6 {Real} Signs Of An Eating Disorder Relapse

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Haven’t written in awhile.

Mostly because —  I’ve lost weight — And I don’t know how (nor want) to talk about that.

How do you talk about the reality that’s occurring – and less about the past you can reflect on? (Writing about the past is so much simpler.)

What does it mean when you’re generally “okay” and yet — not being okay?

How do you write for the people you know that read this — put yourself out on the gurney —  and still make it human?

It’s hard to maintain a sense of transparency about your life – while also worrying about what other people will think.

So, I write in this way. In numerical values like this headline — because it seems easier to own.

6 “real” signs of a relapse.

I’m in one – but I’ll dig out of it.

And, I think, while I’m in it — it’s worth shedding light on the little manipulations we use in order to get away with it. Continue reading “6 {Real} Signs Of An Eating Disorder Relapse”

Sugar N’ Spice N’ Everything Nice? Naw: Holidays With An Eating Disorder

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Christmas Eve – and… donuts? 🍩🎄❄️️ ((or otherwise known as a time of general food anxiety, fear of weight gain, and constant body checking))

Such a balancing beam between the holidays we are born into believing in – and the reality that takes place when you have an eating disorder.

Went on a run this morning with my partner. Ran straight past a Dunkin Donuts. “Let’s get donuts for my family,” he said. “I got the dog; you go in and pick it out.”

I. Fucking. Cringed.

Continue reading “Sugar N’ Spice N’ Everything Nice? Naw: Holidays With An Eating Disorder”

“Trump”ing Eating Disorders: Guest Post for My Blog in Light of 2017

“She looks old and wrinkled.”

“She was hotter sick”

“Someone should’ve told her she looked bad sick.”

“She’s so pretty.”

“Poor girl.”

“SHE’S AN ALCOHOLIC NOT A DRUNKOREXIC.”

“This girl be FUCKED up.”

“I’d fuck her.”

“She got an ass.”

“So tired of hearing about sorority girls with eating disorders. NEXT.”

“Someone should give that bitch a real problem to cry about.”

“I think she’s beautiful.”

“She has a nice smile.”


Oh, the internet.

A place I liken to “seeing someone else puking so you start puking and then everyone else starts puking” 2016.

Thanks for the line, John Oliver.

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Continue reading ““Trump”ing Eating Disorders: Guest Post for My Blog in Light of 2017″

“So, Does The Camera Make You Gain 10lbs?”: Being On Television With An Eating Disorder

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CBS Studio

2 days ago, I did an interview with CBS New York talking about eating disorders, drunkorexia, and recovery.

Throughout the interview, I felt calm, I felt poised, I felt eloquent.

I win at life, I thought. Woo – I got my shit TOGETHER!

Lolz.

Flash forward 4 hours later and I see the following picture:

CBS

!!!!!#)&@#(^@(!_%$!

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING, I thought immediately. NO. My ASS. My THIGHS. NOPE. NO-NO-NO-NO.

That is NOT going in the segment, I hissed at my poor friend nearby. Not to millions of people.

My panic heightened.

Continue reading ““So, Does The Camera Make You Gain 10lbs?”: Being On Television With An Eating Disorder”

One Month Sober Sally

 

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1 month sobaaa!

You never know how much wine is a part of your life till you let it go. In 31 days, I’ve gone to a wedding, baby shower, client meeting(s), office party, bar (x3), Halloween, had bad days, good days, happy hour, meetups, brunch, a 3-hour ex “what went wrong” phone call, and multiple Friday night Netflix reruns:

And the truth is I don’t regret any of them. It’s hard to not drink, and it’s hard to eat sober in public with an eating disorder – I thought after a month my skin would look superb and my growing crows feet less rigid- but alas, neither has happened thus far. Assumed that perhaps all the clarity I ever needed about life would come as well- but looks like I’m still working on that too. The beautiful part, however, is that I feel good. I feel healthy when I run. I feel talented right now and productive and mostly, honest.

Working on my eating disorder in the most active way I’ve ever known. I’m pushing myself to be uncomfortable- truly uncomfortable- being sober at times is handling discomfort, and I’m learnin’ how to sit with it.

Got no time limit on sobriety- but for now, I’m incredibly pleased and thankful to be doing this ❤

The Truth About Being A Millennial Drunkorexic

This is Rehab Day 15:

And you’re sitting on the Renfrew community couch writing your best friend a letter when Lilly comes in and lays down beside you.

I’m bored, she mumbles- her limp hair falling in her face.

Got a book? You ask, barely looking over.

Read them all.

Wanna play a game?

God no. She makes a face. But I do wanna get drunk.

You grin. Me too.

Like stupid drunk, she says. Like blow some shit up drunk.

You put down your letter. Okay, well that escalated, you pause. But yes, I’d love a Pinot Noir.

She scoffs. You and your rich girl sorority shit. She sticks out her pinky and pretends to hold a champagne flute. Oh yes sir, she mimics. I’ll have a touch of the Rosé if you could ever be so kind.

You can’t help but smile. It’s not really like that, you know. I drink the same way you do, Lil.

Out of a bag?

You snort. Okay well no, not usually. But it’s happened.

You think back to college frat parties. Slapping the Franzia bags.

It’s all the same, you say. Everyone just trying to reach some place they can forget.

She waves her hand at this. I just mean you don’t really strike me as the type to get all that drunk.

You’d be surprised, you admit. Got myself a DWI a few years ago. Bet ya didn’t know that?

Her eyebrows raise. That’s actually pretty shocking- yeah.

Was for my parents too.

So you’re a drunk then?

No, you say. Not conventionally anyway.

Ah- more like a desperate housewife?

Something like that.

One too many glasses of wine a night?

A medicinal drunk, I’d call it. I don’t really need it; just prefer it.

A medicinal drunk. Nice, she grins lazily. I’ll use that in our next AA.

Go for it, you say. I’m taking a break from it once I’m out anyway.

From AA, she asks. Or alcohol?

Both, you say- scratching your head.

God, you think to yourself. You’re almost positive this couch has lice. You just know it.

I need to anyway, you say- trying to forget about the lice.  I drink to not eat so it’s not really something I should keep doing.

She rolls her eyes. Yeah- alright then, she says- plopping her hairy legs in your lap.

You look down. Have they literally not let you shave since you got here?

3 months, she says. But yeah, we’ll see about that no alcohol thing.

What do you mean?

I’m just saying it’s hard, she pauses. I’ve been in and out of treatment more times than I can count and it’s hard to give up all your vices. You’re already dealing with your eating shit, she says. And you’re doing a good job with that- so just go with it.

And I’m not smoking, you add in smugly.

Yeah well, she pauses. Don’t get all holier than thou. She lays her head back on a pillow- her tangled headphones on her chest. I just think it’s harder than you know, to be back in the world and sober. She nestles one of the earbuds in her ear. Even if you are some yuppy bitch from Dallas, you’ll want to go out with your friends.

You smile. Thanks for the advice.

But she’s already lost in her world of Wu Tang Clan.

Leaning your head against the wall that day, you wonder if she’s right.

You wonder if you even mean it:

It takes you 2 years to realize, you didn’t.

Continue reading “The Truth About Being A Millennial Drunkorexic”

7 (Real) Truths About Eating Disorder Recovery

7 (Real) Truths About Eating Disorder Recovery:

(Because there ain’t no sense lying about it)

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1.) Pant Suit Is The New Black?:

Your style changes. Maybe not drastically- but it will.

Roll with it.

Go through phases; experiment.

I spent 8 years in over-sized t-shirts and sweatpants. I was like a walking groupie for Iggy Azalea.

Concert t-shirts, college sweatshirts, Fraternity function v-necks-

And the sweatpants. Oh, the pants. Victoria Secret black sweatpants that dragged at the feet. Seen here:

all black again

And here (CRINGE):

Spring Break
Spring Break

I loved those thigh-hiding safety nets. I wore them everywhere. Throw on a pair of Sheepskin Boots and at any given point, heat or snow, I had about 10 fingers visible on my whole body.

Hideous in retrospect. I don’t even quite know what I was trying to ”pull off” other than I can remember thinking to myself:

“Oh, you’re just chill- yo. You’re mad chill and you just don’t like dressing up.”

Truthfully, I don’t like dressing up. It doesn’t come naturally for me, but those sweatpants were not an attempt to prove my ”chill” factor, and my style has been a constant source of evolution the past year and a half.

Even when I first exited rehab, I wore leggings and big t-shirts everywhere.

“Hey,” I thought to myself. “At least I’m wearing form-fitting tights.”

That too, has since changed. My career, I imagine, has played a part; New York as well;

But so has just simply rolling with the current of recovery.

I’m still figuring out what I like; what feels flattering to my body. My friends joke, but I  feel like at 26 I’m a pubescent teen in terms of figuring out what my “style” actually is.

It often depends on the stage of recovery I’m in that day.

This summer, I’m attempting to wear shorts again and it’s a struggle. I’ve got cut-off, ratty denim shorts, black linen Gap shorts, knee-length cargo shorts- the options are endless and I still can’t decide.

I haven’t worn shorts since my anorexia days so I’m feeling around blindly in the dark.

On another hand, I banned dresses at the end of last year in an attempt to “define” my style, but as the days reach 90-degrees I’m finding that all I yearn for a bit of a breeze on the thighs.

Even in gym clothes- I no longer wear baggy t-shirts to work out in, but still sometimes find myself running in leggings when the weather calls for shorts.

One day, I’ll wear a bikini and rock my version of a ”screw it” attitude- but other days, I’ll feel more self-conscious and wear black-on-black-on-black.

It’s fluid- just as recovery is fluid- and I’m realizing no clothing is “off limits” as I once believed which has opened up doors and windows-

Your waist isn’t too short, your legs aren’t too chubby, your arms aren’t too skinny. Your chest isn’t too flat.

And, hey, if pant suits are what you enjoy, then rock ’em-

2.) Battlefield Wounds:

Consequences are consequences.

And straight up, my feet are foul.

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My thighs/feet featured as part of the #thighreading Twitter campaign by @princess_labia

Running ruined my feet. Not just because I’ve never been a fan of spending money on pedicures, but because I didn’t tend to them in the prime of my exercise addiction.

So wrapped up in clocking miles and burning calories, I ignored the hang nails, and the blood blisters. I scoffed at the calluses and the ingrown nail.

“The price you pay,” I reasoned.

Binge-eating, Bulimia, Starving- those choices affect your body outward and inward. Fluctuating weight over the years has left stretch-marks on my thighs (as seen above).

There’s a great social media campaigns going on right now over stretch-marks and thighs. #ThighReading on Twitter. Check it out; it’s comforting (and you can see my blistery little feet)

As I continue on this journey of self-love, I’m realizing even the nail beds of your feet are yours to protect.

I used to run on stress fractures and shin splints. At some point, I was told I had bones of a 70-year old.

What’s beautiful, however, is that often your body is resilient, and wants to fight for you.

I ran last night in Central Park and at some point it dawned on me how strong I felt- gliding up and down the path.

Nothing hurt- and as T-Swift “Bad Blood” kept me revved up,  I ran 3 miles appreciating what it feels like to be healthy.

Accept that you’ve put your body through hell- in whatever way ”hell” is to you- and be gentle in the recovery of it.

Continue reading “7 (Real) Truths About Eating Disorder Recovery”

“Hey, Don’t Forget to Pack Your Bulimia”: Traveling With An Eating Disorder

Rehab Truth:

Last week, I went on a business trip to Idaho and had a full out ED panic in the airport.

Wednesday- 7am in the morning – JFK Terminal 2-

And there I am pacing the airport halls like an Eating Disorder secret service agent.

WHAT DO I EAT? WHERE?

HOW MUCH?

WHAT TIME IS IT?

7?!?!?! 7:00AM. 7 O’CLOCK.

(I CAN’T EAT YET.)

BUT YES, LINDSEY, YES YOU CAN.

(YOU’LL BE HUNGRY BY 11)

WHO CARES IF YOU’RE HUNGRY BY 11-

(SETTING YOURSELF UP FOR FAILURE)

YOU’RE HUMAN AND YOU HAVE TO EAT.

(NOT TILL 12)

JUST EAT SOMETHING AND MOVE ON.

(UGH.)

Bagel? I thought, peering towards the cafe beside me.

NO- TOO MUCH TOO SOON.

Croissant? I said aloud, feeling my mouth salivating.

BUTTER.

Bagon, egg, and cheese biscuit? I mumbled, pushing forward- past my gate.

GROSS – IT’S NOT EVEN EGG WHITE

Hudson News store? I can grab granola in the bag.

NO- binge food! I corrected, moving past.

Gate 6-7-8

Are you even hungry- or just feeling hungry because you’re awake?

I try hard to feel one with my stomach – and fail.

I turn the halls and start back up the line, past the Hudson store, the croissants, the Sausage, egg, and cheese burritos.

Coffee- I decide- veering towards the Starbucks.

WAIT- NO, I say- veering out.

Coffee just helps me not eat.

I sigh.

Throw my bag on the ground.

Throw a mini emotional tantrum in my head.

I’m a hamster on a wheel.

Go back to my seat- sit down – self-deprecate.

Calm down.

Text my therapist.

Start over.

Start over again.

Start over again and again and again.

One foot in front of the other.

I lop back down the hall.

Sigh for being so difficult.

Sigh because it’s never easy.

Grab a coffee-

“Tall, please” I say.

Find a granola bar. A banana.

A Chobani yogurt.

I walk back towards the gate.

I’m okay, I remind myself.

I think about the hiking I’ll do in Idaho.

You’re fine dude, I think.

I think about how fortunate I am to be in an airport traveling.

I sit down and eat.

I think about all the times I traveled and sipped coffee.

All the views I missed because I was thinking of hunger.

One bite after another, one meal at a time.

I move on with my day.

—-

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Idaho Hikes!

Continue reading ““Hey, Don’t Forget to Pack Your Bulimia”: Traveling With An Eating Disorder”

Drunkorexia: The ‘Acceptable’ Eating Disorder

#College
#College

Alright, guys, here’s the truth:

I’ve been a drunkorexic for as long as I can remember, and owning up to it makes me cringe. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t be surprised. Not yet classified as an eating disorder, researchers are finally noting this ED trend that combines the worst of drinking and dieting.

Drunkorexia:  

The colloquialism for skipping meals or exercising heavily to “save” or burn calories, making room for drinking at night. (Basically every college girl you know.)

I ask myself this often: Just WHY aren’t we talking about this more?

And here’s the answer:

Because it’s culturally accepted, that’s why- and because ‘drunkorexia’ sounds like a term some sorority girl came up with to ”tee-hee” with her ”p-sisters” over.

It’s an epidemic that’s ignored because it’s an offspring of the far more concerning prevalence of binge-drinking culture, and as I’m about to admit (begrudgingly), I still have a tendency to hide behind said culture as I realized this weekend running back from brunch.

Ah brunch, the staple of a weekend- gathering with your friends at around 2-3pm at a restaurant offering half-priced alcohol with a meal.

My participation in this culture drives my therapist up the wall.

‘How’d you eat this weekend?’ she asks- to which I always perk up and say ‘Oh, fine!’

‘Did you eat three meals both days?’

Ummm, no. (Again, one octave higher) I brunched on Saturday so you know how that goes. (justifying, justifying, justifying)

Therapist (unamused): So, you ate one meal, and then got drunk?

….Cue the daily Monday night therapy squabble. And this is where I go into my tired explanation of how it only happens ‘on weekends’ and how on Sundays I usually don’t even drink that much at brunch.

The truth though- is that while I typically don’t drink more than one drink on a Sunday, I still found myself at brunch last weekend eating only half of a sandwich- and when I thought about it on my run back- the sole reason I did that was because I had a half-drank Bloody Mary sitting precociously beside my plate. 

In short, I still tend to use alcohol as a sneaky means of compensating my eating disorder. I medicate my ED anxieties with it – and I justify not eating properly because of it as well. Though I felt like I wanted to eat more of that Grilled Cheese the other day, I turned to the Bloody Mary instead- sipping it lightly in place of food.

This ‘drunkorexic’ side of me started long before I was 21. When I first began college at 18, I remember hearing about the “freshman 15,” and seeing kids older than me coming home for Christmas break after their first semester looking completely different than the scrawny person that had left 5 months prior.

It absolutely terrified me. Already in the midst of a full-blown eating disorder, drinking alcohol further fueled the anxiety of gaining weight- yet everyone around me was doing it. Hell, I was no stranger to it. I got drunk for the first time at my ex-boyfriend’s prom when I was 16. (I think I’d had like the “fruit punch” and didn’t realize Everclear was the liquor that will put you flat on your ass) I’d drank quite casually on the weekends throughout all of high school, though never on a regular, binging basis as I was suddenly realizing college was all about.

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Alcohol was everywhere- and binge-drinking was the culture. Drinking for no reason was available any day of the week. Thursdays? Thirsty Thursdays at Grubs. Wednesdays? Wine Wednesdays with the roomies. And don’t even get me started on the football tailgates. The mid-week frat parties. The Saturday Keggers. Sneaking into bars underage.

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I was very much part of this culture on the outside, but on the inside it gave me a daily amount of anxiety in terms of my eating disorder. While I was obsessive about getting my exercise, I’d read enough to know that an hour long elliptical session wasn’t going to compensate 400 calories of wine and sugar.

I felt torn by my love for socializing and my weight/eating disorder- so I did what so many other people in this country tend to do as well. I cut the food- because food was not as fun as wine.

Admittedly, I’ve always been a lightweight. I’ve never needed more than 2 glasses of wine in order to ”feel the effect” of my alcohol intake, which is both a blessing and a complete curse because the moment I put a glass of wine to my lips, I can nearly feel it soothing my anxieties of the day. Everything feels lighter, dulled and subdued.

And this includes my hunger cues.

You give me one glass of wine- and I feel “full.” Whether or not it’s real is up for debate, but the moment I have a glass of wine, I tend to purposely, or unpurposely, forget about eating. I can be famished walking into a meal with my friends but drinking a glass of wine before the main entree dulls my desire to eat as much as I should.

Frankly, I love the feeling of being tipsy, and this drunorexia pattern has been my way of living for as long as I can remember. I have never had a balanced relationship between alcohol and food together. If you put a drink or food in front of me, I will want the alcohol. It’s a soother for the food.

I don’t binge-drink however. Shots? Not interested. Liquor? Eh. So I can’t really relate to the girls that skip meals and then binge-drink to the point of blacking out- although I witnessed it in numerous friends in college.

I just tend to drink my 2 glasses of wine and if I start in on a third, then I’m usually borderline drunk and I’ve never enjoyed being drunk because intoxication- for me- opens up the gates to binge eating later so I avoid it like the plague now that I’m in recovery. If I am drunk, I try to wait until I’m more rational to go home and so this usually means I end up walking miles on the streets of NY sobering up with a water bottle from Duane Reede.

In fact, I recently had a date in Bryant Park- I hadn’t eaten enough and I had 3 glasses of wine so naturally, I was feeling the effect. When we left for home, this person asked if they could walk me to the subway and much to their confusion, I waved them away and said I’d walk.

TO BROOKLYN? This person said, their eyes bugging.

No, I grinned, purple-lipped as always. Don’t worry about it I’ll jump on the subway at some point.

Please just get on the subway now, they begged. You shouldn’t walk alone.

No no, I said. I do this all the time I swear. I’m fine. I’ll let you know when I’m home.

In retrospect, it probably is odd to the naked eye, but I’m still too new in recovery that I don’t always trust myself to go home drunk and alone. I find that if I walk it out for awhile, I can get a grip on myself and stop at a deli somewhere and buy a granola bar to compensate for what I replaced with wine.

Some might ask: Why do you still drink then, Linds, if it allows you this much room for manipulating?

If you’re wondering that, you have every right to- but I don’t pretend to have answers.

There are many times I avoid going out with my friends for the exact reason of recovery, but I implore you to remember that I’m also 25 years old in the most ‘alive’ city in the world and sometimes all I want in the entire world is to sit at a Sushi restaurant on a Wednesday night splitting a bottle of red wine with three of my girlfriends- giggling to ourselves about how HBO ”Girls”our lives can be.

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There are many nights that I’m quite fine to do this too. There are nights that I know I need to eat regardless of what the wine dulls in my stomach, and I eat anyway. There are times I eat too much pasta and push away the wine because I’m too full to finish it- and during the weekdays I almost always regularly eat 3 meals a day because I eat both breakfast and lunch with the same person and it keeps me accountable.

So why’s this really such an “issue” in our society?

Need I even point out the obvious? The alcohol industry has increasingly targeted young people with weight-conscious marketing, tapping straight into teen and twenty-something’s body anxiety — while courting new consumers. And it’s working on a wider basis every day- encouraging the behaviors of drunkorexia.

Drinking on an empty stomach leads to more rapid absorption of alcohol, and higher levels of impairment and intoxication. So every time people purposely do it, they incur increased risks of things like sexual assault and DUIs, and, in the long run, gastritis, ulcer, and malnutrition….. etc., etc., etc.

The other reason it’s an issue is that drunkorexia tendencies lead to the same path of deception and manipulation that you find in standard eating disorders. There’s no denying that in my own experience and as I write this tonight, I’m aware that I don’t want to live my days by glasses of wine just as I don’t want to live my life calorie by calorie because I remember that I don’t find happiness or “peace” manipulating myself and those around me.

It’s exhausting to starve, and filling your body with a wasteland of alcohol non-nutrients inevitably just leaves you feeling like shit.  Easier said than done though right? Obviously I still have the tendency to trick myself into thinking otherwise. That’s the hard part of recovery – you take a lazy “mental” day and it creeps back up on you the first couple years.

I go days at a time where my eating is the most normal it can be for me, and those are days that I remember a lot more about my life. Days where I eat three meals with pleasure make my life a lot more whole because it gives me the opportunity to live in the present and not be constantly focused on food. Being tipsy (or blackout) to avoid a meal isn’t any way to live- and I know that. Being drunk and making choices you’d otherwise think twice about opens up the floodgates to anxiety, depression, and isolation. It opens up the doors to larger eating disorder deceptions.

When you live your life constantly thinking about how to manipulate your weight, you start to lose control over your priorities. Throw in alcohol and WOO- those babies are thrown right out the door.

So much of a balanced life (recovery) is changing the way you think- and accepting the truths of what you do. I’m getting there, but this is just one of those truths for me:

So hey world- I am a drunkorexic, and I’m trying to learn how to be a sociable 25-year old in spite of it.

One day at a time.

Cheers- Linds

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