Eat it Anyway
If you know me or have read “My Story”, you are well aware I lived with an eating disorder for pretty much three-quarters of my life. I’m 50 years old, so in other words, a very long time. As a result of that extended period, it should come as no surprise there are some parts of eating disorder recovery that still require a dedicated focus or a concentrated effort.
When I was in treatment and then home in early recovery, on most days I had to push past the feeling of being physically “Thanksgiving” full. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that over-the-top feeling of fullness which can only be abated by lying down. However at that time in recovery, if lying down was my solution for feeling overwhelmingly full, I’d never be off the couch or out of bed.
During those early days, there were times I’d want to skip things recommended by my nutritionist. That would be my anorexic thinking, not my recovery thinking which would tell me I need to maintain proper nutrition for my body on a daily basis. Yet in those moments when my anorexic thinking was so acute, I’d literally have to tell myself, “eat it anyway” and then do just that.
All the members of my support team would immediately jump on this. They’d invariably ask me what was really going on causing me to use food (or lack of it) to numb myself from feelings I didn’t want to address. Don’t get me wrong, diving into what’s underneath the eating disorder thinking is a very good thing to do. That process has taken me from there to here.
However more often than not, during early recovery it’s literally that physical, uncomfortable full feeling which sidelined me.
I’m happy to report that was a phase. As the refeeding/recovery process continues, the human body adjusts and you become more accustomed to feeling comfortably full.
So now fast forward to my life today.
It has been almost four years since I’ve been free from unhealthy eating behaviors, but sometimes the mind can play tricks if I’m not “on my game” so to speak.
For example, last night, for whatever reason, I felt really full. Perhaps it could have been because I’m not moving around as much to protect my healing herniated disk, I don’t know. In any event, I found myself thinking, “oh skip it … you’re doing fine … it’s no big deal.”
What? Who said that? Was that me?
Yep it was.
Right then I knew I had to counter that disrespectful thinking with the words that got me through early recovery. Eat it anyway. And I did.
The message here is this. Yes, I have overcome my unhealthy eating practices. Yes, I have for the most part, overcome the negative self messaging the eating disorder etched into my head. What I have to watch out for are those sneaky thoughts that, little by little, can take me straight back to the living hell I came from.
Bottom line, I’m not responsible for my first thought, I am responsible for my first action. So when those moments of weakness take over, I’m glad I’ve taught myself to do the opposite of what I’m thinking and eat it anyway.