Celebrating the small moments

I used to think celebrations were saved only for occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.  When you are in an eating disorder pattern, these type of occasions are more stressful than not.  I do not feel like celebrating or rejoicing.  I am too worried about losing control over a piece of cake or being knocked off of my rigid eating patterns.  I think, stress, anxiety swirling in my mind days prior to the event actually happening.  What do I need to pack in my purse to get me through, how long am I going to be there, is there a way to get out of the event?  How am I going to bypass the Chex Mix, cookies, cakes all over the table?  My mind wonders if I am going to be able to eat my next snack of an apple or fat-free yogurt at my rigid time schedule.  Do I have to leave my snacks in the car?  I hope they are not getting too hot in the car.  Do I need to bring a cooler to hide in my trunk? When can I go grab and eat my little bitty granola bar where no one is watching?

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While at the event, I am not living in the present moment.  I am trying to smile, answer questions, be engaged, act social, celebrate by signing Happy Birthday, wishing everyone good cheer, but DARN it is exhausting.  I keep checking the clock wondering how soon I can safely make an exit.  I only want back to my safe haven.  The bubble I have created for myself at home, with my food, my schedule, my corner of the couch is the only place I want to be and all I can think about.  All the anxiety and dread leading up to the event, the event itself, and then the emotional drain after the celebratory event is over.

LIVING IN A SELF ISOLATED BUBBLE IS NOT A WAY TO LIVE.

Is there a better way to live?  I am learning, yes, there is way more to life on the outside of my bubble  I am forging a new path.  Instead of viewing celebrations as big life moments, I am starting to celebrate small moments.  This may be anything from conquering my food fear in the morning by eating before my usual rigid start time or not taking my normal morning walk because it is cold and dark and I really don’t feel like it, or realizing I went 30 minutes without thinking about a calorie, a number on a label or how my stomach feels.  These are the moments I am celebrating with self fist pumps and high fives.

THE SMALL MOMENTS MATTER THE MOST IN RECOVERY.

I wish each of you a few small moments to celebrate in your life today.  Be sure to give yourself a hug and high-five!  I will be giving you a virtual one from afar.

Blessings,

Kristin

Linking to Amanda for Thinking Out Loud

Stop Comparing – Embrace “Imperfect” Pumpkin Beauty

It is Autumn, the weather is finally turning cooler and all things pumpkin are still on full blast.  I had a lightbulb moment when looking at the collection of pumpkins on my front porch the other morning.  Have you ever noticed how pumpkins are all distinctively unique?  Like a fingerprint, no two are the same.  There are dark and light orange pumpkins, white, green, yellow and striped.  There are tall skinny, squatty, round, bumpy pumpkins.  Some have short, nubby stalks, while others have long, curvy stalks.  The insides of a pumpkin can have a lot or little seeds, gushiness, hardness or many strings.

I do not think I have ever met a “perfect” pumpkin.  I don’t even know what a perfect pumpkin would look like.  All pumpkins in my view are of beautiful quality and remarkable in their exclusiveness of “imperfection”.  I love this about pumpkins.  The more interesting and unique the better.  HEY, wait, just like us as humans!

As I stared at the pumpkins on the front porch, I continued to think about comparison and all the ways we measure ourselves against others.

It is frightening how many times a day I compare myself against what I see, read, hear.

I compare my body, my shape, my arms, my stomach to others.  I compare what I am eating, drinking, my (lack of) baking and cooking skills to others.  I compare my pixie haircut against women wearing long hair.  I compare my work against my teammates.  I compare my parenting skills against those of my neighbor up the street.  I compare my mediation and yoga practice.  I compare my writing, my quotes, my journal time wondering if it is long enough to what others write.

All for WHY?  WHY?  WHY COMPARE?  In comparing myself to others, I am not living my true authentic, unique self.  Like a pumpkin with its shape and color, I am unique in all ways of being, breathing, feeding my body what it needs, wearing my hair the way I want, practicing yoga and writing.   I am unique inside and out.  Who knew a few orange, white, tall, short and squatty pumpkins on a front porch could be a daily reminder for putting life into perspective.

As I progress through this season of change, I am working, clawing, fighting through an eating disorder of restriction and exercise addiction, and seeing these pumpkins on my porch has brought moments of peace to remind myself to STOP THE COMPARISON.  BE ME.  I AM OK.

I wish the same for you this season.  STOP THE COMPARISON.  BE YOU.  YOU ARE OK.  CELEBRATE YOUR DISTINCT UNIQUENESS.  Let your inner pumpkin shine!

In full transparency it is going to take more the one change of the season to fully heal and be the person I want to become, so you might expect a similar post as we move through winter, spring and summer again. 🙂

Linking up to Amanda for Thinking Out Loud.

Recovery Road: TEENY STEPS

In order to change, we have to purposefully and intentionally make change. No matter how hard or uncomfortable. And, as so many know who have or are recovered (do we ever truly recover) from an eating disorder, it is so incredibly hard and uncomfortable to make change.  Our ED voice is LOUD and tells us to do one thing and wants us to believe we are bad if we don’t follow Her (aka Edith – I named my eating disorder voice).  Our logical voice is much quieter during this time and  is whispering to us there are smarter choices we need to make for our mental and physical well-being.  It is begging us not to listen to Her. Logical voice is begging us to make change.  It is crucial to shush, lessen, quiet Her.

We have to “boss-up” and fight the ED voice by making purposeful change, whether it be eating more than we are comfortable with, stopping the excessive exercise, etc.

The saying goes, one small step towards change leads to bigger change.

RecoveryRoad

I am a step below “small” in my recovery awakening stage. Is there such a step? Maybe a tiny, infant, baby footstep, perhaps? This is my space. Teeny, tiny, micro steps of change.

I will not feel ashamed of my way of recovering.

I will not apologize for my tiny change beginnings. I will not feel ashamed. I will own the uncomfortable anxiety-filled space with as much grace as possible. Instead of working my way UP from small to big changes, I am working my way UP from teeny to small changes. I am praising myself for recognizing what works for me and cheering each milestone, each day I made a teeny change.  It’s a start, a beginning, a journey I will call my own with a sense of compassion towards myself.

We support each other in our uniqueness, our changes, no matter how teeny, tiny, small or big. We celebrate each one.

Linking up to RunningwithSpoons for Thinking Out Loud.

Perfect is not reality. Reality is imperfection.

I find it easy and lovely to write words of inspiration.  It gives me a sense of peace and joy to make a pretty picture and overlay it with encouraging words of self-love, self-worth, self-compassion, self-acceptance.  Sometimes (or really, many times) I feel like a fraud when posting these words for the world to see.  I can creatively wordsmith a loving statement, write them up, but not always do I follow my advice.  Am I a hypocrite?  I worry about this – A LOT.  I am not always transparent in every single Instagram quote, picture or on my blog.  I am not perfect in my pursuit of self-love, self-worth, self-compassion, self-acceptance.  But, I TRY and I WORK and I DESIRE these things for myself.

The words I put out to the world, I sincerely want for myself and for others if they resonate and work for their lives.  You never know who else is struggling in the moment and an encouraging word can go a long way.  I know this has been true for me so many times.  There is comfort found in the words of others.

If I put my pen to paper and the encouraging words flow, why hold them back?  Maybe it is some sort of cathartic exercise for myself.  If written in black-and-white on paper, on a blog, in a post, am I more likely to follow-thru with the inspiring thought?  Believe in myself?  Believe in my own words? Believe a little harder in my search for self-love, self-worth, self-compassion, self-acceptance?  I think the answer is a resounding YES.  In the pursuit, I don’t have to be perfect in trying for all these things and live up to every quote at every minute in this ever messy life.

Perfect is not reality.  Reality is imperfection.  I am a work in progress.  Aren’t we all?  Our perception is most everyone else has it all together, all the time.  They have the perfect job, run the perfect household, have the perfect 2.5 kids and perfect husband, have the perfect body, have the perfect eating skills.  You get the point – we think everyone else is perfect.     My way to try to combat this idea of perfectionism is to create quotes of self-love, self-worth, self-compassion, self-acceptance…all the good “self” stuff.  I love to go back and read through the quotes I have posted, written on notepads, yellow sticky notes, in my phone, on random napkins stuck in a drawer, it gives me hope during times of struggle.  It re-centers me to breathe and try again to show myself I can work on myself.  To give my own inspiring words a try.

I am going to keep writing and posting and trying to live up to my own thoughts.  And, I am going to continue to find comfort in these words and the imperfections which is my life.

Allowing for GRACE

ThursdayThoughts

Allow for GRACE in your heart, mind and soul, my current mantra.  I don’t have to have it all figured out right this second, no matter how much I want to as a perfectionist live in an imperfect world.  I am admittedly not a patient person.  I want everything wrapped up in a neat, tidy package with a bow on top.  I should always have a plan to follow, a set calendar, a schedule on the refrigerator, a daily agenda tucked away in my purse, sticky notes adhered in all the right categories.

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Real life has other plans.  Life is complicated and messy.  Life those curveballs our way from small things like traffic jams when you are in a hurry to bigger things like health issues.

I plan to start showing myself GRACE in unplanned moments and times.  Everything is not going to be perfect no matter how hard and tightly I try to control.  I can thrive in the “messy” part of life.  And IT IS OK.  I am going to allow myself all the honor and credit I deserve no matter the circumstance for being present in this life and putting one foot in front of the other.

I hope you will allow love filled GRACE in your life today.

Linking up with Running With Spoons

 

My 3 FridayFavorites

I love hearing and reading about others favorite finds.  It can be any kind of find from books, apps, places to visit, activities, hobbies, candles, music, fuzzy socks, and so on.  All the “things” available right at our fingertips in this great land of America is nothing short of amazing.  One click of an Amazon button and something new can be at our door in minutes.  One click of an iTunes button and we have a meditation app, crossword puzzle, music playlist or book library available to us. One click of a button and we can scroll through Pinterest to find a new cooking recipe.

I also take pleasure in finding amazing “things” which do not cost a cent.  FREE FUN!  The smell of old books we can check out at the library, beautiful parks to visit, Spotify or Pandora for great music listening (hey, I can deal with a few advertisements and not have to pay), creative learning activities at a local hobby stores or the multitude of pumpkin farms to explore this time of year.

My current three favorite things are:

  1. The hot tea shown above – Bigelow Salted Carmel, YUMMY LOVE is right!
  2. Podcasts – I dont know what hole I’ve been living under, but finding the medium of podcasts has been eye opening.  The past couple of weeks I have been listening to podcasts while walking in the early morning or commuting in the car.  They have been soul soothing.  The only negative to listening and walking/driving is I cannot write down all the wonderful nuggets of wisdom I hear.  I keep stopping and storing away thoughts in the notes section of my phone. 🙂  A few of my favorite podcasts: “Everyday Woman” , “The Recovery Warrior”, “BodyLove Project”, “Food Psych”, to name a few.  I also recently found one which reads sleep stories, trying that one out next!
  3. Yoga – Two weeks strong in attending classes.  Yep, a total newbie.  I feel the need to apologize to everyone around me in case I fall onto their space and mat.  I mean, I look like a baby giraffe learning how to stand out.  I fall over, use the wall, shake, wiggle, but don’t care.  YOGA IS LIFE CHANGING.  I have been missing out on such a wonderful experience all these years by telling myself yoga doesn’t give you enough cardio, you don’t sweat enough to make the time worth it, you cannot burn enough calories, it is not for a true “exerciser”, you don’t have the hours in a day to run 10 miles + take a yoga class, so just stick to running.  How sad.  I have missed out on so much time in learning this practice.  No more.  I am learning to move for enjoyment and yoga is going to be a centrical part of my learning process.  The moments of silence with only your breath connected to the others around, the chilled lavender scented washcloth at the end of class makes it all worthwhile!

What are some of your current three faves, or four, or five, however many you want to share?  I hope you are able to find time to enjoy them over the weekend.  I would love to hear about them!  Share in comments.

Until next time,

Kristin

http://bodysoulstarr

Don’t let the mirror be your judge.

The mirror.  During the depths of my eating disorder, every time I catch my reflection in a mirror, I am judging myself.  The mirror and the thoughts your mind conjures up about the image staring back at you are hurtful.  And, have you noticed?  Mirrors are everywhere.  They are in our bedroom, our bathroom, our car, our makeup bag, restaurants, the grocery store, the gym, church, Target, even at Home Depot I can see my reflection starting back at me in a microwave.  Even as I type this post, I look over at my iPhone and see my reflection staring back at me.

The problem with the tricky relationship I call “mirror issues” is MY self and MY mind.  It is not the fault of the mirrored glass.  I am judging myself with every negative connotation you can think of such as, your belly is not flat today, it looks soft.   Your thighs look like they grew overnight and so on.  In these moments, logically I know my malnourished brain is taking over and is thriving on the negative.  Unfortunately, thinking logically 100% of the time is not happening.  My eating disorder voice is super loud with the bad, negative, judgmental, harmful comments.  My brain is not rooted in reality and truth and this includes what my mind is telling me about the reflection I see in the mirror.

All these negative thoughts lead to more negative thoughts which lead to negative emotions, which then spill over to food restriction and over exercising.  It is a horribly vicious cycle.  If I succumb to the vicious cycle, my eating disorder has just won the battle in the mirror.  AGAIN.

But wait. Can I change these thoughts and quiet down the eating disorder voice?  Can I somehow reverse the negativity even for a moment or even if it is only 50% of the time I see my reflection throughout the day? If yes, WOW, chalk one up in the WIN column for me, myself and I!  [Me -1 & Eating Disorder – big ole’ 0 in that moment] Part of recovery, along with the meal plans, therapy, doctor visits, growing into a new body, learning to tamper exercise, is trying to counteract negative thoughts with positive thoughts.

Affirmations and positive quotes have really helped me in this area.  I gather quotes like one would pick wild flowers.  I always keep handy and keep refreshing my “bouquet” of quotes!  As soon as I read one or hear one (the podcasts of Recovery Warrior, Every Body, The Body Love Project, are awesome resources) I grab it like a lifeline.  The positive affirmations and quotes are typed into the notes section of my iPad, saved as wallpaper on my phone, screenshots, written in my journal, posted on my Pinterest board, on Insta, in my email inbox, essentially all over the place.  In about as many places as I have to see my reflection.

I keep on repeat, the more comfortable I become in thinking and verbalizing positive affirmations – the more I can stop looking at myself with judgment and criticism.  Many times I have to VISIBLY SHAKE MY HEAD NO in the reflection, and instead of jumping to a negative thoughts say about my belly, I think wow, good job, no broccoli in your teeth from lunch OR a simple “you got this, warrior” and carry on past the mirror.

I CHOOSE positive over negative

  • POSITIVE = good emotions (peace, joy, love, gratitude, hope)
  • NEGATIVE = bad emotions (judgment, criticism, hateful, fear, anxiety)

One of my current fave quotes found on a Pinterest Board:

I hope my message and journey sharing gives you strength today, if only for a few moments to turn one negative thought and emotions associated with that thought into positive. Do not let the mirror rule your brain, your eating disorder, your emotions. Keep repeating it – there is peacefulness to be had in our lives.  I can sense it and deeply desire it for all of us struggling with this disease.  Until next time…

Kristin

bodysoulstarr.com

[linking up with Amanda for thinking out loud]

Thought Gremlins

 

Dear Reader,

Day two and three of my starrward journey is all about the mantra on repeat in my mind, “Kristin, find and use your courage to push away the negative thoughts and replace with positive thoughts”.  I acknowledge the negative thoughts are there and present, my daily five minute ‘Simply Habit’ app speaker on learning meditation has taught me this much.  I need to use use my gentle feather to push those negative thought gremlins aside to make room for the positive thoughts.  Thank you British speaking guy on Simply Habit for teaching me this is possible.

NEGATIVE GREMLIN thoughts I am having & the POSITIVE thoughts I am trying to replace with:

  • You need to control.  Controlling is not the answer.  LET GO.
  • You need to walk/bike/walk/run/burn calories.  No, your body is telling you gentle movement – once a day.
  • Do I really need this extra food which is off my “regular” list and you consider “bad”?  Yes, eat the extra food.  Peanut Butter is not evil.  No food is good or bad.  Food is nourishment and will heal your body, you need it.
  • Will the extra food stick to my outer belly/thighs?  No, the food will go to your muscles.
  • You don’t want to feel uncomfortable, don’t eat it.  You need to feel uncomfortable to become comfortable (see previous post).
  • You have no courage, give up.  No. Noo. Nooo. NO.  I am not giving up.  I made a promise and oath to MYself.

No matter how difficult the path is, no matter how much my mind is resisting, no matter how long I have to stare into the pantry to place my hands around the jar of peanut butter, no matter how long I have to stare at the spoon dipping into the jar, no matter how long it takes me to measure out the peanut butter, no matter how long it takes me to put the spoon in my mouth, no matter how long it takes me to swallow – I WILL SHOW COURAGE.  I will have the gumption to eat the peanut butter, follow the meal plan set forth by my nutritionist, and do what is right for my body today – – pushing aside the thought gremlins.  My body and my mind are in a conflicting battle right now.  Everything is so uncomfortable it almost hurts to breathe.

Courage is staying true to the oath and promise I made to MYself.  I will trust in the process no matter how hard I have to work at it, look for it, search it out.  I will trust in this leap of blind faith.  And right now, it really is a leap of blind faith.   COURAGE.  FINDING MY COURAGE.

Step One: Blog One: MYself

Dear Reader,

I know there are a million blogposts in the blog universe and this is simply one more entering the platform.  But, I am not just a number, another person, another being.  I am MYself, my one and only and I feel compelled to write using this forum as a source of a cathartic outlet.  If  others resonate with my journey, fabulous!  If not, I have served my  purpose of writing my thoughts and feelings in black-and-white, no turning back.  This is MY JOURNEY OF HEALING from an eating disorder, over-exercise, and finding joy again to live as my *true* self.  This is #REALTALK.

My step one: letting go of the shame of my eating disorder. Sounds simple.  It is not.  I am exposing my vulnerability and mentally becoming naked.  I am peeping behind the curtain I have been hiding behind for years.  Others know, they have watched me restrict and exercise into exhaustion.  I kept on hiding from MYself.

Wednesday September 13th – a date I will remember throughout the rest of my life history.  This is the date I proclaimed to MYself:  ENOUGH. DONE.  NO MORE. SHAKING MY HEAD NO. FIRM STANCE. PUT MY FOOT DOWN.

It is time to become uncomfortable … to become comfortable in my body, mind, soul once again.

My journey starts.  First stop.  Talking with a nutritionist and a meal plan is set.  So many questions!

What is this about exchange versus calorie?  What is this about heart muscle and brain muscle? What is this about eating more and needing to eat more again?  DEEP BREATHS.  The perfectionist in me does not have to know everything.  Remember MYself, learn to be uncomfortable.  Here I go.  No matter how frightened, scared, vulnerable – – – this will be my path to a life of worthiness.  No negotiation.  A life of joy is in the far distant horizon.  I am moving STARRWARD towards that life.  This blog is another tool in the care box I am building MYself to help me get there.

I look forward to coming back here soon. Now, off to try actual peanut butter while forcing my mind to shutdown negative connotations associated with fat, calories, carbs, well you get the picture.  Maybe I’ll watch a cat video while licking my tablespoon!

#selflove #selfcompassion #recovery #healing #eatingdisorder #bodypositive