I believe that my eating disorder and obsession with food was a little bit similar to an addiction. A lot of times Eating Disorders are treated with a similar approach to AA and the 12 step program.
Of course the two addictions are very different, but obsession, shame, isolation, depression, loss of control, are all serious factors of each disease. An alcoholic can recover and live a healthy life with-out ever having another sip of alcohol again. (I know it’s not that easy. I am always amazed by my friends who battle and conquer their demons and I could not be more proud of their stories and achievements.
Unfortunately, Food is something I can’t quit. No one can. Not only eating something you have to do to live, it’s a huge part of socialization, family life, and even work life, actually pretty much all of life. Having realtionships with food, healthy, or unhealthy is a relationship we all have to have.
So, I try to eat like normally, but really what is normal eating? I have tried and tried to figure it out but between this diet, that meal replacement shake, the restricting of certain food groups, vegans, gluten-free, low sugar, low carb, low sodium, low cholesterol, over eating, under eating, mindful eating, intuitive eating, my brain could nearly explode.
Here’s what I learned so far.
1.Short, sweet, and simple: I don’t think there is a definition of normal eating. I think I might of just spent a good majority of my recovery life and even my disordered eating life trying to find that magical normal eating solution because everyone has their own idea of health and nutrition and how they want to design their food choices.
2.I can’t worry or focus on what others are eating or why they are doing what they are doing. I have to worry about myself and what i’m doing. I also have to make sure I am not worrying or thinking too much about my choices because I don’t want food to take over my life. I want to enjoy my food, taste my food, and feel the positive effects of my body using the food as nourishment and even enjoyment, but then I don’t want to continue thinking about it the rest of the day.
3.Eating disorder treatment set me up with basic knowledge of what healthy eating should look like for me. I know the needs of my body. I know appropriate serving sizes, I know the balance of food I am supposed to have at each meal, and know that ideally I should never let myself get too hungry or too full. I also know life is not perfect, our days are jammed packed and things don’t always go as planned.
4.For me, there are no forbidden or bad foods, there are no foods I don’t allow myself to have. Everything in moderation is what I do. I give into my cravings, I listen to my body. It’s okay to eat something for the pure fact that it just tastes good. You can treat yourself, You should treat yourself, and you should enjoy treating yourself. You deserve it.
Make your own idea of normal eating. If it feels right, it is right.