Thank you again for your well wishes and positive thoughts on my birthday WIAW yesterday! I have come to conclusion that I need to try a cookie cake, eat more rice krispies a la mode, that it is perfectly okay to enjoy froyo more than cake, and striking that balance is the ultimate goal
Alright so I want to get right into this post today, because I have a whole lot to say… it’s long and wordy. But goodness I am once again just…full of thoughts I suppose.
*I talk numbers in regards to weight and calories, disordered eating habits, and health-related female issue- yep periods. If you are a easily triggered, sensitive to such topics, are a male or unable to handle such topics, then please read with discretion or not at all. Thank you!
It’s time to get personal. Perhaps more so than usual?
I try to be as honest as possible on this blog. I mean, what would be the point of lying, putting up a front, and acting like everything is fine and dandy when it’s not? The answer is, there is no point because not only would I be lying to you all, but to myself as well. Facing what is on my mind, the constant torment, is what has enabled me to come so far in this recovery process.
As I have discussed a number of times, it is essential that you are the one that is ready to recover, but support from others is important as well. Having someone, anyone, there to give you a bit of extra help, makes this healing process suck just a little bit less.
My mom and family are my main support system, but I also see a therapist on a weekly basis, have a primary care doctor while at school, and I am also now seeing a nutritionist. By the way, after some finagling, persuasion a bit a bit of begging, all of this is covered by my health insurance, otherwise I would not be able to afford any of this.
When I reflect on the number of professionals I see, it makes me feel a bit crazy to be honest.
I mean wow, do I really NEED all of these people to tell me pretty much the same thing?
Why yes, it seems that I do, because I still have a long way to go in this process.
I have been seeing my therapist and the doctor a doctor here on campus for about a year now, but yesterday was my first time with the nutritionist in the area. My therapist suggested seeing a professional in this area, to help me understand and heal my anemia, and analyze my current heating habits, and what needs to change. Clearly things do need to change- I have severely low iron, I get head rushes that leave me feeling faint several times per day, I am still moody, oh and I still don’t have my damn period.
I have been obsessed with proper nutrition and everything related to food consumption, exercise, metabolism and so on, for quite some time now. Along the way, I have gathered and stored a lot of what I read in regards to these subjects and learned a whole lot. However, even though I “know” the way I should be eating- number of calories and all of that, I often choose not to because it makes my eating disordered feel nice and safe. Therefore seeing a nutritionist is sincerely helpful, as hearing what I need to know from a professional, is much easier for me to believe and understand that the information is legitimate.
Well I learned a whole lot in this appointment. Information that is hard for me to believe is true, yet my logical brain knows that it is. We first discussed more ways I could bump up my iron, which I am doing my better with. Check out my post on iron here, if you are looking for more info.) And then, it was time to discuss the lack of period situation.
Here are the things we went over:
- She began by analyzing what I eat, which I told her with complete honesty. My usual daily eats came out to around 2,000 calories, as I knew it would.
- We looked at the rough breakdown of carbs, proteins, and fats.
- Next, she measured the size of my frame and apparently I have a medium-large bone frame.
- We discussed my exercise and workout schedule- 6 days per week at least an hour per day. Usually running 3x/week anywhere between 6-9 miles typically. The other 3 days are circuit workouts, strength training, HIIT style workouts, and other fairly demanding exercises.
- Measured my height- 5’10” and ½…not quite 5’11” but quite close!
- Calculated my BMI based on all of these factors- it’s around 20.5 in the normal range.
- Calculated the amount of calories I should be consuming based on my current weight, height, daily activity level, and healthy status- in regards to iron (which we know is low), hormone levels, and of course the missing period.
What I learned from all of this nearly made me shake with anxiety. She told me that really and truly I should be eating 2,800-3,200 calories per day… that is where I would feel the best.. where I would be the healthiest. Just because I am in a normal BMI range does not mean I am “healthy.”
My jaw literally dropped when she told me this. Umm excuse me? No no, you are certainly wrong, I don’t exercise enough, do anything enough, to ever eat that amount! Plus I gained weight by eating 2,500 calories a day, how do you explain that one huh?!
Well she was ready to, and what she explained makes sense.
When I was at my lowest weight and eating about 1,000 calories per day, I was becoming increasingly thinner simply by eating less and less and exercising more. However, I was forcing my body into a semi-state of starvation and therefore my metabolism was basically at a stand still. Instead of burning perhaps 2,200 calories per day, I was burning less than 1,000 because my body was slowing my metabolism down for basic survival.
When I started to eat more, I gained weight so quickly because my metabolism was still crawling along, but since I was feeding it so much more, my body was holding onto whatever it gave me… again, basic survival!
Now that I have been regularly been eating 2,000 ish calories for several months now, my metabolism has sped back up, because it is not long fearing starvation….it is trusting me again. Reaching 2,000 has been very mentally challenging, as the “need” I feel to consume less than that number is ever-present.
And now I am supposed to eat up to 1,000 calories MORE per day? Are you effing kidding me?!
Well apparently I do. However, according to the nutritionist, I won’t gain at a speedy rate like last time because my metabolism is no longer non-existent. It can be sped up even more as a matter of fact, as I continue to eat more calories.
Still very hard for me to believe though… how can I need that number of calories? I am not a freakin Olympian or anything, sheeshe!
But then I got my blood work back earlier today, and the information was further legitimized.
- Iron is still low of course, but we will be measuring this again in about a month.
- Blood glucose: slightly under the normal level. What does this mean? Basically I am not providing my body enough calories to have reserved stores of glucose, so when I have not eaten for a few hours, I have no extra reserves to supply my body with glucose.
- Estrogen levels are STILL too low, although they have improved a significant amount. Earlier this year in April, my estrogen levels were 7, and the normal for women my age is 39- 375 pg/mL. Yikes.
- Estrogen levels now: 22, so a huge improvement, but that number is normal for someone who is in menopause, which clearly I am not.
What I am gathering from both of these appointments is this- I need to increase my calories by a minimum of 800 calories per day. A large majority of these calories must come from fats. Iron rich sources of food must be a focus. Calcium consumption must increase to save my bones. I need to EAT MORE.
Anyone that does not have eating issues would probably deem me as “lucky.” Well that shouldn’t be a problem, you know, just eat more! Have a piece of pizza with that salad, go have a plate of french fries, have a huge dessert every single night!
Some people reading this might even roll their eyes at my problem. Is she serious, that is what she is complaining about? Just go eat a hamburger for God’s sake… or how about exercising less?
Not that I want anyone to ever experience this illness, but you truly don’t know what it’s like unless you have an eating disorder. It’s so easy to tell someone to “just eat more and not worry about it.” What I have to do is a simple process and I also know that my body will be that much healthier with the extra calories and food, and inevitable weight gain of course.
I know all of this, but I will be honest again, I am terrified. I cannot fathom the fact that as much as I have overcome in this recovery process, I still have to do more. I still have to increase my calories, I still have to gain weight, I still have to get my period back. Please tell me when this hellacious illness is going to stop. DAMNIT when?! Because I want it to go away NOW.
Stop stealing my life from me.
I need to stop comparing myself to others and being influenced so easily. Just because a magazine tells me that 1,800 calories is a perfect amount or only people with severe eating disorders “should” be having about 3,000 calories per day…does not mean that it’s what is best for me. I am unique, as we all are. I am taller than most people, exercise a whole lot more than the average person, I walk around a bunch on campus… despite my kicking and screaming I need to eat more. I need to gain more. These things must happen, I mean I have physical evidence and professional input about this!
Maybe for awhile there 2,000 was enough. But that was when my metabolism was still quite slow and I have been mainting my weight for months now. However, I am mainting at a weight that is just too low for me, and it’s time to accept this fact and get over it. Easier said than done of course.
When I get my period back and maintain it for consecutive months, that’s when I know I am in a healthy state.
Again, it has not happened. I haven’t had a natural period (I am not including birth control in this, as that is NOT a natural period) for FOUR years. Good gracious that is too damn long. I want to have children one day….
After finding this all out, I of course called #1 supporter MUMZY, told her what was going on and began to sob. I was not expecting to cry like that (in the middle of campus surrounded by a lot of people mind you), but I could not seem to keep it in. I have to keep challenging myself, keep facing my fears, keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone because unfortuntely, I am just not there yet… “there” being a recovered and stable young woman.
My emotions came from the frustartion of this all. Like I was on Monday, I am simply pissed at all of this. When is it going to stop? When am I going to be free of this torment? When am I going to stop worrying what others think of me? When am I going to be happy with my body? When will I no longer base my life off of my appearance, my weight, how much “fat” I have on me?
I don’t know when and that really sucks. However, I WILL keep believing that continuously making positive changes will only continue to heal me. I don’t know how much more weight I have to gain, or how much more I have to eat, how much LESS I should run and exercise…and that is scary.
But you know what? Just have to keep facing those fears, no matter how frightened I am, I will beat this MOFO down.
1) Not that it really matters at this post, but is this like, way too much information to be sharing? haha
2) Can anyone relate to this? More about the bit of being told, “just eat more!” Or “just gain some weight!” How do you overcome such comments and thoughts?
3) Because I am in a bit of a poopy mood, tell me something happy about you today! Anything at all
Thank you for reading this if you chose to. I really do appreciate it.
I hope that you all have a fantastic Thursday, one more day y’all (until the weekend of course!)