Friday, October 31, 2008


The official date was two days ago, hence the "belated." Looking back at this blog year, there's been some ups, some downs, and a vast intermingling of gray. I've probably shared more about myself on this blog than I do in actual real life which is kind of a sad statement when I look at it written.

Blogging, e-mailing, and the like have always produced this ability that allows me to share more about myself than in everyday life with the exception of very close friends or professionals. I'm not sure whether it is the anonymity factor, being behind a computer screen, or just being able to think more about what I want to say. Perhaps, it's just the fact that it's the sole place beyond therapy where I actually talk about recovery and personal experiences with eating disorders.

In any case, this blog has been helpful in many ways. I hope it's been helpful to those who read this blog as well. I thank all of those who have supported and encouraged me along the way, even to the lurkers out there. ;-) To each and every one of you, may you never feel alone.

image: Wikimedia

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Raynaud's syndrome, cold, and eating disorders

As the cold season approaches, there have recently been a number of posts on feeling cold. The posts can be read here, here, and here. There's no doubt that those with eating disorders have a higher propensity to feeling cold more than others. This can be due to malnutrition, lack of sufficient body fat, or perhaps an increase in non-shivering thermogenesis.

There has not been much research indicating whether those with eating disorders have changes in this type of physiological occurrence to cold even with weight restoration or recovery. My personal feeling is that as recovery begins, the ability of cold tolerance gets somewhat better, but I'm not sure it completely ever goes away. It's sort of like the body changes permanently. That's just my own opinion through experience and talking to others.

Something else this topic reminded me of is Raynaud's Phenomenon, also known as Raynaud's Syndrome, or Secondary Raynaud's. From the Raynaud's Association webpage, Raynaud's is defined as:

Raynaud's (ray-NODES) is a disorder of the small blood vessels of the extremities, reducing blood flow. When exposed to cold, the blood vessels go into spasms, which may cause pain, numbness, throbbing and tingling. Emotional distress may also trigger such a response.
image: ohiohealth

Surprisingly, Raynaud's is more common than expected with 5-10% of the general population having this, and the prevalence higher in women than men. However, the majority of people never receive treatment due to mild symptoms or sloughing it off to just poor circulation or cold sensitivity. Raynaud's can, however, be potentially dangerous if symptoms are severe, causing ulcerations and even gangrene!

The most effected areas of Raynaud's are the fingers, toes, ears, and nose, though it can be seen in other body parts as well. Upon cold temperatures or stress, these extremities may turn white or blue. After warmth and relaxation, they will turn an exaggerated red color.

There is no formal cure for Raynaud's and treatment is limited to avoiding cold temperatures/warming up, medications (calcium channel blockers which dilate blood vessels), topical antibiotics if there are ulcers, and relaxation techniques.


I remember in late high school and my early college years I experienced Raynaud's. At the time, I didn't have a clue about it other than my entire middle finger would turn this stark white color and lose sensation in cold temperatures. Eventually, I associated my cause of Raynaud's due to severe restriction. It's interesting, because I would show this to my parents or friends, and they never put two and two together like I did. As the eating disorder "evolved," the Raynaud's seemed to disappear as suddenly as it appeared. I don't know whether this will ever occur again, but in the back of my mind, it is an indicator that things are not right.

With experiencing this, I was also curious about whether others with eating disorders have had Raynaud's. Research is in this area is very sparse. I did find one case study about it with a young woman who presented simultaneously with both anorexia and Raynaud's. She received the standard eating disorder treatment of nutritional and counseling therapy as well as a calcium channel blocker for the Raynaud's and transdermal hormone replacement therapy for osteopenia and amenorrhea. Both anorexia and Raynaud's symptoms improved after treatment.

Case report

So I guess the take home message is that if your body extremities are turning white or various shades of blue, it is important to get it checked out whether it is simply due to an eating disorder or is idiopathic.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Weight perceptions among children and parents take 2

A new study out of the University of Melbourne came out about parents' and children's views of their weight. This type of study isn't new ( read another here) except for the fact that this study looks at both notions of underweight and overweight children as well as measuring waist circumference versus body mass index as a sole indicator. It turns out, with BMI, children were classified overweight more often than waist circumference.

Although this study does emphasize weight and numbers, the results show how skewed the perceptions are of parents and their children's weight. You can read more information on the results here.

The ones I find most interesting are:

Parents were more likely to report that their sons were underweight and that their girls were overweight.
Twice as many parents expressed concern about their child being overweight compared to underweight.
Only 4/10 underweight girls and half of underweight boys correctly assessed their weight.

The overall results of the study show the bias towards thinness as well as the lack of research and definition for children's weights. Dr. Schmidt, the author of this study concluded with, "In particular we need to make sure that the focus on reducing the number of overweight children does not have the adverse impact of increasing the number of underweight children." I think this is something to strongly think about with our society's emphasis on weight and being "healthier."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oh so close

I must admit since my meltdown from Monday, I couldn't be happier the week is coming to an end. It was just one of those weeks that felt like time was ticking by so so slowly. My emotions seemed to be on a roller coaster as well. On one end, I took more naps, not really because I needed them, but just to break up the day. At other times, I found myself giddily laughing at something on tv. Yes, the scene was funny but not to the point of hysterically laughing.

My eating for the most part was okay, but I had no motivation to run which of course left me feeling guilty. Tonight, I had one of those moments of eating WAY more than I intended and contemplated purging A LOT. It was a scenario of wanting to purge away something just to feel "empty." We all know it never works that way. So I reminded myself that this will really pass, that I don't need this, that this isn't going to solve a thing. Luckily, soon after, I had to go do late night kennel. It helped just to take my mind off of it. I still feel gross, FAT, and awful, but it's better than purging, having a puffy face with red dots, a runny nose (oh wait, I already have that one), or a sore throat. So again, I have succeeded. It still doesn't feel easy, and I don't know what point or how long that will take until I get there. But at least I am doing it which is way more than I would have said ten months ago.

Now, onto some other news. For whatever reason, when I got back home tonight, I had a very sudden feel of the chills. then my head hurt and I felt "stuffy." I've had a slight cold since coming back from the conference, but this feels awful. I'm hoping it goes away by the morning, because I have many phone calls to make--reschedule my therapy appt., call my dentist, call the vet (I think Baxter has an infection in his little boy parts (I'm saying this rather than the technical term since who knows what could pop up in a search, and I don't really want to be linked to porn or something)), and call the glove guy. And I really don't need to be ill!

On that note, I'm calling it early and going to get some zzzzs.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Reminders of fall...

You know it is fall when...

Mums are sold everywhere

Apples are in season with many different types

Candy apples are available

The squash availability exponentially grows

You see Cushaw, another type of squash

And of course, we can't forget all those pumpkins--everything from mini to small to large

Saturday, October 25, 2008

When dental pieces and nips collide...

This is a vent post more than anything, but I guess this is progress since I've been pretty down this week. Basically, I'm in one of my "crap, I can't believe this has happened" modes.

So here's the situation:
The culprit:
: Nestle Nips Peanut Butter Candy, Pearson - 4 Oz /Box, 12 Ea
image: amazon

What I was doing: chewing them
What happened: my freaking bridge on my right side of my mouth fell out completely!
The result: one bridge and a large gaping hole in my mouth.

It's been awhile since I've had a tooth post, so I guess I was due for one. I am astonished by this since I have not had any tooth problems or major dental work done since January. My most recent killer toothache and saga was last November. By and all, this is of course progress! I guess I just felt I was out of the woods. Since the tooth extractions have been done and my purging has ceased, infections have dropped to zero. Score one for me!

But then this darn bridge. I know I'm going to need a new one probably sooner rather than later. It's just one of those lasting reminder of how bulimia wrecked my teeth. Oh yeah and plus all the holes in my mouth. I seriously thought I was on the denture route there for awhile. Not that that is funny, because of course it is not, and I'm thankful for the teeth that have been saved. Moment of silence please.

The thing I do find funny in all this is the culprit! Those Nips. I don't eat them often, but I like to indulge in them when I do. And well, this is not the first time I've had some tooth part fall out because of them. At least this time, the dental part is in one piece. I can't tell you how many fillings, crowns and bridges I've chipped, broken, and swallowed. Yeah, it's not wise to try to eat sushi with a temporary/loose crown. That one I was not fetching! I actually heard of someone doing that. Ewww!

So besides nips, the other food products that have made my teeth break or dental parts loosen are crackers, ice, frozen gummy bears, and other hard candy. These folks are just not wise to eat with dental porcelain or metal in your mouth, so be forewarned, especially if your teeth are already weakened.

So my game plan will be to call my dentist tomorrow, leave her a message and see when I can get in next week. In the mean time, I'll have to try to only eat on my left side of my mouth, smile less and not talk a lot (neither have been an issue this week). Otherwise, all my holes can be fully seen.
And I'd rather not be known as the "toothless young woman" working with dogs.

Friday, October 24, 2008

College GPAs and health-related behaviors

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that college is often a difficult time for many students. With learning to juggle classes, exams, and friendships, it can all take a toll on one's health. In this new study from the University of Minnesota Boynton Health Service, it looked at college gpas and health-related behaviors of 24,000 students in both 2 and 4 year institutions.

The results showed that almost 70% of students were stressed, and about 33% felt that the stress was hurting their academic performance. These students had a mean gpa of 3.12 compared to 3.23 gpa for those who did not feel the stress impacted them.

Other factors that caused declines in gpa were lack of sleep, excessive television/computer use, and smoking. Gpas ranged from 3.04 to 3.12 compared to 3.27 to 3.28 for those who received adequate sleep, limited their television/computer use, and did not smoke. Other issues such a mental health, drug use, alcohol use, physical activity, and several others were also surveyed.

Although this seems logical that with unhealthy behaviors gpas drop, it's good that college are taking notice at the health of their students.
Hopefully, this will help students change their behaviors and college officials to provide additional resources where neded.

Now, of course, there are those college students who defy all these odds and wind up having extraordinary gpas despite having unhealthy behaviors. Yes, I raise my hand to that one, though I wouldn't say my gpa was extraordinary. These students also need help as success isn't always about a gpa number.


It's a bit ironic I read this article, because I recently made the connection about one of the reasons why I have a hard time going back into academia. Actually, the academic environment is essentially like a big trigger for me. It was one of the times the ED was the most heightened and out of control. I was super stressed and felt like I was just grasping for straws half the time. This environment puts me in what I call "tunnel-vision" mode as it's all about succeeding and reaching the next goal no matter the cost. There are other insecurities as well in relation to intellect and self confidence, but it's really about the strong association of academics + eating disorder that freaks me out.

If I decided to go back this route, how do I tell myself it will be different this time or that academia is not this or that?

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Tesofensine is the latest new obesity pill in the works. Currently, it's finishing up phase II trials and will be moving onto phase III studies. Whenever I hear about new diet pills coming out, it reminds me just how lucrative the weight loss business is and how society is so fixated on remedying all our woes in a pill. Remember, exercise in a pill, anyone? This all makes me cringe, especially the hope and goal for these pills.

"The next step are Phase III trials in which doctors will also try to regulate diet, something that Astrup said could lead to the kind of weight loss associated with gastric-bypass surgery"

To me, this seems like a scary endeavor. I find it interesting how these doctors say how this new pill has not shown the psychiatric suicidal ideations as the other diet pills have. However, they completely fail to address both the physical and mental consequences of gastric by-pass surgery. But isn't that their goal? To have comparable rates of weight loss? It just seems like more forethought should be given here. I wonder how this pill will compare to the experimental "no surgery required weight loss" technique in which a stomach is stapled via the esophagus.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I don't know how many of you are familiar with canine body language, but it's really quite essential for dogs and humans. Most times, people do not read canine body language well, and wind up miscommunicating with the animal. This can result in snapping , biting, dog fighting, and a number of other possibilities. The topic itself is way too much information to explain here, but there are many good dog books out there with photo illustrations. If anyone is interested, feel free to e-mail me for some titles.

But the one I want to mention here is FEAR, because that's how I'm feeling.

The picture of this puppy here is a good example of fear. If you look closely, you can see what we call the "whale eye" of a dog, similar to the white part of the eye of a whale. Dogs present this when they are fearful. They look through the sides of their eyes rather than turning their whole head which is the more normal response for dogs.

Yesterday's therapy session wound up being mostly about fear. This conference cemented the fact that I'm so fearful of the future, what to do, what not to do, etc. Much of this is my own doing I admit. It would be way too hard to explain here, but those of you who know me better, will probably understand. C. asked me about the fear, and I had the absolute hardest time talking about it. I sat there trying desperately to hold back my tears, quivering in the process of even trying to articulate anything. It was like a meltdown, one I have not had in a very long time. Even C. said she could see the massive amount of fear I had in my eyes which is surprising since I had such a difficult time even looking at her. I tend to get that way when I'm talking about really hard things.

I left with her asking me whether I wanted to come back which I found odd? I told her I did, and we set up the appt. for next week. She asked me to drive a different route again, but I just couldn't. I was very tired and wrecked emotionally. I could barely keep it together in the grocery store and just wanted to get home to cry in private honestly. I didn't cry, but wound up sleeping for several hours and then doing nothing the rest of the day but edit photos from the conference.

It's like I can make progress in other areas of my life but this one has a huge stop sign in front of me. Even when C. uses metaphors of being in a big pool and sticking your toe in before jumping all the way in, I feel like even when I do that, it still doesn't make me feel any more confident. And I don't know what will give me confidence.

Within the past several weeks, I've been digging around as to certain aspects of my fears and my job which is of course all good and well, but it's now finding a way to move beyond them. And this is where I falter. I honestly don't think it's because I'm stubborn, it really is about the FEAR. I know that may sound like there is an easy fix, but I think you can get to a point when it is much more complicated.

Right now, I'm just feeling so broken in many ways that it hurts so immensely. It's like I can see myself from the outside, and feel such sadness for myself (not in a pity way). I see many people around me capable of moving on with their lives even through many difficulties, so why do I have such a hard time with it?

:sigh: Every time I even think about this subject, all I want to do is cry, and I am seriously not a crier. Yesterday was a really hard day and today doesn't feel any better.

Sorry for the sad post. I'm just majorly down.

Post conference thoughts

I got back into town yesterday from the conference. There were a few glitches during the conference (I'll get to that in a moment), but overall, I met most of my goals and had a good experience. The speaker for the closing session, a well known dog trainer, was absolutely fabulous. She left everyone energized and optmistic. It was just such a good way of ending the long conference.

So the good:

*My roommate situation turned out okay.
*I did well socializing with everyone, including going out to dinner just about every night and :gasp: even having dessert.
*I did NOT exercise while I was there. Seriously, between sessions, multiple meetings, setting up rooms, handling the 1,050+ people (yes the registered count went up), and late night dinners, there was no time. Plus, the gym hours were not conducive to mine, and I wasn't about to make myself look like a freak in front of my o the roommates and other conference staff. The plus is that I really did not balloon up.
*I did carry protein bars with me which was helpful.
*I took some good photos which I'm hoping they'll use for future promotions.
*Everyone seemed very nice, and we all worked well together.
*Some of the speakers and sessions were great. The trade show had some good stuff. I probably spent way too much money there, but hey, it was for my dogs. ;-)
*Everyone seemed to appreciate all our hard work.

The negative list is much shorter. Besides not doing so well in the breakfast and lunch departments, my one major glitch was getting lost driving. I recently talked about this in my mazeophobia post. This happened on Saturday. We had a lot of last minute changes that day. I wound up having to take one of the speakers to the humane society since the three other people before me could not. I had previously been to the shelter the day before to drive the photographer. That went well due to the local photographer who knew his way around. This time, I was really really panicked. The good thing is that I got the speaker there in plenty of time before her session. I only had one misturn, so not too bad. However, on the way back, I got incredibly lost.

Sometimes, you just can't reverse directions! I quickly learned that driving over the bridge, well, puts you in another state! I was like holy crap! I got myself turned around and headed back in the correct direction and took a downtown exit. This was not the way I came in, so I was not familiar with the downtown area at all. When I got to the street the hotel was on, I could not turn there. From there, I got flustered and ended up going in circles for quite awhile. I finally stopped and asked directions and did get back to the hotel, though I was supposed to have been at an off site workshop. In what should have only taken me 30 minutes took me 2 hours to get back.

The other thing about this is that I couldn't get in touch with anyone. And when they finally called me, they were mostly concerned about the speaker. I think they could have cared less that I was lost. I guess if I had come back in the evening after sessions were over, they might have been wondering where I was. Oh well. It's true I would have felt a lot worse if the speaker had been with me while I was lost.

Besides all that, I managed to step in dog poop at the shelter, leave my phone in my car in the parking garage, and almost thought I broke my walkie talkie. Luckily, this was a one day incidence of a lot of bad luck, and on Sunday everything went off without a hitch.

When I talked about this in therapy today, C. kept asking what I was telling myself. I'm not sure I was telling myself much other than I knew I would eventually get there--eventually being the optimum word here and that I was not going to come back full of tears. Actually, as embarrassed as I was, I did laugh with everyone about it, especially the bridge part. C. just reminded me to hold onto those feelings. So I guess I'm at least sort of getting past this fear of driving in unfamiliar places. There is still a long way to go.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Should nutrition facts be brought back to Harvard?

Laura at the blog Are you "eating with your anorexic?" posted about the Ivy League college Harvard University removing calorie information at their dining services. Apparently, not everyone is happy with these actions and published their own opinion in this piece. I think the author raises some interesting points, though each could be counter pointed.

The issue of providing calorie information has been a hot topic of debate for awhile now with those adamantly against it, others for it, and some who sit on the fence. In the end, there will never be 100% happiness with the policy.

MTV rethinks Model Makers

Awhile back, MTV had put out a casting call for their new show "Model Makers," a show transforming young girls into models at any single cost. There was much upheavel about this new show, and apparently it was enough to make MTV stop from airing the show. Here's the news from Darryl Roberts, the filmmaker of "America the Beautiful:"

As some of you may be aware, MTV was involved with a
new "reality" program entitled "Model Makers." The show aimed to take
15 young women between the ages of 17 and 24 and turn them into high fashion models by forcing them to lose weight. Sounds disturbing doesn't it?
It's actually worse than it sounds! The website for the site itself
pulled no punches in its description of the program which "dares to go
where no modeling show has gone before":

"Have you always wanted to model but don't know where to start? Maybe
you don't know the right people. Maybe you are not thin enough. Women
come in all shapes and sizes, but models don't."

Read it for yourself here!

A lot of words popped into my head when I found out about MTV's plans
to broadcast such filth: Disappointment, Disgust, Anger - to name but
a few. For two months I blogged about the deleterious effects of the show in blogs like this.

I even took it upon myself to write an open letter to MTV on
behalf of teenage women on my October 6th Huffington Post blog.

Huffington Post article

In my letter, which I know many of you read, I warned MTV of the
dangers of promoting such a careless and destructive message. A
message that has become almost pervasive these days and leads to
millions of unnecessary eating disorders.
How many millions of young girls everywhere would be negatively
affected by the ludicrous premise of the show: A beautiful woman = A
very thin woman. None, if I could help it.

Recently I was on CNN News talking about the show and the potential dangers. I encouraged all of you to write MTV and a lot of you did!

I have tons of letters from mothers and teenagers themselves that were sent to MTV, letting them know that this kind of programming would not be tolerated.

I had even come up with a great idea. On the first night of "Model Makeovers," airing, whenever that was, I was going to have all of you across the country interview every teenager that you could find with your video cameras and cell phones, having them tell us in their own words what they thought of the show.

I was then going to take the footage and turn it into a documentary, entering it into film festivals and theaters across the country. The name of the documentary was going to be called "MTV, look at what you done to be." Catchy title!

I called MTV today to find out when they had planned on airing the show and they said, "We no longer plan on airing "Model Makers."

WOW! My first thought was the American public is awesome. When you decide that you've had enough, you can move mountains.

Speaking of which, I have a tree outside that I can't quite dig up, why don't the thousands of you come on over, so we can talk about it.

Seriously, I'm so proud of every person and every organization out there that voiced a complaint. From the bottom of my heart, if I could afford it, I would treat all of you to a taco and a glass of tap water. I'm sure you'd rather have juice or soda, but it has too much sugar in it. Hey, just trying to do my part!

I take no personal credit for "Model Makers," not being released. The credit is all yours. Every person and every organization. I'm just one guy, trying to make a difference. It's all of you collectively that have the powerful voice.

For all I know, someone at MTV decided the show was ill-conceived. What's important here is that the show doesn't see light of day, not who's responsible.

This is a step in the right direction for millions of
teenage girls everywhere!

To teenagers across America,

I want to say that we love you!
You're beautiful, exactly the way that you are!

And thank you MTV. You did the right thing. If this show not airing creates an extra half-hour in your schedule, call me. I have plenty of show ideas.

Darryl Roberts
"America the Beautiful"

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I have a quick moment from the conference and had I wanted to post this quote from the book I'm reading called Comeback: a mother and daughter's journey through hell and back by Claire and Mia Fontaine. It is a journey about overcoming incest and rebuilding a mother-daughter relationship. I don't have time to go into all the details, but it is a very interesting story, especially because after exhausting traditional therapies, Claire turned to an unconventional center halfway around the globe in the Czech Republic to help her daughter. Anyway, here's the quote directed at Mia:

"My experience of you is that you underestimate the effect you have on other people because you don't know your own worth."

I think many of us can relate to the idea of not knowing our worth or feeling unworthy of certain things: gifts, love, treatment, happiness, etc. I think it is something to think about. What is your worth? How do you go about finding it? How does it make you feel when someone says you are worthy of life, living, happiness, love?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Post from conference

I'm making this a very brief post. I made it to the conference. I actually did get slightly lost in the downtown area finding parking for the hotel. I almost panicked but I kept myself composed and figured out my way without getting too confused. Yeah for me!

Anyway, the conference is going well so far. The count was 977 registered yesterday morning. It's a little daunting, but I am staying very busy here. Socializing is going okay, and the roommate situation has worked well.

I'll report more when I get back. Hope everyone is doing well.

I send many doggie wags!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


My therapy assignment was to drive another way home. It seems simple enough except if you have a fear of getting lost. Apparently, the technical term for this is "mazeophobia." This was one reason why I did not do the Portland Marathon which was my other option from the Wineglass one I just ran. My original plan had been to run the marathon, then go to Washington state for a few days. My main purpose was to visit Bastyr University and see Portland and Seattle. After I had everything figured out (and I had found a cheap plane ticket), I had a sudden panic of getting lost in a completely unfamiliar area. As C. said, "your fear got the best of you." So true.

After telling C. about all this, I also went into my other fears about the uncertainty of life, my future, etc. We talked about this, and then she gave me the assignment to drive a different way home. This threw me for a loop. I wasn't prepared, and I only knew a few ways to get home. She was like, so pull out a map and just see what happens.

I seriously wanted to give all these excuses as to why I could not do this. She wasn't forcing me to do this, just saying it as a suggestion. But me, who wants to show I am trying, was trying to convince myself that this was no big deal.

This exercise, however, was more than about just going a different way home, but about trusting myself. I had told C. that I have certainly gotten lost before many times and found my way. I didn't just sit by the side of the road boo-hooing. She agreed, but said, "but you didn't tell yourself that at the time. You didn't trust yourself or have confidence"

So after doing my errands, I did take a different way home. C. had wanted it to be a way that I had never been. Well, it didn't exactly happen like that, but I did take a route that I rarely ever take. This was the road that I had a bad car accident on six years ago. I had never driven the entire road from town back to my place, simply due to fear. I think it was overcoming a hurdle, knowing that I would be okay, that the road was really going to stay in place. I trusted myself to drive on that road again and remember the beautiful scenery of horse farms, trees, cows, the sunlight hitting the fields, etc.

Sometimes, I think we muddy our minds by focusing on the obstacles so much that we forget about the beautiful memories, creations, life, laughter, and love that has occurred. And in the process, we lose a little bit of ourselves too. So each time, we allow ourselves to be in a place of discomfort, we can grow, learn, and learn to trust ourselves again.

By the way, if you want to look at a list of other phobias, here is a lengthy list.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Recovery musings

Today's therapy appt. made me think about recovery and what my goals really are. Sure, it is to be ED-free, but it's not as simple as that.

I was telling her about my fear of "post-marathon" blues. You know it's kind of like the "post-vacation" blues, where you feel depressed and know that you're going back to your old life whatever that may be, except that it becomes worry about backsliding into eating disorder behaviors. I was truly honest with C. and told her that I think one reason why I've done "better" (this is in the context of the last few years) for the last ten months is because my eventual goals were to run marathons.

I felt so hypocritical after saying it, like recovery should be more than just about running marathons. I said to her half-tearful that "I don't want to have a marathon planned in order to allow myself to eat. I want it to be about being healthy and feeling okay with myself." She completely understood what I was saying, but then said and I'm paraphrasing here, "you know what, if it takes planning a marathon year after year to continue to eat, then maybe that's what you need right now until it becomes about health. I know you'd rather it (recovery) be for intrinsic reasons rather than external ones, but you're just not at that point yet."

I'm not sure how to feel about everything she said. On one hand, it's all true, but on the other, I just feel like I'm such a let down and loser. I know external validation from wherever it comes from can only go so far. You have to get to a point of wanting and creating internal validation or else, you'll continue to keep running in circles. Circles don't end, they're continuous. Lines, goals, and paths end, and that's where I'm hoping to eventually be--on the recovered end.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gearing up for trip number 2

On Tuesday, I leave again for a large dog conference. A month ago, I would have said how excited I was to be going, how I was ready to conquer all the challenges that awaited me. Fast forward to now, and this has waned a bit. I still have enthusiasm for going, learning new stuff, hearing great speakers, and getting a chance to meet with some old acquaintances from past conferences, but the challenges of food, exercise, and dealing with so many people feels exhausting to me.

Right now, I'm tired and worn out. I haven't fully recovered yet from the previous trip and am doing this all over again. I keep trying to tell myself that no one is going to give a flying flip about what you're eating or not eating, that I'm going to be so busy, that it's important to keep my energy level up, that this can be a fun experience if I allow it. I don't know why I still get so nervous over this conference. This is my fifth one, so it's not like I am going in as a newbie without experience. Logically, I know I must try or else this can easily turn into autopilot mode for restriction which is NOT what I want. How do I pull myself up by my bootstraps when I'm just feeling so spent already? I know this seems like an utter excuse, that I just need to face the challenge head on, and know in the end (or have faith) that everything will be fine, that the sky won't fall or the earth shatter.

:sigh: I still have so much to do before leaving too which doesn't make me feel any better. Plus, there is some anxiety in that I'm going into the conference with no idea who my roommate(s) will be. This worries me since I tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to these things. I guess all I can do at this point is hope for the best, give myself some plan, and think about the big picture of this experience.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Text messenging as a therapuetic intervention in eating disorders

A raise of hands how many people use text messaging with their therapists? I haven't come across many that have. Do you think it would be helpful?

In this article out of Nursing Times, Amanda Hazelwood, a consultant nurse, uses text messaging as an adjunct therapeutic tool along with therapy for treating eating disorder patients. The idea of text messaging is to help clients express their feelings and emotions without enduring the face-to-face contact, especially for those who may have social anixety issues or feel guilt and shame. Text messaging can also help build trust in the therapeutic relationship as well as allow the therapist and individual to see the mind frame she or he may be exhibiting. There is also the aspect of being able to "save" a message or help in immediate crisis.

Overall, I think this is another tool, showing how our technology is evolving into treatment. I think my only gripe is the possible overdependence issue with some individuals. I'm sure the policies would be outlined beforehand, but the possibility is there.

I've actually always wondered how many therapists implement these types of tools or whether they feel it goes beyond boundaries. Though I'd consider myself more of an e-mail type, many of my therapists have not been. Or rather, they'd let me e-mail but just never respond or they had a disclaimer about how the internet wasn't private and e-mails could be lost. This is of course all valid reasoning. Most times, if I was e-mailing it was about things I thought about after the session or things I didn't say, and sometimes it would be brought up at the next appointment, other times not.

These days, I stick to my face to face appointments as I think my body language says a lot about how I'm really feeling. Therapy is probably the only place where I try to let go and forget about living behind the mask. It's not always easy as my natural reaction is to hide, but C. seems to pick up on this and ask about it. I'm still not sure whether I'd ever go the text route. It feels funny to me. I rarley text anyway, so maybe that is why. But I think for this new generation where texting seems all the rage, text messaging might be helpful as a part of therapy as long as the policies were told beforehand..

Friday, October 10, 2008

Trip photos

While on this trip, I took some interesting photos. One thing I noticed was the fall foliage occurring in W. VA, PA, and NY. I captured a few of these from the car as we were driving by. It's a wonderful reminder that fall is here with its brilliance in color.

This mask was very cool. It's my mom's husband's face. He had it done when he was in Wales recently. I was amazed at how accurate it was--lines and all. My mom added the personal touches of the hat and glasses. I think when he is away, she actually talks to it.

Since I did not have my own doggies with me, I was still able to get some animal TLC. The cavalier is Layla. She is one of four cavaliers my mom and her husband have. Layla is quite cute, however, she is incredibly spoiled and will shriek when people are not paying attention to her. And I mean shriek.

The first gray cat is Gremlin. He is a darling cat. I found him on my bed many times, and when I would go to pet him, he would just purr. It was so sweet and reminded me how much I miss having cats.

The gray and white cat is Penelope, Gremlin's sister. She is very skittish. People ever rarely see her. I happened to catch her in the basement and much to my amazement, she let me pet her. But, it was probably a moment of shock than really thinking I was somehow special or something.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

14 inches gone!

Yep, there it is. 14 inches of hair gone, just like that. For readers who have been keeping up with my hair saga, I talked about this way back in umm July with my hair and identity post. It just took me awhile to brave enough courage to actually do it. I think it's been 4-5 years since I've had my hair cut except for a few trims of split ends.

After lopping off all that hair, my stylist added a few layers in the front. My hair now sits a little below my shoulders, so I can still easily pull it back into a ponytail. Actually, the ponytail looks kind of cute since it's now like a teardrop shape.

So, I really like this new 'do. It makes my hair look healthier, not so stringy. This cut is also more proportionate for my height and body. Plus, it won't keep getting caught in things which will be nice and less chance of puppies pulling on it (yes, I had a sheltie puppy awhile ago who absolutely loved to do that to my hair. Me, not so thrilled.)

I had my mom take before and after photos. This is what I found to be strange. I looked at the photos in the camera, and I was shocked that that was me. My face all the sudden looked really thin! I kept looking at the before and after photos to see whether my mind was playing tricks on me. for real though, it looks different. But then, when I looked in the mirror, my face looked fat again. I know I may have body distortion problems, but how can your face do that? Does the mirror just expand it or something?

It's boggling my mind, and I keep asking people if they notice these differences too. My mom said she did. My dad said he did not which I found really bizarre as he always points out any nuance of body/face changes to anyone. He commented last night on how Julianne Hough from "Dancing with the Stars" looked like she had gained weight this year. WTF? Who cares? And I did say "so" of which he called my super sensitive. I also asked my boss today when I went to pick up the dogs at the kennel, and she agreed that my face looked thinner and that I looked taller as well (that's a plus).

I'm just amazed at how one haircut can make such a difference on me. I see it with other people all the time, but when it comes to me, I just figured everything would look the same. In the end, I'm really glad I got it done. Now, I can pretend to be one of those hair models in commercials where they swish their hair.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hi from Virginia

I just wanted to check in and say hello from Virginia. The drive on Friday went fairly well--no rain which is always a good thing. I wound up not getting there until 8:30 PM, but at least I got there safely. On Saturday, we all headed up to Corning, NY. There was a bit of "ego" about driving and directions, so the drive was longer than expected. I missed the registration for that day but was able to register on Sunday morning before the race which many people also did.

The race itself went really well. I found someone to talk to for the first 8 miles. It was pretty cool, because she was also Korean, adopted, and 28 years old! What a small world! I met all my goals for the race, so I was super proud of that. I missed qualifying for Boston by 4 minutes, but I'm okay with that. The only bad thing was that I wound up with a huge blood blister on my foot!

We headed back to VA after the race, since my mom and her husband needed to be back today. I'm still a bit sleep deprived from not sleeping well at either the hotel nor at my mom's, as well as a little sore. Hopefully, both will be better in the next day or two.

Today, I met with my old high school friend, A. for lunch. We did a lot of catching up about our own lives, high school friends, thoughts about life, etc. It was a good moment, and I'm glad to have gotten the chance to talk with her again. It was interesting, at the end of our visit, we got to talking about body image and such, and I was surprised she asked me whether I had an eating disorder then (in high school). She commented I ate like a "bird" in high school and did at lunch. Instead of denying, hiding, evading the question like I normally do, I found myself to be honest. It was a little "freeing," like I'd been able to carve away a small piece of shame. Now, I don't know how I will feel about it tomorrow, but for today, I felt a little more peace with myself.

Tomorrow, I'm getting my hair cut--probably 8-10 inches. It's nerve-racking since I love my long locks, but it'll be a good change to have my hair different. I'm also meeting with another friend which will be fun. I'll head back Wed. morning and pick up my dogs from the kennel.

The rest of the visit with my parents have been okay, except that my dad has mentioned grad school or some other future school 12 times (yes, I counted) since Friday night. Oh well, for now, I'm trying to instill the 'Least Reinforcing Scenario."

I'll write more in depth when I get back.

Friday, October 3, 2008


I'm really not that big of a procrastinator except for packing! I'm not sure what it is about this specific behavior that makes me wait, then stress, then just berate myself over for not starting sooner. Do I just want to self-inflict pain upon myself? Oh, wait a minute, I already do that.

Anyway, I found this cute cartoon on procrastination on this blog:


I know the packing will get done. It just means I have to be very efficient in the morning and hope that I do not forget anything. This trip is only 6 days, so even if I forget something, it won't be that big of a deal as long as it does not pertain to any actual running apparel.

On a side note, besides looking forward to the race on Sunday, I have a few other things to look forward to. I'm visiting a dog trainer friend on Tues. We're going to meet for coffee after my hair appt. On Mon., I'm meeting an old high school friend whom I have not see in ten years! I'm excited, nervous, and worried too. When I first extended the invitation, it was spontaneous (so unlike me), filled with curiosity and excitement. This hasn't waned, but there's a slight bit of anxiety and trepidation after so many years. I'm promising myself not to back out and whatever happens happens. There's more to this than just meeting this old friend, but that's a post for another day.

Okay, I'm officially going to head to bed and get some zzzzs before my drive. I'll check in sometime during the weekend. At my mom's, there are at least 4 computers, so I'm bound to find one to get my internet fix.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Should energy drinks be regulated?

image: Rockstar

Most of us know the effects of caffeine on our bodies and minds, both physically and mentally, but what about the rest of general population?

In the last few years, energy drinks, like Red Bull and Rockstar
have become increasingly popular. Sales on these type of products are estimated in the billions which seems comparable to the diet industry. And they don't look to be stopping any time soon with an annual increase of 55%.

These energy drinks have anywhere from 50mg to over 500mg of caffeine per container. A standard brewed coffee of 6 oz. has 80mg to 150mg and a 12 oz. soft drink 35 mg. Some researchers feel that these drinks need labels of not only the caffeine content but also warnings of the possible effects of caffeine intoxication, something a lot of people have never heard of or even considered.

One study with 469 college age students, an often targeted audience for these energy drink advertisers, showed that 51% consumed an energy drink in the last week and about a third had weekly "jolt and crash" episodes. Another 19% experienced heart palpitations. And even scarier than that, almost a third of the students mixed energy drinks and alcohol in the last month!

Another worry among this population is the relationship between energy drinks and the abuse of non-medical prescription drugs.

As worrisome as that is (and it is), another group, caffeinated moms, are increasing their caffeine consumption, including different forms of energy drinks. One mom said,
"I need about four energy drinks, three cups of coffee and a six-pack of soda every day."

I think in general, we are a very caffeinated society. During high school and college, I heavily relied on caffeine to get through my day. Plus, half the time, I used it as a substitute for a real meal which really doesn't do much when you're trying to study for a test. I probably would have gotten into energy drinks, but I tasted one once, and it was awful!

In the past, I've tried to completely cut out coffee and all caffeinated beverages. I probably could have done it, but honestly, I like the taste and smell of coffee a lot. I do, however, drink decaf most days in the mornings. There is one exception, and that is driving. I have no problem chewing Jolt caffeinated gum if I have to.. That'll likely be the case this Friday when I'm driving long distance.