How Do I Love Thee?

Can anybody find me….somebody tooooo…looovvvveee!?

How about yourself? It’s something we all forget to do, love ourselves. A lot of people don’t want to anymore. They feel they aren’t worthy of love, especially their own. We feel ashamed and disgusted in ourselves, but we really shouldn’t. We are human. We make mistakes. It’s time to stop beating yourself up.

How do you even love yourself? How can we even like ourselves? What if all we feel is hate. We hate our growing body. We hate being in hospital, or in school, or anywhere. We hate our life. Instead of saying this, say the opposite. I love my life. You may not believe it, but every time you say I hate my life, you have to say I love my life.

Think of reasons why you could love your life. Again, they may not seem true to you right now, but maybe they did at one time. And maybe they’re really small things, but anything is good. I love that I have a cat. I love that I have a sister. I love that I have black clothes. I love that Disney movies exist. I love that Hot Topic is around. I love that I have shoes. I love that I have feet. I love that I have eyes and ears. You get the point. List anything and everything. Don’t just think of them, write them down. Keep them to look at when you’re really low. It’ll remind you that there are a few good things in your life. It’s worth the time you have to take.

Another thing you should do is compliment yourself. Say “you are beautiful” when you look in the mirror. Stop yourself from saying hurtful things. Write messages all around your room or house reminding yourself of how strong and amazing you are. You all are, and you all deserve these compliments. In fact, they aren’t as much compliments as facts. Each and everyone of you has something to offer the world, do not forget that. You are special. You are important.

Some people think to love yourself you should wear tight clothes, other say baggy. What do I say? Nothing is out of boundaries. Wear whatever you want. I wear a tutu and suspenders sometimes. Knee high socks, hair bows, mismatched patterns, I have no limits to what I wear, and neither should you. Respect your body. Accent the best features of yourself (I’ll bet you all have a great butt). No shame. No regrets. If you want to wear makeup, wear it. If you don’t want to, don’t. It is all your choice. This is your body, clothing and other styles are a way to express yourself.

When you’re learning to love yourself, you have to push boundaries. Get out of your comfort zone. Be crazy. Be loud. Be you. I had a really hard time accepting myself. I thought I was horrible, worthless, ugly, fat, all the everyday things. But I also wasn’t myself. I didn’t like who I had become. It seemed to be me, but it didn’t look like me, or act like me. So I changed. I wore something crazy that I would’ve worn years ago, when I was happy. I felt this spark. I felt this new confidence. I was confused. I thought how could this be? I should be embarrassed. But I was proud. I took a leap, accepted the challenge, and got a little piece of me back. Maybe you were outgoing before, but then you became very introverted. Be daring. Talk to someone. An easy thing to do is get an online email penpal, or text someone. The next step is to talk to someone in public. Then maybe even say hello to a stranger. Take small steps everyday to get yourself back to who you were.

COMMON THOUGHTS

  • I do not deserve love
  • I am ugly
  • I am worthless
  • I am fat/overweight
  • I am horrible
  • How could anyone love me?

These are all myths. You deserve love. You are beautiful. You are worthy and meaningful. You are lovely. You are terrific. I love you, no matter who you are.

But some people ask this “Who am I?”. It’s a big question, but very important. To love yourself, you really have to learn who you are. Separate yourself from any illnesses or issues. You are not your problems. You are that creative, beautiful, smart, courageous, lovable boy or girl. Identify your values. Take a few minutes or hours to just be with yourself. Write down the things you love, love to do, and any other favourites. Really investigate into your soul. It sounds cliche, but sometimes cliches are right. It’s time you discovered yourself once again.

What do you do when other people are bringing you down? Think of the phrase Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Think No Evil. Learning to love yourself is when you have to take off those rose-coloured glasses and see who you truly are. Then I want you to take those glasses and fold them. Fold them again. And keep folding them until they become ear plugs. But these ear plugs in. These will guard you from the words of others. Turn something not so great, into something helpful. If you don’t have these glasses, or are not ready to take them off just yet, invest in some good quality ear plugs. The words these others have to say are not worth your energy. You are too important to listen to anything that is unkind. These people are not right for your life. (Now this is a metaphor, but I have found many people wear these glasses without noticing, myself being one. I have found that the ear plugs have helped me quite a bit when it comes to what other people say. I have the deluxe brand, so it filters out all negative things, and only lets me hear the important and helpful things. This doesn’t mean you should ignore people, it just means, don’t take their hurtful comments seriously. They mean nothing.)

A good thing to do while trying to learn to love yourself, is gain a passion or hobby. Not only does this distract yourself from any unhelpful thoughts, but it helps you build mastery, help you to believe in yourself and give you more to love. I learned to loom, with the special kits. It wasn’t too difficult (after a while), but I felt really good about myself after I made my first scarf. I was so proud. I saw a little glimpse of life in my eyes again. A little flicker of love flashed before me. And that was just from a scarf. When I painted my first painting, a lot more came. Then even when I went to the grocery store all on my own, I felt this love. I was doing things to help and appreciate me. Sometimes, it is all about you. And that is completely fine.

Don’t hold your feelings in. Don’t hide who you are. Be honest. Some people find they sound like a broken record, or maybe they just think they’re annoying. It isn’t healthy to hold everything in. It will hurt you in the long run. It’ll beat you up from the inside out. Find one person who you can rant to. Tell them everything you’re feeling. Let it all out. If you don’t feel safe telling someone else, write out how you’re feeling, or type it to get it out of your mind. Then I suggest burning, ripping or deleting it. This is more for comfort of not having to relive that exact feeling again. If you need to let it out to someone, I am always willing to listen. Tell me if you want me to give advice, comment what I think or just acknowledge your feelings. I want to help.

My favourite thing is to look at my quirks; to see how I am different. I embrace the little weird things about me. I am proud to say I am different. Every itty bitty thing about you is wonderful. Every unique piece of your puzzle is important and special. Embrace the things you never thought you would. Have a cow lick? Awesome, embrace it. Laugh so hard no sound comes out, embrace it. Have grey hair, embrace it. These things make you who you are.

Remember not to change yourself for anyone. Be who you truly want to be. You want to play the kazoo? Do it. Nothing is impossible for you. Once you know who you are, or what you like, create an identity you want to be, or who you were. Once you know your values, practice them. Be the person you always wanted yourself to be. Not who your family or friends wanted you to be. The most important opinion is your own. So act in a way you respect yourself.

I didn’t love myself for a long time. I couldn’t look in the mirror without crying. I saw a decaying face in front of me and I had no respect for myself. I was not happy. I was ashamed of this being I became. For years this went on. Things were looking bleak. Then I started my first real recovery. I still couldn’t look in the mirror; at first. Then I wore something crazy. I wore something I would’ve worn when I was eight and didn’t have my disorder. I looked in the mirror. I smiled? It was weird. I actually was happy with the way I looked. I walked with a spring in my step. You can feel this too.

Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. It will happen. I know it. Love yourself.

The “No-Nos”

We all have those foods. The foods we deem unfit to eat.

But how did we choose them? The main culprit: word of mouth. Yes, that’s right, we heard from someone or read on some unreliable site that these foods are unhealthy. But what if we were told spinach was unhealthy? That we shouldn’t eat it and you’d be fat if you did? That isn’t really accurate. In fact, if you didn’t ever eat spinach, you’d be missing out on not only a tasty food, but also certain nutrients it gives us. The same applies to pleasure foods, more commonly known as “junk food”

The term “junk food” isn’t correct. It implies that these foods are trash and eating them is bad for our insides. Sure, if all you eat is candy all day everyday, it will hurt you, but the same applies to all foods. We have to eat these things in moderation and enjoy all different types of food, unless you have an allergy or ethically are against certain foods (but cutting out some foods means you have to introduce new ones to make up for lost nutrition!).

By taking out these foods, we are punishing ourselves. It brings the correlation between food and appreciation. Food soon becomes a reward and a punishment, some are good and some are considered bad. But this isn’t a healthy way to look at food. Food is something our body needs, and it’s important to try as many different things as we can, not excluding any food that we physically can eat.

By a technical way of looking at things, this is restricting. You are all working so hard to overcome your eating disorder behaviors, and this will not do you any good. Denying yourself food isn’t a good habit. We have to normalize our eating and this includes introducing foods we don’t find “healthy”.

What really defines healthy? Who told us what is healthy and what is not? When you have an eating disorder, no foods should be off the table (unless for religious, ethical or medical reasons). There is no such things as bad foods. I believe there shouldn’t be any labels on food, no super foods, junk food, low fat food, etc. It is all just food. We can eat it all.

Now, just because I believe we can eat all these foods, it doesn’t mean go out and binge. Things in moderation. It is important to eat a variety of foods and expose yourself to different tastes and textures. Eating a couple candies or chocolates a day won’t hurt you. Even having one day where you eat a bunch of candy (Halloween!), you won’t expand like a blimp. All these foods are carbohydrates, and all can be digested by your body and converted to energy. They aren’t going to kill you, as long as you keep eating the other four food groups and get your required amount of nutrition.

If we set rigid rules against food, we could find ourselves in tough situations. An example came up in group today. Our dietitian is going to have a baby, and this weekend she went shopping at the mall. All of a sudden she felt her blood sugar drop. She started sweating and had to sit down. A lady approached her and asked if she was okay, offering her timbits. Now what if the dietitian had a rule of no cake or sugary foods? What if she said, no I’m fine and just walked to the food court? She could’ve fainted in that time and hurt not only herself, but her baby. (She in fact loves timbits, and yes, she is a very healthy dietitian, and took some) But this could happen to anyone at any time. Sometimes you have to eat these foods for when you’re in an emergency and when your health is at risk. There shouldn’t be any foods crossed off your list of foods to eat, reintroduce as much as available to you!!

The main question you have to ask yourself, is this my opinion or Ed’s? Most of the time, it’s Ed’s. Don’t let him or her keep you from eating foods you once enjoyed. Give them a second chance in your life. I have a friend who doesn’t like candy. She finds it too sweet. She also doesn’t like fruit. But she doesn’t ban these foods from her life, she just would prefer not to eat them. If she had to eat them, she would. If you physically do not like a food, don’t say you’ll never eat it, keep it on the table. Simply say you’d prefer not to eat it, and replace it (sometimes) with a food of equal nutrition.

I have had foods I didn’t want to eat. Sometimes I didn’t realize I was cutting them out, but this weekend I recognized it. I decided to challenge myself by eating foods I rarely ever eat. I had hot chocolate, pop, pasta and butter. Some of those things I enjoyed quite a bit, the noddles and butter were fantastic and I will eat them again. But, I wasn’t a fan of the pop or hot chocolate. But I’m not going to never eat them again. In fact, I’m just going to try different brands and types before I say I’d prefer not to eat this food. I want to give it the complete chance it deserves.

You never know, you may not like sweddish fish candy, but maybe you’ll like sour cherry blasters. You’ve got to try different varieties before you say one food isn’t to your liking. All foods deserve a chance.

Give it a shot and stay strong!!

Now What?

(I’m so sorry I haven’t been blogging for a while!! A lot has been going on and later on I’ll be able to talk about it, but for now, I can’t. Also, thighs touch, no shame!!)

Now, this could be for a lot of things. Today it’s about reaching your goal weight. 

It truly is a scary thing. You’ve been underweight for so long and it’s the norm for you. You don’t know anything but it. You’re losing your “safe place”. But here’s a shocker, it really wasn’t your safe place. 

No, don’t stop reading already and call me a liar. There really is a safer place. It’s acceptance. But you have to work really hard to get to acceptance. 

It could be something that you wake up feeling, or it could be something you work towards for months, even years. One thing you have to remember is patience. Time will tell what is to come. 

Acceptance is being okay with your body. Or maybe it’s not being okay with your body, but realizing you’re healthy and accepting things are the way they are and it wouldn’t be right to fiddle with your health again. 

Now, back to goal weight. No one wants to hear, “you’re at your goal weight”. Some people think of it as a failure, like they weren’t strong enough to keep losing weight. That is a plain lie. You proved you are even stronger and that you have control. You showed yourself that this is your life and no longer will you hurt your body. You are the complete opposite of a failure. You are one of the most successful people that have lived. 

Your goal weight isn’t some magic number. Everything fluctuates. You may lose five pounds, you may gain ten. But that is okay, as long as a medical professional is watching your health and advising you with what you eat and what kind of activity you do. As long as you aren’t engaging in negative coping mechanisms, your weight moving around is normal and healthy. It could be because you drank too much or too little, or maybe you haven’t peed yet. Most of your weight is water, so after you go to the bathroom, your body balances out. 

Don’t stress about your weight. In fact, I don’t think scales should’ve been created. They’ve only caused pain and suffering for so many people. Your Ed, or Ana, or whatever your eating disorders name is, is the one who is making you think this way. Remember years ago when you coloured at school and got excited on milk day instead of scared? Ed wasn’t talking to you yet. You were enjoying your life and that’s what I hope for all of us. The freedom to love ourselves again. 

The hardest thing to do is stop thinking about your weight, but the most important thing is to stop thinking about your weight. It’s just a number. It doesn’t reflect who you are, how you do in school or who your friends are.

 The scale is an abusive partner. Stop letting them control your life and break up with them. Think of the scale as the enemy, not the hero. Has it really ever helped you? Probably not. Leave the number and medical decisions to the doctors and dieticians. They’ve studied this and won’t let you become unhealthy. 

You’re all beautify like, or handsome, no matter your weight. If someone judges you on how you look, they aren’t worth your time. And yes, that includes Ed and all his judging. 

Don’t worry about being a pound or two over your “goal weight”. In fact, stop thinking of it as your goal weight. Consider it the start of your healthy weight RANGE. That’s right, it’s the lowest weight that you can be. Find out what highest healthy weight for you is and aim to be in that range. Even if you’re on the higher end, you’ll still know you’re healthy. 

Don’t deprive yourself of food just because you’re at that weight and you think you can’t gain anymore. You’re not going to die or become fat if you gain a little more weight. You probably wouldn’t even know if you broke up with your scale and moved on. 

Don’t give up. It seems a little hopeless right now, but it does get a lot easier. 

The only number that should matter to you, is the number of your birthday. Because that is a number you have always celebrated. And who doesn’t love presents and a party!! 

Stay strong!! Love you all.