On Eating With an Eating Disordered Past

Howdy y’all! Today I had a FABULOUS workout with my hubs. Here are a few pics of what we did …

I’m looking SO MUCH BETTER and am feeling amazing-balls!

Today I primarily want to talk about EATING. Eating is pure hell to a person with an eating disorder – your mind is *constantly* on food, calories, what you can eat, what you shouldn’t eat, when you should eat, if you should throw up, etc. It’s hard to explain to someone who’s never suffered from an ED, but a person with eating disordered behavior both loves and despises food at the same time, from my experience; it’s equal to that of a full time job plus overtime battling these thoughts.

You lust after food, it’s like a bad lover to you when you have an ED. You lust after it, yet you despise every bite that you take – it disgusts you, yet you desire it so badly. It’s a dichotomy and a conundrum.

When I was suffering the worst from my ED (18 years of it, y’all), I’d binge eat to satisfy my lust for food and then vomit it all up … I’d restrict my intake in despair, thinking that if I could control my eating, then I’d be ultimately in control of my body and weight.

It’s all one big FAT lie, just as a toxic lover is … you think you’re in control by vomiting, by restricting … you ARE NOT IN CONTROL. Food is in control. You are a slave to food, and you secretly know it – pure destruction occurs when you’re a slave to food, and it’s a scary, shitty life to live.

But let me tell you something that I’ve slowly but surely learned: eating is not scary and does not have to be a constant battle in your mind! People who aren’t eating disordered simply eat until they’re full and then stop. People who aren’t eating disordered are not slaves to food, they control it with ease – just like a car, they “gas up” their bodies with food daily in order to have energy to run. This concept has always been foreign to me until recently, to be honest. Deep into my eating disorder, I couldn’t *fathom* that most people do not make a production about food or have constant food-related thoughts. I thought that, surely, they must be somehow always thinking about food, what they should eat or not eat, etc. etc.

Eating is truly becoming very simple now for me. I eat only when I’m HUNGRY. Yes, sometimes it’s hard for me to dictate when I’m truly hungry after years of binging and purging and then eating again, etc. but I’m learning my body’s needs. I’m *learning,* and that’s a major take-away here … it’s not an overnight fix, my friends. It takes time to adjust to eating a normal diet, as a person with an ED’s concept of normal is an abnormal take and an all-encompassing one at that!

Food no longer is forefront in my mind. Yes, I think about it more than most people do, I’m sure, as I consistently have little “hunger check ins” with myself where I take a moment to take a deep breath, listen to my tummy and my system, and I see if I’m truly hungry and not just emotionally so. But now it’s not this constant battle between me and eating/food, and I’m so PROUD of my progress.

(As a side note, as a former bulimic, my stomach has been producing too much stomach acid still, and I often have to take Pepto Bismol after lunch and through the afternoon. By dinnertime, the pain is usually gone. After my trip to Seattle, I’ll be headed to my primary care doc to talk to him about this little issue.)

But eating is just that – eating. It’s quite simple when you think about the car analogy – you fill up your body so it can run. You don’t have to fill up your tank to completely full, no, to run for a decent time, but if you restrict your fuel down to zero, your body won’t work properly at all, and you don’t want to overfill your tank either, as you probably won’t feel very good.

I’ve been enjoying banana pumpkin oatmeal with granola and PB around 8 in the morning, and that’s my biggest meal of the day. I sometimes have an apple with Tajin as a snack in the late morning, if I’m starting to feel peckish, but usually the oatmeal keeps me satisfied until lunch. At lunch, I typically roast some veggies and eat them with hummus and light dressing, or I have a yogurt with berries with a boiled egg. Sometimes I eat my apple around then too if I’m still hungry. I drink hot tea and water throughout the day. My snack often consists of a kombucha or a Snappy Tom (it’s a V8 type drink with extra spice) and possibly some deer sausage with cheese, crackers, and pepper jelly if I’m feeling hungry. Dinner is usually a moderate portion of whatever I’ve cooked for Luke, such as deer stir fry, deer spaghetti, or deer enchiladas (I should post recipes for all of these venison concoctions) and a side salad (usually spinach, sometimes with tomato and other veggies). This menu is pretty typical of me right now.

One trick that I’ve learned about seeing if I’m full is to wait 20 minutes after I eat before eating anything else. 20 minutes is about how long your brain to process if you’re full or not. I often ask myself this: does an apple or do carrots sound satisfying? If so, then I’m probably still hungry. If not – and usually that’s the answer – then I’m definitely full and satisfied and don’t need anymore fuel at the time, which is perfectly FINE!

A relationship with food doesn’t have to be complicated, I’m learning. It’s pretty damn simple when you get right down to it, but don’t tell that to a person struggling with an eating disorder as they’ll certainly tell you otherwise – their relationship with food is complicated, hateful, loving, and a constant chore to keep up with in their brains.

I’m so PROUD of where I’ve come from in my journey to health and happiness, y’all. I’m not much of a writer, and it’s terribly hard to describe my past relationship with food as it was just a nightmare, but it *is* easier to describe my current situation with eating because it’s pretty simple. I eat to fill up my gas tank and to get through my day. I don’t eat emotionally anymore, I don’t feel the need to vomit or restrict.

As for my weight, I’m slowly but surely acclimating to the idea that my body  naturally wants to weigh more than 110 lbs. I’m a tall girl (5’10”), and I’m built to be naturally more muscular and thick. And guess what? That’s perfectly FINE. I’m currently at 123 – 125 lbs, and I think I’m meant to be around 125 – 135 lbs, so I’ve still go a ways to go, but I’m hoping to build muscle – I now want to look like I could kick some ass and not be a sickly, skinny waif (a major shift in thinking for me).

After typing this all out, I’m left reflecting on my past eating disordered behaviors and thoughts, and man oh man, it was just PURE HELL. I’m SO BLESSED to be out of that hellish thinking and to be free of the hellish behaviors. I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m recovering, and I’m over some major bumps in the road. I realize that many people do not have the chance to recover or the will, and you know what, I can’t judge them. I’ve been there. I understand all too well. Yes, I feel sorry for them – I pity them in their struggle. And that’s why I write on this blog – I hope my story might resonate with someone else who’s struggling and inspire them to start transitioning into recovery.

Do you struggle with an eating disorder? Have you ever had eating disordered thoughts? What is your opinion on the business of eating – is it simple for you, or do you battle it?

Thank you for reading today, my friends and family. This was an interesting post to write for me as it caused me to truly reflect upon my past and my present … it’s on my mind now, and I’m just processing my journey still. I’m blessed to be *so close* to full recovery that it’s crazy! It’s something that I never would have imagined after 18 years of eating disordered behaviors and thinking.

I hope you have a great evening, I want to leave y’all with this message: you ARE enough.

~ Mandy



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