, lonliness, grief....this has to stop. I have to get past all that sh-- and take care of me. 

So I am embarking on a new adventure in healing. I want to share my journey in case it helps someone else. I have found a weekend intensive ED program about an hour away. I can stay or drive back and forth. I'm able to step my weekly therapy up when in a crisis. I am starting with a nutritionist, and I'm getting an endocrinologist to treat my diabetes- someone who will see through my bull crap and call me on it. Of course, I have to show up. I have to participate. 

i chose this over inpatient care because I think it's the least restrictive choice as I am a single mom. I also don't want to have to explain to my kids exactly where I would be for several weeks. I'm already trying to figure out how to divy out my weekend responsibilities so my kids don't miss their Gymnastics and dance lessons. 

I feel guilty for being away from my responsibilities to my family as I take care of my mom (dementia) on Sunday's to give my dad a break. 

But my huge epiphany today was that if I don't do these things I won't be here to do anything. I think that this trumps the rest. Sooooo today I chose to do something healthy for my body. I hope tomorrow is easier. Keep me in your prayers as I do all of you. 

as I'm sitting here I can see my very dogeared HHH book. I think I need a new copy Lol. This one looks like it's been through a war. But I guess it kinda is. My journal sits underneath- not as worn as I've lapsed periodicaly. But journaling is so important. I just need energy. I need good sleep. I need to eat better and take my meds❤️

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