I’m starting to feel naked, stripped of familiarity and thrown into a foreign land. A land where my mind doesn’t race when I eat a piece of pizza, when I willingly eat a dessert everyday. All the rules I’ve followed for years (since 2009) have fallen to the wayside. These rules and restrictions have fallen to the wayside before. Foods that I once feared have turned into “safe foods”. I LOVE humus now, but back in 8th grade whenever I choose to have a hummus sandwich my heart and mind raced as if I were about to jump off a cliff into an ocean full of sharks. Yes, I was scared of a sandwich! When I got over hummus, my next fear was peanut butter, then avocado. But even as I got more comfortable with these “fear foods” I was still very careful to the frequency of which I ate them. I started to become obsessed by how often I had peanut butter, if I had peanut butter two days in a row “i was splurging” and I also had other ridiculous rules like I couldn’t have peanut butter, hummus and cheese in the same day because my eating disorder believed it was too much fat to consume in one day. (I have since learned that eating peanut butter, cheese and hummus in one day would be perfectly normal because our bodies need a signficant amount of dietary fat a day to be healthy and function properly).
This is why the last month in treatment has been so strange is that I have been willingly doing (and more recently happily) not adhering to the rules of my eating disorder. I have been enjoying desserts everyday, following my meal plan (even when I feel as if I shouldn’t) not feeling that I need to count calories to manage my food intake. My diet is no longer strictly vegetbles and fruit. I was anxious today becuase I began to notice that I have not been eating as many vegetbles as I used to, the truth is that I was eating way to many vegetbles and that was wrecking havoc with my digestive system. It is perfectly fine and very good to eat vegetbles and fruit everyday, as long as you eat all the other food groups as well! Because in reality all food is good food!
Is it a good feeling to eat without such strict rules and apprehensions? Yes it is! It is wonderful and freeing, but it is also strange. I have so much more room in my head to think now. My brain is no longer beaten down, the habitual obsessing over food is falling to the wayside. My body and my food intake is no longer the first thing I think about when I get up in the morning or the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night. I would be lying if I said that I don’t think about my ED or intake or body at all, the truth is I still think about it all very often. And that is okay and normal for the stage of recovery I am in. The big difference is that when an eating disorder thought does enter my brain I am able to wave it on by and move on to more important things in my life. Some days are harder than others and sometimes I still get a little nervous when I realize how different I eat now from when I was in my eating disorder and to be honest when I think about the difference it makes me sad. I start to feel lost like I am in the middle of the wildnerness, alone, vulnerable, floating in the middle of outer space: identiless. For so long the eating disorder was my identity…now I get to explore my authentic identity. It is scary but I’ve been trying to do things that scare me, why not? Nothing can hurt me as much as my eating disorder has hurt me. (Not even that beautifully rich and delicious beef stew below :0 )