when you are trying to recover from an #eatingdisorder, a big part of the challenge is food. how do you food? how do you eat “normally”? advice abounds. eat when you’re hungry. eat what you like. stop when you’ve had enough. eat a vegetarian diet. stick to whole foods. eat clean. it’s all so much noise and it misses an important point. i don’t know how to do those things. the advice presupposes a connection to my body that doesn’t exist.
it’s demoralizing when something as basic as eating is a struggle. i try not to judge myself but it’s hard to ignore that inside voice that calls me a failure. i try to remind myself that it’s about taking small steps, that i can’t expect perfection from the beginning (except i do), and that my current plan, a highly-scheduled eating routine, is working. it’s a little regimented but i’m not bingeing and purging so we’ll call it a win.
eating plan notwithstanding, my eating disorder voice regularly tries to convince me that i’m doing recovery wrong. i like to think that there isn’t a “wrong”. it’s all good as long as i’m moving forward.
hardest is the idea of eating when i’m hungry. the implication there is that you shouldn’t eat when you aren’t hungry, as opposed to eating on a schedule. hunger and i, however, have a complicated relationship. i fear it a little. i’m afraid my hungers are out of control, and if i let go it will be a frenzy. i also crave it. i have spent a lot of my life seeking hunger out. part of me believes i’ve failed if i’m neither hungry at bedtime nor when i wake up.
eating early in the day, and eating a reasonable amount is a struggle. for years, waking up hungry has meant that on the previous day, i was “good”. and by good, i mean that i was starving myself. that feeling of doing something right comes from a defective place, i know, but it felt good, feeling that i was doing something right. even if that something was totally wrong.
so i struggle to eat if i’m hungry in the morning. i have debates about it with myself nearly every day. you have no idea how tired and bored i am with these conversations. i feel a little ridiculous, debating with myself over something so basic.
- i’m hungry.
- you can’t be hungry, you just got up.
- i slept in a bit, i usually eat before now. i’m hungry.
- you don’t need to eat yet, you’re not that hungry.
- my stomach’s growling.
- that’s good. it’s good that you’re hungry. we were worried last night after you ate those six chocolates. i know you said it would be okay but you were wrong. you probably gained weight. your legs seem bigger.
- it was just a chocolate bar. people can eat chocolate bars. people eat chocolate bars all the time. one chocolate bar doesn’t mean i’ll gain weight.
- you can’t eat like that. you’ll totally gain weight. your legs feel fatter. it’s disgusting.
- i ate chocolate yesterday. i can’t change yesterday. all i can control is right now.
- if you eat like that you’ll get fatter. you’re eating all the time. you’ll never lose weight like this. you’re ugly and now you’ll be ugly and fat.
- i don’t need to lose weight. i could probably gain a few pounds. my clothes are loose and they are quite small sizes.
- you know sizes are lies. they change them so people won’t have double digit sizes. your clothes aren’t that small. zero would be a better size. you used to be a zero but you ate chocolate. now you’re fat.
- if you’re going to have breakfast, it should be small. how about a piece of toast?
- i’m going to have a bowl of cereal with fruit.
- have a small bowl.
- i have to eat 350 calories of food with my morning medication or it doesn’t work properly.
- they say 350 but that’s probably high. they’re just making sure people get 300 calories. it’s a weird requirement anyhow. it’s probably not true at all. i bet it’s fine if you eat a smaller breakfast
- i’m going to have the same size bowl i always do with the same amount of fruit.
- you’re pathetic. i can feel your stomach. you aren’t thin enough. you should skip breakfast. you ate all that candy last night and you had a cookie for a snack yesterday. skip your medication this morning and take it at lunch.
- i’m going to eat breakfast.
- you’re the one getting fat.
it happens almost every day, at almost every meal. i’m tired of it. following my instincts is not for me right now. my instincts lead me towards restriction and starvation. it’s frustrating and annoying and enraging. i want it to be different and i want it to be different now, ignoring the reality that my relationship with food to years to develop. i’m impatient. i want to wake up and not obsess over food. i want to uncouple my sense of self-worth from my body.
i shall stick with the current plan then. three scheduled meals, three scheduled snacks, and the six probable and repetitive conversations with my eating disorder.
december 5, 2017 – breakfast with #bulimia