I have spent years trying to find a reasonable balance between loving my body, eating an appropriate amount and diet of meals + snacks daily + letting go of guilt when I eat certain foods. For over a decade, I obsessed about things I should eat, things I “shouldn’t” eat + the things I was afraid I would be judged for if I ate them. Crazy, right? As I’ve continued to grow in my recovery from anorexia, bulimia + over exercise, I’ve come to learn that my thoughts + behaviors around food aren’t so strange after all. In fact, some of the people closest to me who have never had an eating disorder in their life mention feelings of guilt after eating too much or particularly food around the holidays.
This pattern used to be a HUGE challenge for me this time of year. Thanksgiving, Christmas, baking for the holidays, New Year’s parties, you name it. I hated feeling as though I would lose control over when to stop eating, what was appropriate to eat + then DEALING with the feeling of, “why did I even just eat that”? I’m happy to say that this feeling or fear isn’t particularly a challenge for me anymore, rather than something I have noticed when others make those comments around the dinner table or at social gatherings.
My husband + I are leaving for a weekend with friends later today + we’ll be celebrating New Year’s with our close friends, eating delicious food, staying up late + indulging in some sweet treats too. As I pack my bag for the weekend getaway, I can’t help but to reflect on how different this time of year used to be for me. I dreaded the thought of having to eat around others + the celebrations that revolved around foods like cheese platters, cookies, chocolate + copious amounts of chips + dip. I now associate these foods with some of my favorite holidays + the people I get to enjoy this special time with.
I know that I will hear my friends + others say, “I shouldn’t eat this” “I can’t (have that)”, + “Why did I even eat that”? … but I won’t be participating in that kind of talk. I refuse to let myself feel guilt or shame for eating things I enjoy or foods that I want to try even though they might not be my favorite in my recovery. Food has now become something I associate with creating new memories, having lots of fun with loved ones + sharing new recipes. The kitchen is my favorite part of the house because it’s a great place to gather + share stories. I’m just thankful that the stories I choose to share + create now revolve in a guilt-free zone that I enjoy.
That being said, I know that I can’t control what my friends or family think about the foods they eat or the way they feel about them. I can control what comes out of my mouth around these things now + it feels good not to engage in that kind of talk. To me it’s a form of self-love + it’s a part of how I’ve learned to take care of myself. I am going to challenge you this New Year’s weekend NOT to engage in guilt talk around food. Try your best NOT to say, “I shouldn’t”, “I can’t” or “Why did I” around food or in the kitchen. Take note of how you feel if you hear someone else engage in that talk + see if you feel obligated to chime in agreeing or not.
I wish you all a Happy New Year + look forward to sharing my journey with you in 2018! Cheers, friends!