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Please Don't Make Excuses for Eating That Extra Piece of Cake

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It might be because I’m in recovery from an eating disorder that I’m suddenly very aware of the conversations that occur when you’re eating with others; especially the toxic comments and jokes I’ve noticed others make when it comes to desserts, cookies and other “unhealthy foods.”

The comments are usually exaggerations and jokes that might be meant to give others an excuse for having that extra slice of cake. Comments like, “Oh well I deserve it, I actually ran here,” “This is too tasty, I’ll take a second portion — no need for breakfast tomorrow,” or “I guess I’ll have to spend an hour or two extra at the gym after eating this.” Now, the majority of people that say these things don’t skip their breakfast, compensate with exercise the day after or spend their night questioning if they actually did or didn’t deserve that cookie — which is a good thing because they shouldn’t. However, if you rewind my life nine months, you would find me doing exactly those things, especially when somebody in my surroundings made a joke like that.

These casual everyday comments made me doubt if I had done enough to eat that cake. If my table neighbor had ran, did that mean I also had to run? I used to compensate all the time, and these comments fueled that compensation. If others are saying it, I justified that it meant it was OK for me to do them. Not only was it OK to do, but I should them. Today, I know that I shouldn’t, and I try my best not to act out those behaviors. But I don’t think I’m alone when I say that my eating disorder loves these comments, even if I don’t. They make me angry because they aren’t needed — you don’t have to make excuses to eat. Every human that’s alive eats and excuses are not needed. Recovery, however, is a choice you have to make every minute, and hearing comments like “I’ll have to run a few extra laps today in order to make up for these” makes it much harder to choose recovery.

So while these joke and excuses for eating may seem harmless to the majority of the population, for those struggling with an eating disorder, it can be an excuses for our eating disorders to take over — and that’s a potential death sentence. Eating disorders can kill people, but a slice of cake does not. Therefore, please think before you speak. If you want a piece of cake, get it. There’s no need for excuses because you don’t have to do anything to be worthy of having that piece of cake.

Enjoy your cake, and know that you always deserve it.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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Unsplash photo via Toa Heftiba

Originally published: August 11, 2017
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