Thursday, 11 June 2009

Seeking Structure. Also a rant on Motivation VS Criticism.

I think I need to find a new plan to follow. At least until I can devise my own.

It's not that I've been doing badly, it's just that I seem to work better than I have a firm structured plan to follow. Something that is precise and exact and won't bend or sway just because I want it to. It's all well and good setting a calorie-specific goal for myself, but I need a plan, not just a take-it-as-it-comes lifestyle.

I dunno. Back when I first did the ABC diet... I'll admit there were a few days when I went over. But overall I lost quite a bit of weight. I think I dropped 6lbs or something in the first week. Which isn't exorbitant to any stretch of the imagination, but damnit it was something, it was good.

I originally backed away from ABC in favour of a more personal diet plan with a friend. Then, we were both busy with personal things and fell out of contact for a while. K and I have resumed our textual relationship now, and she mentioned today she's going back on ABC. And I'm tempted to join her.

At the time, ABC seemed almost too harsh and restricting, and I dreaded the fast days. In retrospect, I think I panicked over nothing. The restricting was kind of the entire point of it and I think after a while I lost sight of that. The enforced fast days were dreaded because they always fell on days when I just couldn't bring myself to do it; wheras on more than one 500 day I went by on 12 calories instead.

What I need to remember is that, while the calorie caps are firm and not to be fucked with, I can still change off the fast days if it's just not going to happen. I'd rather switch out a fast day and do it a couple of days later, than cheat and just not do it at all.

I found, though, that the ABC community we were a part of, had a very harsh and vindictive side to them that I wasn't expecting. That is not to say, by any means, that everyone on an ABC or ED community is like that. The wonderful people far outnumbered the random bitches. But, as we all know, the bad affects us more than the good does. One bad experience will sit in your mind heavier than ten good ones.

One day of weight gain makes you obsessive and moody and upset even if it's preceded and followed by ten days of straight losses.

Nobody was negative directly to me, but some of the comments being thrown around at others really did get to me. I just couldn't wrap my head around the idea that, the very same people who flooded into these communities for support and understanding, were turning around and insulting and criticizing other people who had done the same. And for the stupidest reasons. If someone hadn't been severely underweight, some people would tell them they were wannarexics and should fuck off elsewhere. These very same people who sought out a community of people in the same situation as them, couldn't find it in them to realize that not every eating disordered woman is a 68lb waif. The disorders are far much more mental, emotional, and psycholigical than physical.

Or, if someone couldn't handle their fast day and had 25 calories, they were told that they should just start over because they had failed.

Like I said, the encouraging comments were much more abundant, but when one person is calling you a fat fuckup, it doesn't matter much what the other 20 are saying. That one negative voice sounds louder and louder than the others, echoes around your head and in your mind and destroys the way you feel for longer than you'd think, longer than you'd like to let it.

All of this is to say, I'm wary of getting back into the ABC diet. Even though I don't have any intention of getting into any forums or communities, my plan is to stay right here, there's still that stigma attached to the ABC plan for me now. And I think a part of me will always associate it with hypocrisy and vindictive, unnecessary cruelty.

Let me say right now that I know some people out there might say "the negative comments are encouragement too!" and I would be lying if I said I didn't understand where you were coming from. On the one hand, it's wrong to call somebody a fuck up, especially to someone who firmly believes that she IS one. On the other hand, can it really do much help to someone by telling them it's okay to eat as much fatty food as they want?

But really, at the end of the day, I think positive encouragement is less damaging than negative criticism. What girls in this community want are people who understand the fact that people fuck up from time to time. But fucking up once or twice, or a dozen times does not make YOU a fuck-up! We all do it. This lifestyle is not a choice, but it IS a struggle. We struggle with what we want and what we need. And sometimes those things don't always fall into line.

I guess this post has kind of come off the rails. Rather than just being about my desire for a structured plan to follow, it's turned into a tirade, and for that I apologise. I just think it's important for me to get this out, because I think what I have to say *is* important, even though you might not.

The message I guess I'm trying to get across is that people in the Eating Disordered community have enough negativity in themselves already. They don't need someone else calling them a failure and a fuck up, because the truth is that inside they're already berating themselves and thinking far worse things about themselves.

The best thing you can do when you hear or read that someone did something they shouldn't** have done - whether that be bingeing and purging, going over their calorie cap, skipping a day at the gym, or even just eating that piece of cake that was shoved in their face - is to tell them that it's okay. That they can move past it and do better, and that one setback is not going to run their goals and their progress. And not to tell them how badly they've done and that it's not okay and they're a failure.

Because you know what? Calling somebody a fat failure of a fuckup? You're just reinforcing what they probably already think of themselves. And if a person keeps hearing over and over again that they are a fat failure of a fuckup, there's always that chance that they'll give up. They'll ask what the point is, if they keep failing anyway.

And then you will have helped that girl to be the thing she fears the most.

But if you tell her she's strong and beautiful and fully capable of reaching her goals? Maybe, just maybe, she'll start to believe in it. To believe in herself. To stop looking in the mirror and seeing a ghastly, ugly face staring back. Maybe she'll realize that she *can* do it, that she isn't alone, and we can do it together.

And then... Well, then you will have helped that girl to be everything she's always dreamed.

Stay beautiful, my strong, skinny darlings,
Vee xox

** - "shouldn't" is, in this case, entirely subjective. I'm talking "shouldn't" as in from that person's point of view, and not what you, or the community, or the general public think they "shouldn't have done". I just wanted to clarify this point.

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