I don’t know how it happened, but it happened.
Yesterday started out like any other day. I woke up at my normal time, made my normal breakfast, and then sat down at the computer to type out a blog. But oddly enough, I didn’t know what to say. Why? Because I was hungry. Hun-gry. I could hear my stomach growling, and while I wanted to compose grand sentences about my recovery journey, all I could think about was my turkey and peanut butter English muffin breakfast sandwich I had waiting for me.
So I sat there and thought about it. And thought about it. And thought about it.
Why not eat it just then? Why was I stuck just THINKING?? Well, because in my ED mind, I eat breakfast in the car on the way to school because then when I eat a mid-morning snack I would’ve gone three hours between meals and eating in the car distracts me from actually focusing on what I’m eating….
And so on and so on.
I have a bazillion food rules. So many. And I know that to neurologically rewire my brain to more normal eating habits, I have to challenge those rules.
So I sat there, debating if I should abandon typing out a new blog and instead eat breakfast.
Should I? Should I not? Should I? Should I not?
YES. I SHOULD.
And with that one decision, I got up, sat down at the kitchen table, and ate.
It was a good hour before my “normal” breakfast time that I ate food, and while the voices in my head were yelling at me, saying,
WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WHAT ARE YOU DOING? YOU ARE THROWING THE SCHEDULE ALL OFF!!!!
I. DID. IT.
It felt exhilarating. And scary. And daring.
It felt like freedom.
I felt so proud, so accomplished, that while my daughter and I drove to school, I had the biggest grin on my face.
Until my stomach started growling. Again.
I was hungry.
How could I be hungry?! I just ate breakfast.
But what I really wanted to eat next was a Clif Bar. I started thinking about the oats and chewiness of the packaged snack, and I couldn’t stop. It was hypnotic.
I knew I needed one. The ED voice was already saying, “But this will really throw off your schedule! And you’re going to the gym to train later today. You’re going to feel heavy and fat and fluffy.”
But I knew I needed one.
So I texted my friends. I told them the situation and immediately they responded:
Get the bar.
And so I did.
And then I ate it. And it was glorious. It was delicious. It was freeing.
I’m not exactly sure what prompted me to eat out of schedule and go out of my way to buy a Clif Bar and then eat it too. Maybe I knew that my attempts to regain weight thus far have been marginal at best, and what I really need is to JUST EAT.
Templates and meal plans are wonderful. In fact, I was using a food plan written from my old weightlifting coach as a base amount and then treating the food there as minimums. I wanted to believe this would work, as then MAYBE I’d be able to gain MUSCLE weight and not all FAT weight.
But honestly, it was not working.
My old coach is awesome, but the template involves counting grams and carbs and protein…and right now, all I need to do is NOT involve my hyper sensitive mind but just eat three normal meals and three snacks.
I just need to strive to be NORMAL around food and movement.
Most people don’t put chicken on a food scale before eating it or measure how much rice is on their plates. But I still was doing all of this because I wanted to follow the food templates given to me. Some people need this kind of plan to reach their health goals. In my situation, I just need to ensure that I am getting three meals and three snacks, challenging food rules, and doing the exact opposite of whatever the ED voice is wanting me to do.
So today, I made the decision to JUST EAT.
I literally felt like the world opened up to me the moment I decided that food rules were not going to run my life.
Now that I think about it, it has been close to twenty years since I first developed anorexia. Twenty years. Two decades. Actually, it is more like twenty-one years because I’m now thirty-eight years old and got ill my senior year of high school.
If you think about it, I have actually been “sick” longer than I have ben “well.”
It’s a scary, sad, overwhelming thought.
The majority of my life has been shrouded by malnourishment and restriction and rules and fear.
I do not want to spend the next twenty years of my life in this quasi-state of recovery.
These thoughts about food and recovery stayed with me all during the day. I talked about it with my co-worker. I talked about it with my friends in California. I talked about it with my husband. Heck, I would’ve probably talked about it with the dogs if they would’ve let me (they were waaaay too hyper last night to let me sit next to them and spill out my heart about recovery).
I talked because I was excited to challenge my fears. Yes, EXCITED.
I fell asleep comforted knowing that I CAN do this.
And then this morning, I woke up and laid in bed, thanking God for another day to work towards full recovery.
It’s honestly a bit scary to hypothesize about what life will be like when totally healed in mind and body (that’s a whole other blog in itself!), but for now, I’m just taking everything day by day, hour by hour, meal by meal.