After two bad days spent loathing my thighs and debating over every bite of food, I’ve had a beautiful realization that has put me back in the recovery mindset. I feel like every time I run out of enthusiasm for beating ED, it takes a revelation like this to get me back. Each time it’s a different, new idea that just makes me remember “RIGHT! THAT’S why recovery is so important”, and I feel like eventually, they’re all going to add together, and be ever-present in my mind. Eventually, they won’t even be conscious thoughts in my head. It’ll just be fact: Recovery is worth it; Life is so much more than having an eating disorder.
Anyway, today’s “brand new thought” was really something that, when I really think about it, should be an obvious, duh, thing. But that’s what an eating disorder does. It warps your brain, so the normal, rational thoughts don’t seem so normal, and the crazy ones make sense.
Life is too amazing to waste precious moments worrying about food.
Obvious, right? Apparently not. There are so many times in my life where I should have been having an amazing experience, and my most prominent memory of it was how I stressed about the food involved.
Specifically, I think about my trip to Thailand last year. Thai food is delicious (Or what I dared to eat was delicious; there was plenty I wouldn’t go near, because of all the “unnecessary” calories and fat). And it’s incredibly cheap. And a huge part of travelling is getting to try out all the local cuisine. But I missed out on that, because in my crazy lil mind, staying thin is more important than getting the full Thai experience.
Pad thai on the street for lunch? Maybe, but only if I’ve had a really “good” day up until then, and I’d have to have a light dinner later. Group dinner at the Indian restaurant? Nope, that’s pretty risky, I’ll have to find a safer meal somewhere on my own. Clubbing the night away in Bangkok? Whoa, I do NOT need all those liquid calories.
WHY DID I LET THOSE THOUGHTS HAVE SO MUCH POWER OVER SUCH AN AMAZING OPPORTUNITY???
I’m going to Bangkok (along with a few other Asian destinations) again in a few months. I don’t want a repeat of last time; I want to soak in every bit of the experience I can. I don’t want Ed to hold me back from doing the things I want to do, and from joining in on all the group’s fun.
In my mind it’s easy to be like “Of course I won’t let Ed ruin my holiday; I’ll be stronger by then, I can eat whatever I want”. But if I were to be offered a big plate of curry tomorrow, I’d still probably panic and try to avoid it. I still have a lot of work to do towards recovery.
More and more though, I can see that it’s worth it.
Even outside of the big things like travelling the world and tasting its foods, it’s worth it in everyday life. Birthdays, family dinners, Christmas; they all revolve around food, and they’re all supposed to be enjoyable experiences! As long as you keep listening to Ed, however, they’re still going to be stressful! Life shouldn’t be all about the food and the calories and your weight. It should be about enjoying each moment, and appreciating each moment.
Each day, I have to force myself. Some days, I have to force myself with each bite. But little by little, it’ll get easier. And eventually I’ll have that final realization that links all the little ones together, and sticks. Recovery is a struggle, but it means a full, amazing life, and I have to keep reminding myself how very much I want it, and it’s worth all that struggle.
Just think of all that pad thai…mmmmmm.