Better With Sprinkles

The Colourful Side to Healthy Living.


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WIAW: Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Good morning! 3 things before I get on with it:

1. Thank you so much for all your comments on yesterday’s post. I always feel a little nervous and vulnerable posting stuff like that, but you guys remind me why I love this community so damn much. Thank for all your support!

2. A huge shoutout to my cousin Adam and his wife Melissa on the birth of their first baby! A boy born Saturday night – I can’t wait to meet the little guy.

3. I have my stats midterm today. Send me good vibes!

Yup – it’s that time of the week again!

So last week was Eating Disorders Awareness Week in Canada. This week, it’s in the States. Considering my own history, it’s no surprise that I do my best to spread awareness and offer support to those who suffer with ED’s.

London is home to Hope’s Garden, the only eating disorder resource centre in the area. It runs solely off of volunteers and donations – they don’t get any government funding whatsoever. Every year during EDAW, they host a breakfast at the Hilton Hotel to raise funds. Of course, I went last year and enjoyed it, so my mom and I purchased tickets again.

After getting up at a somewhat ungodly hour (registration started at 6:30 am) my Mom and I headed down to the Hilton. We checked in and we immediately headed over to look at the silent auction and draws.

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I was really hoping to win the Chil Froyo gift card, but no luck there (we will still hit it up sometime, Chelsea!)

It was planned so that the breakfast would occur before the speakers, so we headed over to the buffet tables. It was a fairly typical (but still delicious) fancy hotel breakfast spread – frittata, bacon, sausage, hash browns, fruit, pastries and cheese.

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I helped myself to bacon, the veggie frittata, fruit, and cheese (I have no idea what kind of cheese that was, but it looked intriguing. It was pretty good!). My mom and I also split a croissant. After breakfast and some opening remarks, it was time for the keynote speakers.

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First up was Julie Rochefort, with a talk entitled: ‘Becoming a Body Image Warrior’. Julie is a Registered Dietitian who focuses on obesity and weight discrimination. She talked about how the science concerning ‘healthy weight’ is flawed, and how weight isn’t the best predictor of health.

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The fact that this book exists (and is aimed at 6-12 year olds) is so, so shameful for our society. “Maggie” is bullied at school, loses weight by eating ‘better’ and exercising for hours, and becomes super-popular and a star soccer player. I had heard of the book before, but not in that much detail – WHY does this exist?! And really, what kind of lesson does this book teach kids?

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At the end of her presentation, Julie left us with this message, and I love it. I feel like most people approach RD’s because in their mind, getting healthier = losing weight. I loved hearing Julie’s mindset that we need to take ownership of our bodies the way they are supposed to be. She invited us to take a pledge to celebrate both our bodies and the bodies of those around us – real bodies, real people, no unrealistic expectations.

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Of course, my name is on there Smile (And oh my god, how do people walk in pencil skirts?! I felt like I could barely move my knees all morning).

The second speaker was Jan Pryde, who is on the Board of Directors at Hope’s.

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Jan is extremely passionate about the fight against eating disorders, because she has been watching her 26 year old daughter struggle for twelve years. She talked about the experiences she’s had with her daughter, climaxing when Jan carried her daughter threw hospital doors last June, at less than 60 pounds and blood pressure that was barely registering on the scale (I can’t remember the exact numbers, but it was something like 48/20). By some miracle, her daughter survived.

Jan was an amazing speaker, letting her passion for the fight against ED’s flow through her words. She discussed how eating disorders leave scars and battle wounds on our hearts, and how eating disorders become a battleground between the sufferer and the disease.

It was one of the most heart-wrenching, inspiring talks I’ve ever witnessed. Of course, she received a standing ovation, and when she brought her daughter up with her on stage…yup. Any chance of me getting out of there with my mascara intact was gone.

While I do not consider myself lucky for my own struggle with anorexia, I am extremely grateful that I was able to pull back when I did, as opposed to letting my anorexia continue to dig it’s claws deeper. Listening to Jan was a reminder that I am one of the lucky ones in the sense that I’ve escaped my struggles, but I need to keep fighting the battle on behalf of everyone who comes in contact with this horrible, harrowing disease.

Hope’s Garden does truly amazing work with ED patients – I know, because I reached out to them when I was ready for my own recovery. I attended their group meetings for the better part of a year, and through them found my fantastic therapist, who was absolutely vital in the process of my self-discovery. I don’t exactly have a lot of extra funds available for donating to charity (grad student problems) but I will always be happy to help out Hope’s Garden with my time, support and money. And of course, if you are in the area and you are (or know someone) who is struggling, I completely recommend turning to them – it was one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made.

Of course, Jan’s talk brought to mind how extremely grateful I am for my parent’s support in my recovery – therapy ain’t cheap, and I can only imagine how scary it must have been to watch their daughter slowly wasting away, unable to understand why or how to make it stop. I love you guys and I will be forever thankful for all the love and support that you’ve always shown me, whether in my recovery, my education, my goals, and every other aspect of my life.

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And my mom makes a fantastic breakfast date Smile

 

But now that I’ve managed to make myself tear up…moving on.

Although I didn’t win the froyo gift cards, we cleaned up pretty nicely with the draws Open-mouthed smile

Prizes

That fig balsamic vinegar I’ve been using on my spinach salads lately? Courtesy of a gift basket from Olive-Me & Co, a specialty olive oil and balsamic store in North London. The balsamics I won are: fig , chili, and an 18 year old traditional. The olive oils: citrus habanero, Italian herb, and sundried tomato parmesan and garlic. I’ve tried most of them, and I have yet to be disappointed! I think I need to get a really good french loaf this weekend to really enjoy them. The prize also came with that cookbook, but I don’t use quinoa too often and I already have a similar one. So I forwarded it on to an aunt of mine.

We also got a HUGE giftbasket full of 3M stuff – tape dispensers, band aids, page dividers…

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And post-its…so many post its. (Amanda, I know you’re jealous Smile with tongue out)

So this post is already pretty massive, so a quick speed through the rest of the day’s meals:

Lunch

Lunch

Salad – romaine, bell pepper, chopped baby carrots, tomato, blackberries and chicken, topped with a tzatziki yogurt dressing. A slice of multigrain toast with butter on the side.

A small bowl of my mom’s homemade chicken noodle soup.

Snack

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The Simply Bar in Cocoa Coffee – so I like coffee in dessert and in bar form, but just not in drink form? I think this needs to be my strategy to get myself to like coffee…

Dinner

For dinner, I was feeling inspired by Chelsea’s Turkey Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup. I followed her recipe, but I subbed kidney beans for the white beans and spinach for the kale. I also threw in a bit of dried basil.

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It’s pretty damn fabulous – I ate it for lunch every day afterwards Smile

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Palate cleanser…

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And a nighttime snack of cottage cheese, cinnamon raisin swirl PB, and chocolate chips.

So…wow, epically long. Hopefully you plowed through it!

<— Had you heard of “Maggie Goes on a Diet” before? Does it piss you off as much as it does me?

<— Tell me someone you’re grateful for.

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freEDom: Love Myself First.

So last week, I was reading Sloane’s contribution to her freEDom From Perfection campaign about body checking, and it inspired my own post today.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a huge body checker. More specifically, for years whenever I was alone with a mirror, I would pull my shirt up to see how much my stomach stuck out.

This picture I had on Sunday’s post?

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A year or so ago, I never would have had the balls to post that on the internet.

I have an “apple” body shape, so my body tends to store fat on my stomach. I’ve always been extremely aware and incredibly self-conscious of that fact. Even at 10-11 years old, I desperately wished that all that “excess” on my stomach would just GO AWAY. I’ve gone to great lengths to hide my little stomach bump, and I know I would have had a massive issue with displaying what I’ve always considered to be my greatest physical imperfection on the internet. We are our own worst critics, aren’t we?

When I started therapy several years ago, I knew body checking was one of my worst habits that needed to be broken. Every time I went to inspect my stomach, I needed something to remind me that I didn’t need to do that. So, this is what I did:

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Every time I go to check out how far my stomach is sticking out over my jeans, this is what I see.

It reminds me that it’s not necessary.

My body is my body, and I’m learning to accept its imperfections and show myself unconditional self-love. I’m not yet at the point of total acceptance, but I am hoping to get there. Really, do I need a flat stomach in order to be happy? Of course not. And dieting and restricting myself to a six-pack won’t do anything for my happiness either. Of course, I wouldn’t complain if it flattened out a little bit (who would?) but I’m not going to base my life and my happiness around it. I’m not going to deny myself when I have a craving or kill myself at the gym in an attempt to get a flat stomach– it’s not worth it to me.

I still do body-check on occasion, but I have made great strides with accepting what I see. My body is not perfect, but it’s the only one I get. While there’s parts of it I love, I’m working on loving the parts that make me insecure as well.

<— Do you have tattoos? Would you consider getting one?

<— How do you learn to accept the less-than-perfect parts?


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freEDom: Breaking Away from Perfectionist Tendencies.

I took a few weeks off due to the holidays, but I’m happy to be back and celebrating Sloane’s freEDom from Perfection campaign.

Click on over to find out more about the campaign!

When I was reading Gaining a few weeks ago (check out my full review here), I took note of all the research on the personality traits and behaviours of sufferers. Apparently, research has found a lot in common personality-wise between people that develop eating disorders

The one that jumped out at me the most? Research on the temperaments of people with eating disorders by psychologists Drew Weston and Jennifer Harnden-Fischer out of Boston University in 2001. Their research found that people who battle (and have battled) eating disorders tend to fall into one of three distinct categories.

1. Overcontrolled: “they avoid social contact, tightly control their appetites for food and for sex, limit their pleasures and withdraw from excitement, sensation and risk.”

2. Perfectionistic: “the conscientious good girls who aim to please, excel, and conform. They worry about the details but are often so fearful of making a mistake that they can’t get their work in on time. They read an arched eyebrow as contempt, a frown as a stiletto through the heart. They are intensely self-critical.”

3. Undercontrolled: “their emotions are intense, their behaviours are impulsive, they tend to fly into rages instead of expressing their anger passively or turning it inwards, and they desperately seek relationships to soothe themselves”.”

(American Journal of Psychiatry, as cited by Aimee Liu)

When I read this over, number two positively leapt off the page at me. That is my personality down to a tee. As I’ve mentioned before, I was (and continue to be, in some respects) an absolute perfectionist. In the past, I would approach everything with high expectations for myself, and be disappointed when I (predictably) couldn’t meet them. If I didn’t think I could do it, I would suddenly decide that I didn’t care anymore, because I couldn’t handle trying something and not meeting my ridiculous expectations.

And of course, part two of that category: self criticism and fear of making a mistake. Whether it’s in a social or professional situation (such as schoolwork) I’m always afraid of making a mistake or messing up. I didn’t talk about it on the blog, but I spent the first semester of grad school feeling terrified that I wasn’t smart enough or good enough for a Master’s Degree, and that I was going to be kicked out of the program quickly. I had an absolute breakdown over my the first paper I had to hand in, convinced that my professors were going to look it over and wonder how the hell I managed to get this far in academia. Of course, this didn’t happen. Over the months, I worked on quieting that inner criticism and managed to finish with better marks than I usually got in my undergrad. By not letting myself stress out and analyze every last detail of every assignment I had, I actually did better than usual.

I still need work in this respect when it comes to social situations. If I notice someone seems out of sorts or angry, I immediately jump to the conclusion that it was something that I said or did. I sometimes don’t speak up in social situations, because I’m afraid  that something I have to say will come off as stupid or pointless, and I’ll be judged accordingly. I know how ridiculous this is and I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated with myself over it. And aiming to please? Absolutely – I have a tendency to bend over backwards to make sure that other people are happy, even if it’s at the expense of my happiness sometimes. When Lui states that recovery is more about the the journey and self-discovery, I agree. I may not be disordered anymore, but there are still aspects of my temperament and behaviour that could be adjusted for the sake of my own happiness. 

So while I feel like I’ve gained freedom from my inner perfectionist, I’m still working on moving past my inner doormat and speaking up about what I think and how I feel. I know my opinion and feelings are important, even if it’s something that the other person doesn’t want to hear. So, I’m going to work on speaking my mind more, and not worrying about how the other person will think or react. 

<— Do you have perfectionist or always-aiming-to-please tendencies? How do you deal with them?