What I’ve Learned About Food & Life After My Eating Disorder

I saw this gem on the wonderful world of Facebook a few days ago.

While it was for the opposite reason, it was very reminiscent of the first time I saw my nutritionist.

I’d slouched into her office wearing baggy clothing, while anxiously looking around like a wild animal of sorts. I was looking for signs. Other people who may not want to be there….fattening foods to blow me up…hospital referrals….devices of torture that, surely, were located somewhere in that tiny room.

In the weeks leading up to my appointment with her, I’d kept a food log per her websites request. As I reluctantly handed it to her, along with the other initial forms, I waited for it.

The funny part?

I was not waiting for the response I got. I honestly believed, in the deepest part of me, she say, “This isn’t so bad.” I thought, very distortedly, she would even wonder why I was there to begin with.

Well, friends…spoiler alert, that is NOT what happened. Not in any shape, or form.

As I had a very awakened eating disorder at that point, I don’t think I need to tell you what her response was to that very limited food list.

What I do think is important is what I’ve learned, & continue to learn, since that day those years ago.

What I’ve learned about food & life since my eating disorder:

  • There are no safe &, “bad,” foods. After much convincing, about a year or so of convincing, I finally accepted this. Before I saw a nutritionist, I had two categories of food: safe & unsafe. My safe foods were also very limited in number, dwindling down to 10 or so near the end of my ED. When I think back to the waif of a girl I was sitting across from her in that office, I remember my wide eyes & squinty eyebrows when I first heard these words uttered. In short, I thought she was insane. Now, I realize my grandpa was right when he was use to tell me, “everything in moderation.” For a guy who only graduated fourth grade, he’s a pretty smart guy.
  • Weight is an irrelevant aspect of an eating disorder. At one point during my long battle, my weight was a cause for concern. However, during the majority of it, it was pretty average. By looking at me, at different points of my disorder, you’d never have known I was sick.
  • Recovery is never ending. Like other addictions, eating disorders are something an individual will battle for the rest of their life for the majority of people. Speaking for myself, I know this to be painfully true. When I first started really trying to get past the life of scales & obsessive exercise, I had the idea that, once I completed treatment, my eating disorder would no longer be something I knew. The distortion would be gone from my eyes, the compulsion to workout gone. I also thought, as the years went on, I would no longer be able to tell you the calorie content in a given food. To my dismay, that was & is not the case. To this day, the numbers still roll into my head like a slot machine when I pull up to a drive thru menu. While most of the time this is irrelevant for me now, it remains challenging nonetheless.
  • Relapse isn’t failure. It does not define you, nor does it diminish all you’ve worked toward thus far.
  • Raising awareness is vital & is something that will always be of the utmost importance to me. Eating disorders kill. They destroy lives. They destroy your body, sometimes permanently. So how do we stop them? We talk about them. We raise awareness. We let the youth, & everyone else, know how toxic these disorders are.
  • Life is beautiful. & it’s a hell of a lot more beautiful without the constant obsession of calories, food, weight, & exercising.

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