Monthly Archives: July 2011

diet coke 12-pack: week of july 25, 2011.

Who’s ready to troll the Internet? Well, you’re here, so you’ve already got a head start, don’t you? And what better place to start than FBDC?

Here are some fun things I found on the webbernets this week. It’s not an extensive list, but quality over quantity  y’all! Enjoy, and have a great weekend! I’ll see all you lovers on Tuesday!

THE LINKS!

That’s all, folks!

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things i love thursday! (july 28, 2011)

Herrroooo friends! Hope your past two weeks have been splendid. Not being able to post a TILT list last week was weird! I really missed it. I look forward to Thursdays every week now because of TILT, but last week I was off the Internet, doing wonderfully awesome things with some of my favorite people. The past two weeks have definitely been full of blessings for me, despite a torn ACL. (Did I not tell you that? I forget. The MRI results came back. I tore my ACL. Anyway…) Let’s get to it!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Working a half day.
  • Silly signs on the interstate in the south.
  • Making fun of the south.
  • Road trip food.
  • Getting lunch with Tallahassee friends in Williamsburg, Kentucky.
  • Weird hotel rooms.
  • Smaller hotel beds (to maximize cuddling.)
  • Naps in the car.
  • iPod challenge.
  • The Midwest.
  • Ohio accents.
  • Being surrounded by all my favorite people from my town IN A TOTALLY DIFFERENT TOWN AND STATE.
  • Free drinks and food!
  • 800mg Motrin.
  • Taza coffee shop in downtown Cincinnati.
  • The Creative Writing Box.
  • Soy lattes.
  • Midwestern homes.
  • 17 years of marriage.
  • New little black dresses.
  • EVAN AND SUZANNE ARE MARRIED!
  • Realizing how important they are to me when I saw her walking down the aisle and I immediately started to sob.
  • “Dancing” (that is, moving in such a way that won’t hurt my knee) with my friends at the reception.
  • Driving from Cincinnati to Tallahassee in one day.
  • Long sleep.
  • Getting an outrageously cute “GET WELL!” card from my mom.
  • Margaritas with Lori and Angie.
  • No cavities at the dentist!
  • Having ministry meetings… over margaritas. (Seriously? These must make up like 60% of my liquid intake.)
  • It’s my best friend’s birthday!
  • Bringing a rose and a cupcake (with a MAN jumping out of it!) to said best friend at work.
  • The orthopedic surgeon’s assistant. He was hilarious.
  • Finding out I don’t have to wear my stupid knee brace from now until when I have surgery!
  • Finding out I can use an elliptical machine with a torn ACL! YAY! Exercise!
  • Uplifting emails/Facebook messages. I am truly blessed.
  • Friends opening up to and trusting me with their struggles.
  • The fact that like five people have told me this week that I should write a book. Wow. Should I? Would you buy my book? I’m pretty poor, so that would be nice…
  • Encouraging and supportive coworkers.
  • Last, but certainly not least, my wonderful, adorable, sweet husband, who cooks dinner for me every night and takes care of me and always puts me before everything else. I can’t believe that on Monday we’ll be celebrating two years of marriage. It gets better every single day, and I mean that.

Ahhh. What a great week. What do you love this week? Comment and let me know. Nothing makes me smile bigger than seeing joy come from my readers!

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Filed under faith, God, gushes, life, reasons my husband rocks, transformation

the rexia series: liarexia.

the ‘rexia’ series:

liarexia

I stumbled across the term “liarexia” while perusing (what else?) a celebrity gossip magazine. The term was used to describe the eating habits of celebrities photographed eating fatty foods. Cheeseburgers, fries, bagels, milkshakes, you know, the stuff normal people eat every freaking day. So, why is it such a big deal when celebrities do it?

Well, quite frankly, it’s because they’re usually stick thin, and if they were eating that way every meal of every day, they wouldn’t look like that. Ergo, the idea is that they’re “lying” about what they eat throughout the day.

Um, duh. They also all probably have personal trainers that work out with them at their homes 7 days a week. But that’s another blog post entirely.

“Liarexia” is something that I find to be a bit of a redundancy; people who struggle with eating disorders tend to lie a lot because, hello, their eating habits are not normal. Even ED sufferers know this. It’s really rare to find someone placing an order at Starbucks saying, “Please give me a small cup of black coffee. Yes, that’s it. No cream or sugar, please. I’m trying to keep my daily caloric intake under 300 because I’m irrationally fearful of weight gain. Thanks.”

No. That’s not normal, and when people do things like that, it raises red flags. Red flags, by the way, are the eternal enemy of all eating disorders. Red flags demand explanations, which can sometimes lead to something awful. Like therapy or (gasp!) recovery.

I’m a pretty terrible liar. I’ve always known that. But I didn’t know just how bad of a liar I was until a group of my sorority sisters showed me that I wasn’t fooling anyone concerning my eating disorder.

Here I am in early 2006, about a year before being diagnosed. Where are my arms? I don’t know. But I can tell you that I was probably really hungry when this picture was taken.

Back in 2006, a group of my sorority sisters and I got together for some sort of event. I don’t remember the specifics of the event, but I do remember that we all went to Village Inn afterward.

(See? This is the real tragedy of the eating disordered individual. Food runs their life. So much so, that they can’t even focus on the great, happy, fun times they experience. Living turns into merely existing in a world where the only thing that matters to them is food, whether or not they’re going to eat it, where they’re going to eat it, how much of it they’re going to eat, etc.)

So. We went to Village Inn. When the waitress came around and asked for our drink orders, I went with water. This isn’t suspicious, I thought, because I’m a poor college kid and water is free. But while the waitress was gone, my mind was racing a million miles a second trying to come up with a logical explanation for why I wasn’t going to order any food. Normally I’d go with my staple, “Oh, I already ate dinner, I’m still full.” However, since I’d been spending time with my sisters all afternoon, I knew that wasn’t going to fly.

When the waitress came back to our table, in a last ditch effort to come up with an out, I told her to come to me last. As each girl ordered their food, my time dwindled away, and I was still without a reasonable excuse. So I panicked. When the waitress got to me, I just closed the menu and said, “Oh, I’m not eating, but thanks.”

LIE.

For a split second, I thought it worked. But then, the silence surrounding me was shattered by my sisters erupting in a burst of exasperated protestation.

What? Why aren’t you eating?”
“Lindsay, this is getting ridiculous.”
“You are skinny enough, stop doing this!”

And an assortment of other exclamations about my strange eating habits and surprisingly evident obsession with my weight.

My face burst aflame with embarrassment and horror. They knew. All of them knew. I didn’t know what to say, so I said the first thing that came to my mind:

“But I’ve already eaten too much today.”

LIE.
A big, fat, stinking lie. A lie so obvious, it might as well have been tap dancing on the table. A lie so big, it could only be conjured up in an effort to cover up another palpable fallacy.

They didn’t fall for it.

I can’t tell you how revolted that conversation left me. I felt attacked, exposed, raw, and hopeless. But those feelings were only (relatively) temporary, as they were the product of a conversation that would be the catalyst to me eventually seeking help for my disorder.

So thank you, sisters. Thanks for not buying my crap. Thanks for being brave enough to call me out on a lie.

And here is my message to anyone who currently knows they’re being lied to about something like this: I know it’s scary, but please. Speak up. Yes, it will hurt. Yes, it will be uncomfortable. But you may save someone’s life.

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tuesday tip — mentality vs. reality.

Heads up: this is one of those blog posts that is more for me than it is for you. If it helps you, great. But honestly, I just need to blog because, like I’ve said a thousand times, I blog because I can’t afford therapy.

Three weeks ago I tore my ACL at my dance class. I landed wrong after a jump and, well, my knee decided to rip in half or something. I’m going to see an orthopedist on Thursday and I’ll most likely have to undergo surgery at some point in the coming weeks. Ha. Wow. I just typed that, flippantly, as if it’s something that people just do. Just like that.

“Oh hey, what’d you do today?” — “Nothing really, just had some knee surgery and then swung by Starbucks, whatevs.”

At any rate, the past three weeks have been challenging for several legitimate reasons (I can’t move my knee certain ways, I have to wear a brace every waking hour, I have to let people wait on me, etc.) But, they’ve also been challenging for a big, stupid, dumb, not-legitimate-at-all reason: I can’t exercise and it’s giving me anxiety.

You see, the thing about those affected by eating disorders is that they are constantly plagued by both the need to control everything and the desire to attain perfection. So, strict diets and unreasonable exercise routines win out to quell both cravings.

While I’m “recovered” from my eating disorder (some would argue that an eating disorder isn’t something you can ever fully recover from and that you can only merely learn to struggle with) I’ve found myself in a situation where my body and what it looks like are beyond my control. AND I HATE IT. The fact that I can’t burn off the calories I consume is tormenting me. I freak out about each food item I eat because I know that, if I’m not careful, I could gain a butt-ton (pun intended) of weight in the coming months. The mentality of it all is breaking me down.

But that’s the thing — the mentality is breaking me down. Not the reality.

My  mentality: I’ve gained weight since tearing my ACL and that’s really awful.

The reality: Even if I have gained weight, which is highly unlikely, it’s no big deal.

I bring this up because I know I’m not alone in this. Maybe it’s not a knee injury for you. Maybe you’ve gotten behind on your housework and you just haven’t had time to exercise. Maybe, because it’s wedding season, you’ve had to attend a thousand hitchings in the past few months and have eaten dinner after delectable, catered dinner and you feel as though they are taking up a permanent residence in your fat cells. Maybe, because it’s summer and the entire country is experiencing an out-of-control heatwave, you just haven’t gone for a jog in a while for fear of dying of heat stroke.

Whatever uncontrollable circumstances are arising in your life at the moment, breathe in, and remember that the reality is that you are wonderfully made and oh, so very loved.

Your mentality cannot change that, no matter how negative it might be at any given time.

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Filed under eating disorders, food bytes, life, psychology

the rexia series: drunkorexia.

the ‘rexia’ series:

drunkorexia

I didn’t realize how much the rexia series was going to affect me until I started looking through old pictures me knee deep in my eating disorder. Ew. I feel so sick looking at these pictures and knowing that behind the smiles and goofy faces, I was a zombie. Even though I was the textbook definition of “alive,” I felt dead inside. I was a slave to the calories I consumed  — nothing else mattered to me. Perfection and thinness were my whole life.

Here’s a picture of me from the fall of 2007. I look pretty good, right? Happy, healthy… normal. To someone who doesn’t know my story, this picture seems pretty typical for a college-aged American woman studying abroad. But let me reveal to you the reality underneath.

When this picture was taken I was studying in London and had actually just been diagnosed with EDNOS about six months prior. I’d gone through nutritional counseling, gained some weight, and was trying to learn how to live a normal life. I didn’t know my weight at the time (because I wasn’t allowed to know) but I did know that it was higher than it was a few months before and that it was hard for me to be comfortable knowing that.

I was also aware that alcohol has a crap load of calories in it, and I was living in a foreign country amongst people who knew nothing about me or my past or, most importantly, my eating disorder. So, the day this picture was snapped, I did something that I did countless times before I went through therapy: I severely limited my food intake throughout the day. Since I knew I would be going out to the bars that night, I concluded that I couldn’t “afford” to have both the calories in food and the calories in alcohol in the same day. I had to pick one and, for the sake of not being the one awkwardly sober person at the bar, I chose alcohol. I barely knew the people I was studying with so, in my mind, I was in the clear. I felt relieved to know that, unlike when I was in counseling, no one in London was monitoring my meals, so it could be my little secret.  Besides, I’d been eating way more since my therapy ended, so I figured it wouldn’t matter much. It wasn’t really “relapsing” right? It was only me “making a smart choice” about my daily calorie intake.

Looking back now, in a much healthier state, I can confidently say that (duh) I wasn’t making a “smart choice” at all. I was making a poor, unhealthy, stupid choice. Not eating food so I didn’t consume too many calories via alcohol? Cool, Lindsay, because that makes sense. Make sure to avoid all nutritional fuel for your body so you have enough calories left in your bank to consume pint after pint of poison. Smooth move.

Sigh.

When I learned that this behavior actually has a name, drunkorexia, it became clear to me that I hadn’t reinvented the dieting wheel by substituting food calories with alcohol calories. Once I was aware of the problem I started seeing drunkorexia publicly rear its ugly head on campus, particularly within the Greek system. I was in a sorority in college (please suppress all judgment) and I distinctly remember being at a frat party and hearing a girl in another sorority brag about not having eaten all day to “save up all [her] calories for tonight!” In the same night, I heard a frat brother talk about how he was going to need to spend three hours in the gym the next day to work off all the alcohol. Three hours?  Really?

I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that for me, the vast majority of my time during my college years was spent trying to figure out where exactly it is I belong on this planet. Who am I? Who are my friends? What are my values? What are my passions? The fact that girls and guys around me were openly talking about substituting food for alcohol solidified what was really important to my peers — to drink and party a lot but still remain skinny, pretty, and (because I went to a university that carries its very own garnet and gold strain of Chlamydia) easy. The reality was that if you’re not these things, it’s only because you’re not trying hard enough, and no guys are going to care about you. Well, I wasn’t one known for not trying hard enough. I tried plenty hard and took that random sorority girl’s advice to choose alcohol over food.

Enter drunkorexia. Since I was already dealing with EDNOS on a daily basis, I wasn’t eating enough as it is, which meant I had to eat even less to make sure the drinking I did at college parties (gotta fit in, you know!) didn’t make me “fat” and, therefore, not pretty, popular, or easy.  I thought this would make it easier for me to fit in and get guys to date (although, even to this day, I can’t flirt my way out of a wet paper bag filled with sex offenders.) But so many other girls were doing this it was hard to keep up. No matter how little I consumed in a day, there was always another girl at the party who was eating/drinking less than me which made her prettier, skinnier, and more popular than me. Sigh. It seemed to never end.

Bleh. This happens. This is real. It’s not going away. It needs to be addressed because, pardon me for being blunt, it’s really freaking stupid. (Remember my disclaimer? If not, now’s a good time to go over it for good measure.)

Why is it that, in an environment where kids are really just trying to be accepted, such strict standards exist? I’ve been out of college for three and a half years (holy time warp, really?) and I now know that being accepted by frat guys and envied by dieting sorority girls is a vapid, disgusting, empty desire. But at the time, it was a very real need. So much so, in fact, that it created a widely-accepted movement to forfeit nutrition for a keg of Natty Light.

SICK!

The reason I chose to write about drunkorexia is because I know for a fact that some of you reading this have actually done this in the past. You may not have known that what you were doing was dangerous, or even something along the lines of an eating disorder. That’s because you’ve been conditioned to believe that this is somehow normal and accepted.

Well, let me tell you something. You know what else was normal and accepted at one point in our country’s history? Slavery. And if there is anything I can tell you about disordered eating, it is that a person struggling with it is a sad, lonely prisoner who is chained to unceasing pain, heartbreak, isolation, and (for some) death.

Do not be a slave to this. Not drunkorexia. Not anorexia. Not bulimia. Not dieting. Not any destructive pattern.

Your chains were broken long ago, beauties. Your bond has been posted. But it’s up to you to actually step out of the prison into freedom.

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tuesday tip: words

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
John Keating, Dead Poets Society

Few statements have been made that are truer than this for me. Words and ideas have constructed and reconstructed the paradigms on which I base my entire life. Words like “diet” and “thin” and ideas like “eating disorders” and “perfection” and “never good enough” were so powerful to me that they quite literally  changed my world. Over the span of the 10 years I had a destructive relationship with food, I wasn’t the only one affected. My friends’ and family’s lives had changed, too. We were all in this crappy world together, drowning in self-loathing and despair. Relationships were broken. Tears were shed. Fights were had. All because I was convinced that with this body in this world, I would never be good enough to be loved.

But the good news is that wasn’t the end of the story. As backwards and scary as these ideas made the world for me, I made a conscious decision that I didn’t want it to stay that way. I was determined to create a whole new existence for myself — one that was governed by love instead of hate and joy instead of sorrow and hope instead of failure. Without much direction or know-how, I turned to the only tool I could fathom utilizing in a battle against self-hate — the weapon that changed my world in the first place: words.

At first, knowing full well that the only ideas in my head were dangerous and unhealthy, I sought out other people’s words — the bible, books on inner beauty, self-love blogs. Then, I took those words and actually wrote them down in my journal with my own hand as if they were pouring out of my own consciousness. I won’t lie to you — at first, it felt really awkward. It felt wrong. It felt stupid, pointless, and borderline pathetic. But I persisted, knowing that the alternative wasn’t an option anymore.

After several (I’m talking several, people) months of this, I started following a different pattern. Instead of reading these encouraging words about my body and feeling uncomfortable and doubtful, I started to believe them. I even found myself thinking them while I was looking in the mirror without even trying. Instead of looking at my body as “fat” and “unlovable” and “disgusting,” I found myself referring to it as “lovely” and “curvy” and “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

So. All that to say…

TODAY’S SELF-LOVE TIP: SEEK OUT, SAY, THINK, AND WRITE DOWN ENCOURAGING WORDS.

If you’re feeling particularly down and don’t feel like exerting effort to look, let me give you some:

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
- Psalm 139:13-15, 17-18

And for you non-believers out there:

You are bloody fantastic. Your existence makes life worthwhile.
- Me

But, as wonderful as other people’s words are, your words matter most in the act of changing your world for the better. Therefore…

An FBDC homework assignment of sorts.

You know how when you were in 7th grade and you spent hours trying to finish your freaking algebra homework and you thought to yourself, “WHEN AM I EVER GOING TO USE THIS WORTHLESS GARBAGE??” (No? Was that just me?) Well, rest assured, this homework assignment is actually beneficial to your life. Also, you get an “A” no matter what. Even if you turn it in late. (I hope my 7th grade algebra teacher reads this and takes a bloody hint.)

  1. I’d like you to find a pen (or pencil or crayon or whatever) and a sheet of paper. Not an email or a blog. An actual, physical, made-from-a-tree-and-will-biodegrade sheet of paper.
  2. Write a love letter to yourself. Write, “Dear [insert your name here],” at the top and write down as many wonderful things about yourself as you want. Your letter can be two lines long, or two hundred pages long. Whatever good things you can think about yourself, write them. Don’t worry about punctuation or grammar. Just write.
  3. Find an envelope and a stamp.
  4. Put that love letter in said envelope, seal it, and put said stamp on it. Beyonce would say, “IF YOU MAIL IT THEN YOU NEEDA PUTTA STAMP ON IT.”
  5. Address said envelope to yourself.
  6. Next time you’re out and about, drop it in a public mailbox.
  7. When it arrives in your mailbox, open it up and read it.
  8. Put that letter in a safe place. That way, whenever you find yourself thinking negatively about yourself and you feel your world spinning quickly back into darkness, you can re-read that letter, come back to the light, and remember that you are lovely.

After you’ve written your letters, here’s your extra credit assignment: email me excerpts from your letter so that I can read them. I’d love nothing more than to read your own words about how fabulous you are. I could sit here all day and talk about how wonderful I think each of you are, but what does it matter if you don’t believe it yourself?

Okay. I’m going to hit post. And then, I’m going to watch my inbox become flooded with your self-love.

You ready for your world to change?

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Filed under eating disorders, food bytes, God, life, psychology

special FBDC programming note.

Just a heads up — this week, I’m afraid there will be no TILT or 12-pack; I will be heading to Cincinnati to party for four days and watch two of my favorite people tie the knot. Tuesday Tip and part 1 of The Rexia Series are still coming your way, though!

Happy Monday, favorite people. Do work.

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