Many of you will know it already: it’s National Eating Disorders Awareness [NEDA] week. It might say national but knowing the blog world and the fact that eating disorders affect people all of the world it’s needless to say it’s going to be international. For this What I ate Wednesday I’m going to share some recent meals and snacks as well as some reflections on the progress I’ve made over time. Thanks to Jenn for hosting!
Like I mentioned in my post on Monday I’ve been trying to figure out what works best for me in terms of my diet. There were some recent changes to my daily routine [sorry for being vague here for now] that in turn require me to deviate from my previous meal schedule. As in: no more snacking all around the clock. Sunday, however, was all about that. Mainly due to my breakfast of choice at first …
Don’t get me wrong: It’s not that the bread pudding wasn’t a tasty choice. But even with the bread in there going for a hig[er]-protein option instead of my usual bowl of oat bran didn’t do the trick. It took a lot more almond butter and more fruit on the side to get satisfied. Not for long, though. It wasn’t too long afterwards that I felt the need for a snack …
With recovery in mind this was a positive change for me, though. For years I felt like I needed to stick with the lowest calorie options. If I ate breakfast at all it was something I wouldn’t even consider anything close to a proper meal nowadays. And eating again this soon afterwards just because I didn’t feel quite satisfied? No, I’d try my best to sit it out. Wait. Drink a cup of tea to fill the void in my stomach. And count down the hours until the next time I’d be ‘allowed’ to eat.
Did my family notice all of this? Yes. Did they try to intervene? A million times. But were they able to help? No. Because recovery is a choice we have to make ourselves. No matter how insistent my mum was about me eating that bowl of soup, drinking the full-fat hot chocolate in a coffeeshop when we were out shopping or making me have a whole-grain roll for dinner [only for me to nibble on it and discard the largest part in an unobserved moment]. I’d freak out about the unknown calories and try to make up for it the rest of the day. Or better yet: by cutting down my intake the whole next day. It wasn’t fun – but it made me feel in control. When actually, it was the eating disorder taking control over me, robbing me of joy in food and life in general. Eating something like chips straight from from the bag while watching a movie on a rest day? Impossible.
These days I’ve gotten a lot less strict about which foods I eat, experimenting and coming up with own recipes and keep getting better about going with my cravings no matter of the time. For me, it’s still a way to go but with every time I’m challenging the ED voice in my head I know it’s getting better. There’s too much good food and too much enjoyment in life to miss out on.
Even when it was time for lunch I didn’t eat according to my cravings but whatever had the lowest amount of calories and highest volume. At my worst this could mean a whole head of broccoli with meticulously measured low-fat sauces. And if others dared asking for a bite of whatever I’d prepared or even stealing a spoonful without doing so in advance? I’d get furious because my alloted serving size had been decreased and I wasn’t able to calculate how much more I’d be allowed to make up for missing parts. It was all about calories – pleasure didn’t matter. With a painfully bloated stomach it seemed like I had eaten a lot but I never felt satisfied.
Eating a real lunch was one of the biggest challenges for me at first – and now I can’t imagine not having it anymore. No longer is it just about piling up steamed bland vegetables on a plate but I truly enjoy trying new dishes. The blog world has been a huge source of inspiration and encouragement for me on my journey and I’m thankful for that.
Ending on a sweet note is a favourite of mine. Be it a post or a day. For whichever reason, I never gave up sweets during my ED, either. I’d rather skip a proper lunch [see note above] to ‘save’ calories for some chocolate. A scoop of ice cream. What remainded, though, was the guilt I felt for going over a certain amount and if I snacked on some chocolate chips [measured out, obviously] I wouldn’t give myself permission to have any other kind of sweet that day or – if I did – I’d feel guilty. Fruit had to suffice. Nowadays, I don’t skip meals and if I feel like having half a bar of chocolate – so be it. The world has yet to stop turning and my clothes fit. Some even looking better on me than back in the day. Some days we might crave a little extra sweetness, the next it might not appeal as much anymore. It’s about seeing the big picture and trusting that things will even out in the end. And even if I have my anxious moments I know there is a huge blogging community out there to support me. Which actually was the case with my mindset about the chocolate here …
Where does this leave me? Am I recovered yet? By far not. I’ve seen a lot of improvement already but there will be many more struggles to come until I get to the point of feeling ‘normal’. Challenges to face. But I’m determinded to keep going on – because backwards isn’t an option anymore.
Happiness inducing today: Enjoying my lunch outside in the sun.
Stay in touch!
Are you good at listening to your cravings?
If you’re in recovery: What were or are some major challenges for you in terms of food?
And because I realize this is a very wordy post and it’s WIAW after all: What have you been eating lately?