Thoughts I Had About Food Today

#food #eatingdisorders #health

  1. I love food. I love creamy mac & cheese, crisp gala apples, bittersweet chocolate (especially with almonds, hazelnuts, or sea salt), chewy bagels with slippery, salty lox and cream cheese, gooey freshly-baked cookies with molten chocolate chips, bottomless bowls of ramen, sticky rice with seaweed paper, juicy Thanksgiving turkey, sweet berries. I love a lot of it.
  2. I hate planning my fucking day around food. When can I have it. Can I get enough of it. How much it’ll cost. Will it be messy and if so how will I clean it up. When I’ll have time for dishes. Where and when and how I can buy groceries. What I’ll do if I suddenly get hungry unexpectedly and I have no more food, especially while I’m stuck on a long subway ride. Will I be able to fit all of the food that I need into my bag.
  3. Because if I don’t eat almost immediately upon first feeling hunger, I will experience one of two effects for hours thereafter: stabbing stomach cramps, or a full-body weakness that makes me feel paralyzed with fatigue.
  4. If I eat too much, I will feel bloated and full and will be battling sleep for the rest of the day no matter how much sleep I’ve been getting.
  5. “Too much” = anything more than what’s just enough to stop feeling hungry. But if I only eat enough to stop feeling hungry, I’ll be hungry again an hour later. Who the fuck has the kind of schedule when they can eat every fucking hour?
  6. Does everyone feel this way?
  7. Clearly, there are a lot of ways to fail at/hate/have difficulty with food even after you’ve recovered from your eating disorder.
  8. I never felt so good as I did when I was restricting. An apple here, a few almonds here, about 800 calories a day. No hunger. No bloating. No cramps. No sleepiness. No guilt. No worrying.
  9. Yet I’m told that this is Very Bad to do.
  10. I am told that I need to Eat Regularly At The Same Time Each Day. Well, some days I feel so full at 10 AM despite not having eaten since last night that the mere idea of eating makes me want to vomit. Other days I’m so hungry at 10 AM that I can’t move. You try Eating Regularly then.
  11. Does everyone feel this way?
  12. If everyone does feel this way, then I feel totally ridiculous for making such a big deal out of it and being so miserable about it.
  13. If everyone does not feel this way, then what the fuck is wrong with me?
  14. I’m hungry. I’m getting hungrier. I won’t be able to eat in time. The entire evening will be lost to lying on my stomach to dull the cramps. Homework, cooking, cleaning, reading, writing–even harder than they usually are. Panic.
  15. How much have I spent on snacks from Duane Reade this month?
  16. They said there would be lunch provided at this work training but there isn’t. So I can’t have lunch until after the training, in two hours. The growling of my stupid stomach makes it hard to pay attention to the training.
  17. I’m on the subway and I feel the fatigue coming on. All I have is a bag of Cheerios. I’ve been holding on to the subway poles. I forgot my hand sanitizer in the other bag. Is it worth it? Hunger, or risking getting sick again?
  18. I can’t believe I’m an emotionally and financially independent adult who somehow can’t manage to fucking feed themselves properly.
  19. Feeding myself properly seems like it would require nearly-infinite amounts of time, money, or both.
  20. Does everyone feel this way?
  21. I can almost still remember a time when food was easy.

~~~

(I do not want advice.)

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“I’m not hungry.” “Good!”

#eatingdisorders #mentalillness #bodyimage #weight #food

There was a point in my life–the point at which my body started “developing,” as they euphemistically put it–that food suddenly became Bad rather than Good for me at home.

If you have children or have been a child with attentive parents, you probably remember the squabbles over eating. “But I’m not hungry.” “Sweetie, you need to eat. How else are you going to grow?” “I don’t want any more.” “Just one more bite, and then you can have ice cream.”

I also had these conversations as a child, once.

Then it all changed seemingly overnight.

“I don’t want any more.” “Good!” “I can’t, I lost my appetite.” “Good!”

It must’ve taken a few years, but by the time I was in high school, the implications were clear: not eating is virtually always good. Any reason or excuse or motivation you can find within yourself to not eat, or eat less, is good.

“Wow, I was so engrossed in this book that I totally forgot about dinner.” “Good!”

I hate feeling hungry. Always have, still do. So it wasn’t that I wanted to “go hungry,” as it were. But lived for those things that made me forget about eating or to lose my appetite: distraction, sickness, tricks played by certain foods.

“I only had an apple and some almonds today!” “Good!”

Nowadays I don’t do that sort of restriction anymore. I try to eat at least two full meals a day, though sometimes that’s impossible because I’m busy and can’t cook and end up eating energy bars or pretzels instead. I eat bagels with cream cheese and chocolate and macaroni (sometimes with cheese) and ice cream and pizza and other Bad Things, usually without thinking about calories.

I also don’t think I’m fat or ugly; I don’t like everything about my body but overall I’m fine with it the way it is. I’m comfortable with the curves and folds that I have. Buying clothes does still cause frustration, anxiety, and even panic, but I recognize that that’s more because of the bullshit idea that humans can all discretely fit into categories like Extra Small, Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, and Extra Extra Large with neither overflow nor empty space.

But my actual attitudes about food haven’t really changed. When I’m sick or when I realize I’ve been too busy writing to remember to eat, I still reflexively think, “Good!” When I get hungry, I think, “Fuck, again?” Although I don’t normally think of it this way, I “practice” eating normally several times a day, and I enjoy eating–I love the taste and feel of food–but I can’t stop wishing I didn’t need it.

I’m so much better off than I could be, given how dangerous and tenacious eating disorders are. But it’s not just about the symptoms. It’s about the ways in which certain thought patterns–entire belief systems, really–take root in your brain, seemingly for good.