Rev. Kate J Meyer, LPC
Ed's Sneaky Return
*If you're a new subscriber, you might not know about Ed; for a full background of my relationship with Ed, start here.*
As some of you remember from the blog on the sizing of women's clothing, the next post was supposed to be Death to the BMI. I promise, that is still coming (as are a few book reviews), but Ed popped up his nasty little head and I feel the need to share.
Things are going well right now. My reader audience is growing little-by-little every day (thank you!), I'm making forward progress on the grief book, and I feel good. As of the last time I got on the scale I was still making progress there. My mental health is maintained--the Mental Health Mondays with Kate videos are just as helpful for me! I was blessed with the opportunity to update my fall wardrobe for my birthday and, for the first time in a LONG time, enjoyed the process of trying on pants. Again, things are going well.
I did not enter this post-bariatric surgery phase of life anticipating Ed to disappear entirely, as I know that most people have to fight a portion of their eating disorder to some degree for most of their life, yet, even still, I hoped that certain portions of mine were behind me. As of last night, I now know that unfortunately is not true.
Here are the factors I believe left me open to Ed's return. 1. I had a terrific workout about 2 weeks ago, during which I apparently pushed too hard because I ended up getting physically ill about 20 minutes later (everything takes longer post-surgery). I've been afraid to experiment with workouts since then and so have stuck to just walking the dog(s). 2. Removing the final pieces in my wardrobe that remained from pre-surgery and replacing those items in the new sizes. Yes, primarily those are wonderful experiences. Underneath it, though, is the unspoken commitment to myself to not go back. Not being able to guarantee success is scary 3. Travel and birthday. I chose a lot of treats during recent travel for Labor Day weened and my birthday. I CHOSE them. I do not feel guilt about those choices. Combined with #1 and upcoming #4, though, it adds up. 4. GI processes. Without getting too graphic (you're welcome), suffice it to say it is difficult to stay 'regular' due to the limited intake resulting from surgery. Despite what I do to manage that, I still have stretches of time when things just are not moving, which just leaves me feeling full and bloated. I believe it is the combination of those 4 factors that led to last night's return of Ed.
There I was, co-facilitating a group at my church, feeling very full from dinner and a bit in my head about the above factors. The group was going well. Then I looked down and saw my thighs, in my new 5-size-smaller-pants, and saw pre-surgery size. I panicked. Thanks to Ed, my thoughts spiraled quickly: "I'm gaining it all back. The tag on these pants is wrong. I'm just as large as I always was, etc." Genuine panic.
I'm going pause here for just a moment to speak something very important. Size does not make you a better or worse person. Health is what we need and healthy has a lot of different looks and sizes. I chose the path of surgery because I knew I was not healthy and increased risks were just around the corner for me if change didn't happen soon. Please know that this is post is only about my journey and what it all means from my lens. Do not take on my self-shaming thoughts as your own or as extended to anyone but me. Leave them here for me to kick to the curb.
Ok. Back to the panic. What was the panic about? I knew immediately. I worked hard. It took a lot of courage to choose gastric sleeve surgery, especially knowing the lifelong changes I am required to make if I want the results to last. Given the "yo-yo years" and the "nothing worked years" I'd experienced, I wasn't confident my body would let me succeed. But it did! For well over a year now I've had nothing but steady progress, physically speaking. The mental progress overall has been steady as well with only a few glitches, though none as disturbing or significant as last night.
For the first time since January 2020, I truly could not see the changes. Legitimately could not see them. Feel them, yes. See them? Nope. It was scary for a lot of reasons.
By the time the meeting ended, I had calmed myself some and when I got in my car, I had an audible chat with Ed. He snuck in and packed a punch. So I had to slap him back, big and hard. I made it very clear he remains unwelcome and not needed.
It was a difficult couple of hours. And, if I'm honest, I can look back over the week and see the buildup. It was challenging, yes; but I'm proud of myself for addressing it quickly. If you follow me on social media, you know the night ended very well as I took in a stunningly beautiful sunset.
And today I am happy to say I'm in a much better frame of mind. I'm even planning my return to exercise, though I'll wait until the weekend in case I do again get sick. I'm grateful to say, I've turned the corner and Ed is again silent.
If you are someone who engages fights with Ed, please know you are not alone. The stronger you get, the longer Ed disappears. Hold on to your tools so you do not need to fear Ed's return and are ready for the inevitable challenge. Hope is not lost when we know our enemy!
If you support someone who battles Ed, ask them how you can be supportive. Do they like to be asked routinely about their fight? What signs can you watch for? If they do not want to be asked, are they willing to commit to talking with someone when they feel something changing?
Ed is sly, sneaky, and tries to be relentless. But we have Someone greater on our side. Invite God in to your battle, whether against Ed or someone/something else, and then gather your crew, your people who you know you can safely turn to when things are ugly.
Winning doesn't mean never struggling. Winning means struggling and coming out on the other side, scars and all.
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