“I have an unhealthy relationship with food.” This was said a few weeks ago, while chatting with a girl friend. I thought to myself, It’s perfect. I also have an unhealthy relationship with food. Have for years.
It swings wildly between a passionate affair and a torrid searing hatred. Growing up, food was love, homemade cookies, bread, big meat and potato dinners. Cooking and baking was entertainment. To this day I find being in the kitchen relaxing, and a stress reliever. I love farmers markets and the creative side of a big fancy dinner. And making food for others is love, nourishing goodness.
Then it goes terribly wrong, I get twisted up over something and delve into self loathing and I don’t eat. It’s almost as if when I am so consumed with my anger or sadness or worry that It feels like I don’t deserve to eat, (hard to admit, but bare honest right? I can’t be alone in this). I am grasping desperately for something to control, this is an easy choice. So I waste away, my muscles diminish, I look pinkish grey, I bruise if someone even looks at me aggressively. And I cry, I’m a cryer, and with no food, and usually no sleep along with my self loathing, I’m a blotchy, puffy eye lid, kleenex soaking machine. Eventually I have to eat, or I feel a little better, or someone calls me on my bullshit.
Not always is there unhappiness behind my poor diet, on occasion it is due to apathy, I am too lazy to go to the grocery store. Or I’m too busy at work to realize its 3:30 and I haven’t had lunch yet. Or I’m out running errands, and it’s always just one more place to go or thing to do before I can grab something to eat. When this happens I make bad decisions, I always hit up the sugar tree, a syrup soaked latte topped with rich whipped cream, or candy, beef jerky (MSG and sugar, yum) I crave nachos and chocolate milk. Or I binge on fast food. Then I feel sick, and guilty.
So after feeling sick and guilty I need to exercise, to feel better, endorphins, and to burn calories. Not a cycle you want to set up, it’s a fast track to exercise anorexia really no different from extreme calorie counting, or binging and purging, or just plain old binging. At one point or another, I have tried each one of these on, none of them fit right, for anyone, they are not balanced or healthy lifestyles.
I have an eating disorder. It effects me every day. It’s always changing shape and form so sometimes it’s not easy to recognize. Sneaky bugger… It has developed over years and relationships and events, and I honestly don’t think it will ever go away. It is something that I make a conscious effort to be aware of. To embrace my feelings and acknowledge them, and then deal with them. To make good choices and realize my triggers. I knew I could NOT join Karma in her marathon diet because it would be letting my eating disorder off the leash to run free. I know it would pee on and hump everything in sight given the chance. Once let off the leash it’s not receptive to being called in and chained back up.
I have to have breakfast every morning, oatmeal and fruit or a protein bar. I need to pack snacks, and plan meals. I have to make an effort to feel hunger, thirst, and boredom, and then treat those feeling appropriately. I need to make goals, fitness goals that are not related to the numbers on the scale or the amount of guilt I feel. I need to remember that I am loved regardless of shape and size, and have to extend myself the same support, and make use of those around me.
Food is just fuel, and it can convey love and emotion, but it is not interchangeable. It is not something that needs to be obsessed over. Every day is about choices. Now I’m going to choose to finish my ginger bread latte and cranberry bliss bar and go home to make dinner…