Thursday, June 16, 2011

In the Desert

Hello :) Hope you're having a beautiful Thursday. Yesterday, I arrived in the wonderful (albeit HOT) and sunny state of Arizona. I woke up very early this morning and took a walk to look around and stop at the grocery store, and thought I'd share some of my thoughts from that walk.

Being a mid-westerner at heart, I tend to embrace the summer thunderstorms booming as I fall asleep, detest the humidity, and revel in the sunshine. Out here in the "desert," though, it's different. The muggy, rainy environment I am accustomed to is replaced by what they call a dry heat. You don't mess with a dry heat; the sweat you normally feel on your skin that lets you know you need to go inside and drink some water is gone. This dry heat causes that sweat to evaporate so quickly you never even get a chance to notice it. Of course, some of you humid-weather dwellers are probably saying, that sounds SO nice--no sticky, sweaty, smelly skin. It can be dangerous, though, because dehydration is just around the corner, and so is a pretty wicked (and not in the good sense) sunburn.

The last time I visited, I took no precaution. I existed as if though I were still in the midwest; I didn't wear a hat, drink water (I drank soda and only rarely), or wear sun glasses, dutifully ignoring my partner's comments that I was torturing my body, for lack of a better description. I felt like crap all the time, too. My boyfriend seemed just fine, and I wondered how the heck he fared so much better out here than me.

So this time around, I decided to try an experiment. I took a walk in the morning (with temperatures already near 95 degrees, and the sun hot overhead). However, I went and purchased a hat, a liter of flavored water (!), and wore my sunglasses (as well as heat appropriate clothing!). All the sudden, I could tolerate walking around in the heat. It was wonderful! I think it was the first walk I enjoyed in Arizona, and I've visited about 4 or 5 times so far. The precautions I took allowed me to feel great in this dang near inhospitable enviornment. Surprising what some preparation can do, eh?

And so you might ask how this relates to anything important (or eating disorders).

The truth is that when you are recovering from an eating disorder, the environment changes. You can no longer do some things you used to be able to do when you were healthy (like exercise, for example). I mean, you can do them--but you can't do them SAFELY.

So heed the advice of your nutritionist, your family, whomever is helping you through this journey (or your better self). Take care of your body--the environment has changed, and you need to adapt to enviornment while you're in it. All the self denial in the world won't protect you from the overbearing sun or dry heat as you get better.

These Mexican Bird of Paradise plants sure know how to thrive in the desert.

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