This whole Eradicating Ed endurance hasn’t been a byproduct of my Solo Sojourn.
You see, this trip was planned as my own self-enforced rehab. Countless counselling and psychologist sessions in the past – although unbelievably interesting and fantastic opportunities to vent – did nothing to help me fight ED. I ended up giving up going to any the last few years; I may have needed to stop my self destructive thoughts and behaviours, but I didn’t want to. And if I didn’t want to, the therapy was pretty pointless.
So this trip was my bid to change. Throwing myself in situations where I have no choice but to eat foods that I’d long ago categorised as “forbidden”. Engaging in gruelling exercise for hours a day and needing fuelling to do so again the following and the one after that. I didn’t tell anyone my underlying quest except my best friend Abbey; a few weeks before I left she told me that when I got back she and I were going to sort me the fuck out. I told her I was hoping to do just that whilst away.
India was first to get me to stop and confront all the shit that I shunted out of my consciousness day after day. Hours practicing yoga and tuning in to myself meant the inability to run from it all. It also set the rhythms of eating three meals a day; regardless of the size, it was getting me into a regular routine and starting to recognise hunger cues again.
Nepal was the real mother equivalent of an addict’s cold turkey. 100km, ascending to 5584m; you can’t do that on cabbage and carrot for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Day one of veges-only rendered my body so knackered and depleted, it hit home that if I was to bust to Base Camp I needed to completely counteract ED and consume some serious calories. This was where it got interesting; in the game of ED’s good grip versus Pop’s staunch stubborness to succeed, who would win out?
Enter copious cups of masala chai; milky tea complete with spoonfuls of sugar. (Mary Popp(y)ins or what?). Yesterday lunchtime I ate one of Sarah’s vegetable momo’s. Tonight for dinner I ordered momo’s for myself. (?!?!?!). And when she proffered me half her museli bar during a break today? After an initial hesitancy, I ate it.
It’s not smooth sailing. Not in the slightest. Immediately afterwards I wrestle with immense guilt. Lying in bed at night I’m racked with it. My mind flits away to add up my calorie intake versus the strenuous striding to see how much it cancels out the consumed. I usually manage to catch myself and turn my mind away, but sometimes I don’t in time and I lie wallowing for a fair while.
But slowly, incrementally, initial reactions are changing to go against ED. After our two-hour incline today, we were talking about how we found it and Josh remarked, “I knew you’d be sweet, you’ve only got to carry 50kg up with your body and bag combined.” I said about how I’m not so hot at hills, and he said, “But you’ve got big calves. Big and muscly, they’re so strong.”
Usually the word “big” in relation to anything to do with my outer physical appearance would turn me into a tizz. But instead? I beamed with pride. Why yes I do have mighty calf muscles; they bulge and they are big. “Thank you Josh,” I said. And I actually meant it. Big calf muscles mean I’m fit, strong and can tackle the tiresome tracks with far more ease than if I had twiggy ones.
I didn’t at all plan to share all of this. My blog was just going to be a “Today’s Travels” account. I’m actually quite astounded in how completely open I’ve been. Going from lying to everyone and hiding my eating issues to disclosing my innermost turmoils is pretty fucking massive. I’m still not sure I’m overly Ok with it all.
But tomorrow marks hitting 24. I’m a big believer in milestones like birthdays and New Years being the chance for fresh starts. New beginnings. Or to be completely cliche, the whole “new leaf” shebang. So entering the next year of my life? 24 will be the age where I put all the stepping stones of the last five weeks in a concrete pathway forward for the rest of my life. May still hold a fair few potholes, but I’m putting plans into motion of filling the fuck out of them with cement.