So last weekend i made a video talking about, my relationship with food after an eating disorder among other things. However i felt i didn’t quite stick to the topic and couldn’t formulate myself the way i wanted. I.e, i should have sat down… thought about what i wanted to say and then filmed. Not just make a spontaneous video without so much planning or thought.
I had thought maybe i should just refilm it – or refilm and add some things to the video. But i thought… why not just write a post, after giving myself some days to think. Sure, not everyone who watches the video will read this post… but i have always thought it would be easier to exprss myself via video, but maybe not…. maybe i am better at expressing myself via writing and blogging.
So let’s talk food and food relationship after an eating disorder?
After having struggled with an eating disorder, i don’t think your relationship with food will ever be the same. You will not go back to the same state of mind you had before you struggled with an eating disorder. I.e if you have spent time counting calories or seeing food just as numbers, that is not something you just unlearn. HOWEVER, you can learn to not let it bother you or give you anxiety. You can RELEARN to see food as food – as nourishment and enjoyment. But the knowledge of calories and calories in food won’t just go away – or it will atleast take years for it to do so.
Also, you may learn how to actually eat a balanced meal and food intake. Take myself for an example – before i got sick with my eating disorder, i didn’t have the best diet. I was a picky eater and ate bread, chocolate and chicken nuggets. But after my struggles with eating disorders i have learnt what balance is, what a balanced and healthy diet is over a period of time. Because, yes i have days where my diet isn’t so balanced.
Your approach to food changes and it can be in positive or negative ways.
For some people, they never learn to have a healthy or balanced approach to food again, and for others they can learn to have balance with food.
The only way to reach balance is to change your mindset and approach towards food. But so many factors affect eating, mindset and approach to food such as who you socialize with, what you choose to watch/listen to/follow online etc And even things like stress, medicine, other mental health issues etc can affect your way of eating or approach towards food and eating.
- you have had to actively work towards a healthy and balanced relationship with food. Meaning you most often have a healthier approach to food and eating than those who have never suffered with an eating disorder and think that feeling guilty after eating certain foods, or jupming onto every fad diet is normal and/or healthy.
- Also many “healthy” or “normal” people can micromanage their food such as count calories or point, or weigh their food and count macros. Of course it never goes to extreme lengths or takes over their life completely like it would if it was an eating disorder… but in my opinion it is not a relaxed or balanced approach to food if you are counting and weighing your food. But for some, yes they may need to do that for a short period of their life – just to learn right portion sizes.
Negatives – for me personally. And i hope to not get critiqued, but instead to be open and honest. This was the sort of point i wanted to get to in my video but didn’t quite get to it… instead i sort of had this defensive way of talking… not wanting to admit these things. Instead wanting to “Prove i am healthy and eat balanced”, but i think it is just as important to talk about these things. Because even if they don’t make me sick, they are things which have stuck with me from when i was sick .
Example, i hate eating in big groups of people. Sure i do it… but i don’t like it. If i can avoid it i will. Instead i would rather just eat like a bar or something similar if i have to eat in big groups or with lots of people.
I don’t like eating around/with new people… such as first dates. Of course this is something i am getting better and working on. But once again… it is not something i like doing.
I do prefer to eat alone. This is something which i notice i vary alot from others i know… because pretty much everyone i know wants to eat with others. It is a social thing and they don’t like eating on their own. Whereas i would eat alone 100% of the time if i could. And i wonder if this is just because i am very introverated, or if it is something left from my time as sick. I don’t know. (I mean i do eat with others and it is fine, but once again… i would prefer not to. WHen it comes to my family i have no problem and don’t mind eating with or infront of them).
I hate people watching me eat. Infact, i hate it so much that i can stop eating because i feel so awkward. However.. i don’t mind being the only person eating. Example if i am with my family and i am hungry, then i will eat even if they aren’t eating. And the same goes with my close friends…. ex. if i am hungry for lunch before or after them, then i will just eat when i am hungry even if they aren’t eating then.
I do however truly believe that you can fully recover from an eating disorder. Some people say you can’t and that you will always be sick – just that you control it. And i understand that, that was how i felt when i was still half recovered or a “functional sufferere”. I thought… “this is it… i will be able to eat, but still feel guilt sometimes, still control food, still feel anxious towards some foods, still restrict and binge…. but i will be able to go to school, live life, eat somewhat normally and function.”
But i can tell you… you can get free of those things. However it does take time and changes need to be made. I didn’t just wake up one day free and recovered, it was a slow process and i didn’t even notice that all the small choices and changes added up. Finding YOUR balance takes time… but please don’t settle for half recovered.
Note* Even if i say i dislike eating in big groups of people or eating infront/with strangers, it doesn’t mean i don’t do it. And it doesn’t give me anxiety… it’s just that if i could choose to not do it, i wouldn’t do it. For as long as i can remember i.e the past 10´years i have disliked eating in big groups of people and felt self conscious eating infront of others. However it is no longer something that gives me anxiety or something i completely avoid doing, but it was something i had thought about and wanted to share.
^the meals i ate during my half recovery.. i.e i ate, but sure wasn’t alot or balanced.
These were just some things i wanted to mention and share – and i didn’t quite get it across in my video.