Before my eating disorder, I ate when I was hungry, stopped when I was full and satisfied, and never bothered to worry about how much those around me were eating. It sounds so simple, just eat when you’re hungry, but it is a thousand times more complicated.
I wish I could go back to that carefree attitude I once had surrounding eating. I long for the days I could go into a restaurant and order exactly what I wanted, regardless of the calorie count or the fact that my friend was ordering a salad.
Today, one of my biggest struggles is comparing my eating habits to those of others. “How much is she eating?” “She ordered the salad without chicken, you don’t need chicken either.”
These thoughts are absolutely ridiculous because in order to recover, I need to be eating more than the average person. I try to remind myself that my friends can eat salads and fruit for lunch because they did not starve themselves; they are not trying to heal their bodies. Yet in the moment, I often fall prey to the screaming voice in my head.
It helps me to think of my eating disorder as something I am trying to fight against; a battle that I need to win. Every time I complete a meal or eat something the voice in my head doesn’t want me to it is a point for me; I have won that battle. But every time I stop eating before I am full or go without a snack between meal times, anorexia has won.
With each triumph against my eating disorder I grow stronger as it grows weaker. With each meal I complete and snack I eat I feel myself challenging anorexia and willing it to go away.
My therapist often tells me that an unnourished mind is a crazy mind. The voice will only be louder when you skip meals or snacks, the logic will fade away and the eating disorder will take over. This is why, in order to recover, I must continue to eat, no matter how hard it may be.
That all sounds so simple. “Just eat.” I have heard it a million times. But those two words hold much more complexity and anxiety. For me, and thousands of others, it is not that simple. We are in constant battle to convince our minds to “just eat.”
That is why you must give yourself credit. Take pride in the meals you complete, reward yourself when you eat a food you once deemed “unhealthy.” This is not an easy road, despite what others may think. Know that wherever you are in your recovery process, whether at the beginning or the end, you have accomplished something larger than yourself and you are stronger because of it.