Category Archives: Eating Disorder

The Challenge of Transitioning

I’m in zombieland.

Mono-focused. I know what I want. I’m after it. Period.

Brains. Nommy brains.

Mmkay, no.

I want life to be my bitch. That requires me being strong, fit, and healthy.

It requires me undoing bullshit that caused me to gain back 8 pounds — and probably several inches — of the 70 pounds I’d lost.

That shit’s done, yo.*

A small part of me was enjoying the summer before I destroyed my back, 2008. I was becoming a jock:  strong, powerful, and often making my “fit” friends feel like chumps because Fat Girl could work circles around ’em.

They loved it, I loved it. Good times and great laughs. What a change from them always having to slow up and check on me.

There’s nothing more important in my life to me right now than taking that back.

I fucking love the pride I feel when I know what I’m really getting done.

Nothing says empowered like being able to change a day that’s had me bent over and taking it by having a set of fitness goals and blowing that out of the water. Whatever else life did that day, it couldn’t stop me from killing that workout.

There’s something that comes from that place of knowing you scaled a mountain, rode 30 km, or did a crazy set of highrise stairs.

I love that place. I’ve owned that place.

Since May 11th, I have worked out on more days than I haven’t, usually five days a week. And, on most days, I’ve tried to really leave it all on the floor. I’m getting better at that, and intend to keep pushing boundaries.

Today, my whole body cries for release. This is the consequence of those actions.

All of me is so tight and sore. From my ankles to my jaw, I hurt.

There’s only one thing I know I can do to help it: Work out more, but differently. Like my chiro doc tells me, “Motion is lotion.”

Move it, or lose it. Two days slack is asking for a world of pain. Days off are harder than days on, when you get used to the workload, but there’s a point in between where everything you do’s an effort, and I’m there. So fucking spent.

It’s with weary resignation I know I can’t rest. I know I don’t want to go cycling later, and most of me would rather crawl in bed and die today, but… I know: I can’t.

My “rest day” will be tomorrow or Saturday. Maybe both, since much walking will be required tomorrow and anything else might overdo it.

I cancelled plans last night. Didn’t have it in me, and saw that coming from morning light. I’m sure feelings were hurt. They’ll understand someday.

I know what’s important to me right now, and it’s not parties and big crowds of people. It’s not about finding my contentment through others, or getting their validation, or needing their company.

It’s about rediscovering that place inside that gave me the power to change my world in such a dramatic fashion once already.

And I know what it takes.

It takes cancelling out on parties.

It takes that inevitable night at the end of the week where you’re just fucking DONE and all you can do is crash at 9:00 at night and sleep for 10 hours, waking with already-weary bones that know they’re in for more, and soon.

It takes vitamins, big healthy meals, water all day, planning food in advance, total time-management, prioritizing yourself before anyone else, and avoiding engagements that are too heavily centred around dining and drinking.

I know what it takes.

It takes a total life change.

And you know what else it takes?

It takes pissing off other people who don’t understand what it really takes, when you just can’t find it in you to go and be happy and fun with other people. You’d rather just die on the sofa with only one thing on your mind: You met the goal this week.

People don’t get how hard it is. You can’t POSSIBLY get it. If you think losing 10 pounds is hard, or 20, try 70.

Just fucking try it. I did it. I know. I did that. And it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And I’ve kept 62 off for 18 months!

I know Biggest Loser’s the biggest cheese going on TV sometimes, with the sound editing and the seemingly simplified weight battles edited to fit a TV format, but the emotions those people feel — the breakdowns at the end of the season, of trying to juggle real life with friends and families and weightloss — and how it’s the people around them who always lose out, that’s all real.

Wanting to cry because you’re so fucking tired, but LOVING the joy you feel inside about what you’ve accomplished? That dichotomy is a weird place to live, and the tightrope one walks to sustain each is the toughest balance ever.

To be successful with a “180” health-wise, to take on a radically active life after years of sloth — the focus and drive they take are impossible to explain.

The pain with which your body screams at you after years of giving into gravity and laziness, after decades of shovelling processed food into it, after years of losing lung capacity… that isn’t a one-week adjustment.

And I’ve had a decade of injuries to overcome on top of all that pain.  For me, it means I have to spend hours stretching out the hours of working out, every single week.

That whole-body-fatigue keeps hurting — week after week, month after month — because every pound you lose means you need to work harder to remove the remainder.

It’s why 80% or more of people can’t lose weight and sustain it.

This is the HARDEST mental battle of your life. Win the weightloss headgame and no other game will out-think you in life. I guarantee it.

The resilience you need to get past 50 pounds of weightloss, and to sustain it, is something you can’t learn from a book or buy from a specialist. You create it and nurture it.

I may have gained 8 pounds back out of 70, but I don’t feel like that’s a failure at all. I think 10% gain back after 21 months spent with a life-altering injury, then caught in a year of burn-out, is fucking awesome.

I’m proud as hell of that. GO, ME.

And what a gift for getting back on path, being still so close to the goal I’ve wanted to achieve since I was 17: Being under 200 pounds.

I hope to reach that goal by Canada Day. Scared I won’t. But I’m gonna try real fuckin’ hard.

I won’t feel guilty for focusing on myself right now — be it meaning that I cancel plans, or whatever else it takes.

I’m not likely to cancel on one-on-one time with friends or small groups, but, parties? Yep. The full-body fatigue that comes from this doesn’t tend to always make one a real cheery camper to hang with when it comes to maintaining a “vibe” a host/hostess is trying to create. Can’t do it.

I’m tired. I’m sore.

I’m dreading how much further, harder, and heavier all this shit’s gonna get before I’m at where I want to be.

I’m not some 140-pound chick climbing those highrise stairs or cycling 35km, man, I’m 210-plus. I literally haul every pound of that on this frame — it’s actually there, it’s actually heavy. It’s real fuckin’ heavy.

Gravity finds every ounce of that weight when I’m fighting it, and, believe me, I feel like it after a week like I’ve had.

But I’m elated.

It has begun. I’m at the climax of where it gets real, real hard at the beginning, where every day is filled with hurt and fatigue, but, soon, I’ll hit my pace where it’s just about keeping the wheels spinning ‘cos momentum’s been found.

I’ll be one seriously weary girl for a while. My BEST friends understand it and WELCOME it.

Soon, it’ll just be a new normal, and the determination that emerges from meeting small success after small success is its own feeding frenzy.

And I’ll be Mojo Girl again.

I’ll get that cocky grin that makes people wonder what the fuck I’m on. I’ll get my twinkle in my eye, the smirk that says “Look out.”

Then it all gets very, very fun. Very.

Just you wait.

.

*I think I’ve lost the weight already, or close to it. But I’m waiting until one month in for weigh-day and that’s next Wednesday. It’s really about the feeling. I know the weight will come off gradually — it did before. It’s nice to see the numbers change, though. Rewarding. But not really what it’s about. It’s important to know that before you step on the scale. It’s important to believe it.

10 for 2010: Mindset for the Munch-Challenge

Weightloss is one of those things. Some fail at it — or almost succeed then fail — repeatedly until they finally Get It. The disease of morbid obesity, or even the dreaded beer-belly syndrome, is almost always as a result of one or both of two things: ignorance or lack of accounting.

Me, I was both ignorant of just how bad my diet was, and dishonest about to what extent I was misbehaving. That was then. Now I’m only ever guilty of the  lack of accounting. Ignorance isn’t such a problem anymore.

But that’s the thing with weightloss. Everyone talks like it’s only about the diet or the exercise, but, for me, the head game’s been at least 50%, maybe more, of my success.

I doubt I’m alone on that. Continue reading

Thoughts On Brittany Murphy, Death, & Anorexia

Rumour has it that Brittany Murphy is dead at 32 from cardiac arrest.

Heart attack, in case you didn’t know, is one of the most common demises after long battles with eating disorders. Why?
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“When anorexia has become this severe, the heart is often damaged. Not only is there not enough body fat to keep internal organs like the heart protected, but anemia, which weakens the blood, and the poor circulation which results in a lower body temperature means that the heart is unable to pump and circulate blood as effectively as it might otherwise. The loss of muscle mass can also apply to the heart, meaning that the muscles of the heart can physically weaken, and an overall drop in blood pressure and pulse can contribute to slower breathing rates. Unfortunately, if not remedied, these risks can lead to death.”

Excerpt found here.

Continue reading

Some Thoughts on Self-Image

I got an email last night that made me ecstatic. A reader wrote to let me know that I’ve played a big part in her rediscovering her self-worth after an emotionally abusive and cruel relationship (because he was an abuser, honey, and don’t ever think less of him). These kinds of emails make me feel like all the grief I go through to try and generate something reasonably fresh on a daily basis is worth it.

Really, I get no money out of this blog yet and I’m trying to figure out a way to do so, and I’m sure it’ll happen sooner or later, but right now? Nada. Screwing up the energy to write every day sometimes seems futile… and then I get those occasional emails that blow my mind. “Me? I did that for you? WICKED.”

Self-esteem, self-worth, self-love… my god, how furtive they seem. One would think that loving oneself would be an easy thing to do. Sadly, the opposite is more true.

You know, I have a hearing problem. I wear two hearing aids, they’re small, they aren’t always perceptible, and while I’m having some issues with hearing right now, normally I’m pretty good with it, despite fucking hating it. But I was just thinking a bit ago about being deaf. Could you imagine? Probably not. I can. I’m pretty much deaf (25% – 50% hearing) when I roll out of bed in the morning, and to tell you the truth, I enjoy the silence while I can. I’ll often wait an hour or so to put in my buds – I’ll write in quiet and ignore the world. I wonder sometimes what being deaf all the time would be – living in your head, never breaking free of those wheels turning constantly in the corners of your mind.

You wouldn’t be able to escape yourself, for good or for ill. Sounds, I’ve come to learn, provide ample distraction from who and what we are; that bus rumbling down the street, birds chirping, a dripping faucet, an asthmatic wheezing nearby. I sometimes wonder if my lack of hearing is part of why I’m such a contemplative individual. Perhaps.

There was a time when my contemplation led to self-loathing. Nowadays it’s a coping mechanism, and a cottage industry, it seems.

I find that a lot of people I know are often a little daunted at the prospect of being alone too long, as if being alone means being lonely; the two, however, are not related.

I honestly think it’s impossible to be a well-balanced person if you can’t handle being alone, but maybe that’s me reading too much into my lifestyle. Self-love, self-worth, it comes from knowing you’re good company. It comes from being able to realistically see yourself as others see you, not through your hyper-judgmental eyes. After all, how accepting are we of average people streetside? Much moreso than we are about ourselves.

Thanks to the media, we’re surrounded by beautiful people who are airbrushed for magazine covers or filmed in soft light, and then we spend our days walking into shitty fluorescent bathrooms, staring in dirty mirrors, and we wonder why we’re not the sex gods the rest of the world seems filled with. It’d almost be funny, if it wasn’t so sad.

Becoming realistic about what each of us has to offer is one of the hardest things to ever learn. Becoming secure when naked is a difficult task to accomplish. It’s not something that occurs overnight, and god knows I’m still on my journey. In this relationship I’m in now, I’m comfortable with him naked. It doesn’t sound huge, but it really is. Lying around naked with your lover is a great way to get past insecurities and to focus on matters at hand. It has taken me my whole life to get to this point.

I’m a bonus-lover gal. My ass has got some grip room, if you know what I’m saying. I’m fit, I’m active, but I’m, well, chubby. Cute, but chubby. My weight has been something I’ve hated my entire life – and the hatred is one of the things my mother is to blame for, as she always reminded me to watch my food and things like that. The food’s always been a minor issue, but it was exercise that was my bane. These days, I’m getting pretty active and I’m liking the toning I’ve got. Sixty pounds down, another forty or so to go.

I noticed something incredible a couple weeks back – I went swimming. I’ve gone swimming off and on for the last year and a half, after not setting foot in a pool for about 15 years, thanks to insecurities. When I first re-entered the pool after all those years, I felt like I’d just come home again. I forgot how much I loved the pool. I wasn’t happy about being in a swimsuit, but I did it again anyhow. Two weeks ago, I put the suit on and strutted – not walked, not strolled, but strutted – out to the swimming pool, my towel dangling at my side instead of being held like a security blanket in front of me. After, I got nekkid and showered with the ladies. I used to shower with my suit on and change in the bathroom. Not anymore.

(After all, go to the pool and really, really look at the other people. What in the hell do you have to be ashamed of?)

And it felt fucking awesome. It dawned on me that sometimes insecurity is just a bad habit, something we get so accustomed to being that we simply don’t change, when the reality is we can. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. I’m proof positive. (Thank heavens.)

the all-sex diet

mm. this is what i needed, a friday night in, relaxing.

it’d be better only one way, if i had a little quality male companionship, maybe some massages, getting intimate on the floor. that’d be nice. a bottle of red, naked, too many blankets, a small world of candles scattered… mm.

to confess, i’m a little tired and i’d probably fail to be myself. being alone’s really not too bad a thing this evening. i have a beer, a little vancouver herbology, and soon, a long oily soak in the tub. lots and lots of oil. sigh. my own private valdez.

had a nice night earlier this week, but i didn’t realize how much he’d worn me out (and vice versa, i’m sure) until today. i have that sore-all-over kinda stiffness from full-body overexertion, but as much as it’s a little annoying, it’s also nice to know it really was as much work as it felt like. fun work, but still. now that’s my kinda fatigue, baby.

you know what i want? i want to take off the weight i have in mind to lose by way of sex. i don’t really overeat anymore (i sure as shit don’t undereat) but i certainly need more exercise. i need sex. that’s all. all i need is a little aerobics and a lil’ strengthening and toning. i know precisely how to obtain it. a plan of conquest. especially in light of all these well-placed aches. (the inner thighs, the lower belly, the arms, hell, the boobs. oi.)

fuck the l.a. diet. damn the jenny craigs. to hell with grapefruit. watch this, weight watchers. give me orgasms and breathlessness. i know. i’ll call it the all-sex diet.

yeah, that’s the ticket.

“and thursday, we recommend two hours foreplay (staggered for endurance purposes) followed by a rigorous 15-minute doggy style, as well as two sets of wall-aided laterals, and to conclude, water sports, including…”

friday, rest.”

“saturday, turn off the phone. close the blinds. it’s time for a six-hour session of territorial pursuit. you will need: tethers, non-slip surfaces…”

sigh. if i could sign up for that diet, i absolutely promise to take my vitamins every day and even eat my veggies.

i didn’t even have sex with the guy, it was all foreplay, and it was still that strenuous. keep in mind, i cycle, i have freeweights. i may be a bonus lover, but girl’s got endurance, a’ight? the last guy i slept with didn’t even get me close to that overextended. (not that i didn’t try to cause it. some things are mysteries.) it was nice for a change.

(wistful sigh, low groan) yeah. that’s the lifestyle.

but, i ask you, some days, is there just nothing else better than kissing? there’s nothing like the duel of two smooth, soft, energetic tongues. feathery caresses, grip’n’grab gropes. pushin’ up ‘gainst each other, angling for a better, closer position. that slow escalation of breath.

every kiss is an aphrodisiac for another. i can never have just one.

it’s so hot. a guy who can kiss, well, forget his bad points, he’s graded on a curve. kissing, what is it? what is it that makes kissing so damned sublime? it’s almost like necking’s the reminder of all things good. it’s innocence, yet it’s heat.

as much as i love having sex and thus tend to not wait too long for it, i have to admit that it often feels disappointing in a jaded way if necking sessions always result in sex. there’s something really hot about working yourself into that slobbery frenzy brought on by a heated make-out session on the sofa/then bed — and having to let it ride.

do you ever just sit back and enjoy that somewhat sexually frustrated expression on your partner’s face when you just know it can’t go further? not that you’re thrilled to be paining them, but it’s just great to always know you’re the one who’s bringing that heightened sensation into their world, and it’s nice to know they feel that it’s such a loss it ain’t goin’ further.

i guess, for me, i like the anticipation, knowing what’s going to happen next time as a result. i suppose that’s what makes it easier for me, as a chick, is i can honestly say, “yep, gettin’ laid next time” since, well, if I want it, i’m pretty liable to get it, right? how often does a chick want to get laid and the guy say, “well, not right now.” it happens, sure, but the odds are in my favour.

and my powers of persuasion make me suspect i’ve missed my calling as a jedi knight. just saying.

so, i’m on the hunt for the man who can calm my savage beast. when located, the all-sex diet goes full boil. i’m always so gung-ho when i start new things.

what, beginner’s enthusiasm? luckily it takes me awhile to tire of things. ;) and i’m very, very goal-oriented. love that pursuit.

the all-sex diet program is now accepting applicants.

Beyond Fat Girls

Labbie wrote a piece about weight and self-image recently. I enjoyed it. Then, later the same morning, I was watching my previously-taped episode of “Rescue Me” in which firefighters, Probie Mike and Sean, are making their way up the stairs to the flame-filled fifth floor, talking about a recent date, which ended in the Probie getting laid with this apparently model-thin chick.

“It was like her hips were cutting into me,” he said, continuing, “I’m afraid to get on top of her. It’s like I hear this cracking sound or something.”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’m part of the bonus-lover plan. Yeah, I’m carrying extra, for sure. I’m told “I wear it well” and for the first time, I believe them, most of the time. But I do know I’m cute, at the very least. I’ve got punky short light hair and green eyes with a sly grin, and I’m pretty comfortable with myself when I put an effort into lookin’ like a cutie. And hey, I even get a little approval streetside.

I’ve written before about overcoming insecurities in order to love yourself for who you are. It’s been a long road for me. I was always very sexual, but I never really believed it about myself until the past three or so years. This year, though, has been the year of the my greatest emergence. I am what I am now, and I know it. The journey has been a long and interesting one, the journey of becoming sexual, not just seeming sexual. It’s fabulous.

My weight always held me back. I always tried to say the right things. I always tried to toe the line and be the proper chick, so I wouldn’t offend too many people. I played it safe. One day, I realized that I felt like a fake, and I started saying exactly what was on my mind. I stopped appeasing everyone. I slowly started to work on my self-image. Simple things, like trying a new kind of clothing, pushing myself in physical exercise, losing a little of the weight, talking to someone seemingly out of my league. There are days I forget how to be the Better Steff, days I forget about being the strong, proud, sassy chick I know I am. It happens. But it always passes, too. I suspect, however, that there’s something universal about that.

The biggest part of my transformation came from finally accepting myself for what I am, but more importantly, realizing that my faults and weaknesses weren’t nearly as sizeable as I had feared. I learned to look at myself as someone on the street might; if I met that woman, how would I judge her? Not nearly so harshly, I thought.

In finally being open enough to talk about my body image with the guys I have seen or considered in that way, I realized that the men I’d found seemed to nurture a very different impression about weight on a woman. They felt exactly as Mike the Probie would — that a woman with a few extra pounds was someone you could play a little more roughly with, someone you didn’t have to worry about harming if things might escalate a bit between you.

Soon, I realized something great: The thing that I always thought held me back in the bedroom was the thing bringing me exactly the kind of physicality I enjoyed — sometimes rough, always unrestrained.

It’s interesting how perspective can alter your enjoyment of something, but there’s an incredible shift that occurs when you really begin to embrace yourself in your lover’s presence.

I think this is part of the dilemma that lays behind the number one complaint I hear from women — their inability to orgasm at all, or the difficulties faced when eventually achieving one. We’re so wrapped up in our body images, trapped in our insecurities, concerned with public perception, and inundated with the pressure to come, that we just can’t enjoy sex. It takes years for women to get past this shit, and I personally believe that it’s why we do not peak sexually until the average age of 32.

I happen to now be 32. If any of my friends had known the kind of sex I was already having in my early 20s, their perception of me would have been wildly different. In that regard, I was definitely advanced for my age.

I began having bondage with sex at the relatively young age of 19. I had sex in very, very public places the first time at the age of 18. By the age of 21, I had no qualms having sex in a semi-public private room where anyone could walk in without warning (but I’m secretly glad they never did). Voyeurism, for me, was a two-way street, and I liked to travel on it. All that said, though, and I still never really embraced my sexuality until this year, my 32nd.

Sex, for me now, is better than it has ever been — and not because of my lovers, but because of the roles I’m willing to play, the brazenness I bring to the bedroom, because of my changed perspective. My god, had I even begun to suspect it would be like this, I’d have ditched those insecurities years ago.

The rewards of youth aren’t nearly as great as we’ve all been led to believe. Sex improves with age, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars the pharmaceutical industry spends to make you believe otherwise. Sex isn’t just about hard cocks and screaming orgasms. It’s the one language that transcends geography. It’s an otherworldy experience you can share where you need nothing but skin and sweat and stamina. We’re so hung up on needing to be hard, needing to come, that we’ve forgotten everything that happens in between — the places in which our mouths can linger and toy; the dexterity and flexibility of the hand; the thrill of warm, sweaty skin against our own; the scores of peaks and valleys found in that symphony of gasps and moans.

With age and maturity and realism, we’re able to begin letting go of those hang-ups. When we allow ourselves the freedom of being beautiful to that one person, we find ourselves experiencing things we never thought we’d feel. And that, that’s the ultimate goal to have in any sexual relationship: the absolute ability to lose all apprehensions and fear, the evolution of trust and willingness.

If only it were that easy. It’s hard. Very. But the reward is worth the struggle. Oh, so very.