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I rarely blog about work related topics, in particular trying to stay away from constantly reporting on new and exciting information in the world of eating disorders. There are many wonderful blogs out there that serve as more direct, educational resources for that kind of thing, and generally I prefer to write about everyday occurrences that I feel promote ways to live healthy and happy, whether in recovery or not. But eating disorders are my field, and sometimes it feels right to reflect on that a bit more.
I recently read a journal article titled “Resistance to treatment in eating disorders: a critical challenge” (Abbate-Daga & Fassino, 2013). The authors detail a number of reasons that eating disorders have gained the reputation – a well-justified one I might add – for being notoriously treatment-resistent. Among other things, there isn’t a lot of evidence-based treatment out there that has shown to effectively treat ED, there is a high level of denial, lack of awareness, and active opposition to treatment in those that are ill, and to top it off there is this little thing called biological vulnerability to think about. Messy, eh?

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Abbate-Daga and Fassino posit that effective treatment for eating disorders must take into account more than just the eating and food related symptoms as outlined in the DSM (duh), and need to take a look at the link between psychology and biology, i.e. what is the neuroscience behind developmental and relational experiences, patterns and beliefs. Basically, the authors are looking at ED as a developmental disorder, and one that should be treated accordingly. The key message here is that there needs to be a therapeutic alliance between the patient and his or her providers. With this should come an understanding amongst providers that the suffering their patients are experiencing is real, and even more importantly, a means of conveying this deep understanding to our patients and clients. Fostering a means to keep someone engaged in treatment at all is the first step in a very intense journey… because a therapy dropout isn’t (likely) to get better, now are they.

As I read this article and absorbed what was being said, words screamed across my brain. EMPATHY (yes!) VALIDATION (yes yes!!) CONNECTION (yes yes YES!!!) As trite as it seems, these are the reasons I do what I do, and the reasons so many of the talented clinicians I know are able and willing to help people regain their lives. Eating disorders are among the most complex, mystifying illnesses out there, and at times it feels like a thankless field to be in. “Treatment Resistance” is the stuff of nightmares when your field is, well… treatment. But before we bang our collective heads against the wall, we can remember that research and science is supporting the fact that yeah… what we do is hard. And guess what? We can still do it. because we all know friends, family members, former clients, and fellow helpers who have fought, resisted, and eventually recovered. They are now happy, healthy people, and that’s what makes it all worthwhile.

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NEED

Honeycrisp apples. How is it fall and I’ve only had one?

To actually spend some time on an internet budgeting thing like mint.com or something. I have somehow forgotten how to be good with money recently… I blame grad school and my dog

A way to prioritize self-care – something I’m usually a pro at! I blame not having any money or time (because of grad school and my dog)

To make that kick ass baked quinoa I fell in love with last winter… soon

A weekend away, maybe for my birthday

My living room is in dire need of a rug, the last one didn’t survive housebreaking a rescue pup but we’re good now

A good meditation pillow for my cute ass to sit on while I chill the fuck out

 

(Also, probably to stop saying the word “fuck” so fucking much)

 

 

 

 

I feel fantastic.

The longest day of the year is always a bit of a challenge for me. While everyone else seems to be rejoicing in the first day of summer, I trend towards a feeling of dread about it being the “first day of the days getting shorter”. This year I am actively trying to challenge those thoughts by reminding myself that it’s quite the opposite of being in the present moment when you are obsessing over something about the passage of time that you cannot control. It is helping… a little.

Am I still cleansing? Sure. After seven days I reevaluated, and since I felt wonderful without the caffeine of coffee in my system but dearly missed the taste, I added decaf coffee (not daily, just when I really want it) back into the mix around day ten. With that has come the inclusion of a bit of dairy, both in my coffee as well as some yogurt. According to Ayurveda, drinking lassi is a good way to cool off in the summer months, and it’s so damn delicious and easy to make. This past Thursday I desperately wanted a milkshake, so I got one… only to feel sick after drinking a third of it. Lest I doubted it before, sugar is definitely contributing to my headaches. At this point I don’t even want it anymore.

I have also been doing hot yoga occasionally with a client, which typically isn’t my favorite way to practice. But the sweat feels good and the stretch feels good, and more importantly my client loves it. I am currently on a kick of loving the standing balances that I usually hate (I wonder why?) and find myself practicing Warrior III in the house at the oddest of times. It’s such a badass pose.

To make up for all the goddamn sweating, at least the lack of caffeine has me feeling super hydrated, helped along by yummy and cooling summer beverages.

Lassi: Mix one part yogurt with tow to three parts water. Add a little salt or a natural sweetener, and flavor to taste with anything from a few drops of rosewater to spices like cardamom or ginger.

The best water in the world: Slice one cucumber, one lemon and one lime and put in a pitcher. Toss in a large handful of fresh mint. Fill with water, chill in the refridgerator. Drink to your hearts content.

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Uh oh

I am pretty sure that the “Cool Lime Refresher” I got at Starbucks earlier had sugar in it, and I realized today I have been blindly popping my Sour Lemon Gummy Vitamin D every morning, along with my vegetarian cleansing capsules and my Prozac. They are like candy and they are so good. WHY IS THIS SO HARD???

But I am beyond excited to get my new refrigerator on Saturday. I was in such a good rhythm of cooking at home so I would have yummy food for the week, I can’t wait to get back to it. First on the list for sure is mango quinoa salad.

3 cups cooked quinoa
I red pepper, diced
1/2 (or less, to taste and depending on size) red onion, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can sweet corn, rinsed
Huge handful of cilantro, chopped
1 mango, diced

Pan fry 3/4lb shrimp with olive oil and fresh garlic, then chop into bite sized pieces and add to salad. Add a ton of fresh lime and some sriracha into the pan and scrape up the garlic and oil from the shrimp to make your dressing. Add to salad, salt to taste. Eat it, its good.

A breakthrough

Today I do not have a headache, for the first time in… maybe two months? If nothing else comes of this, I am filled with gratitude for that.

In that vein (the one of gratitude), I also would like to thank a former teacher and co-worker for connecting me with the opportunity to attend a Yoga of Recovery workshop earlier this evening. I sincerely hope to be able to take the ten-day certification course before the end of the calendar year, as tonight’s two hour introduction was incredibly informative and, for lack of a better word, emotional. In a good way. It just feels so right for what I do and what I want to do.

Grateful grateful grateful. And sleepy.

… and today I have a runny nose and a continual splitting headache. I have spent most of the last 48 hours wanting to kill someone for a cup of coffee, but I just ate a fresh mango doused with lime and cayenne, so now everything is ok.

For a number or reasons, I have been itching to do some sort of cleanse. The idea has been bouncing around in my head for a while, but I’ve only just reached the point of giving it a go. Maybe it is the change of season and the fact that the hot weather has finally arrived. Perhaps it is my general sluggishness and need to sleep ten hours a night. I have definitely hit my limit with coffee for the time being (as I do, oh, about twice a year), and I am in a cycle of headaches that I just can’t seem to shake. One has to consider too, the invariable increase in social events and alcohol consumption that comes with the onset of summer. However I think the final straw was the broken refrigerator… I have had to get creative with my food consumption as I wait nearly two weeks for the new one to be delivered, and the results haven’t been pretty. Like, excessive burritos and frappucinos not pretty. So beginning tomorrow, I have opted to eliminate four things. My goal is to get through a week, and then if all goes well add on weeks until I get to thirty days (more on that later).

First on the list to go is coffee. If needed, I will drink green or white tea for caffeine. Over ice both are delicious and – I think – even more refreshing than an iced coffee in the hot weather. Next is dairy. My primary dairy consumption comes from putting milk or cream in my coffee (see above), and from eating yogurt. With no refrigerator the yogurt thing is not going to be a problem, and as much as I love cheese I don’t eat it often enough to miss it. Another obvious choice for this list is sugar. Well, refined sugar. Which means no productivity snacks (my officemate’s code word for Haribo Gummi-Bears) at work. Sigh. And last but not least is alcohol. Does this need an explanation? I am far from a problem drinker, but regardless – it is a toxin that has ill effects on pretty much every system in the body. Sorry to be a buzz kill people, but it’s worth noting.

As I tend to say Ad nauseam here, I do not particularly like the philosophy of eliminating things. Restrictive dieting is an epidemic, and disordered eating – as well as full-blown Eating Disorders – affect the physical and mental health of millions. Therefore I do my best to be careful with the messages I convey through both my writing and my actions. And while in circumstances such as this one, elimination truly is the name of the game, I want to counter that approach by spending a minute going over what I will be eating for the next seven (or thirty) days.

Grains: All of ‘um. Quinoa, barley, cous cous, pasta, bread, rice, crackers. Whatever I want.

Meat: I am actually more inclined to eat meat than tofu, because most soy products are highly processed, and I am toying around with seeing if decreasing my soy consumption helps with my fatigue (my thyroid maybe? Just something I want to experiment with). But in the interest of not complicating things, fuck it… if I want tofu, I’ll eat tofu.

Fruits: Sugar you say? Fine by me

Vegetables: Yes, that includes potatoes. Perhaps even potatoes fried in the style of the french… although without ketchup I dunno, I might wait. But vegetables of every shape and color, most of which are usually a cleansing staple so that needs no further explanation.

Fat: Olive oil, avocado, coconut, almonds, peanut butter (low or no added sugar I suppose). God I love fat.

A lot of water. Water with lemon, in particular. Maybe some juice if I feel like it. Yeah yeah yeah, sugar… fresh squeezed then. And definitely teas.

Last but not least, I am going to try a supplement. It’s a thirty day (aha! Now you see), all natural, vegetarian cleansing system. No harsh laxatives just some soluble fiber, and ingredients that support all the major systems of the body – liver, lung, lymphatic, kidney, blood, bowel, and skin. I’m not going to lie… I am kind of excited to dork out and be THAT kind of health nut for a few weeks. And for accountability I plan to update daily on this blog, even if it is just a sentence or two about something that went well, something that didn’t feel great, or any other random observation about the process.

Wish me luck!