I had a really great session with the dietician yesterday. I’ve gained weight in the last two weeks (though not really enough, but I have been trying to sticking to my calories for the past like two weeks so she’s not worried about it). She’s going to give me a new meal plan based on exchanges rather than calories to get me to hopefully spread out my calories throughout the day more and to get me away from counting so much. I really hate counting calories and I’m hoping that shaking up the plan a little will be the push I need to get out of that loop. I’m going to start by not counting before meals – only after them. Then I’m going to only add up at the end of the day to make sure I’m eating enough, then hopefully stop all together. We’ll see. Anyway – she was super pleased with my progress and thinks I’m doing really well. Therapy was horrible though – this week we were focusing on my beliefs about why other people are better than me. This was so so hard for me and just made me sad. Hopefully it’ll be useful in the long run. Therapy makes me focus on the things which aren’t progressing. My eating and weight are improving, but my mental state is kind of disastrous and seems to be degrading by the day. As the therapist says “You are doing well in some aspects, but not so well in others.” It really bums me out. Plus I asked him if it’ll get nice if I keep trying – keeping eating and keep pushing myself in therapy. He said that is the point of it and if I try it will get better, but that will probably take years. Not so good.
But on to the important news. I asked the dietician whether or not I could exercise yet, even though my bmi is still below the healthy range. In my EDU they generally don’t advise exercise till you hit a bmi of 18.5, but because she feels I am doing really well and my bmi isn’t too far off that anymore, I am now allowed to run! For 30 minutes once a week I am allowed to run! This is on top of my twice a week yoga, so I’m now allowed three exercises a week. Yoga is great but it doesn’t feel like real exercise. It doesn’t get the heart racing in the same way. But now, I can run (as long as I eat an extra 150-200kcals).
So today, for the first time in six months, I ran! My route wasn’t perfect as I’m in slightly better condition than I thought I would be so only ran for 25 minutes, but next week I’ll increase the distance to get a perfect 30 minutes down. This is the first proper exercise I’ve done since May and I loved it. It was cold, but sunny, and I got to run through the forest with my iPod on with all the chilly air cooling me down as I kept up an alright pace to the rhythm of the music. I had to stop a few times as I’m completely out of practise, but it was just really nice. Running gets me out of my head for a while and I just enjoy the monotonous action of it. It’s hard to describe but basically it’s like a moments calm. I could feel my heart pumping and I was just appreciating what my body can do after so long. The endorphins gave me such a rush. I really love exercise.
But I have to be careful. Anyone with a bmi of under 18.5 has to be really careful about exercise because it puts a strain on the body and you should really be gaining weight so eating to gain and cover the exercise. Exercise without eating to cover the calories burnt can really suppress your metabolism if you are already at a low weight. For people with a bmi of 18.5-25 (though probably more like 20-25 as only like 2% of the population are a healthy weight under a bmi of 20) if you eat less than that or exercise without adding calories on top of that, your metabolism is pretty suppressed. I know some people disagree, but I think bmi is a pretty good measure of how healthy your body weight is, so having a bmi of 20+ puts the vast majority population in the best position for general health and keeps the body happy. And as most women don’t have regular periods until they reach that weight range, it’s pretty crucial to stay within it. In fact, it’s more dangerous to be underweight than it is to be an “overweight” bmi. In fact I think that’s its biggest failing – if you are technically overweight, chances are your still pretty healthy. Basically bmi if fat-phobic, but pretty a pretty useful measure if you’re at a low body weight.. Sorry if you know this, I’m just explaining a little for those that might not.
I have to be extra careful with exercise though. Back in May, I was exercising 5/6 days a week, for hours on end – either 2 hours on the exercise bike and a big walk or four hours doing classes at the gym with some weights and cardio training if there weren’t enough classes. Basically, I was a bit of an addict and I used it as a way to control my weight. Burn more calories than you eat and it’s all ok. Everyone but me knew it was a problem. The people at the gym thought I was strange, my personal trainer instructed me to gain weight, my yoga instructor was always telling me I was too small and needed more weight, the other instructors must have thought I was obsessive – doing class after class with a bmi of 15. My family begged me to stop or at least cut back. I thought it was normal and healthy. I must have looked like a freak – basically skeletal and working out for hours on end. I thought it was the healthy thing to do. Looking back, I was being an idiot. No one exercises that much. No one healthy anyway. 5 hours a week is really a lot of anyone who isn’t an athlete or in training. I was averaging 18 at least.
I still have problems with compulsive exercise as well. It’s nowhere near that level now though, but I still have to walk for at least 45 minutes a day, I do some light yoga everyday and do 2 classes a week. I cannot stay home all day in my pyjamas like I wish I could as I just feel so guilty and fat. I have to do some physical activity else I get so anxious and angry and hate myself. I feel weak and lazy. I feel like I don’t have a choice in it and although my exercise levels aren’t high, my attitude is still really messy. It is entirely compulsive.
So the boy is terrified that this new running allowance is going to get quickly out of hand. He’s watching me like a hawk right now, hoping that I can keep this under control. I really hope I can. I love running and really want to run more, but I need to prove that I can handle this much and still gain weight and not go overboard. Especially as the level of exercise I asked for was flatly denied (I was hoping for 3 half hour runs a week and 2 martial arts classes on top of my 2 yoga classes – the dietician was very clear that this is way too much for right now. 3 sessions a week, 2 of which are incredibly low intensity if fine). I need to prove that I can deal with this – both for others and myself. Exercise should be fun and without the use of moderation, it quickly spirals into guilt and shame. I’ve done this, and to some extent still live with the impact of this everyday. So I’m not going to push myself too hard, I’m not going to try to increase my speed or distance too much and I am not going to use this as an excuse to keep my weight down. I’m just going to run a short distance at a medium intensity and eat a few hundred extra calories with my breakfast afterwards. That’s the plan at least.
In other news, I saw Hamlet at the Young Vic with Michael Sheen. It’s set in a mental institute which I thought was pretty apt for me right now, plus watching someone go crazy is highly entertaining and pretty introspective for me right now. I love Shakespeare and I have got to say, it really made me notice how much improvement I’ve made cognitively. I could follow the entire play, engaged with it and really enjoyed it. Plus the Young Vic is lovely. It was brilliant. Hamlet is such an aces play.
Also, I’ve been feeling quite low lately. I feel like I’ve been abandoned by a lot of people. This maybe really unfair, but I feel as if most people don’t really get that I am going through the worst time in my life right now and feel like my whole world is changing and spiralling away from me. It’s so overwhelming, but I feel like no one is really noticing or acknowledges just how difficult this all is. Selfish I know, but I feel like everyone thinks this is no big deal and I’m totally ok and doing great. I know I push people away, but I still care about them and hope they care about me too. It’s even with my family – no one acknowledges that this is really really tough. I want to know people still care. The boy and Samani have been really great though – Samani especially because she lent me jogging bottoms and brought me moustache paper clips and pesters me until I see her and speak to her and now I’m actually pretty comfortable with talking to her. I miss people but they scare me. This is entirely selfish but I just want to know if other people care too. Where have all my friends gone? :(.
So I spoke to the mama about it and she is instigating a treats system where she choses things that I like and gets me to do them with her – just because I’m trying really hard and it’s rubbish but I’m working my arse off and it needs to be acknowledged and even celebrated. So on Saturday, she took me and the boy and Samani and the brother and the brother’s girlfriend on a Jack the Ripper Ghost Walk in Whitechapel! The boy managed to get most of them drunk on gin (the East End drink of choice) and laughed at us for being cockney (he’s a Yorkshire boy). It was so fun and silly and we walked for hours and our tour guide was hilariously pissed and it was really really funny. It also made me realise just how lovely Whitechapel is. A lot recently I’ve been appreciating just how much I love London. It’s so beautiful in the autumn – in all it’s disheveled glory. I go to Whitechapel a lot but never really look at it. It’s got so much history and is just really really nice. London is fantastic. I don’t notice how great it is enough. I got pride for my city.
So this has been going on and on and on so I will stop now.
So for now, Wednesdays are Run days. Needless to say, I really want to run again tomorrow. I won’t, but I have to keep this in check.