Today marks one year since the last time I did cardio exercise.
Now, yes, I walked 16 miles a day while in Italy. And yes, there have been some times where I have been active enough to get my heart rate up that one could consider it aerobic. But as for going out with the intention of doing cardio exercise? I have abstained for a full 365 days, and I am incredibly proud of that. I remember the day I first started thinking about the possibility of taking a break from cardio. Not like a “while I was in treatment and they made me take a break” break, but a real break. One that I was really doing for myself, that no doctor or therapist was holding me to. One that I was doing because I believed it was what was best for my body, and for my mind. I’d just finished reading Decoding Anorexia for the first time. I’ve read it enough times since then to feel like I know it like the back of my hand. I was shocked by the studies that had proven how effective abstaining from any cardio exercise whatsoever was for someone in recovery, especially when there had been an exercise addiction component. It was so clear in the science, that someone in recovery needed more than just the bare minimum of a couple of weeks, or even months off from exercising their body in order for it to fully heal, and especially to avoid relapse. A year was used time and time again to show that enough time had gone by, that the patient could begin reintegrating exercise back into their life and do it in a healthy way. I remember reading that and thinking, “Okay. That’s it. That’s what I want. A healthy relationship with exercise. So I guess it’s gonna be a year.”
And it was a long year. It was a long year, but at the same time, it went by fast. So much has happened that I can’t believe it’s really been twelve months. I hated my decision at times, I resented it, and I was often jealous and frustrated of my friends that were doing things I wanted to do: going to workout classes together, training for a marathon, going on a hike, doing a mud run. But even on the worst days, when I cried on the phone to my mom because I just felt so awful and wanted to go for a run more than anything, I never questioned it. I knew that it was the right decision for me, and I was determined to stick it out. I think for a long time, this year of no cardio will be up there with my proudest accomplishments.
If you’re wondering if I’ll be going for a run today, the answer is no. Would I like to?
HECK to the YES.
But I’m not. I’m not going to rush into it just because it’s been a year, when I’m not at my goal weight yet. I don’t think that would be very good in principle. But it is a heck of a lot of motivation for me in my eating to know that the second I am at my goal weight, I’ve done my time and can begin to slowly reintegrate cardiovascular fitness back into my life.
Okay, but aside from cardio…I’ve had quite a few victories the past few days. And surprisingly, I still feel pretty darn great.
-On Wednesday night, I went to look at lights with some family friends. We had decided to get dinner at the food carts, and I got a bratwurst! The man (chef) asked if I wanted him to make it with oil or with butter, but said that the butter tasted a heck of a lot better. And I said he could use the butter!!! I will say, it did taste pretty good. As my mom would say, “Everything’s better with butter!”
-On Christmas morning, my mom made crêpes for breakfast. I ate them. Not one, not two, not even three. I ate four crêpes (topped with butter, lemon, and powdered sugar). And the E.D. just had to deal with it.
-Later that morning, Brad and I went over to my Dad’s house. I didn’t know what was going to be there for lunch, but had decided I was going to try to be flexible. Worst case scenario, I knew they’d have stuff I could make a sandwich with. His wife had made sliders, which were made up of roast beef, mayonnaise, oil, swiss cheese, and dinner rolls. Not a single food in that list is not a fear food of mine. I had them anyway.
-The morning after Christmas, I was headed out to the mall and told my mom I was craving a Jamba Juice. I then went and got one, and I did not choose one based on the number of calories it contained. I picked the one that sounded the best (which happened to have more calories than my usual and “safe” option). It was the “Mega Mango” and it was delicious.
-That SAME day, I was coming back from the mountain with my Dad and step-brothers and Bradley in the afternoon (I didn’t ski or board, just read and looked at the snow), when my dad said they were going to stop at Dairy Queen. I’d already had my afternoon snack of an Almond & Coconut KIND bar and an ounce of nuts, but thought, “Heck, I’m trying to put on weight anyway. I’m going to get a Blizzard!” and ordered one! It was Heath and I really enjoyed it. I don’t think I’d had a Blizzard in at least five years.
-Yesterday morning, my mom and I went to Grand Central Bakery and I got a blueberry scone and cappuccino. E.D. wanted me to choose a much smaller pastry and order the cappuccino nonfat, but I pretended I was in Italy and just ordered them the way they were. Both were delicious.
So yes, you could say it’s been a successful week. Oh, and did I mention? I got the stomach flu on Thursday night! Both Friday and Saturday I was out cold (actually I was hot, sweating up a storm!), hardly eating (obviously not helping my case) and throwing up (luckily only once). That obviously could’ve set me back, but I’ve been rallying and working extra hard to make sure I’ve made up anything I could’ve lost over those two days.
On another side note, I’m having surgery on my hand/wrist this afternoon for carpal tunnel (I know, crazy at my age, right? I think so, too). Because of that, I’m not thinking I’ll be able to blog or do much typing for a while, so it will probably be a few weeks before there’s another post.
All things considered, I’m so thankful for mine and my family’s health, and for all of my friends. I’m thankful that our Savior was born in a manger and that God sent Him to live on Earth so that we could be forgiven. Thank you to everyone who reads this blog, and I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and have a happy New Year!