When I was in treatment for my eating disorder it was hammered into my brain that it is healthy to eat 6 times a day. Try telling THAT to an anorexic! I thought these people had lost their minds!!! I had trouble eating at all, and here I am basically being force fed. If we did not eat we were threatened with hospitalization, and being tube fed. If you are hospitalized you cannot work off your food, and you are bored. Nobody wanted that… but at the expense of eating 6 times a day… It was scary. That might sound so silly to you, but for me this was one of the scariest things I would do. In my mind, food = fat. I had spent a very long time restricting and and brainwashing myself that if I did not eat I would be skinny, and finally love myself. I have been on a life long quest to love myself and for years I thought if I was skinny enough I would. It didn’t work. I had been hating myself for so long, no pant size could change that. I put conditions on myself that to this day make me cringe. I am scared that one day my daughter will feel the way I did (and sometimes do.) I’m watching her play right now and thinking that I never want her to be obsessed with body checks. In fact, I never want her to know what body checks are. (For those of you who do not know about body checking, it’s when you see how many fingers you can fit into the waist of your pants or measuring your wrists with your fingers, I used to start with my forefinger and thumb, then my middle finger, my ring finger and my pinkie, then work my way up my arm until my fingers could not touch anymore. I also body checked my legs, fitting my hands around my thighs, and looking in the mirror to make sure my thighs did not touch. I would touch my hips to make sure they stuck out at all times, and anytime I passed a mirror I would sneak a peak to make sure my tummy was flat. Body checking is a way to reinforce your illness. I still catch myself from time to time.)
I did eventually make some sort of “peace” with eating. Eventually I came to a healthy view of food. It is still hard for me to eat, but I look at food as fuel now. I understand that food = energy and, energy burns fat!!! Yes, I still don’t like fat, yes I still want to like the way I look in the mirror, but I have made healthy changes. First of all, I want to be healthy for my kids. That means eating responsibly. I know, it sounds silly, but for me, restricting IS addicting, and without proper fuel I cannot parent. I get cranky and impatient. It is simple to say, not an easy thing to do. If I am having a “fat day” (Fun fact the “f word” is not allowed in our house… not the f*ck word… lol although that is an adult word, that is not used frequently and has been replace with “frog” usually. You should hear me when I am upset “frogging frog!”) I do not want food. I immediately go back to my illness and I am afraid to eat. I have to reason with my eating disorder. It is not easy to reason with an eating disorder. My eating disorder is mean, she tells me how ugly and fat and useless I am. She points out my flaws, my stretch marks, my microscopic, yet sagging boobs, my enormous rib cage that just does not fit with my body, my teeth, my acne, my stomach, my thighs…. She reminds me, she waits until I am feeling just a hint of insecurity and floods my mind with all of my physical flaws, and then starts on my personality, I’m too honest, I lose friends, My temper is too quick, and explosive, I can’t even control it sometimes. I forgive people who have hurt me, even after they won’t admit what they have done… am I that lonely? I attack people verbally for disagreeing with me. I am impatient and insecure. Some days I wonder how to get out of bed with this list of negativity. There is ONE thing that is stronger than that entire list. My kiddos. They are MY reason. The reason I listen to my brain, the brain that tells me that food is fuel not fat, that I need fuel for them, and that beauty resonates from the inside out.
Do I eat 6 times a day? Nope. I do, however, eat. I chose food that is going to benefit me, and, as my fiance pointed out last night, “You don’t eat anything because you love it.” I don’t really, I am not a food person. I could happily live on pills that had the right calories given the opportunity. I try to eat things I like. What do I love? Moments. Time with my kids and my fiance. I can’t have those if I am not getting proper nutrition.