As part of my "intuitive eating" goal, I've been thinking a lot about the foods I used to eat pre-eating disorder in an attempt to get back in touch with the foods I genuinely enjoy. Of course, taste buds change over time (cold hot dogs no longer appeal!) but some of my old favourites still stand. A recent conversation with Lee also got me thinking about foods I ate in the depths of my eating disorder- not necessarily "disordered" foods per se, but in the context of my diet at the time, they certainly were. I shy away from these foods now because they remind me of a time when I was actively trying to destroy myself, and no matter how much I might still enjoy them, I can't shake off what they represent to me these days.
This has sparked a whole load of thoughts about the strong links between food and emotions, I think everyone can probably name certain foods that they see as comforting or that evoke certain memories (good or bad) and it's difficult to break away from that and see the food for all that it is, because it represents so much more.
Back to the intuitive eating goal, I am finding it really difficult to even KNOW what I enjoy eating. Taste, texture, etc- I am only now starting to rediscover my likes and dislikes and am trying to stay in the present moment and see it as "just a snack/meal" without thinking further into the last time I ate it/what else I ate that day/where I was in my disorder (or recovery) at the time. It's really HARD!
But, I think it ultimately comes down to CHOICE. I didn't choose to get sick, but I have choices now whether I push these memories aside and make new ones, whether I allow these memories/fears to dictate my choices or if I acknowledge the fear, bite the bullet and EAT IT ANYWAY. regardless of how I might feel during or after, regardless of what I ate for breakfast this time last year, regardless of whether it's raining/my ankle hurts/it's winter.
Recovery is a choice. A choice I have to consciously make, countless times every day. Each time my body sends me a signal saying it needs fuel/rest/exercise. Each time a thought pops into my head about calories, weight or the desire to fall headfirst into anorexia. I need to remind myself that I am CHOOSING to make healthy choices. It's not easy by any means and I can only hope that in time it will get easier.
I see it like this: imagine walking through a forest. You are walking down a beaten down path because it seems the obvious route. You know that it's potentially dangerous and going in the completely wrong direction, but it's the easier option that starting the arduous task of beating down your OWN path which will be hard work, but end up where you want to be going. So you start beating down your own path and start hiking. You get tired, you stray to the other a few times- but the more skilled you get at maneuvering your way through the branches and trees, the easier it gets. The thrill you then start getting from making a brand new path starts to outweigh the short-term benefit of the old path. Initially you need to really FORCE yourself to stick with your goal destination and keep ploughing down the trees...but over time, the old path holds no appeal.
So tell me: what path are you taking today, and what steps are you taking towards your destination?
My beloved Bare Naked fruit and nut granola (I LOVE this stuff but can't get it in the UK so am rationing my sole bag for a once-a-week thing) with microwaved apple and fage...ah...
And, snackity-snack. I actually had a different bar in my hand, camera posed, then realised I wanted vanilla almond goodness! This is my LAST Luna sunrise bar- and damn, it was good! Things taste so much better when it's the specific thing you WANT!
And another collage I found whilst unpacking:
This is actually tiny (fits in my purse). I made it a few years ago when I was on a day program and struggling a lot- it opens up and on the left-hand side has a list of the "cons" of recovery and on the right-hand side is the "pros". I know it's important to focus on the "pros" but I also think it's important to recognise that anorexia has served a certain purpose for me, and it would be naive of me to just ignore that and pretend it isn't there. Because the cons DO exist (hence the ambivalence towards recovery for most sufferers at one point or another) and I think it's vital to look at and address these. As long as the pros outweigh the cons, it's all good :)