This weekend I went out to breakfast with my family. When it comes to eating out at restaurants breakfast has notoriously been the hardest for me. Especially since I remember reading an article about how “unhealthy” certain breakfasts are. The thought of starting the day with a “big, caloric, sugary” meal scared me because it meant that I would have to punish myself for the rest of the day and not eat. And in the past, when I defied ED and ate after eating breakfast out at a restaurant, he would scold me. He’d yell, scream and lecture harshly. A big sunday breakfast with the family used to be like a death sentence. It set up for a week of restricting, excessive exercise and regret for getting more than a just a bowl of fruit.It was a period of time before I learned that all food is good food.
On the Sunday breakfasts where I allowed ED to make me order my little bowl of fruit while everyone else in my family got colorful, savory omelets, and delectable pancakes and waffles. When my family would go out for breakfasts, I’d always have my own “safe” breakfasts at home. But I still went out to eat because I wanted to spend time with my family. I remember always thinking I dodged a bullet, or like I had the best of both worlds, I could have my safe breakfast but still get out of the house. My eating disorder liked to tell me that looking at the tasty dishes was a lot safer and more pleasurable than actually eating them. It was always one of the many moments where I wished I didn’t have an eating disorder, it all looked so good, but alas I sat there suffering in silence.
I want to say that there is nothing wrong with going out to breakfast and ordering a bowl of fruit, if that’s what you feel like, than by all means enjoy the sweet and delicious fruit. But the moral of the story is that there’s a difference between ordering a bowl of fruit because you have a voice inside of you telling you it is the only “safe” option or ordering a bowl of fruit because you truly feel like it.
Sitting at breakfast with my family on Saturday, as the menu was but in front of me I began to feel a little bit anxious. A few weeks ago in treatment I said I wanted to challenge myself one day by ordering banana bread french toast that this particular breakfast placed served. I remember that very well, but I didn’t quite feel like something so decadent, so I took a moment to pause, reminding myself that I was not going to challenge myself for the sake of challenging myself, but I also wasn’t going to decide away from this specific dish because ED was telling me too.
When I take a moment to pause I imagine I have magical powers that can stop time. I visualize my thoughts and stop them in there tracks. Everything stops, sometimes are easier than others, to find clarity. So I decided that I was not quite ready to challenge myself so much, I felt like something a little bit lighter, so I got regular french toast. I’ve been finding it helpful to pause before making food choices, I’ve also been finding it helpful to not put anything on the menu off limits. I enjoyed the breakfast, it was a little anxiety provoking, but I got through it and overall I really enjoyed it.