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Trigger warning: Discussion of calorie counting in order to eat enough food to meet daily caloric requirements.
Six weeks in, I’ve started to notice a lot of small things. Like, my fingernails have stopped breaking. School started for me this week, and I have to walk half a mile and up and down three flights of stairs to get from my first class to my second. I was able to do that this week without any problem. I drink less diet soda, not because I don’t love it anymore (because I do), but because my body doesn’t need as much caffeine as it used to in order to keep going until the end of the day.
I’ve had one unexpected problem. I’m so used to crashing at 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon, that I forgot what it felt like to just be normal tired at bedtime. I have to make myself go to bed on time. Once I’m laying down, I fall asleep without a problem. The quality of my tired is just very different. Instead of feeling like I’ll die if I don’t lay down at 8 p.m., I still have some energy left at midnight.
Edema was such a regular problem for me that all of my shoes are wide width. Some of them don’t fit me anymore, because my feet are no longer swollen. My legs aren’t swollen anymore, either. No more deep pits if I press a finger into my shin. My hands look and feel different to me too for the same reason. I’m sure I’ve lost edema from wherever I had it, but my hands, feet and legs are where I notice it the most.
Six weeks ago, I was in nearly constant 4- or 5-, sometimes 6-level pain. Sometimes even worse. My neck and shoulders were stiff. My back hurt so badly that it was hard for me to get out of bed in the morning or up from a sitting position if I didn’t have arm rests. My feet hurt, my head hurt. I was taking painkillers daily. I’m so happy to report that most of my pain is gone. One of my shoulders still feels a little stiff and I can still feel my lower back, but maybe a 2-level of pain and not constant. I haven’t had a headache in weeks.
A side effect of the reduced pain in my back and shoulders is that my posture is better.
I’m less cranky.
The part of HAES that has always eluded me is the part that says if you allow yourself to eat what you want, the urge to binge on “bad” foods will disappear. I would eat ALL the Resse’s Peanut Butter Cups, then decide they wouldn’t be allowed in my house again. Until the next time they were, and then wash, rinse, repeat. For the first time in a long time, like since I was in the third grade, I feel zero guilt about eating. I eat what I want, when I want it, and until I don’t want to eat it anymore. The idea that I can literally eat anything I want, and as much of it as I want, and truly believing that, has finally taken root.
I’m cultivating this rebel attitude that I kind of love. I’m over being a good fatty. I’m over being able to hold up “I only eat 1,800 calories a day” and my 125 cholesterol as banners of my virtue. Fuck that. I eat what my body needs to not just function but THRIVE. A happy little side effect of having a thriving body is that the size of it stops mattering. The amount of space my wonderful, thriving body takes up has started to feel like the amount of space it deserves.
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