Self-buckling – Wikipedia
Self–buckling. A column can buckle due to its own weight with no other direct forces acting on it, in a failure mode called self–buckling.
Failure mode, I am way too familiar with this setting! Self-sabotage, is about to put its grip on my world again. Destroying me with explosive self-talk and flirting with my destructive nature. Anything to envoke heartbreak and excitement…I need a strike of dopamine!
When I get into failure mode it usually starts with self hate. A negative comment about being stupid or not being “enough”. Telling myself I am afraid and not worthy of love. Then… I like to ruminate about how dumb I am. “Will I ever get a decent job or be able to support myself?”
I don’t understand why I continue to go down this path of self-destruction. Especially when I know the tools of recovery and use them. This is the painful honest truth about mental illness. Recovery isn’t all sunshine and ladybugs. I have weeks where it doesn’t matter how many meetings I go too or how long I meditate, I still struggle. The question is why?
Lately, I have been reaching outside of myself for “self-worth”. Which isn’t even self-worth… It’s just worth! It’s begging for other people to love me, so I don’t have to try to learn to love myself. Sadly that separate’s me from Spirit. I know that isn’t the answer but it feels good and it’s easy. It’s a quick fix with a rush of chemicals to my brain.
In my addict brain I rationalize, “at least I am not restricting, or binging and purging. I am sober today!” But lets get truly honest about this. These are the types of self-loathing actions that make me feel like shit and eventually cause me to act out in one of my many addictions. It’s like circling the drain to a relapse or a first act to the main event.
Since I have been in recovery I have tried to push this darkness out of me. I’ve been, “Super Happy Chic, Spiritual Annoying Chic,” and I do have traits of those “chic’s” in me. My true nature is to be loving and silly but I also have a deep-rooted darkness inside. I don’t like it but it’s without a doubt part of who I am. Since I was a child I have felt this darkness. A neighbor sexually assaulted me at a young age and in that moment a seed was planted. It was like having a dark shameful secret, which could only come out through self-sabotage.
My goal for this blog wasn’t to be obnoxiously depressing. As such, 90% of the time I am optimistic and silly but I am not afraid to admit that I struggle with my depression. In fact, I think all of us do! If you are reading this, either you have an eating disorder or are recovering from one or know someone that is or you are my friend. Which means you are probably just as nutty as me. And thank God! I hate being alone.
Suffering is a part of life! The Buddha based a whole religion on getting out of it, not pretending that it doesn’t exist! The questions I want answered are: Why do we reach outside ourselves for love? Is it possible to accept ourselves just the way we are… and if so how?
The answers and more crazy will be in the next blog!
“Look Mom I am Grieving without Bingeing!”
Here I am again sitting at my computer with a box tissues and a head full of introspective, psychological thoughts that only make me, “koko for Coco Puffs.” Hmmm, yummmm, coco puffs!! Cereal killing sounds good right now. No, I am not going to go on a killing spree! Cereal killing in the ED world is when you sit in bed with a box or boxes of cereal and watch movies. While you deny every emotion and isolate from reality. Focus Lara! What is it about going through a break up that makes me trip out about my past? Probing for the Holy Grail of my, “not enoughness.” And why in heck do I turn to food? Or my personal favorite self afflicted starvation and a punishing workout for a solution to an emotional problem? Where does this insanity come from?
So, the food thing I inherited from the women in my family and the media. I remember as a child my mom disappearing upstairs with a book and a bag of chips and chocolate very vividly. As though she was going on a vacation from her problems. I am not trying to criticize her for coping this way. Isolating with food is a learned behavior that has been passed down from generation to generation. My family isn’t exclusive to this behavior. Have you noticed in a movies when the main character goes through a loss, whether it be a break up, death in the family, loss of a job, cat dies, etc., The following actions habitually are consumption and isolation.
This is the vicious cycle that most Eder’s/addicts get stuck in. I know when I was in my eating disorder, “when the tuff got going, I went for cereal.” It wasn’t until my second year in recovery that I had major break through. Rebecca Cooper, once again coached me through something so simple, that it seemed ridiculously over looked. The Grieving Cycle! Naively, I thought that humans only grieved when processing death. This is not true, grief can occur in many situations. The power is being aware, knowing the five stages, and have healthy coping tools.
The Five Stages Of Grief and Coping Tools:
1. Denial and Isolation- denying reality and hide from the facts.
This should be a temporary response that carries us through the first wave of pain but unfortunately this is the phase some of us get stuck in. The numbing phase. Shock and denial provide emotional protection from being overwhelmed at once. Being aware of this will help with the pain you may suffer. It is important that you experience the pain fully and not hide from.
2. Anger- a strong feeling of annoyance.
As the masking effects of denial and isolation begin to wear, reality and its pain re-emerge. The intense emotion is deflected from our vulnerable core, redirected and expressed instead as anger. The anger may be aimed at inanimate objects, complete strangers, friends or family. Self afflicted anger and self-pity may arise. Rationally, we know better and do not want to be hurtful. Emotionally, however, we may resent other people, and ourselves. We feel guilty for being angry, and this creates angrier. Remember, grieving is a personal process that has no time limit, nor one “right” way to do it. Releasing anger in healthy and constructive ways is important in recovery. I like to get creative and paint but I also recommend having a support team.
3. Bargaining- attempting to alter the outcome or timing.
The normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often a need to regain control. And EDer’s love control!!!
If only I did this…
They should of listen when…
I can’t I stop…
How could this?
At this stage I recommend writing all of the annoying, nagging, ruminating questions and or thoughts that pop up in your head down on paper. Instead of clinging to the threads of the past and trying to change an outcome. This is an opportunity to look at our part in the situation.
4. Depression- moody or loss of interest.
In this stage, we begin to realize and feel the true nature of our emotions. Often times this stage gets prolonged due to the fact that our ongoing struggle with mental illness is heighted by our grieve. It is important to reach out and ask for guidance and support. Recovery form ED is sensitive to self-harm and punishment. The stage of depression usually needs support.
5. Acceptance- the action or process of being received as adequate.
Reaching this stage is like a breathe of fresh air. One day you wake up and feel enough. Understanding and being aware is the first step to acceptance. In my journey with recovery, miracles grow in painful experiences. Only in acceptance can there be recovery.
Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give but don’t know where to place it. All of that unspent love gathers up inside your body, waiting for you to reach acceptance. Knowing that love always has a home inside you and your body.
Winter Is Coming!!
Most of us learned about the four seasons when we were younger, about spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Considering I grew up and still live in Southern California, there are really only two seasons: beach season and cute boots/sweater season. Now that I am entering my third winter in recovery from an eating disorder, I am experiencing a hunger thingy that seems biological. Trust me when I say, at first this totally freaked me. My ED seasons usually consisted of binging and purging from October to May. Then restricting, while working on the perfect tan from May back to October.
Being in recovery I am more aware than ever before of my natural body cues for hunger (that hunger thingy), so this puzzled me. Obviously, we are humans but we aren’t squirrels hoarding nuts for the winter. We SoCal folks don’t have cold winters, so why do we crave more food in cold weather? Is this biological? Or is it more of a social tradition? Here is what the Scientists say.
Dark Days Mean More Food
The tendency to overeat during the winter might come down to basic biology. Ira Ockene, MD, a cardiologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, told NPR that winter eating could just be our primitive impulses urging us to stockpile for the cold months ahead. A 2005 study Ockene conducted and published in the journal Nature found that food intake patterns do vary season to season, as does body weight. Researchers found that study participants consumed an average of 86 more calories per day in the fall, as compared to the spring. In fall, participants also ate the highest total amount of fat and saturated fat. The lowest levels of physical activity were observed in the winter.
In his interview with NPR, Ockene also said that less light prompts us to seek food and eat it faster, offering another explanation for why we eat more as the days get shorter.
This gives a scientific explanation of seasonal food patterns, but there is more to it.
Warning Winter Memories May Cause Munchies
According to some scientists, winter weight gain is just a product of our environment, not biology. From Halloween to Super Bowl there are gatherings centered on tasty treats. Humans naturally socialize around food. From primitive man to modern, people have always gathered around the “campfire” to socialize and celebrate.
Our winter eating habits could also be born from opportunity. I feel like if that is so then the opportunity for food is all year long. In our country, we celebrate weekly with shopping trips to the grocery store, or you could just go to Costco and celebrate yourself. I have done that.
The reason I bring this to light is because food, especially during holidays triggers strong memories. This plays a major factor in binge eating, emotional over eating, and other disordered eating behaviors. The holidays sometimes bring strong associations with foods. Whether it’s cake, cookies, turkey, or pies, these foods are often tied to memories good and bad. If they are good memories, one may keep eating the food in a pursuit to recreate a moment with loved ones. If it is a bad memory, the holidays could trigger some depression. Just like the old saying “misery loves company,” well, food can be that company.
Moderation is the Answer, but ED doesn’t Care
Health experts say that moderation of holiday goodies and festive drinks, along with moderate exercise and sunlight will chase those winter blues away. But what about those of us with eating disorders or recovering from eating disorders? Moderation is a beautiful idea, but our brains are not chemically wired the same as “normal folks.”
Certain chemicals ferry signals around the brain. These messengers are called neurotransmitters. Some play important roles in stress, mood and appetite. Serotonin and dopamine levels are not balanced in people suffering from eating disorders. This causes many issues for someone who is suffering to STOP when they are full or STOP feeling the panic attack around the Thanksgiving Day table. Our Brains are different. This isn’t an excuse. It’s real science. Google: sciencenewsforstudents.org.
Let’s Get into Solution
Whether you are a client, a sponsee, friend, or family member, when we talk of issues, we must talk about SOLUTION. Here is my top 6:
1.Black stretchy pants (just kidding)- But maybe cute clothes that make you feel comfortable and stellar about yourself. Not some skanky number you think other people want to see. Be you and work that thang.
2.Support Team- Who is in your support team? Who and where can you go when you feel unsafe or just off? For me I go to support groups weekly, and I am so blessed to have a circle of friends in recovery. Together we support one another daily. This has been a major game changer in my life.
3.Be open and honest with you family- Letting a trusted family member know about your struggle is hard, but it may be helpful around family meals. I do advice that you feel safe around mealtime. Be vulnerable and let someone help you.
4.Preset appoints with a professional eating disorder specialist- Therapist, Dietitians, Coaches, there is specialist out there that wants to be of service. I recommend looking into this.
5. Be Creative- The holidays don’t have to be about food. Suggest or create other ideas for friends and family to gather. When I was newly in recovery, my family would go to the Grand Canyon to Hike. The point of the season is share time and memories with one another. Those are some of my favorite memories.
6. Embrace Hygge! – Which is Danish for acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cozy, charming, or special. Hygge literally only requires consciousness, a certain slowness, and the ability to not just be present – but recognize and enjoy the present.
With nearly one in three children in the United States being overweight or obese, now is the time to support the health of our next generation. First let’s get informed or as the kids say, “schooled!”
What does obese mean?
Means a child is more than 20% over their ideal weight, which considers the child’s height, age, sex and build.
What does overweight mean?
Means a child is above a weight that is considered normal and healthy by a medical doctor. Being overweight as child could lead to obesity as an adult or could be the well-known “awkward stage” called puberty. I will address this later in the blog.
Consequences of Childhood Obesity:
Obese and overweight children are at risk for a number of serious health problems such as:
Diabetes: Type 2: Diabetes was once called adult-onset diabetes. Now with the rise in childhood obesity, there is a dramatic rise in the number of children suffering from type 2 diabetes. Untreated, this can be a life-threatening condition.
Asthma: Extra weight can make it harder to breath and can inflame the respiratory tract. There is a rise in childhood asthma, and children with serious asthma are more likely to be overweight.
Heart Failure: Being overweight makes the heart work harder. Overweight children are more likely to grow up to be overweight adults who develop heart problems.
Bullying: No one that has attended grade school is surprised by this fact. What is surprising, however, is that obese children are bullied more often even if they possess good social skills and a great sense of humor. Even students who come from wealthy households suffer from bullying. Other students and adults can do this bullying.
Depression: traditionally depression and obesity have been compartmentalized as separate physical and emotional conditions but evidence suggests common pathways between them. Obesity and depression are diagnosed differently in children compared to adults. If a child has changes in sleep, appetite or psychomotor activity, an adult should take them to see a doctor to see if these changes are due to depression, not just a physical cause.
Why Childhood Obesity Now? What Changed? What Happened?
I grew up in Southern California in the 80’s. When I get in my DeLorean DMC-12, I didn’t see a lot of over weight kids. In fact, I remember roller blading until the streetlights came on, and my mom shouted at me to get my tush inside. I would sit down to a dinner of green beans, some type of meat, and Dad’s mashed potatoes from a bag. It wasn’t what I wanted or liked. The meal wasn’t perfect, but it was healthy. (My dog sure liked it.)
So what happen in the generations to come? There is no single reason for the rise in childhood obesity, but there are a number of contributing factors:
Television and Media: Screen time is a major factor contributing to childhood obesity. It takes away from the time children spend being physically active, leading to increased snacking in front of the TV. It provides constant influences on children with advertisements for unhealthy foods.
Marketing: The psychology behind marketing food products to kids is influenced by colors and fun friendly sounds and activities. It’s easy to show these advertisements on the screen. Hence its impact is number one for promoting unhealthy eating habits!
Lack of Daily Physical Activity: Apparently streetlights go on really early for this generation! Most adolescents fall short of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommendation of at least 60 minutes of aerobic physical activity each day. Only 18% of students in grades 9—12 met this recommendation in 2009. Daily, quality physical education in school can help students meet the guidelines. However, in 2015, only 33% of students had access to and attended daily physical education classes.
Increased Portion Sizes: Portion sizes of less healthy foods and beverages have increased over time in restaurants, grocery stores, and vending machines. Research shows that children eat more without realizing it, if they are served larger portions. This means that they are consuming a lot of extra calories, especially when eating kid friendly high-calorie foods.
Limited Access to Healthy Affordable Foods: Some people have less access to stores and supermarkets that sell healthy, affordable food such as fruits and vegetables, especially in rural, low-income neighborhoods. Unfortunately, it is more expensive to buy healthy food than canned or frozen items. Natural and organic items in this country are grossly over priced. This is a tragic struggle.
Make Health a Cool Habit:
Be a Role Model: If you eat right and value your nutrition, your kid will too, with encouragement. You are the most influential person in your child’s life. Say positive things about your own body. Let your eating habits be the example. Encourage a child you love to choose a balanced lifestyle while avoiding extremes.
Get Moving: Physical activity is an essential part to being healthy and having fun. Get creative with it! Don’t make it a chore! Play with your kid. (I believe they still sell roller blades.)
Make Healthy Food Choices: So here is a fun tip. Eat the rainbow. Kids love color and fruits and veggies come in an array fun shapes and colors. Have fun with eating healthy. Use the Internet for ideas. Guide children in making their own healthy snack and lunch selections. (Don’t take the easy way out for a school lunch and deliver McDonald’s.)
Teach Moderation: Moderation and reasonableness are key to creating balance with both nutrition and exercise. Encourage our youth to listen to their bodies.
Lastly I want to discuss, “The Awkward Stage” aka pre teen puberty. Did you know that children can gain anywhere from 5-40 pounds between major growth spurts? Appetite increases and often kids become heavier before their height takes off. The extra weight gain can concern parents and even the kid. Should it?
It depends says, licensed therapist and certified eating disorder specialist Rebecca Cooper. “Today kids watch TV and play computer games instead of playing sports or being active. They are exposed to highly processed sugar-dense foods instead of foods without labels. It is normal for adolescents to gain weight before their growth spurt, but some kids are put on a diet that sets them up to disregard their appetite signals. Without a strong sense of self, they are easily persuaded by media and friends to obsess about changing their weight. These behaviors are the breeding ground for eating disorders. By making a few changes early in life, we can help our children avoid going down this path.”
With the health and wellness of the future generations at stake. Society has indeed become saturated with extreme forms of thinking, leaving little room for the promotion and practice of my new but good friends, MODERATION and BALANCE. Yes, learning to delay gratification (Road Less Traveled, a great book for parents) for something more enduring later has been a powerful practice in my food recovery. That doesn’t mean if I eat all my veggies then I get cake. It means if I eat mindfully and with balance then I am feeding my body for the future as well. When I do eat cake, it is done with a purpose and in moderation.
When you hear of someone with an Eating Disorder, do you usually think of a pale under nourished frail woman or a sad depressed chubby housewife? Maybe you think of someone famous like Princess Diana or Karen Carpenter? Whatever the image is in your mind, it isn’t usually an excessively muscular man or an average looking boy in skinny jeans.
Men and boys have been suffering from Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating behaviors just as long as females. Let’s look back in history at English physician Richard Morton. In 1689, he published one of the first case studies on anorexia. His description of the disease was, “Phthisolgia: Or a Treatise of Consumptions,” a syndrome involving loss of appetite and extreme fasting without any evidence of known disease. The case involved two patients, one female and the other male. Morton’s study of the male highlighted the heaviness the 16-year-old felt to be a “good provider” and achieve success for his family. Morton’s advice was to move to the country, take up riding, and drink a lot of milk. Not entirely different from luxury rehabs today.
Robert Willan was an English physician based in London. His research in the 1800’s was mainly done on males. His paper “A Remarkable Case of Abstinence,” was published in the Medical Communications in 1790. It describes the case of a young Englishman who died in 1786 after fasting for 78 days. Although fasting for religious purpose is highly regarded, I have to question if at some point the “mental obsession” (as we call it in recovery) gets triggered. A mental obsession is an inappropriate cause of marked anxiety. Compulsions are defined by repetitive behaviors or mental acts that the person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession, or according to rules that must be applied rigidly. Unlike drug and alcohol abuse, where the person feels a lack of control, some eating disorders (anorexia for example) give the false illusion of control over something bigger. The obsession of control starts to feel like a great achievement and a false but dangerous sense of pride.
Men have always had the pressure to be the “hunter,” and be “in control.” For centuries we have heard the tales of heroes like, Heracles, Superman, and James Bond with masculine physiques, take charge attitudes, and super powers to woo the ladies. It is no surprise men are suffering from similar body image bullshit, as women. Have you looked a Ken doll?
Facts About Male ED:
1. 25-40% of people with Eating Disorders are Men -The National Association for Males with Eating Disorders
2. As many men as women want to change their weight (Andersen, 2000).
3 .Men engage in eating-disordered behaviors nearly as often as women (Mond, 2013).
4. Eating disorders assessment tests underscore males (Darcy, 2014).
5. Additionally, prevalence of eating disorders in males is greater than estimated because men are often too stigmatized to seek treatment for “women’s problems.” (Cohn, 2013)
6. Despite popular beliefs, eating disorders have never been “women’s diseases,” and professionals in the field are realizing this fact more and more (Cohn, 2014).
7.The earliest case descriptions of anorexia nervosa by Richard Morton in 1690 included cases of a man and a woman (Andersen, 2014).
8. Media objectification and sexualization of males is just as rampant as for females (Cohn, 2013).
9. A high percentage of comorbid conditions exist for males in treatment, such as excessive exercise, poor body image, and issues with sexuality (Weltzin, 2014 )
10. Attention to gender dynamics is critical in the process of treatment (Bunnell, 2014).
Men are less likely to seek treatment for eating disorders because of the perception that they’re “women diseases.” Eating disorders are addictions and just like other addictions there is no discrimination between gender, nationality or age, in my opinion. Addictions are deadly diseases that take shape in many different forms. An eating disorder can be someone’s drug of choice. The good news is that there are solutions, and no one has to suffer alone. Help is always available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Focus on the qualities in yourself that you like that are not related to appearance. Spend time developing these capacities rather than letting your appearance define your identity and your worth.
2 .Expand your idea of “masculinity” to include qualities such as sensitivity, cooperation, caring, and patience, having feelings, being artistic.
3. Be Patient! The path to recovery involves many emotions and setbacks and it can be a long journey. It is important to be as calm and patient as possible throughout the recovery process and to remain as supportive as you can.
4. Be aware of the negative messages you tell yourself. For example, if you start giving yourself a message like, “I look gross,” substitute a positive affirmation, “I accept myself and my body.”
5 .Appreciate how your body functions and has an amazing ability to heal its self. The human body is a marvelous creation; every organ and cell has an incredible purpose. Being mindful about how your body function’s builds gratitude.
6. Build healthy recovery tools. Whether that is a Twelve Step program, one on one therapy, or talking to a trusted mentor, build a plan for recovery. Have a healthy goal you want to achieve in recovery. Create coping tools so that you can achieve your goal. Stay accountable to someone else.
Is There a “Weight” Limit to Your Love?
We turn ourselves into perfect images; all wrapped up in ideal bodies, hoping people will buy us. The image seems to contain no flaws, healthy regimes, and enthusiastic workout routines. Every day we are saturated with images of the “perfect physique” from magazines, movies, social media, and bombarded to become more attractive in order to win attention from the “perfect” lover.
We all know that sexual attraction in a partner is important, but how far are we taking it. I asked a few friends to be honest about this subject, to flush out the truth on a subject. I like to call this “learning to let go of the false image”.
If there is a “perfect” image of one self, then most likely there is an image of our “perfect” partner. We look for a partner that lives up to this mental image and ignore those “lesser” beings that don’t match our standards.
One of my girlfriends is tall and very beautiful. She modeled in New York after college. The type of girl that most of us look at and say, “I wish I looked like her”. The perfect image right? However when she was in college she played volleyball. She was involved with a guy that wouldn’t commit to a relationship and that always puzzled her. Ten years later they sat down for coffee and she asked him, “Why didn’t you want to be my boyfriend in college?”
His reply, I cared for you a lot, blah blah….but you were on the volleyball team, and the team was known as the “Fat Girls”.
Confused and offend, she saided, “But I wasn’t fat.”
And that’s when he came out with it, “It would have been bad for my image.” His image was also wrapped up in what his friends thought. Not only was it important to have a beautiful woman by his side, but her friends and the people surrounding him had to fit his “image” too.
Men get the backlash of this, too. Meet Jason, he dated a female athlete that was used to being around other male athletes. He was naturally skinny, surfed from time to time, but wasn’t a big buff guy. What he lacked in muscles, he made up for in wit and a sharp sense of rumor. His girlfriend, on the other hand, was lean and had a six-pack. She ran 7 miles a day and was cocky about the fact, that if she had to she could beat him up. He felt emasculated and weak. So, he tried lifting weights to become something he thought she wanted. In the end, it wasn’t enough. She continued to tease him and give him “advice” about his body, but she was trying to make into to something he wasn’t. The final straw for him was when she said, “You’ll never be able to keep up with me.”
In general we don’t all excel at everything. Some may be more in tune with their emotional side, or like Jason be very funny and witty. Our true selves have many assets and should not be covered up.
This self-image game doesn’t end for even settled married couples. A friend of my mother had been married for years. Her husband’s job kept him away from home a lot. When he was home, he didn’t seem interested in her. She decided to become a “perfect image” wife. She lost weight, got a long blonde wig, and started wearing sexy clothes. The result was not what she expected. He asked her, “What the hell are you doing?” Instead of finding why he was feeling detached from her and the family, she went to the solution that social media said was what he wanted, a perfect, sexy woman.
Lastly the one I hear most as coach, “If I lose the weight then they will come back to me.” Every time I look into someone’s eyes after they have said something like this, I can see the sadness and depression. It’s painful. I want to swoop them up in my arms and tell them they are enough just the way they are. The partner we attract is always a reflection of ourselves. Many times, it is one that fills the lack we feel inside ourselves. Only letting go of the perfection in our minds that we must achieve a certain physique, allows us more freedom to truly get know the person inside. I encourage you to do a bit of time traveling, think about past lovers. What did these relationships for fill in that moment of your life? Maybe you thought you wanted control, or a parental figure. The point is to start to find a connection or a pattern.
You see Losing weight or changing the outside image won’t bring a “perfect partner.” Love doesn’t depend on external value or at least it shouldn’t. There is no lack inside you, just a false image of yourself. Let it go!! To quote Deepak Chopra, “There is only you and the love you bring.”