A Few Thoughts During NEDA Week

Hello, hello! How are you doing today? It’s NEDA week, so I needed to do a post!

In case you are new here, my name is Mandy, and I’ve struggled with eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia) for nearly 18 years since I was 15 years old. I’m now 33 and and consider myself in recovery at this point in time (I relapsed about 6 months ago, so I do consider myself at risk to some extent) … here’s my story …

Eating disorders don’t discriminate, y’all. They don’t care how great your life is, what race you are, your age, sex, weight, height, etc. They are horrible mental illnesses that take away every aspect of your life and can eventually take your life too. I struggled for nearly 18 years with bulimia and anorexia, but I finally decided to fight back after my last relapse. I utterly exhausted and slowly dying from the daily and constant struggle, the vomiting, the abstaining, the worry over the stupid number of calories in a tic tac. Below is me at my lowest weight.

I was a miserable mess with my ED, as you can see in the above pic. That facial expression pretty much exemplifies the eating disorder – it’s a SAD, lonely life to live, a deadly one.

Truth be told, however, I was ultimately inspired to end my ED behaviors by my husband Luke and his two friends, Marc and Sam, who are all really into weightlifting. They truly inundated me with ideas of being fit and healthy and strong, not sickly and bony, and have encouraged me to be the same way.

Sam works at Total Nutrition and helped me with a nutritional plan and a few supplements to aid muscle weight, which is amazing. And lifting with Luke is a joy because I’ve seen so much progress in him (and Luke is HOT AF when he lifts, ha!) – Luke started out at about 150 lbs and is now up to 175 with a goal of about 185-200 lbs. He says he sees a ton of progress in me too, although I can barely see it. I guess that’s part of it – he can’t see as much progress in himself, and I can’t see that much progress in myself, but we see it in each other and encourage each other to keep going!

My goal is to be around 145 lbs and very muscular, maybe even 150 lbs (because I’m 5’10”) … to think I started out at 110 lbs is scary now. I was SO SICK then, hot damn! I started following several Instagram accounts of female lifters, and they’re an inspiration too, especially Sarah Bowmar … I want to be like her, y’all. She hunts wild game too and seems to be a genuinely honest person who shares a ton of my views on life.

All in all, I’m still new to this whole “living without an ED” thing, y’all. I just started working out again with vigor about two months ago. I’m not going to become othorexic either, that’s a major goal here too as I have obsessive tendencies. I just want to be fit, healthy, and STRONG. I want to look like a girl who could kick some ass and not be a teeny, tiny, sickly little shrimp anymore.

When we are hungry, our bodies want nutrients, not calories! It’s taken me YEARS to learn this little fact and to accept that it’s perfectly okay to have a full belly. Heck, I ate a shit ton of fried deer and gravy last night because I was HUNGRY, and it was so wonderful to feel satisfied with protein in my tummy.

I am simply a girl who got *tired* of living with ED behaviors after 18 long years and who was very inspired by my husband and his friends to weight lift and get strong. I’ve gained about 20 lbs from my low weight of 110 lbs, and I’m doing GREAT without that damn scale in my life.

I’m at a healthy weight now, my muscles are starting to actually show, and I’m looking very good (which is a new perspective for me – I used to think that bone thin looked good). I’m slowly rewiring my brain to think that strong and muscular is the new sexy, not skinny and bony. Plus, my worth is not determined by a value of my gravitational pull on a scale, period. My self worth is wrapped up in my attitude, my positive behaviors, my health, my fitness, my desire to be an honest, good, happy person, not a number on a scale.

I’ve been lifting each day and feeling *amazing* when I do – I’ve gone to a higher weight on my triceps and the preacher curls, which feels insanely good. Slowly but surely, I’m getting stronger. I’m doing several hundred sit ups each day too, hooray! Sit ups are therapy for me – they’re easy until they become too hard, and then I stop and take a break. I do them in rounds of about 30 – 40 at a time and then rest my muscles.

In Other News

The kitties are gaga over the new scratching post that we got them last night (the old one was torn up and filthy, so we finally grabbed a new one at Petsmart along with some other kitty and snake essentials).

Just look at those big ol’ eyes on Persephone! So sweet.

Scratch, scratch, sniff, sniff, goes Caprica.

Calliope just glares at the camera – “leave me to my scratching, woman”!

Random, but I also ordered two pairs of pants from abs2bfitness.com … I ordered a pair of Army Green capris and a pair of Side Strings Shorts in a gray color. I’ll do a review of them once they come, but remember to use the code “bowmar” at checkout for 15% off! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m SUPER excited to get them.

Alrighty, onto my eats and workout for the day!

Breakfast

I started off with an opal apple and Tajin Seasoning this morning around 7:30. I needed something in my tummy, and this hit the spot! Coffee throughout the morning too.

I had to get out and run a few errands (picking up meds, visiting my mom) this morning, so my mind wasn’t really on food, thank goodness. My apple lasted me until 10:30, when I had a Brown Cow yogurt with some peanut butter protein granola. I just *love* Brown Cow yogurt, you guys. It’s so creamy and yummy!

After my second breakfast, I did laundry, the dishes, cleaned up the surfaces in the apartment, cleaned out the snake cage and gave him more substrate, and did my daily duty of cleaning out the cat box and cat area. I was busy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Drogo was out exploring today after I changed his bedding – he’s getting so big and fat (we fed him later in the day too, so he was a happy boy)!

Lunch

I got rather creative today with lunch – I had some leftover lemon pepper chicken, so I shredded a small portion, and then I boiled an egg, cooked three pieces of bacon (because bacon makes everything better), and roasted some broccoli, carrots, and yellow squash (baked with EVOO, S+P). I made a nice salad, using a bed of romaine and leftover chopped greens as a base, and then added some cherry tomatoes, the baked veg and the proteins, and topped them all with a creamy red pepper dressing.

This was an AWESOME salad, y’all. I thoroughly enjoyed the variety in it, and I savored it slowly. I do believe I’ll be making this again. ๐Ÿ˜‰ This was a bigger lunch for me, but I ate it all!

Workout

Okay, gym confession – today it was overcast and cool, and Luke and I were both iffy about working out. However, we needed to do chest day, so we decided to go for it! It was *exhausting.* But we DID it! Here are some crappy pics of me looking angry during our workout (the lighting at Verdure is terrible). Today I resolved to try more time on the stair-master machine to try to improve my butt and calves … we shall see if that comes to pass!

Snack

After hitting the gym, I had to make a trip to Walmart and United for food. This was terribly tiring, especially after our workout, so I needed a snack around 4:30, soon after coming home. I had a mint chip brownie Larabar, a kiwi (I eat them with the skin on after a good washing), and a Holy Kombucha raspberry pomegranate tea, which tasted absolutely amazing-balls.

After my snack, I snapped a pic of my dapper hubby, who had a speech tonight over the pro’s and con’s of vaccinations (we’re pro-vac, in case you might wonder. Duh, the man wants to be a physician’s assistant, so it’s natural). He’s trying to grow his normally shaved hair out, and tomorrow we’re going to Cathy, my hairstylist, to see what she recommends he do with it as it grows. He cleans up nicely, doesn’t he?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Dinner

I tried a new recipe via Pinterest – One Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta (made, in my case, with ground venison). I admittedly was drawn to this dish because it’s a) cheap, b) we had most of the ingredients already, and c) it’s easy AF. Plus it can be made with ground venison (I always soak ours in milk for a day beforehand), which we have PLENTY of … seriously, we’re overflowing with deer. I served mine on a bed of leftover chopped salad greens with some cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of jalapeno ranch dressing.

The verdict? IT WAS GOOD! I had reservations about it because it was so simple, but this tasted very delicious. Definitely a keeper recipe!

Mental Health

I had a great day despite feeling tired overall plus a somewhat stressful misunderstanding at the pharmacy when I picked up my Xanax (I just made a quick call to my nurse, and she helped me out, as always). Mood was stable, anxiety wasn’t too bad. I’m SO GRATEFUL for my good meds, y’all. Meds are absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in this world – if they help you, TAKE THEM. For me, they represent self-care and self-preservation, two things which are essential. Counseling is also nothing to be ashamed of – I’m currently taking a break with Brenda because things have been going so well, but I surely will text her the second I need her help again.

I hope this post will help someone else struggling out there. If you’re struggling, keep fighting the good fight. YOU CAN RECOVER. If you’re fully recovered, GOOD FOR YOU and keep on truckin’!

Have a great night, y’all!

~ Mandy ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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