I Didn’t Know I Had an Eating Disorder

Food and I have never really had a healthy relationship until recently. When ever I hear eating disorder I think of anorexia or bulimia, not emotional eating and hiding foods.

Since I was young though, food was my comfort. Feeling sad, have some candy, feeling stressed how about some ice cream, bored… carbs! This obviously resulted in weight gain and very unhealthy coping strategies.

Apparently, emotional eating can lead to binge eating. Psychiatry.org defines: “Eating disorders are illnesses in which the people experience severe disturbances in their eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions.” Binge eating usually happens at least once a week for over 3 months of time in addition to a lack of control.

Eat faster than normal, check. Eat until uncomfortably full, check. Eat large amounts of food when not physically hungry, check. Eat alone, mostly out of boredom but check. Feel guilty and depressed about eating so much, check. Oh look, I checked each of the little warning signs and you only need three for verification.

Apparently, there are nine types of eating disorders currently classified. Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge eating are the top three. According to NIMH, “Researchers are finding that eating disorders are caused by a complex interaction of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors.” Fun science is also showing differences in MRIs of healthy women compared to women with eating disorders.

So here’s the thing. I had no clue that this was as bad as it was until I was in therapy this week. I was discussing things that were triggering my trauma recently and how I felt the need to eat more when I saw I was losing weight this week. I am on Keto to be healthy, I realize how insane this was and that is why I spoke to my therapist about it. I didn’t over eat, though ever fiber of my being really wanted to, instead I snacked on almonds and drank more water.

Being a “victim” is very hard for me, being vulnerable is even harder. So with some work, we uncovered that I was not only using food as comfort but when things got really hard for me, my go to was to use my body and my weight as a defense. Blend in and not get noticed.

It gnaws at me still just typing this. I do not want to be this person who uses food instead of emotion, who eats out of boredom and stress. I am working on getting healthy because even when my brain is shrinking from MS and I cannot control what my body does I can at least try and control the balance inside this body.

Sources

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/eating-disorders/what-are-eating-disorders

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/common-eating-disorders#binge-eating-disorder

Eating Disorders: Causes, Symptoms, Signs & Medical Complications

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders/index.shtml

Therapeutic Yoga – what’s this now?

As I prepare my next post, which will cover Complex PTSD, I read about therapeutic Yoga.

At first glance I was expecting just yoga, so I assumed ok that’s great, everyone should stretch, blah blah blah.

Therapeutic Yoga however is about mindfulness and not focused on poses or rather, the strictness that is “the proper pose”. Intrigued, I read more.

Using this form of yoga can help with all kinds of PTSD and mindfulness in general. Not focusing on form, it helps those who tend to be more critical of themselves, and with no mirrors it sets the environment to be gentle and nonjudgemental.

There is research on how this form of yoga, in addition to working with a therapist can greatly benefit those who suffer from PTSD.

While there are places you can find to do therapeutic Yoga, I’m personally considering doing this as part of my daily routine. As a female who grew up in a time of Barbies, super thin models and Baywatch I have often struggled with self-esteem and loving my body for what it can do, only seeing where it fails.

What do you do for mindfulness? Is there something you love and helps you? I’d love to hear it!

Access to Public Places – We get left out.

Second post on access for people who need mobility assistance. The first post was more about parking and grocery stores or places like Target with access for people who require aid. This post will go over places we go where accessibility isn’t really considered.

Malls: The lack of good accessibility is troublesome for me in particular because the mall by us has an elevator in the 3 department stores and one in the middle of the mall. The elevators in the department stores are usually quite a distance from the main entrance. When I went to the mall a while back with my family they took the escalator while I searched out an elevator because I know that being with me trying to find access is a pain in the ass. Service dogs, walkers, scooters and wheelchairs cannot go up escalators or stairs (well service dogs can take stairs, but I can’t and usually I regret it if I try because I fall a lot). For me, extended periods of walking make my internal temp increase significantly and then I start to lose all feeling in my legs like they’re Jell-O. No matter where I ended up in the mall I had to walk out of my way to find an elevator.

Restaurants: Think about a place you may frequent, do they have wide isles or are the tables very close together with narrow walkways? Most of the places I go for date night have narrow walkways to accommodate more tables which makes walking in with Oak a challenge. For the most part they also have tables where the legs are not easily used for wheelchairs and service dogs. Oak has to go under the table when we eat but if the legs are too close together or have wide bases it’s hard for him to go under so he ends up closer to the isles where people walk. When were went to Ouray in June we ate a restaurant where the seating was on the roof, with no elevator, only stairs. I did it, but my body did not appreciate it one bit.

Amusement parks: I have only been to the one in Denver since being diagnosed and I know from research the bigger places like Universal and Disneyland have more things for people with mobility issues. Over all access is not a problem around the park, it becomes an issue with the rides though. Roller coasters and anything that spins are an issue for me due to my extreme vertigo from my meniere’s disease. You cannot take a service dog on rides so you have someone your with to hold them while it’s your turn so you cannot be on a ride with everyone at the same time, ever. I used a walker when we went because it was so hot that I was pretty sure Oak would be miserable trying to walk on the very hot cement. Heat poses an issue for my MS too, so I have to go with a cooling vest, cooling cloth and a portable fan. There isn’t much in the way of shady spots though so after a couple of hours when those cooling things are no longer cool and you cant have a cooler with you its just a matter of time before the heat takes a serious tole.

For those who are in wheelchairs, if they can transfer themselves or walk short distances it would probably work, but wouldn’t it be amazing if they made a cart on the roller coasters that wheelchairs can lock into? Can you imagine how much better that person would feel not having to depend on someone every time they want to go on a ride?

As a person with mobility issues I can tell you that access sucks. It’s not inclusive for most places, it’s depressing when you feel left out because of something you cannot control. No one chooses to require mobility aids, and we all want to do the same things we could do before or do the things that our friends and family can do.

I challenge you to look at the places you go with a new view of the way it’s laid out. Imagine you are in a wheelchair, would you be able to maneuver around easily or would it take other people to help you?