If I am to get over my eating disorder (compulsive eating, anorexia, bulimia), I must be brutally honest with myself. This is my truth – I am NOT a normal, natural eater. Never have been. Never will be.
It’s not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. It’s a fact. I take it seriously. I know my truth – what works for me. Your truth may well be different than mine. But I know mine, and I never play with it. Playing with it just means I’m lying to myself. So, I never;
*Decide that “today, I’m just going to graze all day”.
*Have “cheat” days, where I stray from my usual way of eating.
*Bank calories for later.
*Eat foods that set off a weird reaction (when I eat white bread, I will always want more, whether I’m hungry or not.)
*Eat large quantities. I discovered that pretty small amounts are sufficient to satisfy me. I don’t need much.
*Compare what and how I eat to other people. Sometimes, I find it interesting to watch normal people eat, BUT I know it won’t work for me.
These are the ‘for sures’. I definitely have other preferences, but I will be more flexible with them. I don’t like to eat when I’m not hungry, but I will if I have to – like if I know that when I am hungry, I’ll be in a meeting and it won’t be appropriate to eat, then i will eat before I go. I don’t tend to eat breakfast, as I don’t wake up hungry. I prefer not to eat an early dinner, because I’d rather not find myself hungry again later. But I’ll waver on these.
*There is a caveat – I will actually be flexible with all of it, if need be. I still know my truth and just that I’m bending it briefly. And I know that it’s okay if I do bend it a little – my truth is that I can get back on track. So, let’s say I have a boyfriend and we go to his mother’s house for lunch and she serves sandwiches on white bread, I will eat one. And I would eat a whole one, instead of my usual 1/2. (I’m not recommending anyone do what I do, but this works for me.) Stuff like that, I do, for a number of reasons. First of all, I want the boyfriend’s mom to like me and not think I’m rude or weird. (i don’t weigh or measure my food, but if I did, I wouldn’t show up anywhere with a scale and measuring cup. I figure as a grown woman who’s been on every diet in the world, I can at least temporarily, eyeball a portion.) Second, I NEVER want to make a scene or seem like I think I’m special and need special attention. Making a big deal about what I eat and MY food is self-involved and boring.
Overall, I don’t get involved with food much. I don’t like to cook or bake or get into food prep. I do simple stuff and will get involved if I have to, but for me, the less I do with food, the happier I am. There are a million other things I’d rather be thinking about. FOOD was my LIFE for most of my life. Now, I just want to deal with it when I am hungry, and go out live my actual life. (Quick sidebar – if my sister is reading this, she would tell you that mostly, I’m just plain lazy. That’s true too, but I’d much rather dust and vacuum and scrub the toilet than cook!!!)
I’d say most people are not like me in that respect. I have lots of sponsees who love to cook and prepare meals that work for them. Good for them! It’s just not my preference.
But most importantly, I have to face the truth that I have to face what’s underneath my weirdness with food. What’s going on that I want to soothe/anesthetize with food? Or that I want to distract with starving and counting calories? Or that I long to check out by throwing up for hours?
THAT’S WHERE I HAVE TO FOCUS MY ATTENTION. I need to put down the food and get to work.
Sometimes, recovery (the solution) doesn’t read as sexy as the problem (food depravity). But it’s the important part.