‘Just Eat Air’ Is The Gist Of The Whole30 Diet, And It’s Making Diet Culture 30 Times Worse

*article originally published on The Odyssey Online*

In a world of diet boomeranging, Whole30 is doing way more harm than good.

I am vehemently against the Whole30 diet. Vehemently.

Every time I hear someone say they want to begin it, I restrain myself from having a very adult and NSFW hissy fit. No, really.

Like most diets, the Whole30 is a fad that will come and go. The website says it is a cure-all diet “designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract and balance your immune system.”

I’m going to go ahead and call BS on this one, and I don’t even have to try the diet to say that. And trust me, I will NEVER be trying this restrictive jumble of lies.

Here are some other claims listed on the Whole30 website:

“This will change your life.”

“It could, quite possibly, change the emotional relationship you have with food.”

“Food freedom.”

We’ll unpack all of that, but first, here is what you CANNOT eat on Whole30: sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, alcohol, MSG, sulfite, carrageenan, baked goods, junk foods and treats. That’s a lot, but there’s even more within those categories.

Within sugar, you cannot have maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, any artificial sweeteners or date syrup. (How the hell do you have anything yummy?) Under alcohol, it states that you cannot even use it for cooking and that you should refrain from tobacco (even though that’s not alcohol…).

Here’s a doozy: In grains, you cannot eat wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn (even though it is a veggie), rice, gluten-free things or starch products from the above. YIKES.

No legumes. That means beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils and peanuts. That’s right, no peanut butter either. Oh, and this also includes soy products like tofu, tempeh, edamame and soy sauce.

No dairy means no cheese, cream, milk, yogurt, kefir or ice cream.

And the “junk food”…don’t even get me started on that phrase. Actually, please do get me started. It’s a good rant. This means you can never eat pancakes, waffles, muffins, cookies, pizza, cereal, chips, fries and so on. I just wrote a book on all the things you cannot eat while on this “diet.”

Oh, and the best part, here is the mantra of the diet: “When in doubt, leave it out.”

It would have been a heck of a lot easier to state what you can eat: meat, fruit and veggies. That’s it.

So basically, you can eat air.

Aside from the laundry list of things you can’t eat (which I can sum up very easily: anything enjoyable), there are so many other issues with this trend.

It’s restrictive. It makes going to restaurants impossible. It basically means tossing out all your previously purchased food once you start. It eliminates all the food categories that give you the energy to function. It removes a huge amount of variety and vitamin sources.

Worst of all, it takes all the joy out of eating.

A huge problem with diets, in general, is the list of “cannot eat” foods. When your body cannot have something (meaning, you put it on a “bad” list), you cannot satisfy the cravings you have for these types of foods.

Craving something cold and soft? Something like ice cream? Too bad, it’s on the bad list. Better have some carrots instead. Because that totally fits the craving.

And what happens when you don’t satisfy a craving? You have it even more. Trust me, I know from experience. (I’m looking at you, anorexia.)

This diet is basically an eating disorder waiting to happen.

When I was deep into my eating disorder, I basically ate like this, only with the exception of dairy. At that time, a good ten years ago, a diet like this was called “Paleo” (and that one is BS, too). I lost weight, for sure, but I also felt like I had been repeatedly thrown against a wall. Even getting up required too much energy.

When you pull out TONS of food groups, you label those foods as bad and unhealthy. You restrict what you can eat. In no way, shape or form is this “food freedom.” It’s food hell. It’s purgatory. It’s literally anything but freedom.

Now, some people could do this and not end up with an eating disorder. But if there is even a little environmental or genetic vulnerability for an eating disorder, this would be a great catalyst for activating it.

As for changing the emotional relationship with food… see the above. If everything becomes off limits, any slip up in the diet would come with guilt, shame and anger.

That is NOT emotional freedom. So yeah, it will change your relationship with food. Badly.

Here’s another issue: When you remove things like grains and beans, you remove readily available sources of energy for your body. If you want to exercise, a great pre-workout snack is something starchy, like a granola bar, because it is easy for your body to digest and use as energy. If that source isn’t available, say goodbye to your energy and hello to a whole host of other problems.

When I didn’t have energy from starches, my body ate my muscles. Seriously. It started to eat itself. That is something I will never be able to fully recover from.

Any vegetarians out there? Well, not for long if you’re planning on trying Whole30. Go back and look at the do not eat list. All of the non-animal sources of protein are on there. No beans. No tofu. No peanut butter. Guess you are going to eat veggies, fruit and seeds for all of eternity. As a vegetarian myself, that sounds like hell, even loving fruit and veggies as much as I do.

Oh, and one last thing. Whole30 is continuing the horrible habit that calls food good and bad, healthy and unhealthy, clean and whole. Food does not have these values. To say a food is bad or good gives it a power it should never hold.

Food is nutrition. It is a source of energy. It is not good or bad.

All foods fit in moderation and balance. Our problems do not stem from eating a cupcake. Our problems come from eating a cupcake and then beating ourselves up over it, labeling it as bad and telling ourselves we’ve failed. A cupcake is not the enemy here. Society is.

Where is the intuitive eating trend?

Where is the diet that tells us to honor our body signals and what sounds good?

Where is the diet that DOESN’T label any food as good or bad?

Oh wait, that wouldn’t be a diet. That would be just eating, intuitively, honestly and in tune with your desires.

Stop contemplating eating air with Whole30. Do your body, brain and soul a favor and pick up intuitive eating.

That’s true “food freedom.”

This article was originally written for and posted on The Odyssey Online in Aspiring Journalism Professionals. 

xoxo

IMG_4747

Advertisements

I’ve Got Incomplete Classes, Yes, But My Mental Health Still Comes First

*article originally published on The Odyssey Online*

For most people, summer is a time without coursework, tests and classes. Not for me. At least, not this year. I have two incomplete classes to finish in addition to my summer class. And you know what? That’s OK.

Before this past year, I had never taken an incomplete in a class. I was always the “perfect student,” getting my work done *mostly* on time, making good marks and staying up until the wee hours of the morning to study or finish a project. I was good at school. It was my “job,” and I did it well.

At least, until last semester. This past spring, I did something a bit… unusual. I put my college success behind my mental health.

If you really think about it, staying up until 3 a.m. to study for an exam, working 5 hours straight per day on coursework, not sleeping, not eating properly, stressing out all the time… it’s not healthy. It gets the job done, so to speak, but at the expense of our well-being, whether we realize it or not.

For years, I didn’t realize it. I didn’t even consider how unhealthy and detrimental these habits could be. But after getting my mental and physical health back on track during a gap year between my freshman and sophomore year (yes, I am supposed to be a junior, but I am a year behind, and that’s OK too…), I stopped thinking all of the crazy measures we go to for an “A” would fit neatly into my life.

There is an unspoken competition on college campuses: Who can get the least amount of sleep? Who is the busiest? Who was up the latest working? Who is taking the most credits?

It is unhealthy. It puts what really matters — mental health — aside.

The truth is, your grades in college don’t matter. No, really.

They don’t matter nearly as much as your mental well-being.

They don’t matter nearly as much as taking care of yourself appropriately.

Your grades in college mean nothing if you are not able to function because of stress, anxiety or exhaustion.

I may have had to take incompletes, but if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be nearly as stable in my mental health as I am now.

I still have depression spells. I still have anxiety and feel overwhelmed. But I don’t work through the night on studying or projects like I used to. I sleep. I eat food. I get fresh air. I drink water (because you cannot live off coffee, as much as I tried…and sometimes still try to).

I may have incompletes, but that doesn’t make me a failure.

I may have incompletes, and that is totally, completely, 100 percent OK. Because I am putting me first. For once.

This article was originally written for and posted on The Odyssey Online in Aspiring Journalism Professionals. 

xoxo

IMG_4747

A Slip Is A Lapse, But Not A Relapse.

*article originally published on The Odyssey Online*

With any recovery, the path is never straight. It might be pretty even for a while, suddenly dip down, turn to the left, or hit a steady incline. Some periods are going to be trying. Some are going to feel simple. There are so many factors in life.

Many events, experiences, surprises, etc. will influence a recovery path. Sometimes, they can all get to be too much to handle. Sometimes, they can make you struggle a lot with maintaining recovery. Sometimes, they can make you slip.

But, a slip doesn’t have to become a relapse.

Often, when times are tough, it is hard to distinguish the difference between a slip and a relapse. But they are very different. I always describe a slip as a lapse. It is a pause in the usual recovery schedule. A relapse, on the other hand, is reverting back to pre-recovery behavior indefinitely.

To use my own recovery from anorexia as an example, in a slip, I would realize that I counted calories but I would not continue to do so. I would work to become more intuitive and ignore nutritional facts.

A relapse, on the other hand, would look more like preoccupation and obsession with the nutritional information when choosing and eating food amounts. It would disregard hunger and focus on numbers. A relapse would be more “severe,” so to speak.

Slips a hard. They are discouraging and often something for which one feels shame. I struggle a lot with my slips. I beat myself up and I get frustrated and often feel like I am failing.

But, the truth is, I am not failing.

My struggle is valid. My frustration, too, is valid. Slips are annoying! Anything that isn’t smooth sailing is bothersome. But it is normal, expected, and definitely not shameful, even if it feels like it.

This true, not just for me. Your feelings are valid. Your experiences and struggles and frustration are valid.

To be in recovery does not mean to be perfect. It does not mean you never encounter times when it feels hard to continue. Perfection is not real. Perfection is not attainable. Imperfect is beautiful and natural and expected. To hold yourself to a standard of perfection is to set yourself up for a feeling of failure.

In approaching slips, I find it helpful to remind myself that it will pass. But, I also have to remember that my struggles will not pass without work. I cannot be passive in my recovery, in general, but especially when rebounding from a slip.

Getting back on the course is work. It is something I must be mindful of and commit to doing. I cannot just wait for it to get better. In fact, if I do just sit back, it will likely get worse.

I do not say this to be discouraging but in the spirit of full disclosure. Brutal though it may sound, recovery is never easy. Slips are no different. But they do not have to become relapses. It is our attitude and approach that can make the difference.

This article was originally written for and posted on The Odyssey Online in Aspiring Journalism Professionals. 

xoxo

IMG_4747

​17 Raw Ruminations From An Adult Tonsillectomy Survivor

*article originally published on The Odyssey Online*

Tonsillectomy… the thing that brings to mind vivid dreams of being able to eat only ice cream with a very valid excuse. Bed rest, lots of yummy frozen dessert, pudding, and sleep. Wonderful, right? Wrong. Especially as an adult. Everyone I spoke with before mine said that the recovery would be horrible. I would be in lots of pain. It would take forever… As you can see, they were all very encouraging.

But what is it actually like? Here are some (brutally honest) thoughts I had throughout my recovery.

1. “Oh, that wasn’t so bad!”

After I woke up from the anesthesia, nothing hurt too much. They were wrong! The adult tonsillectomy would be fine. I was fine… oh, wait. Why does my voice sound like that? Did I dream them telling me to think of a happy place? I have no idea where I am. Ha, I’m all tingly.

2. “Damn… I want some Cookout.”

For those who are unfortunate and don’t have any Cookout restaurants around you, it’s this incredible place were a big milkshake is around $3.00 and they have tons of combos. And about 20 minutes after waking up and being told I would be able to leave, I wanted one. Badly.

Unfortunately, my milkshake did not want me… I didn’t believe the doctor when he said I might not want dairy (it causes mucus production), but, boy! was he correct. So much for that lovely vision of ice cream for every meal!

3. “Oh my gosh. I can’t talk. What am I going to do! I need a white-board.”

About five hours after my surgery, I realized I couldn’t talk without it hurting… Maybe this wasn’t going to be as easy as I first thought.

4. “This pain narcotic is making me feel sick!”

The pain medication you get after a tonsillectomy is strong. It’s brutal on the stomach because you can’t eat any solid food so it isn’t absorbed as well and it makes you feel super queasy. It was horrible. But really necessary. I tried to take only Ibuprofen and I had to start the narcotic again because it was too much pain, and I have a super high threshold! You want to nap a lot, because then you don’t feel the icky stomach turning and are not as cognizant of the pain.

5. “That was the worst sleep I have ever had.”

Hate to break it to you, but you are going to sleep really badly for the next week to week and a half! Yay! Throat pain!

6. “WHY IS MY THROAT WHITE!”

If you are anything like me, or, really, if you have any little ounce of curiosity in you, you’ll probably look in the mirror and see what your throat looks like. Guess what: it looks super gross!

7. “I kinda feel like I am choking… all the time.”

Yep. This is a constant thing for about, oh, as long as it takes to heal. Your uvula swells and it hits your throat and that makes it feel like you are choking. For me, I constantly thought I had something stuck in my throat—or rather, the holes where my tonsils used to be.

8. “WHAT FOOD CAN I EAT?!”

Bad news… basically none. I lived on mashed potatoes, pudding, popsicles, and smoothies (made without dairy) for the first 7-10 days. Actually, I should have done that. But I tried to force some harder things and that went horribly. Don’t be me.

9. “Is it over yet?”

I wish… I wish…

10. “What is that smell? I brushed my teeth…”

Oh yeah, here’s the great part! Your breath smells like a dying animal for a while! Because your throat is now scabbed over and those scabs might start to fall off, your breath smells horrible. Brush your teeth as much as you want, it’s not going away.

11. “How could this possibly get worse?

Just wait. Day 7-10 is the absolute worst. This period of time is when the scabs on your throat start to fall off. Don’t worry, you can’t feel them! I thought I would feel them when I swallowed, but I didn’t even notice. It is probably because it hurts like hell to do anything since the throat is now raw and any sort of food or liquid makes it sting. Yes, even water.

12. “Why does my tongue hurt, too?”

When I went to my post-op, I was convinced my throat was infected and my surgery had gone wrong because I couldn’t eat or drink anything without wincing and my tongue hurt SOOO much. Nope! The muscles in your tongue are sore too because of the healing process and the way you hold your mouth when you adjust to the pain. The more you know.

13. “Wait, what about my ears? Why do those hurt so much?”

You know how your nose, throat, and ears are connected? That’s why. The nerves in your throat that got all messed up from the surgery are affecting your ears. The ear pain was, in some instances, worse than the throat pain, for me. This is when those horrible pain medications don’t seem so horrible.

14. “Water keeps coming out of my nose!”

Ah yes. Thank you to google for explaining to me that this was normal. Nasal regurgitation is a part of a tonsillectomy. I don’t know why. But it’s annoying.

15. “I think I need a nap.”

I napped around 3-5 hours a day. Healing takes a lot of work! Also, I just really like my bed. But mostly, I couldn’t stay awake.

16. “Was this worth it?

I had this thought a lot, especially through the really painful bits. But I kept telling myself yes, because it got me through.

17. “Am I done yet?”

As I am writing this, I am on day 12 of my recovery. One side of my throat still hurts a lot. But I am sleeping through the night more now! So yes, you will eventually be done. Just maybe not yet.

The verdict: you are in fact a survivor when you have an adult tonsillectomy. Don’t let someone tell you it is an “easy” surgery. It’s not. The recovery is super hard and you are going to want someone there to help you through it. But, in the end, if it keeps you from getting sick so much, you should probably go through with it — especially if your doctor says to! It sucks. I relate. But you can complain about it all you want. And then rant to internet strangers in a snarky (but honest) article about it, like me!

This article was originally written for and posted on The Odyssey Online in Aspiring Journalism Professionals. 

xoxo

IMG_4747

Exercising Is About Loving Yourself, Not Punishing Yourself

*article originally published on The Odyssey Online*

“Ugh, I had too many cookies. I will have to go to the gym for hours later.”

“I ran three miles, so I can have this ice cream.”

“I worked out a lot this week, I can eat whatever I want.”

“I cheated on my diet yesterday. I have to go work it all off today.”

“I would love to have some of that dessert, but I didn’t work out today.”

Do any of those phrases sound familiar?

If one or more does, I am so sorry. I’ve been there. I know how horrible the constant guilt, work-out, repeat cycle truly is.

Exercise mindsets centered around food and dieting and working off what was eaten are unhealthy. They are dangerous and cyclic and a recipe for disaster.

But they are also the norm. They are promoted by society and normalized by peers.

You can find references to “magic” workouts on magazines. Exercise fads are almost as insidious as diet trends! They are discussed almost constantly.

Seriously, I dare you to go a day without hearing (or mentioning) working out, dieting, food or guilt around something you ate.

But, would you like to know a secret?

Exercise. Is. Not. A. Punishment.

Exercise isn’t something you do because you think you had one too many cookies.

It isn’t something you do because you want to eat a certain way later.

It isn’t something that gives you permission to “let loose.”

Our society treats exercise like the end-all-be-all of what you can and cannot eat. It is the magic permission slip for dessert. It is the go-to for guilty thoughts and fixing that cheat meal.

(Oh, and those cheat meals… those are bullshit, too.)

Food is not good or bad or healthy or unhealthy. (It’s all about that moderation!)

Food is not something you earn.

Food is not something you compensate for with hours on hours of time at the gym.

Let me tell you something. I used to think that food was all of the above. I logged hundreds and hundreds of miles running. I worked out all the time.

I was miserable. I had an eating disorder that constantly told me food was bad. And I punished myself with exercise.

And now, years later, in recovery from my eating disorder and months and months away from compulsive exercise, I look around me and I see the same unhealthy relationship with exercise everywhere.

I hear it in conversations I pass on the street or floating around the air in cafes. I watch it in the monotonous strain of those who attend the college gym with a pained, dead look in their eyes.

It’s not healthy.

But, as I have started to add exercise back into my life, I have redefined my relationship with it.

Exercise. Is. Not. A. Punishment.

Exercise is something you do because you have lots of energy and you want to move.

Exercise is something you do to relieve stress…and not the stress that comes from feeling like you ate something you “shouldn’t have.” (Shouldn’t have really doesn’t exist, unless, for example, you are lactose intolerant and had a lot of ice cream…)

Exercise is something you do to appreciate all that your body is capable of achieving.

Exercise is something you do because you feel strong and powerful and fierce.

Exercise is something you do to enjoy the outdoors and the fresh air.

Exercise is something you do only when you can enjoy it.

Exercise is something you do because you enjoy it.

Let me say it again… Exercise. Is. Not. Punishment.

Trust me, I have used it as one. The other, enjoyable, self-fulfilling, side of the exercise spectrum is a lot more fun.

This article was originally written for and posted on The Odyssey Online in Aspiring Journalism Professionals. 

Dear young Lexi

A letter to the girl on the left, who looks happy, but is aching inside. From the girl on the right, who has learned how to laugh and smile and feel joy.

“Dear young Lexi,

I wish I could tell you that you will be okay. 
I wish I could give you a hug and tell you its okay to cry, be angry, feel.
I wish I could tell you it’s okay to ask for help.
I wish I could help you see that life will get better.
I wish I could take the emotions and the struggles you feel and put them into present day me. Because I know how to cope with them now, and you don’t.
I wish I could tell you that starving yourself doesn’t fix it.
I wish I could tell you that the numbers on the scale do not change your worth.
I wish I could list the things that are so much better than being skinny.
I wish I could explain to you that you don’t have to have it all together.
I wish I could tell you that control over food doesn’t mean the chaos in life goes away.
I wish I could make the lies go away.
I wish I could have stopped you from all the pain and hurt and tears and heartbreak.
I wish I could show you how to love yourself.

But you will learn.

You will learn to trust the process.
You will learn to feel the pain and accept it is part of life.
You will learn to ignore the voice.
You will learn to tell society’s standards to fuck off.
You will learn to work on accepting yourself.
You will learn how to live life again.

And those lessons, they are priceless.

From,
Present-day Lexi”

xoxo IMG_4747

*originally published on my instagram

Why I choose cruelty free products and how you can too

*trigger warning: difficult discussion of animal testing conditions*

~

~

~

~

~

DSC_0054

Charlie’s 1st Birthday Photoshoot!

If you know me, you know I am obsessed with my bunny, Charlie. Obsessed.

When I got Charlie and when I went vegetarian, I also started to research the make up industry and learn a bit more about animal testing. I went vegetarian for moral, ethicalreasons; I started buying cruelty free for the same reasons.

Animal testing is horrendous. Animals are subjected to experiments and treatments that often cause them intense pain. But, unlike us, they are helpless to do anything about it. Did you know that part of animal testing could be removing organs? Yep. You read that correctly.

Here are some other facts:

  • “We estimate that the top 10 animal testing countries in the world are the USA, Japan, China, Australia, France, Canada, the UK, Germany, Taiwan and Brazil, in that order.” (Facts and Figures on Animal Testing)
  • Supplying animals for testing is a multi-million dollar industry (What is animal testing?)
  • There are different kinds of animal testing (Types of animal testing)
    • research questions looking at future medical answers
    • genetic modification
    • regulation testing
  • Estimate for animals used for testing yearly is AT LEAST 115 million (Facts and Figures on Animal Testing)
    • That is over 9 million a month, 2 million a week, and 340k A DAY.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg… (If you are interested in learning more, you can visit Cruelty Free International, this do-something article about animal testing, and the Humane Society International page. And for a REALLY amazing and comprehensive article on animal testing, you can visit this. )

So, how can I tell if something is cruelty free? Well, here is the tricky part… There are a lot of different messages about animal testing on labels and they aren’t all the same. Some companies say “not tested on animals” or “cruelty free,” but no one monitors this claim. Basically, it’s an honour code type thing (seriously, think back to college take home tests and how they tell you not to use the book but it’s really up to you if you abide by the honour code and listen to that… that is the same thing here). You can dig into this further and go online to the brand website for more information. There is the PETA cruelty free symbol, which means that PETA monitors these standards. And there is the Leaping Bunny symbol, which is arguably the one you want to look out for on products! Leaping bunny is the highest standards of cruelty free, making it the safest bet for cruelty free products.

Picture comes from Cruelty Free Kitty.

 

Here is another tricky thing… some parent companies are not cruelty free, but some of their branches are. For example, bareMinerals is cruelty free, but Shiseido, which is not. I will occasionally still by these brands (I love the matte lipstick from bareMinerals. I had tried it before I went cruelty free in my purchases), but I try to stick to totally cruelty free companies.

Where can you find cruelty free items? Actually, they are everywhere. You just have to know a few brands you like that are cruelty free. And there are a LOT of resources out there to help with that.

My personal favourite source of cruelty free information is Cruelty Free Kitty.  I absolutely adore this site. On it you can find guides to cruelty free products at Ulta, Sephora, Drugstores, Amazon, etc. I totally recommend taking a look around! These guides will also tell you if a parent company is not cruelty free, which is SUPER helpful.

As for me…what are my favourite cruelty free products? As a college student, I have to be a bit frugal with my spending, especially on make-up (which can get REALLY

IMG_4210

All of this make-up… it’s cruelty free!

expensive! Looking at you non-cruelty free Lancome and L’Oreal!). So I tend to go for the lower cost make-up. I mostly use Essence, which is a cruelty free brand you can find at Ulta. I love the brand. It’s not expensive and it feels pretty light!

I use method cleaning products at home, when I can! I am still making a transition to cruelty free in the home area! I throw out as I finish and then replace it with a cruelty free or homemade version! Cruelty Free Kitty has a list of cleaning brands if you are interested!

Why  should I switch to cruelty free? Honestly, I can’t tell you this. It’s your decision to switch and to know why you want to! For me, I would think about animal testing and immediately imagine my Charlie being the bunny in there. I couldn’t handle that thought. And I can’t save the animals who are still being put through these horrific tests, but if I can avoid buying things that support the practice (just like I don’t eat meat or fish for the same reason), I will ABSOLUTELY do that.

xoxo

IMG_4747

 

Mephistophelian weariness of chronic

This week, in therapy, I talked a lot about being tired.

Not sleepy, didn’t-go-to-bed-early-enough tired.

IMG_4701

me thinking about that recovery life

Tired of the energy it takes to do recovery. Tired of the time I have to spend thinking about what I ought to do to fight the eating disorder, what I need to do to keep myself fueled…

…when what I want to do is hit the “fuck it” button and just stop.

There is a dichotomy between chronic and chosen. With chosen–like a goal or a desire–you can stop if you opt to. You can, for example, decide you want non-decaf coffee today even if your goal was to limit caffeine.

But with chronic, you cannot decide. Your choice is void because it was never your decision to begin with. 

When you decide to recover, you waive any possible “fuck it” option. You contend with the idea of never-ending mental energy.

Most of the time, the benefits of recovery vastly supersede the annoyance of your waiver.

But occasionally, the Mephistophelian truth of your decision comes out: you don’t have a choice. 

I sound negative. I recognize this. But I also acknowledge that recovery is not universally positive.

A multitude of recovery, the little undiscussed bits and pieces, can fluctuate between the poles of experience: positive, negative, neutral.

Just like the comprehensive trajectory of recovery, the energy consumption annoyance goes up and down. Remember: “recovery isn’t linear.” Turns out, the stamina it takes to consistently pick recovery isn’t linear, either.

However, there is a silver lining (er, gold lacquer… just a little kintsukuroi reference there 😉 ).

In my experience, opting for the endurance it takes to be in recovery is much more preferable to the pertinacity  it takes to be symptomatic in an eating disorder. Eating disorders are WORK, mental energy wise. You think about calories and food and exercise and guilt and your body and etc. and etc.

If you are already putting in the energy, why not have it be directed in the direction of the path giving you back vitality… towards recovery.

 

xoxo

IMG_4747

on fashion, clothes, and body neutrality

In my opinion, navigating the world of fashion has some potholes.

Maybe a lot of potholes.

Fashion, at least as we know it in contemporary society, is rife with body ideals and

IMG_0656

unattainable beauty standards. Models are such a small percentage of the population, body type wise. Actually, the ideal body type we see in the media and on fashion magazines is nearly equivalent to that of a prepubertal girl. Seriously, I am not kidding.

As someone who really loves fashion and clothes and expressing myself in this way,figuring out how to appreciate fashion without bombarding myself with image upon image of edited, manipulated, unattainable bodies has been challenging.

Here’s how I do it: I don’t.

I simple don’t look at fashion media. Occasionally, I search Pinterest for inspiration. But mostly, I figure out how to appreciate fashion through my own body and appearance.

Fashion, therefore, serves as a means of appreciation for my body. It is a neutral ground of body acceptance.

B9A48871-3FA4-4FCC-89C0-D1BC7003A76CThrough clothes, I work to acknowledge my body. I don’t necessarily LIKE my body, even if I like my outfit, but I can appreciate my body as a part of the art of fashion. Body neutrality.

Part of my recovery, past and current, is figuring out who I am both in what I like and how I present. Throughout my recovery, I experimented a lot with clothing styles. I went from dark and gothic, to dark vintage, to somewhat alternative, to a strange mix of all of the above.

Fashion style is personal. It doesn’t have to fit into a box with a label and a color and sit on a shelf that is labeled “me.” It can change and flow and be fluid. Much like us, fashion  is not static.

Embracing the fluidity of my personal expression, though it means I have gone through IMG_4212lots of clothes, has allowed me to experiment with my comfort zones and boundaries. And, boy, have I learned how to thrift shop! (You have to, if your style keeps changing!)

Even now I look in my closet and wonder what in the world I was thinking when I bought this or that article of clothing, much like I look back at my past and wonder why I did something or why I picked what I picked or cringe because an experience was just really embarrassing and I didn’t realize it.

And, that’s okay. People change. Trends change. Clothes change. We change.

It’s all part of life.

xoxo

IMG_4747

NEDA Week

“Recovery isn’t linear,” I tell myself for the umpteenth time…“Ups and downs. You are going to struggle…” a constant reminder for me.

When I first began treatment 617 days ago, I didn’t believe in anything beyond my eating disorder. There was no “life without anorexia.” Although I don’t necessarily think there is a recoverED—a point I struggled with for a long time—I believe wholeheartedly in recoverING: the ability to live a life free of disordered thoughts, actions, restrictions; one where I make the decisions and enjoy the turbulence of living. A constant, everlasting work-in-progress type of life. Part of my personal recovery was denying the dichotomy of healing, and learning to embrace a “third space.” It was learning to be okay with imperfections in all spheres: body, recovery, intelligence, actions, feelings.

617 days ago I got my life back. Granted, it didn’t feel like it. I was living in a different state at a place where you had to ask to do just about anything. I tried to quit recovery more times than I can count. I wanted to recover, but “not like this.” I wanted to be MOSTLY better, but hold onto a bit of my eating disorder because it was safe, known, and it made me feel in control. Turns out, you can’t do that. Surprising, right?

For me, recovery meant letting go, going against everything the eating disorder “supposedly” gave me—what I thought was control—to become autonomous. It sounds so easy, when I write it out and look at it… but if you ask anyone who is in recovery or treatment, I can almost guarantee they will tell you the process of freeing yourself is no where near simple. (I want to make sure I note, here, eating disorders do NOT discriminate by gender, race, social class, age, etc. You don’t have to look like you have an eating disorder. Eating disorders come in a variety of forms.q They are ALL illnesses. They are ALL real.)

“Recovery isn’t linear.” Recovery will never be linear. Healing isn’t linear. And, although sometimes I wish it was, ultimately, these twists and turns supply more than a straight line ever would. Sometimes I still struggle with accepting my ups and downs; I probably always will. That’s okay. “It’s okay to not be okay.” And it’s okay to ask for help, take time for yourself, and give yourself the love you deserve.

 

XOXO

LexiIMG_4125.JPG

*This post was originally published on my personal Instagram