Toast x 2, butter (…one wholemeal, one WHITE!)
Turkey mayo sandwich (wholemeal), 5-bean salad, side salad.
Baked lemon tart.
Meatballs in tomato sauce, saute potatoes, broccoli.
Ice-cream (2 scoops).
Weetabix x 2.
…& the usual PINT of semi-skimmed milk.
Wowzers. What a day of waking up to myself… I don’t know if I’ve become a bit ‘high’ off making human-instinct decisions…?! If there is such a thing.
It feels a bit like discovering a secret garden… now perhaps sometimes I have an issue with OVER-analysing my thoughts, but picking out the weeds from my brain cells (Anorexia’s weeds) about what are the driving forces behind certain choices I make, has created room to plant new lovely life.
Kit-kat, firstly! So I ate my first chocolate in donkeys last night, and YES the fact that it was so late and I was eating something so tasty was messing with my head. But we’d been uncovering some myths in our ‘dietetics’ group earlier that day about food. One of them being – your body doesn’t care WHEN you eat, as long as you’re giving it the energy. It does NOT make you put on weight if you choose to eat late. But I won’t open that can of worms today.
I made sure yesterday afternoon that I put my soon-to-be Mr K in the fridge. I don’t know if that was Anorexia’s compromise, or if I genuinely just PREFER chocolate ‘chilled’ so I could savour the taste for longer. And in a manipulative kind of way, Anorexia would insist that if I possibly, REMOTELY feel like I actually DESERVE to eat and enjoy a chocolate bar containing fat (but delicious…) and extra calories (but delicious…) then the LEAST I should do is to make the indulgence last as long as possible. Get my ‘money’s worth’ so to speak. I can’t help but think also that the idea of chocolate melting, especially on my fingers, would make me feel greedy and messy…
…the time came, and I did feel a bit embarrassed to be honest about if the patients were thinking what had I done to deserve the right to eat chocolate? What have I done that’s so special all day? Or be thinking “I’m so glad I’m not feeling as greedy as her tonight for choosing a chocolate bar…”
But I DID have an element of excitement in me. That novelty of CHANGE. I found myself covering my mouth though and wanting to fold myself up inside an envelope and post myself off somewhere (I just had the sofa chair to do that)… as part of me thought if I’m going to eat this then I must feel shame. Otherwise, it feels greedy.
After snapping the four fingers apart, still in the cold wrapper, I felt a compelling to snap them into a further 3 parts each finger. Making smaller pieces would help me ‘justify’ eating something like this at the moment… I got a bit ‘faffy’ and flitty trying to ‘organise’ my eating space, a little bit driven by the anxiety of this new moment. Balancing the chocolate bar in the opened wrapper on the arm of the chair, a couple of choccie chunks dropped onto the chair, so I tried not to shrivel up like an out-of-date prune about drawing some very not-wanted attention to this chocolate occasion. Perfectionism trying to ‘compensate’ for this weirdly delicious event, I found myself tidying the now 12 chocolate chunks. Shuffle everything into a sense of control.
It’s bizarre how Eating Disorders make you hunt for the ‘right’ way to eat anything. I felt like I was taking a GCSE in Kit-Kat snacking… my head said to go with the smallest piece first… to the biggest last. And there MUST have been no more than a millimetre between each. If that.
But I did it and it tasted lovely. It was like a hug on my tongue and I don’t regret taking the challenge on. At the end of the day, it was a deed done to getting a bit of me back. Do I feel guilty as hell for typing out such positive feedback about eating something that still at the moment feels criminal? Yes. But is anything in my head going to shift by avoiding these things altogether? No. Like spinning plates, it’s going to take practice.
Now that I’d done it, I felt this wariness today about how if I tried the odd ‘challenge’/fear-food, there could be this temptation to then avoid them for a while until the time felt ‘right’ again, choosing not to have them very often… and so the worry of – could this actually give fuel to the anxiety/fear around it these foods?? Instead of seeing them like a one-off novelty, I had to keep the momentum up and repeat to my brain that they needed to be a normal, regular part of life.
That was one of my motivations for cracking out about 4/5 drafts of my meal-plan today for next week… !!!! So basically I thought I had finished my meal-plan on Sunday night. I HAD spent hours and yes, I still HAD included some challenges/changes to the norm…
…BUT I felt like the attempts I made were still prolonging facing certain things… making certain choices… and I was frustrated at myself for being so picky – “if I challenge this today, then I can’t obviously do that…” or “now I’m challenging that this week, I’ll try that one in a couple of weeks time…”
All we have is now. And without making things TOO overwhelming, there was still room to make more Yasmin-based decisions over Anorexia’s.
So as I’ve proven to myself I CAN face chocolate, I’m making sure I keep choosing at least one a week. I’ve promoted myself to a ‘Twirl’ next time… ! And then, realising on a day where I was going to choose ‘biscuits’ but the option wasn’t on the menu… I thought, s*d it – I’ll keep the Kit-Kat in there too. Keep that choccie mister in the picture! (made sure I spaced them some days apart though) and have alternated my challenging supper with my ‘safe’ choice – Weetabix.
Another huge change was deciding to conquer WHITE BREAD. AGAIN, after sessions with the brilliant dieticians here, I’m reassured that white bread is JUST as good for you as wholemeal. It gets such a bad press it’s ridiculous – so easy to sabotage our perceptions on what are ‘acceptable’ types of bread to eat. For some reason, perhaps it’s the lack of colour that also tries to convince us it’s not as ‘healthy’…
…well I’ve decided to wait no longer and alternate my morning toast between white and wholemeal bread. As well as the odd day choosing it for my sandwich. MODERATION OF EATING ALL TYPES OF FOOD IS KEY. (reassuring myself here…) I’m practicing telling my body by what I choose to feed it, that all of these versions of foods are perfectly BELONGING to my future diet. They aren’t a ‘temporary novelty’ or indulgence.
Also, with our sandwich option for the lighter meals each day, we are offered the choice of a 5-bean salad, or a packet of crisps as a side. As one of Anorexia’s rules has ALWAYS been that I MUST choose the beans and ALWAYS avoid crisps – I decided to listen and DO THE OPPOSITE. Now is time to say to my body that while, yes, beans taste nice and feel nutritious, so are crisps. Having an extra carbohydrate is not a bad thing… having a packet of crisps is a perfectly ‘normal’ and convenient part of a lunch. When I go to work in the future, I don’t want to be dragging along the fear of a packet of crisps because I always previously had ‘other options’. I’ve started realising the danger I could put myself in by taking my own power away of being able to choose them. So I’ve added crisps in as another challenge for a couple of times next week…
As well as a couple of challenging MEALS (of which I won’t continue to bore you with just yet…), I’ve added in another couple of cereal varieties for breakfast. Again, alternating them with my ‘safer’ Weetabix, so I still feel I have a bit of a ‘crutch’ to lean on so to speak. Cornflakes and muesli!
Today’s challenges were the saute potatoes (fear of potatoes being cooked in ‘extra’ stuff or being processed) but they were fine… just cute little cubes really (I tried to make THEM see the vulnerable ones, ha) and it was helpful being sat with others eating the same meal. It played on my mind for some bizarre reason that because I had them with meatballs that were also processed, this was ‘bad’? I can completely recognise that this is a faulty way of thinking, as unlike Anorexia likes to think, there is no exclusive ‘black’ or ‘white’ foods. You cannot take one meal in isolation and judge your overall health/wellbeing on it…
Had a serious f*ck it moment this morning with the toast – it had dawned on me this whole ‘questioning my reasons behind making food choices’ thing and wanting to listen more to myself. And I’ve been contemplating white toast for a while but for some reason the irrational ‘less healthy’ thoughts were enough to put on a stamp of disapproval. But seeing a couple of the other patients eating it, and also often being surrounded by staff tucking in without a care, this inspired me to give it a try. And a reminder to self was – all we have is NOW. Why keep waiting until tomorrow??
So although I had written on my meal-plan to have 2 slices of wholemeal toast, I felt empowered (but partially embarrassed on Anorexia’s front) to ASK a member of staff just before snack, if I could try one slice of white.
White toast and real butter… I felt like pinching myself to be honest, thinking about how stubborn my head has been for so long and I feel I am now acting more on my OWN behalf and choosing things, not just because I have to, or there is any ‘expectation’. It’s bloody scary. Don’t get me wrong. But it is the only way to freedom.
I now love a good fluffy white piece of toast. Buttered.
I’m so thankful I am now starting to accept foods as part of the ‘norm’. Part of real life. That these foods that taste nice are not for the people around me that ‘seem more deserving’. They are a simple pleasure that every single body in this world DESERVES.
Lesson learnt for today…
…less thought, more taste.