Oh food. Food, food, FOOD! I know I have to eat it. Food is fuel yadda yadda. I get it. And I have come a very long way on my recovery journey. I no longer have forbidden foods. After all of these years, I have come to accept and eat every kind of food. I allow any type of treat. I occasionally enjoy fast food. The name McDonalds does not bring on a wave of fear as it has in the past. I am able to eat a doughnut and move right along with my day. These are huge steps for me. A lot of times I don’t even think about it. What looks ok, sounds edible and feels fine is alright with me. I know that my body will do what it needs to do if I just pay attention to its cues. I’ll admit, thoughts do come in: Should I really be eating this? Isn’t this a “bad” food? I recognize the disordered thoughts and consciously remind myself of the truth as I know it now. Not what I thought was truth in the past, what the internet says, or some self-proclaimed food guru. Food is food. Food is fuel. I will not die from eating the food. I will die from not eating it. Got it.
Here’s the thing though. I don’t particularly love food. I’ve heard people say, “I could never be anorexic. I like food too much!” When I hear this statement a sad thought remains. I don’t really care about food. I don’t find joy in it very often. I will have a meal occasionally that is pretty tasty. I just had a chocolate which was quite nice. But I feel like I could go without. I don’t look forward to food often. I rarely have cravings. It feels trivial and boring. A waste of time. I’ve had an extremely hard time preparing food. Not only for myself, but for others. My sweet, supportive husband has taken over the duty of making dinner for our family almost every night. The very thought of having to prepare a wholesome, nutritious meal for the four of us fills me with anxiety. I shut down. I don’t care about it. I don’t have passion. Nothing sounds good. Nothing inspires me. If I didn’t have to eat for energy and life, I probably wouldn’t do it. I would fill that time with things I care about.
I have been quite judgmental of my state. “I must just be incredibly lazy.” But as I look at it further I realize I am anything but lazy! I am often working very hard either at my job, my volunteer work or in my home. My husband has to drag me away from whatever I am doing to get me to the table. I can spend hours and hours doing whatever it is I feel I need to do. Perhaps it’s all just a way to avoid the kitchen. I’ll eat the food once it’s in front of me. That part I have worked out. Sometimes I will even cook something. But there is no love for it. It very often makes me feel guilty, sad, embarrassed and unfeminine. My husband has never complained about having to make the evening meal or the lunches for the kids. He has never told me I am a bad wife. But I feel it in my soul. This is something a woman should want to do for the people she loves, right? Shouldn’t I want to do that? What am I teaching my kids about food when I am like this? Is this all part of my disorder or something else? I eat only enough to curb my hunger. I do not usually eat until I am quite hungry. And then, I do not eat until I am good and satisfied. My weight has suffered. As soon as I don’t feel hungry anymore, I stop. I eat just enough to keep me going, but not for pleasure or the experience or to bond with people. It is little piece of my disorder that hangs on. And I’m not sure when and if this part will get better.
The grocery store still brings on an overwhelming flood of anxiety. There are too many options. Too many fears. It’s too much to handle. I can only stand being in the market for a few minutes before my fear overtakes me. Making a menu? Shopping? Cooking? I wish I was a woman who enjoyed these things. I feel like my husband deserves someone who can and will cook on a regular basis. It is difficult for me to see my friend’s posts of planning and making a beautiful meal for their families. I feel shame and regret. Why can’t I just love the food? Enjoy the food? Be inspired by food? I watch shows like Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. He is traveling the world and loving food so much he has likened it to porn. I have no passion. I eat only because I have to. I’d rather be doing something else.