RELAPSE

RelapsePrevention

I felt things were going okay with Intuitive Eating and I thought I was making progress, especially in the “respect your body” arena, however, my latest adventures proved me otherwise, well, at least, I went in unprepared, so it got the better of me, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

THE TRIGGER

I attended a Social Work conference at the local university—the once from which I graduated almost 2 years ago—and instead of just a conference where I would alternative between bouts of inexcusable inattention and moments of soaking in knowledge, it also turned out to an unofficial class reunion of my 2012 MSW cohort.  Some of them I hadn’t even seen in nearly 2 years since our graduation.  After the initial euphoria of meeting and chatting wore off, I immediately retreated into the woman I had been when I had last been around them, particularly around those whom I admired.

MY REACTION

I was hyper vigilante of my appearance, especially my body size because since seeing these people, I had given birth to my second child, an event that significantly changed my body shape and size.  Even though I left that morning extremely comfortable in my body and in my clothes choices, all I wanted to do during the conference was keep my coat and scarf on despite the heat of 800 plus packed bodies in one room because I was too worried about how my fat rolls might show in the top I was wearing.  When I was not absorbed by the presenters’ words, all that occupied my thoughts were constant comparisons of the other bodies in the room and plans on how I could skip eating lunch in hopes that the ravenous empty feeling in my stomach would help me feel better about my body.  And, I was unable to pull myself out of the situation emotionally—so I followed through with my plans and ate little for lunch, reveling in the empty feeling in my stomach.  By the time the conference was over however, I felt nauseous, light-headed, and dizzy.  My body was unused to this brutality of restricted foods and water for breakfast and lunch.

By the end of the day, I felt as if I had been through the washer on the extra-spin cycle.  I knew that I could not do that again (the conference was two days).  So, I resolved to do better the next day and I purposely left my coat home so that I could not use that to hide (like that was going to help my thoughts and emotions, right?)  Anyway, the moment I stepped back into the room, I immediately felt the same as the previous day—disgusted with my body, inferior to all the others, and with an overwhelming urge to run and hide in the bathroom.  I did not prepare and arm myself with combative thoughts, positive mantras, or rational beliefs.  I did not do anything different for this second day and then I was surprised when I still felt worthless and disgusted.

GETTING BACK ON THE HORSE

Looking back on this experience, I am beginning to realize that I need a serious reimmersion into Intuitive Eating.  I kind of felt like I was doing “well enough” that I stopped recognizing each victory, stopped listening to my hunger and fullness cues, and stopped recording my experiences.  I was an autopilot, not even realizing that instead of flying straight, I was consistently loosing altitude.  This distance from Intuitive Eating, however small or short, was too much for me.  I am not yet ready to ride without training wheels and when I do come to a situation as huge as meeting old friends, I need to emotionally and mentally prepare myself with all the lessons, thoughts, mantras, and positive experiences I have learned since beginning Intuitive Eating.  This was a good experience for me—it felt like a relapse, but it was so profound, that I feel thoroughly chastened and excited to be back on the horse.

5 thoughts on “RELAPSE

  1. Oh, man. I feel you on reverting back to the way I was when I am reunited with people I haven’t been with for a while. It’s hard. I’m proud of you for recognizing what was going on, though, and for getting back on the horse. 🙂

  2. Although I haven’t faced the exact same struggles, I feel like I can relate. It can be hard to realize that you’re not as far along as you had thought. But don’t lose sight of the bigger picture- that you are making progress. Way to be courageous and vulnerable 🙂 I get self-conscious around old groups of friends too!

  3. I can relate to your “I could skip eating lunch in hopes that the ravenous empty feeling in my stomach would help me feel better about my body”
    Even when there are time that you dun feel confident, act confident, society tends to ‘bully’ people with low self esteem. Don’t let it happen. Society likes people who accept themselves & love themselves. 🙂

  4. I still want to say to you that you are beautiful! These feelings that you are having about yourself are so sad. You are thin, you are wonderful and loved. I hope that one day, you will have conquered this and when you go to these events, you can totally enjoy yourself.

  5. What a great attitude!

    It’s like walking up a down escalator. You have to keep moving or you start sliding back. In the 12 step programs, steps 10,11,12 are all about keeping the progress and not sliding back. Daily. For life. 🙂 writing this blog is a great way to do that.

    Thank you so much. I do check in regularly to get encouragement on my own journey. Crazy how those comparison thoughts creep back in without us even realizing it.

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