One thing that I notice is that if I talk to people about food, most people equate managing one’s food with weight.
I have had a huge weight loss, so I’m sure my own personal story feeds that idea for a lot of people. But for me, keeping my eating under control is only about weight in a round about way. For me, weight was a symptom of my real problem. My problem is eating.
There are a lot of people who have a problem with eating and they do not have a weight problem. I am grateful that being fat was part of my eating disorder story. If it weren’t, I don’t know if I would have found relief. I may not have even noticed how miserable I was.
One thing that happened when I got my eating under control was that I stopped hating myself. But I didn’t even know that I did hate myself until it stopped.
I am bringing this up because something happened the other day. It doesn’t happen very often, so it’s worth noting.
I didn’t want to eat my dinner.
It was later than I usually eat. I was tired. I just wasn’t feeling it.
Now, sometimes I don’t want to eat, but then I get two bites in and it’s so good that I forget that I didn’t want to eat it two minutes ago. That doesn’t count. This time was a time that I didn’t want to eat it, and all the while I ate it, I never wanted it. Even though it was a super yummy meal, including frozen yogurt and a cookie (all homemade, sugar-free, and within my food boundaries, of course.)
I ate it. Every last bite. When I was done, I was grateful it was over. But I did it. I keep my food boundaries under control by eliminating “wanting” and “not wanting” from the reasons I eat. If my food boundaries were about weight, then I could just not eat a meal that I didn’t want. Easy. But conversely. there are many (many many) days where I would happily eat another whole meal after I finish one. So let’s say I didn’t eat dinner that day. The next day, when I wanted two dinners, could I do that? What about the day after that? Could I skip breakfast and lunch and just binge eat all night? Because when I am eating compulsively, I start to think like that. I get irrational and obsessive.
What I gained when I eliminated “wanting” and “not wanting” from my food life was peace from my obsession with food. Wanting and not wanting mean making infinite decisions around food. Because food decisions are infinite for me. I don’t think straight when it comes to eating. I feel crazy. I feel ashamed. I get all messed up and mixed up. It is so much easier to know that I will eat three meals a day. That they will consist of protein, vegetables, or fruit, and fat. That I will eat all of them and nothing more. It’s so simple. It’s a no-brainer. Because I can’t brain when it comes to my own food.
When my dad’s mother was dying five years ago, I didn’t want to eat either. I cried almost constantly. I was never hungry. But just like the other day, I ate my meals. And I will say that it was a huge blessing for me. I felt like my whole world was falling apart at that time. The person who loved me best in the world was going to leave me. I was not prepared. But there was something constant in my life. Three meals a day with protein, fruit, or vegetables, and fat. No matter what. Even if I cried through the whole thing. I had been doing it that way for four and a half years by then. It was three little respites in my day. I may not have enjoyed the food, but each meal was a little sanctuary of normality.
If I had not eaten my meal the other day, I would have invited all of my crazy in. I would have lost the peace of mind that I have had for over nine years now. That’s a pretty high price to pay for the sake of wanting and not wanting.