Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Break - Or, Finding my Own Nirvana

I once had a therapist, back when I was inpatient, who told me that if I wanted, I could take a "recovery break."  What she meant was that, since recovery and the pursuing of it can get so exhausting and demanding, every once in awhile, if one needs a break, you can simply take one, without guilt or worse - slipping back into old, eating disordered behaviors.  She told me that I could give myself a day, maybe two, to just...relax.  To not engage in ED behaviors, but to also not have to devote 90% of my brain power to all that recovery demands.  Taking a break is needed, I think, for everyone.  Think about how much you treasure your breaks at work, or those short breaks you get when your kids are napping or at school and you get just a minute to stop and relax and not have to think so much.

I need a break.
Big time.
So, I'm going to take a recovery break.

I'm not going to start restricting, or lapsing back to crappy behaviors, but I'm exhausted.  It would be so easy to just not care, because working toward recovery is so involved and time/brain consuming and sometimes it just gets...well...old.  Eating and breathing and wearing and sleeping and walking and thinking recovery always, all the time, is just getting to me.

And, really, what's mostly getting to me, is this intuitive eating thing. 
I hate it.
I can't do it.
I don't want to be hyper-aware of all my food thoughts and of my hunger/fullness and paying attention to every.damn.morsel I put in my mouth.  I don't want to put in the effort it requires. 
I'm just being honest. 
And no, I don't know for sure that I want to be on a mealplan for the rest of my life, but at least when I'm on a mealplan, I'm so used to it, that it's just easy and mindless and I can kind of eat and then move on.  But with how involved learning intuitive eating is, I can't do that.  I have to think about what I want to eat, and why.  And then I have to think about how the food tastes in my mouth, and how do I feel about that?  And then I have to gauge my hunger and fullness, and not just that - am I satisfied or not?  And then I have to evaluate how I feel after the meal...do I feel okay?  Guilty?  Upset?  Content? 
I want to eat what I need to maintain my weight and be healthy and have energy, and that's all I want to think about.  It really is.  And, with a mealplan, I can do that.

So I emailed my dietician, and told her that I am quitting intuitive eating, and that I am going back to my mealplan.  I told her I wanted to see her every other week, instead of every week, and that maybe in a few months we can reevaluate and see if I want to try getting back on the old intuitive eating horse.


So that's the plan.  A break.  I need a break.
And maybe it's not a break in the traditional sense.  Maybe, what it really comes down to, is that I don't like intuitive eating.  I know that everyone preaches about how it's the Nirvana every eating disordered person wants to reach, but really, do we all have to have the same recovery?  Do we all have to do it the same way?  I think not.  Maybe my recovery isn't going to involve intuitive eating, and I think I may be perfectly okay with that.


Liz said...

Intuitive eating really sounds exhausting, and recovery is exhausting. From what I have observed (through your blog) is that you've done a lot of hard work so you deserve a break.

Sarah @ Bearing, Eating, Being said...

Personally, I think this is FINE. I am not a dietician or psychologist but I do this sometimes! I am into a more intuitive eating way of living right now and don't usually measure/count/follow a meal plan, but every once in a while when I'm stressed out I just go back to it because it helps me to stay IN recovery. It's different than relapsing...it's showing my intent to STAY in recovery. I hear this in this post, so I hope your team allows you this break!

KC said...

100% agree! Recovery doesn't have to be synonymous with intuitive eating. It's different for everyone. :)

yogini said...

I don't post a lot, but this comment really hit home with me. I have been seriously struggling with this whole intuitive eating stuff for about a month now, and today I broke down in my therapists office because it is just too much for me now. She tried telling me how "cool" it is I am even at the point of working on intuitive eating ... but I wasn't having it. I think my little tantrum in her office made her realize it might not be quite time for me yet ... so, I am doing what you are doing. Going back to the meal plan that I have ingrained in my head and that I don't have to think too much about. It keeps me healthy, and it is my normal, so it's all good.
I don't really see it is a "break" from recovery - it is just doing what I need to do to keep me safe right now. Intuitive eating left too much room for ED thoughts to come back right now, and I needed to be able to live my life in a healthy way.
Anyway - just wanted to let you know I get it ... and I don't think there is anything wrong with what you are doing. It's okay to want to breathe and live your life for a while. I am actually pretty proud of you!

brie said...

So glad you all understand...
I am nervous ppl will take this post as me not wanting or doing recovery, but that's not it at all. Maybe my path will just be different, is all...

KC said...

Last year I made a really comprehensive plan of how I was going to eat, and when I brought it to my new tx, I thought she was going to flip. It definitely wouldn't have been cfc-approved, if you know what I mean. But I do well with rules, so I wanted to make them work FOR me in my eating rather than against me. To my surprise she was supportive and doesn't mind all the guidelines I've come up with because they seem to be working for me and keeping me healthy. They are something I can get behind and believe in. It may not be intuitive eating, but it isn't causing any problem and in fact things are much better...so I'm all for finding your own way.

Laura said...

I think this is an awesome move. 1) It shows self-awreness; 2) it allows you to respond to your needs without restricting; 3) it shows self-compasion and.... all and all... it's just really darn reasonable!

and - just an fyi - I have gone taken an IE break and gone back to the MP a ton. haven't done it in a while and don't feel the need to b/c, I promise you, eventually, IE doesn't require so much energy.... and when you get there you'll know it. I share my experience with this to tell you that taking a break from IE does NOT mean that you will never learn to IE. It means your pacing yourself and responding to where you're at. ACTUALLY - i forgot - i had one day last week where I did the meal plan for a day. And i'm cool with that. I'm lucky that I have that to fall back on if I want. I had felt like I was being a little "indulgent" with the food lately and it made me feel like I wanted to skip breakfast and I was like WOAH THERE RED FLAG AAAAHHH! So I just went on the meal plan for that day. and I felt refreshed and taken care of... and that was what I needed for that one day.

So anyway... I think you're great!

Missy said...

i actually read so much "strength" in this post, Brie. i think it shows how far you have come more than anything else.

i often say "Recovery is what happens when your busy doing life."
you know what i mean?

(Hi! de-lurking but have been a long time reader. i thought about commenting more when i read your blog entry about shifting gears away from writing about the ED but i've been shy and since i still struggle i was not sure if i should even. i cringe now to realize here i am commenting on a post about ED BUT i was really moved to write what i did.)

CH said...

I totally support this "break"... even though I don't think it's really a break! It seems you're still 100% devoted to recovery, just taking a breather from intuitive eating - that's so okay.

Maybe a bit of a drastic comparison.. but let's say you had another illness, not an eating disorder. If one type of treatment or recovery method isn't working, they try something else. If IE isn't working for you right now, so what - take your break, do your thing, and come back to it when you feel more ready.

I think it's totally fine to do what you need to do to stay in a healthy place in recovery. :)