Tuesday, February 24, 2015

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week - Finally Thriving!

Yesterday marked the beginning of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
This year I am finally at a place where I can celebrate the healing God is giving me.
 
I have been through a lot in these past 2 years, 
but this year...
This year I am very, very close to complete healing!
God is working in my life, and I'm loving it.
I was chatting with a sweet friend earlier about it, and I somehow was able to pin down exactly how I was feeling.
"I'm not happy with my weight," I said, "But I'm very happy at my weight."
And its so true. 
I'm thriving, friends!  Truly thriving.
 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Ishmael or Isaac? (trusting God with my weight)

I'm going to be really open about something here.
 
It's no secret that I have struggled with an eating disorder.
I don't keep this a secret, because it's not my story to hide.
It's God's story, and I'm giving him the glory for the healing that is taking place in my life.
 
I've been posting about the early days of my journey.
Those were the days when I was painfully underweight and had a huge fear of food, eating and calories.
None of those fears are anything like they were.
And neither is my weight.
I'm going to share a brief overview of my journey towards a healthy weight. 
I plan to talk about these times in-depth in the future, but for now I'll just quickly go over them.
When my disordered eating began, I didn't lose weight every quickly, but it was a steady process. 
When the re-feeding process began, I didn't gain anything for a long time.
For three months before inpatient, I either lost or maintained my weight, but my mindset behind eating and weight gain worsen very quickly.
During the four months of inpatient treatment, I gained the weight that I needed.
Then after discharging I slowly relapsed, but didn't lose much weight because I was seeing a dietician who was making sure my parents made me eat all I was supposed to.
Still I lose some, though, and to say that I was terrified to gain it back would be an understatement.
I didn't gain for about 9 months, until I was put on a medicine that caused weight gain.
Then I gained.
When I finally reached my goal weight, I was really happy because I was allowed to start exercise again after 1.5 years of being banned from it. 
 
 
 
I fully expected the weight gain to stop, but it didn't.
I had no idea why I continued to gain weight, and it was frustrating and very scary.
I was excising more then I had been before, and eating less. 
I couldn't figure it out.
I finally pinpointed the medicine as being the cause of the weight gain, and begged my team to take me off it.
After several months they reluctantly agreed to lower it, but not take me off it completely.
After the medicine was decreased, my weight has lowered a bit, but not much.
 
 
I have been very frustrated with the weight gain, and it's been hard to cope with it.
I couldn't believe that I went from being too underweight to weighing slightly more then I needed to.
One day my friend contacted me and said, "Hey Brittany, I'm doing this eating disorder recovery program called minniemaud, and its AMAZING!  You have to try it!"
The more I heard about it, the more intrigued I became. 
The people who follow the program increase their calories everyday until they reach a certain number based on their age, gender, and all, but around 3,500.
The idea is that it speeds up your metabolism, get's you to your weight range (whether that be higher or lower then where the person is at the time), decreases anxiety and negative thoughts around food, and helps with weight re-distribution.
Eat to lose weight?  And everything else?
I'm in!
 
 
My friend was on the program for about 2 weeks, and I could tell a huge difference in her.
She seemed so much more happy, comfortable and flexible around food, and all around improving.
I was so happy for her, and so excited at how well she was doing.
I got really excited thinking that this program could solve all my "problems".
But my mom and dietician were not on board.
At first I couldn't understand it, and wondered why they wouldn't give me a chance at this program that could "fix" me.
But when I prayed about it God kept bringing to mind the story of Abraham in the Bible.
God promised Abraham that he would be the father great nations, yet Abraham and his wife were up in years, and Sarai didn't think it was possible for her to have a child.
So she told Abraham to have a child with her servant, and he hesitantly agreed, resulting in Ishmael.
Eventually, Sarai got jealous and convinced Abraham to send Ishmael and his mother away.
Later God gave Abraham and Sarai their promised child, Isaac.
 
 
God has given me a promise. 
A while back, he promised me that if I could completely surrender myself to him, that he would work  in my life and work everything out for me.
He showed me that I could try to fix things on my own and create an Ishmael (a partial solution), but it wouldn't be what he wanted for me.
But if I choose wait on God and for God, then he will keep his promise and give me an Isaac, a total solution from him.
And so I am choosing to listen to the people God has placed in my life and I will not be trying minniemaud program.
I'm disappointed, but I'm trusting.
Trusting God has a plan in all this, and that He'll work it all out for good.
 
 

Flying Down the Mountain (Our Skiing Stories)

Well, I suppose I owe you all an apology...
It's taken me longer than planned to get this post down, but it's finally here. 
 
This post is actually doubling as a  paper for school, so excuse me if it's a bit long.
That said, enjoy our favorite stories from skiing!
“It’s strange,” I said, “In a weird way I don’t want to get back, because that means the trip is over.”  My friend and I exchanged knowing smiles as we climbed back into the car.  It was a bittersweet moment.  As we continued our journey home, I thought back fondly over our trip.  From 6am on Saturday to 11 pm on Tuesday, it had been a memorable experience to say the least.    

 
“We need to be in the car by 6:30 am tomorrow, guys,” my dad said the night before takeoff.  I admired my father’s optimism.  We had sort of adopted the Duggar family’s tendency to run on “Duggar Time”, which meant that we were often out of the door a bit later than we had planned.  This trip was no exception, but thankfully we were only fashionable late. 

 
By 8:30am everyone was finally in-tow and we had finally hit the road.  We had brought several things to do in the car – books, movies, laptops, iPods, games, etc., but Grace and I just kind of crashed.  We were out-cold until Grace’s homemade cookies were brought out, reviving us.  “Brittany, you and Grace were passed out back there!”  Michael said with a friendly smirk which I sheepishly returned.   

 
6 hours later the North Carolinians in us marveled at the real-live snow that had fallen generously all winter at the ski resort as we unpacked the car and headed up to organize our ski gear.  We soon found out that there was no Wi-Fi or cell phone service.  Yikes.  Reviewing plans for the coming day also had a surprise in store for us.  “So Brittany,” my dad remarked, “The boys and I are heading up to Snow Shoe tomorrow, but you and Grace should probably stick to the slopes here at first.  We’ll meet back here at the room at 5pm.”

 
“Oh, ok…” I took a moment to think it over.  Me, the girl who get anxious when she can’t find her mom in the grocery store, will be with her friend at a separate skiing resort than the rest of the group with absolutely no way to contact anyone should tragedy strike while skiing.  Ok… Well, let the fun begin! 
 
 
The next morning we set out for the slopes.  I ran through in my mind all the things I would teach Grace.  I looked around for the bunny slope, figuring we’d take it slow to start out with.  Suddenly I hear a “Common, Brittany!”  and I look up to see Grace sliding down the mountain. 

 
“Grace, slow down!”  I yelled, as I hurried to catch up to her.  I started to get worried as I tried to catch up.  But then I stopped for a minute and looked at her.  “Wow,” I think to myself, “she’s a natural skier.”  I laughed a little and then pushed off to catch up to Grace.  We were going to have quite a day! 

 
I tried to teach skiing techniques to Grace, but I was pretty bad at it.  We skied and fell a few too many times, and then may or may not have decided that lessons would probably be helpful.  On the way up the ski lift during the lesson, I ended up dropping my pole at the unloading area.  I turned around to get it when I heard, “Hey!  Watch out!”  as the chair on the lift swung around and knocked me down.  I was much more embarrassed then hurt, and I like to think that the man in charge of the lift was much more concerned than angry, although it felt like it was the other way around.  My face was beet red as I apologized, but my pole was a rental and I needed to retrieve it.  As I asked about it, the man whirled around, grabbed the pole, and flung it towards me.  Grace and I tried to hold back laughs as I thanked him and hurried off.  This was just the start of our adventure. 

 
That night during dinner, David had a story to tell us that completely made my day.  His nearly word-for-word explanation of what happened was this:  “I was, om, following Brandon really fast on some jumps, and was recovering from a really big jump.  I was going too fast, so I cut really hard, and ended up cutting too hard which made me start to go backwards.  And I didn’t really know where I was going, until I slid into a big pit of bubbly, grassy mud.”  At this point we were laughing so hard we couldn’t hear the ending, but it got even better.  David was completely covered with mud, so much so that it was dripping off him.  My dad couldn’t think of anything else to do to get the mud off, so he told David to roll around in the snow.  The skiers in the lift above them were smirking sympathetically while they watched David roll around in the snow.  That was an experience we’ll never forget! 

 
The next day Grace and I were promoted to joining the rest of the group at Snow Shoe, the resort with the larger slopes.  I watched in awe (and with a smile) as she masterfully flew down each slope.  We ended up splitting ways with the boys again, and found ourselves at a very busy and crowded lift at the bottom of the mountain.  Finally making it to the top of the line, I noticed an older man motioning us to ride up with the younger man ahead of us.  Grace and I wanted to go alone, so I looked away, pretending I hadn’t seen the man.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw him shake his head in frustration and mutter under his breath before yelling out, “Double up!” and then, seeing he had miscounted, “No, triple up!  Get up there!”  He started jabbing me with his ski poles, but I continued to ignore him.  I was relieved when the younger man’s lift went off, and thought I had gotten out of it.  As Grace and I quickly scooted towards our lift as I heard the man say,
“Well alrighty, then.”  I turned around to see him and his buddy following us, and it hit me that they intended to ride up the ski lift with us.  In fact, they squeezed themselves in between Grace and me.  As the lift went up, the man turned towards me, nudging me with his elbow.  “You didn’t want to ride with him, huh?” He motioned to the young man ahead of us.  “Well,” he continued, “Now you’ll to ride with me!”  He smiled satisfied, and let out a little laugh as I stared straight ahead as I began to calmly freak out. 

 
I’d like to say that that was the end of our encounter with Mr. Freaky Man, but it wasn’t.  On our way to the car on our last day, Grace and I were standing in the bottom floor of the hotel which acted as the ski lodge as we waited for the rest of the group to get ready to go.  We had been there a few minutes when a familiar red jacket caught my eye.  I turned around to see a guy who looked a lot like Mr. Freaky Man coming down the stairs.  I froze as he spotted me and gave me the look before turning to go on his way.  He had just sent the loudest inaudible threat I’d ever received.  I didn’t know whether to laugh or call the police, but ended up just quickly making my way to safety outside. 

 
24 hours later I stood in the Field’s home as Grace and I sharing stories with her family of our trip.  We couldn’t stop smiling.  We’d had such an amazing weekend, with many funny stories to remember it by.  Needless to say, we’ve already made plans to return next year.  But maybe this time I’ll work up enough courage to throw my poles back at people in the situation calls for it, and bring pepper spray, should I see Mr. Freaky Man again.    

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Redemption

Today marks one week since I left with family and friends for a skiing trip in the mountains of West Virginia.
And now, one week later, I only have one word:
Redemption.

You see, two years ago I left for quite possibly the worst vacation of my life.
I was so sick, barely eating anything.
I was lightheaded, weak, dizzy, exhausted, freezing, aching... anorexic...

And now, 2 years later, I amaze no one more than myself at contrast in trips.
This year I had a wonderfully sweet girl friend of mine come along.
This sweet girl is a huge answer to prayer, and I thank God for her.
We talked up a storm, and would go off for a day (literally!) at a time, to ski and hang out.
She inspires me so much, and I admire and look up to her more than I can say.
She really helped me to stay strong during this trip, and I'm happy to say that I did!

We skied for two whole days and two half days, and had a blast!
My friend, Grace, is a natural skier, and it was awesome seeing her discover her talent in that area!
I look back fondly over our trip, smiling at the fun times we had.
I loved the evenings when we would meet back up as a group and talk over dinner.
We have a boat load of funny stories to share!
(I'll post those tomorrow)
But for now, I'm just thankful.
Thankful for the Carey's who came with us.
Thankful for my dad who initiated the trip.
Thankful for my brothers who always kept us on our toes!
Thankful to God for redeeming my story.
And so thankful to Grace for coming along!
I would have stayed behind if she hadn't come, but I'm so thankful that she did!
We all had such a blast!



Friday, January 23, 2015

2 Weeks of Intuitive Eating

Today marks one week and one day since I took a huge leap in my journey.
 
For almost exactly 2 years now, I've been following a strict, ridged, and necessary meal plan.
2 years, friends. 
For 2 years I have not been free to choose the quantity of what I eat, nor have I been able to choose to skip meals or snacks.
Following a meal plan has been, as I mentioned before, was absolutely necessary and vital.
Without it, I would restrict certain food groups, and under-eat.
With it, I was free to eat what my body needed, and I had freedom to eat the foods that I had previously ruled out.
 
And now, 2 long years later, I am meal plan free.
(Insert cheering and huge smiles!!)

Yes, today marks two weeks since I have been off the meal plan!
Things have gone pretty well over all.
I am including all the food groups in my diet, I'm eating difficult foods, and I'm enjoying freedom.
But then there's my weight.
I don't know what my weight is doing, and don't see my dietician for 2 more weeks.
Some days, like today, I feel like I've gained.
And then I also feel like maybe I've lost a bit.
I can usually tell when I losing weight, because, very ironically, my body image gets really bad.
It would seem the opposite, but eating disorders just don't follow logic.

So, I feel really good about the step I've taken.
Its another leap towards freedom, and I can honestly say that freedom is what I truly want.
I do not want my life to ruled by calories and therapy and meal plans.
I need my life to be ruled by God and his plan.
So, please keep me in your prayers, friends.
Please pray that I'll continue on strong, and that I'll continually feel better about my healthy body.
And if you need anything to be covered in prayer, please let me know!
I'd love to pray for/with you anytime.
And with that, have a good weekend!
 
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