One Word


That is what my email from my dietitian said last night after I snapped a photo of my dinner and sent it to her:



A bowl of cereal and a margarita.  Not exactly a recovery-minded meal, yeah?  And then I skipped my evening snack, just making the entire thing worse than it needed to be.

As I got out of the shower this morning, I was thinking about what I would have for breakfast.  A boost, I thought, and a peach.  Except I didn’t just think “a boost and a peach” — I thought “a boost (xxx calories) + a peach (xx calories), so that’d be (xxx calories) for breakfast.”

What the what?!  Red flag, folks.  I haven’t counted exchanges or calories since a month and a half into treatment.  So I have survived the last three months without knowing my weight, without knowing how many calories and exchanges were in my meals, and maintaining my post-restoration weight.  It’s not listed in my “yellow light” and “red light” warning signals in my discharge plan, but it’s about to be.  Counting calories is a road I cannot go down.  

It works for some people and I know it.  I am so happy for them.  Exchanges work for some people, too.  Between these two types of meal planning, lots of people find recovery.  However, I am not one of those people.  I cannot EVER count calories.  I cannot EVER count exchanges.  The moment I do, it becomes a game — well, I got by with XX exchanges/calories yesterday, let’s see if I can get by with fewer today.

Not a rabbit hole I need to be traveling down this early in my recovery.  Too slippery a slope, and I’ve got too much to lose.  (For example, I have already lost my exercise privileges.  Lame.)  I am studying for the GREs and I’ve got grand hopes and dreams of graduate school in the near future.  If I can’t handle the stress of transitioning back into real life post treatment without resorting to ED behaviours, then I have absolutely no business going across the country to graduate school.

And I want graduate school more than I could possibly state in words.  It feels right.  When I told a friend about this idea of mine, she said to me, Yeah, whenever you talked about never going back to school, it just never felt right to me.  I always thought you needed to go back to school, but it was not my place to say.  It just confirmed what I had been thinking:  Whatever my future holds, graduate school is part of it.

So I walked downstairs after my shower this morning (after totally berating my body and my outfit in the mirror – because that makes eating easier, natch) and had a full breakfast.  And after that, while my stomach and emotions completely flipped out on me, I went grocery shopping.  I bought groceries for the week — groceries that mean I am going to eat full and complete meals for the next week and eat multiple snacks a day.  

Because as tempting as it is – I CANNOT go back.  There is nothing good or beautiful in that place, and the place I am now is flowing with milk and honey.  Literally and figuratively. :)


11 thoughts on “One Word

  1. Love this post (except maybe the dinner pic lol). Something that was invaluable at my time at CFC was not counting calories or exchanges. The fact that it is completely free of numbers has really fueled (haha pun intended) my recovery. I know that if I left there with an exchange based meal plan like previous treatments I would have relapsed. I like that your land flows with milk and honey and you ate a real breakfast (real breakfasts are more tastier than Boost also). You’re heading in the right direction. :) P.S. I hope you post your ‘Letter of Hope’ sometime if you feel comfortable. I love reading other people’s letters.

  2. I am so proud of you for turning this slight misstep into a positive turn around. It is also encouraging to me today when I really needed some encouragement. ::Hug::

  3. What happened to intuitive eating? Is your dietician just THAT intent on you following exchanges? If so, I hope you can explain to her your concerns because your problem with the exchange system is totally valid. The least she can do is let you try intuitive eating for a week or something and see how that goes, and if it doesn’t go well, then you can follow the exchange system or something again. It’s just an idea…I’m sorry if it’s a bad one. But I am loving your determination and your ability to detect the red flag. :)

    • or…maybe just take YOU out of the food equation entirely for a few weeks and then MAYBE try intuitive eating. Because intuitive eating is like an invitation for the auto-pilot “mathmetician” to step in and influence. I feel so strongly in my gut about that. Cause I feel like I know ya (Wha???) …

      If you play by the book….you don’t have a say.. So the count dracula may be be there but …noonecurrrrr….(fake it till ya.)

      You are inspiring. I want more milk and honey. Make mine non-dairy and sugar free please.

    • Oh, don’t get me wrong — she wasn’t upset about the dinner because it didn’t meet a certain number of exchanges (she still considers them when considering if I’ve eaten enough or not, but doesn’t push them on me), but because it was restrictive. My problem with intuitive eating seems to be that my hunger/fullness cues are not entirely back on track yet, so I’m still restricting if I’m eating “intuitively,” which is her main concern. So we’re actually sticking with intuitive eating, but it’s supplemented by a daily Boost and she lets me know every day or two by e-mail if I need to work on eating more or if I’ve been eating adequately. :)

  4. Do you think you had the unacceptable dinner Saturday night because you had just woken up? I am always vulnerable to eating whatever is easiest when I’ve just woken up.

    • I think this is totally valid, Jill. I really had no desire to think of a real meal after having only awakened 20 minutes earlier. However, in the future, I think “easiest” may need to translate into “peanut butter and jelly sandwich” or something more substantial. ;-)

  5. I too cannot count calories, too dangerous, too slippery. I’m proud of you friend. I’m so glad that you know yourself well enough to know your danger zones before they are relapses and to be able to listen to those warnings. The great thing about recovery is that you won’t do perfectly every day but you can still get back up again and try again tomorrow. You can do this, I believe in you and I am proud of you and I love you!

  6. I have fallen into calorie counting as well and I know how difficult it can be :( I am so proud of you for getting it in control right as you see it beginning! I am so proud of you :)


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