Deep in my eating disorder, I loved eating highly sweet and fatty food. I’ve said this many times and everyone can probably relate. It gave me a thrill to buy it, and to eat it without a care in the world, and whilst I was eating and eating I felt so in control, so mature, and so elated. But when the food was gone so was the fun. It was a great feeling being ‘naughty’ with food! It took me a long time to realise that this side of my eating was as disordered as the side that cowered in fright when I looked at a cookie or felt my head would explode from calorie counting.
Recovery involved letting go of the thrill of eating ‘bad’ foods as it wasn’t serving my health or emotions. I was sad to let go of my disordered behaviour because it provided me with a source of entertainment (in a way) and something to turn to when I wanted to avoid other things going on in my life. Back then I thought about normal, balanced eating and I felt scared – surely I was destining myself to a bland life with no excitement?
What I didn’t fully understand was that food was acting as a metaphor for my life (thanks Geneen Roth).
A thing that helped me shift my mindset is that I can eat some ‘fun’ food and enjoy it without it taking over my life and being my only source of enjoyment. I had to drop the all or nothing mindset and learn that food can be fun, and I am allowed to enjoy it.
I gradually abandoned the notion that ‘exciting’ foods were rare and naughty, and instead began to convince myself I am allowed to enjoy fun or tasty food that I want at any time, and I can have it whenever I want. I don’t have to eat loads of it in one go to get the pleasure from it!
I also found out that normal eating means eating foods you like, which encompasses all things, both sweet and otherwise. Gradually changing your beliefs around what healthy food is, that healthy food must be boring is a game-changer. Variety is healthy, not plain chicken breasts day in day out.
So know I am much better at enjoying my food, not looking for the thrills because I know I will enjoy nearly all my food, and normal doesn’t have to be boring!
What do you think? How have you changed your mindset around eating normally?