Peanut butter and banana toast. A healthy and nutritious breakfast that I would eat religiously every morning. Full fat peanut butter, a thick piece of sourdough bread and a full banana; that one sentence holds so much power.
There was a point in my eating disorder where the voice was so loud that I could no longer manage my favorite breakfast. I turned to having an apple or going with no breakfast at all. My favorite meal of the day became an obstacle greater than I had ever known. I began to challenge myself with thoughts of “How long can you make it today without food?” And “If you don’t eat breakfast, you can have more dinner as a reward.”
For me, breakfast is the hardest meal and often seems insurmountable. I used to wake up in the morning with fear clenching at my chest, dreading the full breakfast I knew I would have to eat as part of my recovery meal plan. I then flashback to earlier years when I would wake up on a lazy sunday morning to the smell of fresh bacon and pancakes being cooked by dad. Rather than tremble in fear, I would lurch from my bed, eager to indulge in the weekend delicacy.
And just because I would eat pancakes and some bacon, that by no means meant that I had to starve myself for the rest of the day. I would eat the breakfast and go on with my sunday, eating when I was hungry and stopping when I was full. The luxuries of intuitive eating seem so far from my reach right now, but I know that by sticking to my meal plan and eating continuously, that can be a reality for me again.
I like to take it challenge by challenge and day by day, starting with peanut butter and banana toast. There are so many foods that my eating disorder has deemed off limits for me. Each time I eat one of those foods I am breaking through the anorexic wall and getting closer to freedom.
I understand that I no longer want to live within the constraints of anorexia. The box that it has put me in gets smaller and smaller with each meal and food item labeled “unhealthy” or “unsafe.” After all, who would have ever thought a piece of toast with banana and peanut butter would be so inexplicably frightening. The fear is so irrational, and I can recognize that, yet in the moment it hits me full force and I have to remind myself of what it really is: a simple piece of peanut butter and banana toast.