New Challenges

Despite the heat of the dog days, August ushered in a much more tolerable end to an intolerable summer. Although my ankle was still sore, my relationship with my body was still impaired, and I had not yet gotten a promotion, the stars started to align for healing in all of these areas. Or so it seemed, anyway.

In August I was asked to co-facilitate my first new hire training seminar. I had, in the past, been invited to mentor new hires, but I had never been able to directly influence their learning (and their induction to the kool-aid culture) as I would facilitating. It was a huge honor–made grander by the fact that I was asked to facilitate by my mentor. If he had the confidence in me to handle such a huge responsibility, then I knew I could muster the confidence in myself. I was beside myself with excitement, especially because I really do love that company, and I was getting paid to spend three days doing nothing but sharing that love with others. It was pretty much a win-win.

The seminar itself was a smashing success. No, I wasn’t perfect–and yes, I still had a lot to learn as a facilitator. However: what I did learn–about facilitation, about myself, about learning styles, and the like–was hugely important to me, and I was happy to use my mistakes as an opportunity to grow.

My torn sports bra was an unsettling reminder that I was still heavier than I wanted to be.

I was ready to grow. I needed to grow. The summer had been, if anything, a chance for me to start seeing how the seeds of ED had been sown among the seeds of my success, and I was ready to start pulling the weeds. Or so I thought, anyway.

At the seminar, my mentor (who knew I was a fan of yoga*) suggested that I try a 30-day challenge at our Bikram yoga center. For the uninitiated, Bikram yoga is a style of Hatha yoga as created by Bikram Choudhury.  Unlike your typical gym yoga class, which might rotate sequences of postures, all Bikram classes consist of the same 26 postures performed for the same amount of time every single class. Also unlike your typical gym yoga class, Bikram yoga is performed in 105 degree heat, with 40% humidity. It’s a little nutty, sure, but it’s an amazing experience if you can convince yourself to just stay in the room through your first class.

A 30-day challenge consists of 30 days of consistent practice. That means doing one yoga class every single day (although some studios make allowances for, you know, reality, and let you do doubles to make up the classes). I knew that it would be a little bit difficult to fit in 30 consistent days of yoga with my crazy retail schedule, but I decided to give it a try.

30-Day Challenge Sign Up

I also decided that it was time to make a change in my diet. I was still consuming my mostly-protein-powder calorie-restricted pseudo-figure-competitor diet, and I, to put it eloquently, felt like crap. I figured that yoga might help some of my physiological issues, but I wanted to feel better inside and out. That meant drastically changing my diet.

One of the MT’s good friends (who had become one of my favorite people left on earth) worked at Whole Foods and had blogged as she did the Engine 2 Diet. Engine 2 was created by a vegan firefighter (who converted his entire unit to plant-based living), and it advocates a 100% plant-based diet. After I read Engine 2 and did some research, I stumbled upon Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet, which takes the plant-based living to the extreme: raw, vegan, and lots of juice.

Green Juice

So, because I can’t ever do anything halfway, I bought a juicer, threw away my whey protein powder, and invested in hemp, kale, and broccoli.

A few days after I began my vegan-and-yogi experiment, I got my promotion.

Everything seemed to be falling into place. Or so I believed, anyway.

– K.

*I’m going to do a separate post dedicated specifically to my romance with Bikram yoga, which is why I haven’t really written about it yet.

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2 thoughts on “New Challenges

  1. I can’t thank you enough! I found your site through one of your comments on a Time article about the “benefits” of pro-ana websites. I have had an ED for a little over a year now, and though I’m definitely in a better place than, say, last summer, I am still clearly not “recovered.” Before now, I haven’t really found anyone who understands what I’m going through. A few other girls on my Cross Country team have ED, but none of us want to talk about it, because that would be akin to admitting that we’re different from other girls on our team. My parents don’t help–they mean well, but the way they talk to me when I get nervous about eating/exercising has forced me to hide these feelings, not fix them. One of my doctors suggested ritualistically counting calories as a way to get better…PLEASE. That was just about the worst idea ever. All the apps and websites for calorie counting are designed to help people lose weight, and some chastise you for going over a “calorie limit.” And now, I am more obsessed than ever with counting calories. But I’m glad that there are websites like yours that provide a healthy place for discussion about ED, because I’m sure everyone suffering from this terrible disorder could use some healthy sense of community. I know I do.
    Thank you again! 🙂

    • Hi Jamie!

      Thank you so much for your kind words about the blog–I’m so, so glad that you found me, and that you’re reaching out for help.

      I know how awful it can be to feel like no one understands–to feel like you have to hide from your family and friends, to feel like your doctors don’t even know what they’re talking about…And you’re absolutely right: those calorie counters and food logs are more trouble than they’re worth. They’re a good short-term tool for people who don’t understand and can’t control their relationship with food, but they’re the worst thing that can happen to someone who is already trying to control her food and body.

      More than anything, I hope that you keep reaching out to people who DO understand–I know what it’s like to lose 10+ years of your life (the ones that people call the “best years” for reasons that I’ll never get to experience now) to this disease, and I wish I had the ability to go back and try again. You’re at the beginning of your journey, and there are tools and maps and trustworthy guides out there that are capable of helping–it’s just a matter now of your staying on the path and not letting others’ negativity get you sidetracked.

      Since I’m still in the process of forging my own path, my resources are still few–but as I go, I’ll be posting links to more recovery blogs and tips and tools for success. As it is, I’d suggest maybe finding a 12-step program like OA or EDA, or even a therapist who specializes in eating disorders. Whatever you do, don’t try to go it alone. You need friendship and support–even if it’s just over the internet!

      I know I’m just a random person out in cyperspace, but please don’t ever hesitate to reach out for help. I’m here, and I know that there are others who will be there for you too.

      Good luck with everything!!!
      Best,
      K.

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