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LS,
I am so excited!!! Finally you have a REAL meal plan! This one sounds like it's definitely going to be a challenge for you, and that's the way it should be at first. You can't ease into it though. If the plan calls for more fat, then go ahead and add that in. You're not going to reach a point where you're all of the sudden okay with eating it, so just do it. Does the dietitian make you eat all of the food they serve you? When I was in treatment, they sat at the table with us and made sure no one was hiding any food or anything, and after we ate, we had to show them our tray and let them see that we actually ate all the food. If you didn't eat all the food, you had to supplement with an Ensure or Boost to make up for the missed calories. We did that same thing with both meals and both snacks.

The group therapy was a huge help for me, and I'm sure it will be for you too. Basically my entire day there was groups. We had a "focus" group after the meals so that people could talk about how they felt before, during, and after eating. We had 4 other groups besides the focus groups. It was really nice to be in those groups and listen to other people talk about having pretty much the exact same issues that I was having. It's amazing how much you have in common with other people who have ed's. You'll have to let me know what you think about everything after you've spent some more time there.

As far as comparing yourself to the other girls, you're just gonna have to try not to do it. For one thing, you are not seeing yourself the way others see you. Some of the other girls may be thinner than you, but I would guess that whether they are or not, you will still think you are bigger than them. I swore that the other girls at the center were all way smaller than me, and then I found out that each one of them thought the same thing about me and everyone else around them. When I saw the other girls, I thought, "what the heck am I doing here, these girls look sickly and I don't look anything like that". Then some of the girls told me how sickly I looked to them. I could never see that about myself, but clearly other people do. And I'm sure you will never see that about yourself either, it's all just part of that whole "distorted body image" thing.

I am pretty disappointed that they didn't start you in a more rigorous program to begin your treatment. I tried and tried to talk my Dr. into letting me do IOP at the beginning, but she said no way, that it wouldn't do me any good. She actually wanted me to do inpatient to start with, but agreed to let me do partial hospitalization since I have 3 kids at home. I found out she was totally right about the IOP thing, I didn't go to that until week 4, and once I did I immediately started slipping. It's just so easy to make excuses to not completely follow your meal plan when you're left to do it without their supervision. I'm worried about that being a problem for you, that's why I said that about just going ahead and adding in the fat to begin with instead of trying to do it gradually. Hopefully you'll do much better than I did in IOP. I'll be here to offer encouragement whenever you need it.

Let me know how it's going, k?

Talk to ya soon,
Dawg
Pinstriped- I am so happy to hear that you gained five pounds and I alos LOVE your guy friends - keep them around! They are so brave for telling you straight up that you need to gain weight. See! That proves that your body image is distorted...if other people literally think you need to put on TWENTY pounds, then there is no way that you are overweight or even NORMAL - you are obviously underweight! I know it's hard for you to grasp (and it probably will be until you reach a normal weight and a normal mentality), but you just have to trust everyone around you that is telling you that you need to gain weight.

Today I saw one of my old friends' dad at a Mexican restaurant and I went up and said hi. He's a really nice guy and we had a great conversation and at the end of it he sort of looked me up and down and said "wow, you look great, Lauren" and I just said "thanks" and left it at that. But after I walked away Ed was ON FIRE!! He was telling me how I obviously don't need to gain weight, how other people think I look great, how I'm healthy and don't need to eat my meal plan, etc etc, but thankfully I had just come from IOP so I was very strong. I was able to combat what he was saying with healthy thoughts and I don't feel bad about myself one BIT tonight. I'm so proud!

IOP was really hard for me today, though, because I was feeling so bad about dinner and everything last night. I almost didn't even go b/c I felt like I didn't "need" to and gaining weight was completely unnecessary. I made a huge mistake and decided to restric this morning (I'm sorry if this is triggering to anyone). I had some raisins when I woke up and then went to the gym and ran 30 minutes. Then I had some coffee with nf milk and that was basically all I had until I went to IOP and had our mandatory snack at 3:30 - a granola bar and a bottle of juice. I know that I was letting ED dictate what I was doing and I shouldn't have listened to him, but I was feeling really weak and had no positive reinforcement. After IOP I had a family session with my parents and my younger brother and that is where things took a turn. It was our first family therapy session and I realized a lot more how much this ED affects everyone else that is close to me. The most heart-wrenching part of the session was when my younger brother (practically an older brother - he's 20 and 6'4") started talking about my ED and me and started crying. This is SO unlike him b/c he is very unemotional and strong and I barely ever see him cry. So to see him so affected by something I am doing to myself was so incredible. He sees me as so much stronger and more accomplished than I see myself. I see myself as aimless, unaccomplished, misguided, and confused. But he sess me as strong, together, smart, and aggressive. I guess maybe I've been seeing myself through EDs eyes in more ways than just one!!

Anyway, I'm back to my super-motivated recovery mindset and I'm hoping it will stick around. I STILL don't feel like I am underweight, but I guess I just have to accept that I will never really feel that. I just have to push through it and keep eating!

How is everyone else doing? Sunshine? Joni? Did you look into the church group? Dawg, have you started your job yet? I'm so excited for you.

Talk to you girls soon!
LS
Hey Jo,
Thanks for the reality check. I'm still having a REALLY hard day with everything. Why? Well, here is a list of the reasons.
a) I've been eating "normally" and following my meal plan
b) I'm not going to the gym.
c) I look in the mirror and, yeah, I am thin - but I swear to g*d I am normal thin. This isn't a distorted view here...
and I guess there is no d).
I am about to go to IOP so I will bring these thoughts up in group, but I just have this urge to say "why the he** am I being forced to gain weight? Just because I'm not fat? I feel perfectly fine now and I can go out and eat normally...at least that's how I feel right now. I know that is premature and I would fail if I quit IOP at this point b/c I know I'd fall right back into ED's trap, but I just feel so FINE. And I LOOK so fine, too. I almost wish you could see a picture of me and then I think you'd be like "Oh, nevermind - you are fine, sweetie!!"
I am scared of where my "set point" is. What if I just keep going up and up and up and up and up and find out that my set point is 180 or something ridiculous!? I have an interesting question - what percentage of recovered anorexics are overweight? I could see it going both ways - either they are still somewhat concerned about their weight so they are normal or on the thin side. Or they have completely surrendered their ED and they are overweight now and loving life. I am just curious what happens most often. Anyone know?

Sorry for the negative post. I am just so confused right now b/c one day I am totally motivated...yay recovery! But then the next day I see myself as any Joe Shmo on the street - healthy, full, and happy. Do I really need to be in this program? I don't think I should be gaining weight -honestly.

Oh and by the way, Joni - I am SO happy to hear that you have put on another (miniscule) amount of weight - haha. At least you don't eat your meal plan for ONE MEASELY little day and put on 2 lbs. I've been at it a fraction of how long you've been at it and we're almost the same weight already. I'm so frustrated.
But I know what you mean about feeling good about not looking "scary" skinny like you did before. That is a really self-conscious feeling and you get a lot of "ew" looks on the street (whether you notice it or not). I do it to other people, too, so I know it happens.
Anyway,. keep on trekkin. How is the cake situation going? If you don't want cake, DON'T EAT IT. But if you do, then great! Honestly, the worst thing you could do is eat or not eat to please other people. Listen to JONI. That is what this recovery process is all about. Listening to what you really want and need and not judging yourself.

XO!
LS





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