This blog post is about to veer off topic to a different issue, my disordered eating. This is something that has been really hard for me to face. It’s something that’s come and gone in waves since my childhood. Recently, my disorder has been way out of hand and I started to meet with a dietician regularly.
The past 6 months, I was restricting to a certain daily calorie limit. I felt like I was fainting at work. I would sit down in my chair in a way that I completely collapsed because I had no strength. I couldn’t exercise, walking to my 4th floor apartment made me completely out of breath. I wore my coat all day long and drank hot water to try and feel warm. I isolated from my coworkers and friends for fear of eating unsafe foods at dinners or lunches. I packed food and meticulously ate it in a specific way, at specific times. I became a pro at curbing hunger by drinking seltzer during the day or eating pickles for dinner.
On the other hand, I would crash and burn. I would attempt to binge drink my misery away, which lead to binge eating 3 pizzas, which lead to purging. I would plan binges around when I knew no one was home. I would go from whole foods to dominos to sweetgreen to pinkberry to eataly and eat my way around bostons eateries. It’s expensive and unhealthy. I knew how to purge in my closet with no one knowing and which foods came up easily.
My life was dictated by calories in and calories out. Each morning I would weigh myself, record it in my phone and calculate my underweight BMI. I have googled every single food and the amount of calories in it. And double checked. And triple checked. And still had extreme anxiety about the thought of consuming it. I obsessively checked to see how many steps I was taking and how many calories I was burning. I would google my BMR and calculate how much I would weigh if I ate x calories for x amount of time.
I gave up. I gave in. I stopped.
I’m in recovery. I just deleted the calorie counting app on my phone, which I truly miss. I try not to weigh myself, I put my scale away. I try not to compulsively exercise everyday, which I am not ready to give up. I check my calorie tracker on my Applewatch less. I try to eat more variety outside of my safe foods of yogurt, quest bars, grapes, berries, melon, frozen yogurt and the occasional salad. I try not to binge. I try not to repeat the same food all day, aka quest bars or yogurt for every meal.
The hardest part is trust. I don’t trust my body. I can’t tell what hunger is. I can’t tell what fullness is. Do I need to eat this or do I just want it? Am I just eating a lot to make up for all of the calories I didn’t eat or am I just overeating? Should I eat now even though I’m not hungry so that I don’t get hangry later? Do I need to eat before I work out? Should I eat after? Is it okay that I’m eating because I’m bored? I restricted for so long that I deserve this right? Is this bloatness going to go away? Do people usually feel bloated? Will I ever eat a meal and feel satisfied without guilt after?
Today is the first day I can remember that I didn’t log my calories. Last night, I didn’t plan what I was going to eat today by calorie count. It’s a baby step but it’s also a huge step.
These things are so simple. I used live my life, eat my meals without thinking twice and that to me is amazing. I can’t fathom how many calories I probably ate as a college athlete for years. But today, I eat protein bars or frozen yogurt for dinner, if I have dinner, because it feels safe. I know how many calories are in them. I know how I feel after and I can forgive myself as much as possible once I consume (and enjoy) them.
I’m working on overcoming this every day. Progress isn’t linear and I have to keep reminding myself that. It’s really hard because as much as I want to recover and I want to participate in life, there is a sick comfort in having disordered eating habits.
And now after eating a larger dinner than I feel comfortable consuming (yet I think I may still be hungry), I’m going to tolerate the discomfort, decline a Thursday night out at a bar and hang out with my cats in bed before the move. Tomorrow is Friday and tomorrow is a new day of new opportunities and new foods to be enjoyed!
Happy almost Memorial Day Weekend!!