backlash against food.

Hello! Been awhile. Again. Essays smessays ruin my life. Still, now all I’ve got left is my dissertation which is pretty bloody terrifying as I’m not on top of that but I’ve got till September so I’m hoping for the best. Anyways, I’ve got through my deadline and then took a few days to not write anything at all (instead chosing to watch a whole load of Skins on 4od. I don’t care that I’m not 14 it’s really good. And it makes me miss Bristol something rotten). Now I figured it was time for a long neglected blog post.

Right now, anorexia-recovery-wise I’m doing ok I think. I spend a lot of time beating myself up over the fact that my eating isn’t really normal. It would look pretty normal to someone who came to watch it for a day, but longer than 48 hours and they’d get suspicious. I struggle a lot when it comes to food and other people. Since setting my target of two meals per week cooked by the Ma almost a month ago now, I’ve let her cook for me once. I’m really struggling with not counting calories – right now the rolling total of days without counting is 2. So far on day 3, I’ve had breakfast so I’m pretty aware of my running total so far. Especially because it was Weetabix so pretty accurately estimable there, plus I know I overestimate my milk portion. I’m struggling to try to get enough fat in my diet. Struggling to get enough protein. I think though that it’s ok because although it’s not perfectly balanced, I am getting all the food groups. I’d really suck at that paleo-diet thing the world seems to really love. I like grains too much and meat and fats kinda scare me. Plus you know, it’s kinda bullshit anyway. I seriously lack variety in my diet too. Not vits and mins wise, just the sorts of meals I have really. I basically eat more and fattier versions of what I ate a year ago, just with added snacks. Still, it’s a bloody improvement. I saw the dietitian today and she’s really happy with me so I shouldn’t be so angry at myself for not getting it right yet. For not being normal yet.

It’s more difficult than I thought it would be – switching to maintenance. I’m maintaining absolutely fine. So far, my weight has managed to fluctuate around in the same pound even though I’m consistently eating between 2,300-2,500kcals a day, so it’s really not that hard. It’s just there’s no real aim. Thinking about what to eat is easy when you’re going somewhere with it. You don’t have to want or like anything – you just do it. Granted, during weight gain you can eat a whole load of super tasty food, but it doesn’t really matter if you want it or not, you just have it. I never have any idea what it is I want to eat. Ever. And if I do, it’s usually something like chips or cake. I don’t really know how they’d fit on my meal plan, so I avoid them anyway. To be fair, that happens very rarely anyway, most of the time I just don’t want to eat or have no idea what I fancy. If in doubt, toast. Toast is now my go to snack. It’s no fuss, no bother, quick, tasty. I just don’t have to think about it, which is nice.

Because you know what? When it comes down to it, I just kinda hate food. I’ll eat it, and I get that it’s good and not a choice, but necessity and all that, I just don’t really like it. I loved food for so long that I think it’s worn me out. I never have the desire to cook something nice or bake or be creative. I just want it to be over and done with as quick as possible. It kinda sucks because I can cook really boomtingz food when I want. It’s not like I don’t  the time and it’s not like I’m even considering maybe not eating (at least not on a seriously likely level). It’s not that food doesn’t taste good because it obviously can. It’s just boring. Monotonous. Constant. Especially when all of a sudden it’s time to eat and I’ve not planned my meal at all. Showdowns with the fridge end up with me eating the same things most of the time. I like them, but I chose what’ll be done quickest not what’ll taste nicest. Turing the oven on is a major hassle, anything that needs to simmer is basically out of the question and defrosting can frankly go spin. There just doesn’t seem to be much of a point in eating something nice because I just have to eat again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. On and on. Food just keeps happening forever.

So I stick to what seems healthy for me. Lots of hummus and whole grains and veggies and soup and yogurt. I have made the conscious decision to never eat a Muller light ever again recently. After eating so much fatty fats yogurt, I had a Muller light the other day because it was in the fridge. Seriously gash. Fat-free yogurt is the single most pointless food in the world I think. Firstly, it’s not like there’s that much difference in calories. Secondly, it’s not like the fat is bad for anyone really. Thirdly, fat is pretty darn satiating. Fat-free will only make you hungrier quicker. And because you’ll need to eat more food, it’s more expensive, and probably more calories. False economy init. Plus fourthly, it’s so much tastier. Like so much. Why even bother having watery fat-free yogurt ever? Even the nicer brands fat-free is gash. Rachel’s, Yeo Valley, Onken. It’s all gash if it’s fat-free. And what really fucks me off is that loads of seriously good looking yogurt flavors are ruined by this. And also, own brand stuff tends to be fat-free or low-fat tends so if you want good yogurt, you have to pay more. I literally do not see the point in even selling it. It’s ridiculous. Plus it bugs me that it’s seen as women’s food. Why is yogurt for women? Grr.

But anyway, I try to stick to healthy foods. Not only healthy though – yesterday I had two scones with butter and jam. (real butter too. Actively trying to “get into” real butter is strange, but in an attempt to load up on fats, a good thing). I try to limit my processed food intake. I stick to things I’ve made (which when you hate food, is kinda limited), relatively natural foods with not too many added extras. I try to go for low sodium, high fibre, complex carbs etc. My meals are all kinda small, but I eat really regularly so it’s definitely enough. I always have dessert (generally it’s yogurt (standard) and fruit, but sometimes it’s Ben & Jerry’s. I have this epic ice-cream at the moment. Vermonster – pecans and maple syrup). It’s easy to stick to the rules I have about food. Especially because although there are definitely rules, they’re far more relaxed and I can break them if I want or need. Thing is, if I don’t have rules, how would I ever chose what to eat? So instead of having to choose from the infinite amount of food in the world, I stick to a diet that works for me right now. It tends to mean I eat way too much breakfast food – essentially breakfast 4 times a day (if you exclude my two desserts which are kinda breakfast food too). Breakfast is easy, quick and within my rules when choice anxiety hits. I hate that feeling of knowing you have to eat but having no idea of what to eat, so I avoid it by eating things I know are easy and fit my rules reasonably.

I know that it’s really not, but switching to maintenance has made eating seem a bit pointless. I just don’t have the energy or desire to put much thought into it. Writing this post has probably been the longest I’ve thought about food in a while. It feels like I won’t achieve anything through food anymore and to be honest, I’m not really sure how else to achieve without it. I know weight and dietary control aren’t really achievements to write home about, but they are my achievements. When I first started dieting, I thought I was achieving something – turning my life around etc. Turns out it wasn’t really worth the effort, but it felt like achievement every time the scale went down, every time I turned down food, every time I added an extra five minutes on the treadmill. I measured my worth that way. Then I achieved through recovery. Every time the scale went up, every time I ate a cake, every time I sat down on the tube. It felt like what I was achieving was awful and painful and although I’m genuinely glad I’m healthier, it’s still ambivalent (body image is pretty awful at the moment. Plus I don’t feel better or happier). Food and weight and all that business have been how I’ve measured my life, but now there’s nothing to measure it by. Just eating. Forever. On and on. It won’t get me anywhere anymore. To be fair, it’s never really got me anywhere good anyway, but I felt active. I felt I was changing something and I’d finish up new. So now I kinda just hate it. I resent that it can’t change me when I’m still so desperate to change. I still don’t feel new and I’m still not comfortable with who I am and my method might be epic fail but I was doing something to try to make me better. I haven’t found another thing to do yet. I don’t even know if there is another thing to do. But seeing as food can’t make any of me better, it’s suddenly excruciatingly boring, annoying, pointless and dull. There’s no reason to put any energy into it anymore.

This got all gloomy somehow. I think it’s the fact that I’m really struggling at the moment. Mood wise, behaviour wise, socially. It’s really difficult. It’s more difficult that I’m not really sure how I’m meant to feel right now. I don’t know if this is how people feel all the time anyway. If it is, it sucks and I don’t know why anyone bothers. None of this is helped by the fact the psychologist is on leave for an unknown amount of time. It can’t be good if no one knows when he’ll be back so it’s probably a good reason. I know I shouldn’t be, but it made me pretty angry. After my last failure of a session, I wrote out all the things that were getting to me and a lot of it is things I haven’t spoken to anyone about before, but now he’s away and I have to sit on all these things about me that make me feel broken and  I don’t know if I’ll ever talk about them now. I’m just gloomy at the moment. In that all-encompassing, hollow sickness kinda way where you wake up with an empty nausea in your chest that never goes away. Physically, I feel sick in my heart. No metaphor intended. Every night, I huddle under my duvet and make wishes for hours, hoping that eventually I’ll change till I fall asleep. I don’t know. But my blog is not the time and place for all this. Too stormy. Maybe when it’s less raw and I have some sort of idea what to do about it.

But anyway. My main point is that, regardless of all the drama and ridiculous eating habits, recovery wise, I’m doing bloody awesome (I took a really roundabout way to get here I know). I might hate food, but I actually think that’s a step. I don’t hate that I have to eat it (though my current mood beats my appetite away with a rock so it’s not always pleasant). Even when I really can’t be fucked, I have toast. I eat, everyday, relatively balanced, pretty darn healthy, normal looking food. With no complaint. If I’m in doubt, I eat extra. I don’t mind the eating part, just the fact that food takes thought and time from other, more enjoyable things. I don’t weigh things really anymore which is good. Even when I do count calories, it’s really approximate and always after I’ve eaten and even if I’ve hit my target, I will still eat if I want to (I don’t really know why I do it. The numbers just make me feel safer I guess). During last years essays, I’d procrastinate through thinking about the comparative merits of various salad dressings. Now, I don’t really give a fuck about salad dressings. It’s boring and annoying and I kinda resent the time and energy food takes. I also think it’s a normal backlash to all that wasted energy. There are still problems, but I have the rest of my life to fix them. It’s bloody brilliant that I don’t really want much to do with food I think because for the first time in a long time, I really don’t feel all that obsessed by it. I eat because I have to and I don’t mind that, I’ll eat nice food if it’s there, but otherwise, sod it, I’ll have something quick and boring.  Maybe this backlash against food will even out to a more neutral stand point when I work out how to tell if I’m hungry and what I might want to eat (and I am very slowly making steps in this direction. Very small, snail pace steps), maybe it won’t. Maybe I’m just one of those people who aren’t all that fussed by food. Who knows? But I have better, worse and much more important things to deal with right now. For once. And the space in my head to work on how to make myself feel ok without the (really rather inconsequential) control over my diet and body. There’ll be other ways right? Most people don’t use food. It’s actually kinda sad that anyone does I think. Sad because really, it doesn’t mean anything and no one will read your relationship with food the way you do. No one really notices while you flail around trying to make sense of yourself through eating or not eating. Nothing comes from it and in the end and it doesn’t change you. It’s sad.

My gosh I write long posts. Sorry for being so ramble ramble about it.

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12 Comments

Filed under general, recovery

12 responses to “backlash against food.

  1. you have come a long way!! So well done!
    I totally get you about eating feeling pointless. I think when we were actively in the ED, it was a good way to avoid dealing with whatever. A good way to feel in control and that everything was going to be okay, and a way to feel that we were achieving. Many people turn it the other way with refeeding – use the weight gain and the eating to get there to avoid, feel in control, and feel we are achieving a goal/s. So maitenance does leave us floundering in a limbo because finally we don’t have either weight loss or gain to use for those reasons and we have to find new, better healthier ways to cope. It sounds like you are on the right track though.
    What is ‘normal’? I am still trying to figure that one out :) as long as it’s working for you, it’s good.
    Keep up the good work xx

    • I hope I’m on the right track. It’s just a scary time at the moment. Before, I was like “doesn’t matter about anything else – recovery first and foremost” but now with my MA finishing and active treatment coming to an end it’s like “shit – later has kinda arrived.” I have time though. I hope.

      In my head, normal is when all the food stuff stops being an issue. Right now, it’s still a bit of an issue becuase I can’t just eat when I’m hungry or work out what I’d like to eat, so there are rules. To be honest, I don’t even know if it’s possible to not care anymore, but that’s what I’m after. I think I have to get seriously better at being ok with where I am right now, because it’s serious progress.

      Anyway, I hope you’re well. x.

  2. Wow scrunchy, you should be so proud.
    I find with food group eating, I stick to the same meals that I know have enough fat/protein etc etc etc, because its easier, and I cant be bothered to go find something else. I think that is “normal” to an extent. My brother (no ED) is always hovering round my mums fridge, “I don’t know what to eat, can’t be bothered to cook, cant decide if Im hungry enough”.
    Whereas before Id plan way too much about every single meal.

    The other stuff, well, it’s a bit of a pain in the butt that your shrink person is away right now. You’re right though you cant measure your life with food, but your symptoms are similar to mine at healthier weights. i.e social aspects. Treatment wise, they gave me anti-D’s and anti-P’s, still didnt help so much, side effects of the latter are rotten. However, they want me to have CBT when Ive recovered for an unspecified amount of time. I hope you get something too, because it sucks to “recover” into a new problem. I’d find it would be a lot worse when I was alone, and didnt have anything to do, and could not relax so much.

    It’s really awesome that you’re eating despite not liking food. Hugs hon xx

    • I hope it’s normal. I think it definitely looks like it, but the thought processes are not quite there. I still care too much about my weight for that so I can’t just eat without the inevitable “what will be enough but not too much that’s healthy enough and won’t leave me hungry quickly and won’t make me feel bad.” It just winds up being more normal looking food now. I still have fear foods. Less so for sure – I’ll basically eat anything, just not most days. Maybe once every few weeks I’ll eat something which seems ridiculous to me but most people would eat everyday no sweat. Like potatoes. Or meat.

      Medication wise, I’m not keen. I’m one of those people that get side effects. I have a theory that listed side effects hit some people more regluarly than others and that it’s not actally random – some people have tempromental bodies. I think I am one of them. I’m always reluctant. But for now, I’m definitely able to function. My rule of thumb is that side effects are worth it if you can’t function.

      Therapy is is great though, as long as what you’re offered is a) long enough and b) will offer more than just CBT if you need it. CBT is great, but therapy needs to cater to the patient to work. I’m getting more therapy from the CMHT for “me as a whole personality” (exact quote – fucking terrifying) so I just have to wait for that waiting list to be over and hope my current therapist is ok to work soon. It’s so fucking rubbish to recover just to feel more crazy.

      In a kinda perverse way, it’s nice to not feel like the only person who’s still a bit of a disaster at healthy weights. Blogging is good for that. Especially because a lot of people (my psychiatrist at the EDU included) keep telling me that it’s not normal to not just be ok after gaining weight. Blogging makes me feel a whole load less strange.

      Hope you’re well x.

  3. I’m so proud of you! You are doing amazingly, and I totally understand the feeling of ‘Well, what now?’ – because there isn’t a “goal” any more so it’s almost as if you’re not heading anywhere if that makes sense? But, you ARE heading places.

    You sound in a much better place than you have been, you know your troubles and you are learning to deal with them and that’s admirable. I’m glad all your essays are out of the way and you should defo take some time to chill and watch mucho DVD’s.

    With the food, you are probably a lot freer than you think, would you still have the same panic and crying if presented with a different snack now? Or do you feel able to swap something if the opportunity arises, like a friend offering you a biscuit or something? I hope you allow your Mum to cook for you more as well, since you’re not feeling all that interested in food it would be good to have something yummy for dinner with non of the effort. Big hugs xx

    • If my mum could cook, I’d probably be more inclined. It’s a shame though because she’s more of the oven food and jar sauces persuasion and those foods are a) not very nice and b) really hard for me (salt, sugar, general bad press etc. Grr. And I really like chicken dippers even though they’re awful). I have to let her though, even just so I can get used to it. Plus I know she’d try and cook better foods if she was cooking for me.

      It is like heading no where though. Especially as it’s kinda coinciding with the end of my degree :(. I never thought about what I’d do after my degree cos I was all like “I have to recover first and foremost. Everything later” and now I’m like “shit. It’s actually turning into later.” Does that make sense?

      Recovery wise, I do think I’m in a better place. To be honest, I think I could still easily cry over food if the circumstances are right, but those circumstances get more and more narrow if that makes sense? If someone offered me a bscuit, I’d probably still say no. It’s all too bloody hard. That’s what I mean by it seems normal, but it’s not quite there. It is getting there though, I just have to learn to not beat myself up over the little bits because really, I’m still learning to eat normally. I’m not close to intuitive eating yet really, though I make some steps slowly. It’s all so much slower than I’d like. But ah well. It’s getting better. Shame the rest of me isn’t really catching up. Hopefully, with more treatment, it’ll improve.

      Love x.

  4. I TOTALLT GET IT! Goddamn. Before, when I started recovery, I could only eat the ‘perfect’ food. I would only eat something I would INTENSELY crave, that was just PERFECT for that moment, you know? Not perfect as in perfectly healthy but perfect in being perfect for what I wanted. No middle ground. And now? I eat. Period. I cannot wait for the oven either. I don’t even cook anymore. I make some stuff ahead and most of the time even eat it cold throughout the week, cuz I cant be bothered to heat it up. It’s ridiculous! Quick, easy, tasteless, cold, not what I want, don’t care, don’t bother. It’s something I’ve been meaning to change for weeks now but still don’t. But it’s SO much more satisfying when I do take time to make proper food. So yes, my challenge for the next week is to make proper food. Cuz unlike you, my go-to easy stuff is def not healthy. Its crap.

    And yay for you being on top of keeping this up and going. But dont let yourself get ‘lazy’ on the challenges department hun. Keep switching things up. Even now its not about gaining all that much (which is still more relative than you’d might acknowledge right now?) you can’t let it get the best of you. So yes, more variety, not only just healthy, etc. And your mom cooking? Come one El, honestly, whats the worst that can happen if you let her do that twice a week? Really. Tackle that because you too know how silly that is. I don’t wanna be harsh but you hey, a little kick up that little bum every now and then…

    And if you need any other ranting (sometimes it just helps to write things down to make more sense of em) or venting, you’ve got my email address and I think even my cell number. The floor is yours

    Keep it up! You’re doing aces!!!!
    Love, Sooz

    • I’m trying not to get oo lazy. Like today I had a three course meal! With venison! And chocolate torte! Om nom. I’m trying, but slowly. Slow and steady wins the race I hope. I hope I can get there if I try. I guess I’ll see.You’re right though, I need to not be complacent.

      It’s rubbish though isn’t it – not being bothered with food. I think that maybe it’s a little bit more normal though. I don’t think people make tasty food all the time. Some people might but not every one for sure. Although it’s more satisfying, it’s kinda because it’s a bit of a chore if that makes sense. Tasty food wasn’t that satisfying in the depths of ED because it was all I wanted to do. I just wanted to be around food all the time. It didn’t make me feel better though. I duno. I’m hoping to find a middle ground again, but right now, as long as there are a few challenges, just continuously eating is enough I think. It’s challenging in and of itself.

      Hope you are well and thank you for the offer.

      Love x.

  5. WG

    The statement about waiting to change while you fall asleep made me so sad. You seem like such a kind person. I can understand the sad feeling. My goal in life is to feel at peace and content.
    So back to you, on the food when I was trying to challenge things I had to plan them in. I had to plan to have a different snack for ex and stick to it. So if your goal is 2 times a week for mom to cook for you then can you plan it and ask your friends/family to help you commit? My dietician would have me plan in risk foods and then repeat them. She used to joke it is not just a 1 time thing to never be eaten again. So over time I had my weeks filled with many different fear foods and as time passed it did get easier. The initial was so hard I remember crying like I was a baby.
    I know it is hard when things in life and mind are not easy but truly physical health is the starting point. Without your health you can’t accomplish your life goals which I know can feel unknown and confused.
    I think you have come a far way but with that said I know the walking is an issue,food choices etc, and maybe if you can feel less anxiety and trapped in these areas mentally in the long run you will feel better? I feel being controled by what ever a #,activity,so on can’t make a person fully happy.
    In my life when I feel like X is so hard I try to remind myself of past things I felt I could not do but did end up being able. I hope that with future issues and the same for you but one has to face and challenge themself to move forward.

    • I’m totally with you that physical health has to come first, and so my priority right now is just continually maintaining that. It’s not that easy because sometimes I just don’t want to eat, but I do eat anyway. It just means that mostly, I try to food I don’t get too emotionally invested in that often. I am trying to challenge though. It’s just more difficult than it should be at the moment. I feel like I’ll get there. It’s just going to take time. I’m a bit of a disaster at the moment, so just keeping myself healthy is difficult. I just don’t want to give myself any more to get worked up about.

      You are right in saying that still having issues with food and exercise are probably going to make things worse in the long term, but I think they are lessening. I can eat basically any food, just not comortably enough to encorporate it into every day meals if that makes sense. And when my mum does cook, it’s kinda ok. Just as long as it’s not too often. Plus I know walking is a bit of an issue still, but I’m improving. I have less set times in mind. On days I have no time, I have a route, but aside from that, I just walk till in a super emotionally charged way, until I’ve worked enough emotion out to go home. If that’s half an hour, that’s ok, if it’s three hours, so be it. It might not be the healthiest way to deal with things, but it is a lot more healthy that the options I turn to if I don’t walk. Right now, I’m working on stopping the things that are more dangerous and negative. I have time to manage my walking once I know how to keep myself as safe without it. Taking on too much at once I think might cause my head to implode.

      Everyone is right though. I do need to take this challenege more seriously. It’s hard. Really hard. But anytime I let someone else cook for me is a step in the right direction. I can do it as well. Maybe if I try once a week at first, then up to twice a week when I’m more comfy.

      I’m hopeful I can work through some of my emotions too, but a lot of them are things I’ve never worked through before, only tried to hide from. And I don’t have all that much support at the moment so I’m struggling. I’m hopeful though. Just most of them can’t be challenged in ways I can work out right now. Argh.

      Sorry for being so negative. I know I’m being blah. Sorry aswell for making you sad. And thank you x.

      • I’M NOT SAYING THIS IS YOU, but, for me ED works in a bit of a nasty way of making me feel like ‘ohhh well I’ve tried XY already so now I can leave the Zpart out’. And ‘oh well I’ve already made an effort here, now I can just stick to safe for the rest of the day/week/etc’. You should set realistic goals, otherwise it gets way overwhelming and that completely unhelpful too, but don’t be too easy on things when this is also a pitfall for you?

  6. WG

    I hope I did not make you feel bad in my response about you being sad. I could just picture it and you seem really kind. Also you should not feel sorry for saying how you feel. Sometimes it can help to talk about it or even to have a good cry. I also can relate to a deep sadness and trying to find comfort. So I think it brought up some feelings within me too.
    I think having your mom cook for you 1 time a week sounds like a good first step. Do you think maybe if she made a meal you felt better with too it may help?
    I am sorry you have lack of support. I know it is hard to face emotions and issues. I face this too. Sometimes I truly don’t know how I should feel and if I do know how I feel on an issue then what? I guess it is about acceptance and moving forward. Do you journal? Are there support groups?
    I hope you feel better

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