Posted by: innerpilgrimage | August 1, 2010

A Gentle Conversion

      It turns out that my scale is a lot smarter than I am.

      I have been relying on the BMI calculator to figure my health, and it turns out that I had it all in front of me the whole time, every time I stepped on the thing.
      My body fat ratio was still a little high when I last stepped on the scale, and my muscle mass is about 5% low for what should be normal for an average woman. This explains a lot in terms of why I was fitter last time I got to the mid-190s when I was in my 20s.
      So, instead of looking at the weight, itself, I’ve decided to focus on the more important numbers of lean muscle mass, body fat percentage, and water percentage. My goals are now to increase my muscle mass to 34% or higher, with 34% being the base normal for women. My body water percentage should be between 52% and 58%. For my age, my body fat percentage should be between 22% and 30%. So, that’s what I am going to be working toward in my physical recovery–a leaner body. I am going to start stepping on the scale bimonthly as of August 14. I will step on the scale on the 29th or 30th of each month thereafter gauging my three percentages. I am changing my food plan on October 14, after two months of observation to see if what I am doing to achieve a leaner body is affecting potential weight loss. I have decided to stay at 175 to 185 lbs., about 0.5 to 10 lbs. over the ideal weight measurement for my body frame (as a woman). I apparently used the men’s calculator, which put my ideal body weight at 194. While I do not understand how I am supposed to weigh so much less than a man when I am clearly supposed to have more fat and less lean muscle is beyond me (and understanding that I have a significantly larger body frame than most men I know), but whatever. It is what it is. I am where I want to be, in the middle of the range I want to be weight-wise.
      My mental recovery is going to require some effort, and I think the exercise will help. Instead of distracting myself with music or television, I am going to take the time to open up to my Higher Power and work on my broken messages. Questions I have to answer for myself are:

What is love and how do I express a healthy love for others?
What qualities make a person safe?
What qualities make a person unsafe?
What qualities make me a safe or unsafe person in any given situation?

      I realized that if I am to love, I need to practice being a safe person on a daily basis. That means I need to understand what to work toward, just as I worked toward abstinence by understanding my triggers. Just as I worked toward spiritual recovery by working the steps and learning how I communicate with my Higher Power (petition) and how it communicates with me (intuition). I had a breakthrough on the drive home about how my spiritual changes, and I had a really good insight from meeting based off of Landmark forum’s teachings. I had a National Novel Writing Month friend who introduced me to it in 2005, and today someone brought back one of the lessons that author tried to teach me. If we live in yesterday, then we bring yesterday forward with us. It resonated with me this time, because I realized that the many paths which brought me to today, and the many paths which could have brought me to today should not take my singular forward motion away. You know how the past and the present and the future seems to often be represented like a tree? Where the past is a single thick line, the present is the fulcrum point, and from that the future branches into a million possibilities? Well, the author taught me that I needed to consider the opposite to be true–the past is made up of many possibilities which built today, the present is still a fulcrum point, but the future is now the single thick line. There is inevitability in where I am going if I don’t release the strands of the past which brought me to the present. If I reach backwards and tug one of the strings to predict the future, then that’s the inevitable future I will have. BUT, I also have an inevitable future if I don’t reach backwards. I have a future of my own making, one released of the millions of possibilities which made up my past. Instead of having to decide where I am going, I live today. Today is not a fulcrum point any longer but the only source of the inevitable future. I make decisions from today, and tomorrow will be as it is. My inevitable future has many factors–some of which don’t involve my input. It’s as inevitable as my food plan, therefore I don’t have to live in tomorrow and I especially don’t have to live in yesterday. And releasing yesterday (as practiced by the Eighth and Ninth Steps) so I can live in today (as practiced by the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Steps) will allow me to enjoy the present for what it is.
      What a freeing concept, though I might not have gotten it quite correct. But what I connected has meaning to me. My whole goal is to live in today. I get 24 hours to live today to its fullest. This means I treat myself with respect and get enough rest, shower and wear clean clothes, eat healthy foods, exercise, and socialize. It does not matter that yesterday I was awkward or isolating. Today, I do not have to be. Today, I can choose to be the person I want to be and I can take action (footwork) to make it happen.
      So, I took from it that the fulcrum of today is actually not a fulcrum but the entire equation. The past cannot be changed. The future is only predictable if I choose to grab the past and draw it forward into today. Unfortunately, the predictions tend to be negative. Therefore, since I want to grow, I don’t need the diseased roots of my past being spliced onto my future.
      My spiritual recovery plan will be working the steps again, ending the stalling, and moving forward. My step work does not have to be perfect, but I need to do it. It’s time for me to talk to people who have done Eighth Steps and get mine done. Then comes to work of finding the people on that list and make amends. It does not have to be perfect. It just needs to be done for the past to stop strangling today. And my past is as restrictive as my food plan feels sometimes.
      I have a Higher Power that I am sometimes embarrassed to talk about as I do, because I wonder if it makes me sound like a loony zealot. Of course, that’s the ego, controlling, addict self wanting back in control of what’s been working to completely mess up the works. I do not know what in the Universe makes this work, but it works. I am drawn to places and people for purposes beyond my understanding. And when I personally choose to assert my will and ignore those callings, I stagnate. There is more to this Universe than can be divined by one, small human brain. So I guess considering this stuff is already part of the Universe, why should I store its backup? I need to innovate, to grow. I have a will to thrive, and I want it. I want to live, not just exist. I want to enjoy life. And for some reason, having a Higher Power does that for me.
      I will never convince some people that 12 Step programs are not cults. Hell, when I walked in the door desperate, I thought it was a cult. But . . . something changed. Then I changed. And trust me, this is not a cult. I’ve been in a cult. This is not a cult.
      I am free to believe as I wish, not as people tell me to. I have a Higher Power of my own choosing–just as others have Higher Powers of their own choosing. I am not forced to follow a food plan. I am not even forced to do the 12 Steps, though it is encouraged because it really helps. How am I supposed to release my addiction if I am sitting on the debris of that addicted life, unwilling to remove it? Well, the 12 Steps asks me to clean house and to trust that a source of unending willpower and strength (and even love) will be made available to me. Does it matter if I call it my Higher Power or not? And why should it matter? I’ve lost 100 lbs. in one year. With a Higher Power, I was able to get past whatever road block I had up. It worked for me. It might work for someone else, too. It may not work at all for a third person. This isn’t about whether it’s a cure-all for every person or not.
      Overeaters Anonymous is an option. If it works for someone like it has worked for me? Then that is amazing. That is wonderful. If it doesn’t work for another person? Well, there are other options and OA will be here if that other person wants to try again. No one is forcing anyone through the door. No one is going door to door trying to convert morbidly obese people to OA. And I am certainly not going to tell anyone that they “have to come to OA because every weight problem has a spiritual solution which can only be solved by the Twelve Steps!”
      No.
      My weight problem had a spiritual solution which is being solved by the Twelve Steps. It clearly was where I needed to be. Therapists, gym memberships, medication, diet shake plans, meal bar replacements, and international diet plan camps and memberships did not fix my eating disorder long-term. I’m 9 1/2 months abstinent. The international diet plan only worked for 3 months, and the minute I was out of camp and settled in with my grandparents, I binged behind a closed door on something I did not like and did not weigh, measure, or count on my food plan. Just like I binged the day before I was driven to camp.
      My name is Jess, and I am a food addict. I will admit this with humility and thankfulness instead of shame and fear. I say I am a food addict because I have a Higher Power I can turn to which taught me the ABC’s of my program: Awareness (brought on by surrendering to the desire to understand why I would ever choose to kill myself with food), Belief (in a Higher Power which I can turn to when I feel weak), Choice (to surrender to the love of a Higher Power or to submit to the addiction and compulsively eat).
      I don’t have to be a 12-Stepper. This is a choice, and I like who I am when I work a strong program. I like who I am a lot.

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