Eating disorders lie to you. It keeps you from seeing the people that you love and doing the things that you enjoy. It tells you things that simply aren’t true. It is something that controls you completely. It makes the simplest of things feel like the most difficult thing ever.
1 . Eat dinner with my family.
The deeper and deeper I got into my eating disorder, the less and less I sat with my family at the dinner table. I was always coming up with excuse after excuse to avoid the situation. The hours leading up to dinner always made me anxious and uncomfortable. Coupled with my anxiety, this time made me feel as if I was caged up and unable to breathe. It’s something that I didn’t even notice happening at first. Therefore just making me pretend that it wasn’t happening or wasn’t dire enough to deal with.
Even when I did sit with my family for dinner, I was eating my own food. I was so obsessed with making sure that every calorie that I put into my body was accounted for that I forgot that eating with people was a totally normal thing to do. I tried to convince myself that what I was doing was “normal” and that I was just trying to eat “healthier” but all I was doing was fooling myself.
Looking back at it now, this is something that makes me sad. I remember my parents even making food that I liked in hopes of me eating it. Despite the terrible guilt I had, my eating disorder was stronger than me. Even today, this is still something that I am continuing to work on.
This has truly taught me so much. I don’t want to miss out on experiences that I can look back at in the future.
2. Go out with my friends.
Going out with anyone scared me to death. My mind would spiral out of control. I wanted to but I just couldn’t. What if they wanted to go out and eat? What if they wanted to stop for more than just a coffee? This terrified me.
Having an eating disorder made it almost impossible for me to enjoy going out with anyone. Being preoccupied 24/7 with the thought of food drove me almost insane. Even when I did go out, I would count down the seconds that I would be able to go home and eat. And because I was so obsessed with eating “healthy” and knowing my calories, I only “allowed” to eat at home where I could control what was going in my food.
3. Drink a latte.
Sounds like a weird thing to mention? As a so-called coffee fanatic, this was one thing that I enjoyed that I was no longer able to do. Seems so simple right? It’s just a cup of coffee. It’s not as simple as that.
“It’s just a cup of coffee” is what I always tried to tell myself. The issue was that I didn’t see it like that. “Too many calories” is what I told myself instead. “The whole drink is just a cup of milk made up of x calories”. My mind used to think that, that was a logical thing to say. Having a cup of coffee felt more like a task than something that one should enjoy.
4 . Get a job.
This shows how eating disorders aren’t just about food. It affects so many aspects of your daily life.
Although my eating disorder wasn’t the sole reason for this, it most definitely made it worse. My anxiety has always made getting a job a seemingly impossible thing to do. I was anxious 24/7. My eating disorder only made that a million times more impossible. Eating disorder thoughts make doing anything a million times harder than it should be. You are so consumed by irrational thoughts and fear that make you feel unable to do anything else, no matter how hard you want to. Your preoccupation with food makes it exhausting to think about anything else.
5. Eat when hungry.
Eating when hungry sounds like such a simple thing to do. We are born being able to do it. Having disordered eating takes that ability away from you.
It’s impossible when you no longer understand your body. The regular patterns and processes that are gone. I’d become so obsessed with eating specific amounts of specific foods at specific times that I lost my sense of hunger or fullness. It was something foreign to me. No matter how hungry I was, I wouldn’t allow myself to eat until it was the “right” time.
Understanding my mind and body is something that I am having to relearn. Being able to eat when hungry and stopping when full is something that I continue to struggle with. It’s crazy how something so seemingly simple can become so difficult.