A girl with a one-track mind

January 8, 2010 at 9:11 am Leave a comment

Disordered eaters know I’m talking about food here, not sex! Today I got an e-mail from a young woman who wanted to know if I can eat normally. She can’t go into the kitchen without thinking about food and her next binge. In her head, everything revolves around food. At the same time, she believes she is fat.

My answer: Yes, I can eat normally. And I don’t think about food all the time. But I had similar experiences. I used to think about food all day: “When can I eat again? What can I eat? Where can I puke?” Awful! But I don’t have to tell you that.

At some point, I decided: My figure is okay. It doesn’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to be perfect. I am how I am. All of a sudden, it was more about the fact that I wanted to LIVE! In fact, at the beginning I was even willing to gain weight if necessary. I considered it a transition — and I needed to give my body time to adjust to regular meals. I was certain that if I gained any extra weight, I would lose it again once things normalized. And that’s exactly what happened. There was enough input and my body and weight settled at a comfortable point for all of us. And I’m still slim. I used to think that anybody who ate “normally” would have to be fat. That’s not true.

It helped me to view food as fuel. Without fuel, no engine can run. Food is something I need every day, thus I did not diet. That’s how I recovered. I made a new start. I learned to eat — regularly. On a daily basis. I accepted the fact that to live I need to eat — day in and day out. No kidding around!

As I’ve said before, there were no forbidden foods. On the contrary. I thought to myself: “Anything and everything is allowed! I can eat what I want. I can be satisfied!” Bulimarexia has something to do with not believing that I deserve things. I thought I had to make do with less, didn’t deserve to be satisfied — whether it was food, love, happiness, life. It didn’t matter what. I just didn’t deserve it. That turned around. I do indeed deserve it! It’s my birthright!

It’s not so easy to stop the obsessive thoughts circling around food. You can try to give them less space by doing nice things for yourself — listening to music, going for a walk, going to the movies, talking with a friend. Then it simply has less space. If you keep thinking that you don’t want to think about it… that doesn’t work.

Part of the obsessive thinking is due to the fact that your body is starving. It is sending signals: “Eat something! I’m starving!” When you are satiated, the signals will cease to be so frequent. Of course, habit plays a part. It took a while before thoughts about things other than food had enough space. But it did happen. It is possible.

In the beginning, I concentrated on when I’d had enough. I ate extremely slowly, and stopped as soon as I had the slightest hint of being full. The feeling of being “too full” was unbearable. I don’t like it now either. That’s why I always eat enough, but never too much. I want to feel good.

Try to enjoy it! Think about it: What is a normal breakfast, lunch and supper? Eat that — no more and no less. (At the moment, your perception of hunger and satiation is probably off-balance, so you may need to focus on an objectively normal amount.) Allow yourself to enjoy it. It tastes good! Eat slowly and think: “I’m doing something good for myself, and I need this.” Since I was concerned about not getting uncomfortably full, but admitted that I love food, I did my best to fully experience the food — to smell it, taste it, let it melt on my tongue. It was (is) a positive experience. That’s when I learned: It has nothing to do with the amount. Even when I eat something I LOVE, one serving is enough.

As mentioned elsewhere, as a teenager, I counted calories. During the time of recovery, I turned it around. I found out roughly how many calories I need to survive and used that as a daily goal that needed to be reached. I don’t know how many it is, as that was a long time ago, but it was at least something to work with. It calmed me to know that even while sleeping I was burning up calories! Since I didn’t yet have a feeling or sense of what I needed, that objective number helped: “I need so much energy every day. My body needs it.”

Something else just occurred to me: My immediate environment was not in a conspiracy against me to make me fat. Those people who were concerned and wanted me to eat, were not bent on getting me fat. No. They “only” wanted me to stay alive. That’s a big difference. But way back then I used to think: “They’re jealous. They want to be skinnier than me. They want me to be fat.” What a load of garbage! But that’s how and what I thought.

There was a time when I ate normally. I jumped around, played, had fun, and came in for lunch and supper when my mother called. It was much less complicated then. The next time around, it needed to be learned. But it was possible! It is possible! You can do it!

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Entry filed under: eating habits and food, life after bulimia. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

But something good did come of it! Wanting to be seen

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