How I’m Learning to Feed My Body in Eating Disorder Recovery
Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741-741.
I feel a bit sorry for myself today — and it’s not just because I lied. While I make all attempts to be a transparent person, there are times that I keep my own secrets. If I think others will “know” and see through me.
The reason I feel sorry for myself is that this week, I have joined a commercialized group for weight loss. One of the things I have to do if I want to remain in the group is to keep a food diary. Today I sat down to make a note all that had passed my lips. Food panic gripped me. I had clearly eaten too much. Far from losing weight, I would surely gain it. I quickly sent a text message to my best friend to report that I had messed up day one. She tells me not to worry. As far as she can see, my food diary reported a reasonable adult intake and I had not broken the group guidelines.
I thought, So, this is what people eat every single day.
And then it hit me and now I feel sorry for myself because for all these years I have punished myself with starvation for what now appears little discernible reason and worse, that probably has led to me where I am now, living one of my worst fears – living overweight.
The reason I had to lie is that when the nice lady who runs the group asked me, “Do you have a history of eating disorder?” I knew what she meant was, “If you have a history of eating disorder, you are not welcome here, with us.”
But it was only a white lie because really what she was asking was, “Has a doctor ever labelled you with an eating disorder diagnosis?” and no, they have not. I am insightful enough to recognize however that my relationship with food is disordered.
I do not eat often. This has gone on for so long that I no longer recognize hunger feelings. I am more likely to believe I am sick than feeling faint from lack of sustenance. And like any human deprived, when I eat, I eat. Binge is the proper term. This has probably led me to evading medical assessment. That and my ability to know when I need and to ask for help.
And what have I done to myself?
I have risked deranging my body’s natural hormone production, damage to my cardiac system, literally risked my inner rhythm. I will probably be told in a few years that my bones are brittle. I am lucky I have my own hair and teeth.
But this is not a time for self-pity. This is my time to listen and learn what I need to feed my body to allow it to function. I am sorry to my physical self for punishing it for so long and grateful for the extra work it has been doing to get me thus far.
I have learned that as adults, what we say to children they will say to their adult selves for years ahead.
I have learned that no matter how you feel about your body, you have to feed it.
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Thinkstock photo via berdsigns.