One of the hardest things I ever had to learn was how to eat again at the age of twenty three. I had known I was fat since the age of eight. By then my eating habits were already poor, only I didn’t know it. When I found out, that’s when the unhealthy behaviours mentally started. Once you are programmed to think or act in a certain way it is hard to re-programme your behaviour.
We are taught to see food as good verses bad. Guilty pleasures. Rabbit food or eating like a pig. Every food has something associated with it. To our grand- parents it would simply be known as food. Eggs weren’t high in cholesterol. Potatoes weren’t a “bad carb” and biscuits weren’t fattening. They were simply eggs, potatoes and biscuits. Our grand parents also didn’t have processed foods or drinks (Leading causes to weight gain) Our eating behaviours and the way we think of food is extremely distorted. We feel bad for eating chocolate, so we skip a meal. We fill our body’s with chemicals because it says “diet” on it and we would rather be skinny than healthy. We count calories and not chemicals. Carbohydrates are the devil even though our body needs glycogen (carbohydrates) to recover from exercise, daily chores and to function correctly. Fats become limited but our joints and hormones need healthy fats to function, while protein becomes the main focus even though excess protein sources can clog the arteries causing heart attacks. People don’t take the time to learn nutrition, they simply read some “get fast results” plan, don’t question it and do it anyway, but this is me going off on one of my rants. I get too passionate about this topic at times. I need to bring myself back to the main focus which is, learning to eat again.
I was scared. No matter what was in front of me, I didn’t want to eat it. I had gotten so skilled at weighing everything and knowing it’s calorie content that even though it wasn’t weighed, I could guess pretty close simply by looking at it. Crying over meals. There was no way I would have cooked and ate so well if it wasn’t for my boyfriend at the time. He cooked all my dinners. He ate with me. We started exercising together, getting healthy meal plans. Eating the proper amount of food and doing it as a team. He was my rock. He made recovery easier. I had to find the strength in me to recover, but I didn’t have to do it alone. If I had to cook myself, I would have deprived myself for a lot longer. What also made it easier for me to eat was I kept my foods healthy. I told myself “as long as it is healthy food, it has to be benefiting your body in some way, so it is okay to eat it”. That took a huge amount of stress and fear away. I was healing my body after years of damaging it, I was doing the right thing. It is not that simple for all foods though.
When you are learning to eat again there are things referred to as “banned foods” or “trigger foods”, these foods are the most difficult to add back in. Whatever the food may be, to the suffer it is a food that causes binges with or without purges. For me it was peanut butter. I could eat the jar with a spoon. It took a long time for me to develop a healthy relationship with this food. I only really mastered it this year. How I did it was to eat it every day. Even if I binged, I’d have it the next day. Humans, even people who don’t suffer with an eating disorder can be guilty of saying “I’ll eat as much of a certain food as I can until midnight or Monday (all diets seem to start on a Monday) and then I’ll never eat it again. You make yourself sick, then you avoid that food for as long as you can, until you cave and repeat the cycle. By having a little bit every day, you get used to smaller portions and not having the urge to binge, because you know you can have it again tomorrow. Then finally comes a day where you decide you don’t want to have it at all. Who is this new person? A person who isn’t controlled by food anymore, that’s who!
Another thing to learn is how to eat in public and not feel shame, even if no one else is eating. You are so self-conscience. Eating can be messy, loud and you feel glutinous if you are eating alone. You feel as if everyone is watching you, judging you, when really if they are looking at you they are probably thinking “I wish I was eating that” and they are more focused on the food than they are on you. You are not greedy, fat, or less of a person for eating. Eating is survival. Every hang up we have, we have created for ourselves and we have the power to let it go. Eat that messy burrito, get that chocolate on your face, lick your fingers after a sugary doughnut. Enjoy all food because you deserve to. You deserve to eat, to eat food you enjoy. You don’t need to be a certain weight, you just need to be you. It is okay to take up space. It is okay to exist. It is okay to eat.
Tomorrow I will talk about having a healthy relationship with food and exercise. Guidelines for a healthy and balanced lifestyle, not diet, lifestyle. Until then, keep talking, keep breaking the silence ~ Love Roxy