I can’t believe this is the final post in the “Growing Up Alex” series. I’m not going to say much, as I want this final post to be all about her, but I just want to thank everyone who has read, commented, liked, shared and been a part of this series. I am honored that this blog was able to be the venue for Alex to tell her story and oh-so-proud of her doing so. She’s an amazing, remarkable, beautiful, incredible, strong and inspiring person and I am lucky to be able to call her my friend.
So thank you Alex for telling your story and continuing to inspire us all. We are so proud of you. XO
On to the final post.
THROW AWAY THE SCALE.
That is essential. Have your nutritionist or doctor weigh you blindly if you relapse. The number on the scale does you no good if you are trying to recover from an eating disorder. As an alternative, listen to how your body feels (do you have energy or are you lethargic? Are you dizzy or do you feel clearheaded? Are you motivated or do you just want to hide away?).
A huge thing for me is just allowing my clothes to let me know how I am doing. Yes, they may feel tighter if you have just taken them out of the wash…but they will stretch back to normal as the day progresses. I knew I was relapsing last year when my clothes that once fit were hanging off of me. This was a sign for me to take action. In the 2 times that I have made it in to recovery, my clothing never got to tight.
Your body, shockingly, will not magically gain weight just because you are not stepping on a scale every day. Do not let the numbers control you. Cut counting calories as best you can. This is very difficult to do but it does get easier over time and with practice. Base your daily intake on exchanges/food groups, not calories. Do not label ANY foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Food is fuel, and your body doesn’t know the difference [it just may know that some foods contain more nutrients when compared to others] between a muffin or multigrain toast. It just knows ‘energy’. Just keep things in moderation and be sure to have all of the food groups.
Eat breakfast! Yum!!! Do not read fitness magazines as they will tell you that you need to be consuming less than you actually do and, chances are, they will make you feel like you are lazy if you are not working out 2 hours a day, doing all of the latest exercise fads. The best alternative to these magazines is to find a nutritionist you feel comfortable with. They will reality check your distorted beliefs, they will help you structure a healthy meal plan and workout regimen, and if you need to be weighed, they are the best person to do it. Surround yourself with empathic, supportive people.
Repeat after me: Do the best you can with what you have. Progress, not perfection. You can start over at any time. Know in your mind what signs of relapse are for you and tell someone you trust [family member, friend, therapist, doctor, nutritionist, coworker) if you notice any of these signs. Do not be afraid to ask for help. You are not a failure if you relapse and you DO deserve help in regaining your recovery. If you feel faint, dizzy, hungry, etc…eat a snack. It isn’t weak of you to need food, perhaps you exerted more energy than you realized during the day. Some days we eat more than we do on other days and that is okay. Our bodies are very good at balancing out.
I had a lot of support over the years in my recovery and I want to thank these people who have supported me endlessly and have helped to me to recover.
First, my therapist and Dietician in NY who convinced me to finally pursue treatment: Hilary Brodski and Judi Zwang.
My amazing therapist from Montecatini who taught me how to challenge my distorted beliefs and not to worry about other people’s ‘stuff’, Nancy Staycer.
The best therapist I have ever had, who was there for me at the beginning of my recovery: Seanna.
One of the most amazing RD’s I have ever worked with and whom I would recommend to anyone, Shelley Woolsey.
My case manager at CEDC, even though she probably got sick of me after the 3rd time, Whitney Moore.
Some of the kick ass RC’s from California and CEDC. The amazingly strong women I met along the way, whom I will not name, so as to protect your privacy, but you know who you are…my first ever roommate whom loves cats just as much as I, the ‘condo clique’ and ‘Mitzi’, my bestfriend/soul sista, the kickass woman who knows how awesome our ‘mutual friend’ is, she who hails from No’Ho, the girls who shared an odd love of Matty in the Morning with me, the girls who participated in.
And I couldn’t ask for more supportive friends or family: My maid of honor Erin who was beyond supportive throughout this whole experience. Yili, who had only known me for a few months when I learned I was going to treatment and basically took me under her friendship wing full force. All of my amazing and wonderful friends who wrote and visited and haven’t run away (yet, ha!).
The supportive head of my graduate program, Dr Shtayermann.
Mom, Dad, Wendy and Randy for being my mom’s backbone, G&G, my aunts and uncle, the cousins [I left out an important part of my life because it is not my story to tell, but my youngest cousin passed away in 2007 and I think of him daily. I brought his picture to my room in residential], the recovery warriors of the blogosphere (haha!) and my wonderful fiance Steve and his dear son.
Oh, and my cats. They were, and are, the best therapy.
And Demi Lovato, whose music I embarrassingly loved before she came out and told her story. She was in treatment at the same time I was and while many think it may be PR for her, I think it is wonderful that she is giving a voice to the evils and dangers of this disorder and that she is acting as a healthy and positive role model for young women. It doesn’t hurt that I still embarrassingly love her music.