Weetabix x 2.
White toast x 2, butter.
Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, baby carrots.
Ice-cream (2 scoops).
Winterberry cheesecake and cream.
Sultanas and raisins.
…& the usual PINT of semi-skimmed milk.
Every Sunday I can hear my taste-buds waving the British flag a little more proudly… high on the pole where my Eating Disorder can’t reach! Now that having a roast dinner is becoming a ‘norm’ and less of a novelty it makes me feel weirdly a bit more ‘connected’ to the world. Like I’m joining in with the simplest of ‘human celebrations’. I know it’s no-one’s birthday… but there’s something quite comforting about trusting and eating a meal that someone, somewhere down the line decided was a hearty, traditional, truly English concoction.
That feeling is much more than a scientific analysis of what’s on my plate. Which is pretty much what Anorexia comes down to… (just got a flashback image of ‘Dexter’s Laboratory’ that used to be on Cartoon Network in my childhood) That’s why I can tell my mind-set is shifting. There’s no galaxy of numbers when I look at my plate… which was there 9 weeks ago. Staring at every item until there felt an appropriate number of calories to assign. Branding them like sheep.
The fact the number kaleidoscope is no longer there… is quite terrifying. That I’ve become a robot to accepting meals that are prepared for me, without having to invest brain power into the preparation. So it is kind of daunting thinking about having that responsibility back… soon I’ll be doing my self-catering assessment, and then onwards will be cooking two cold and two hot meals per week. I’m sure it’s like anything, it could become an exciting opportunity once I’ve started. It’s scary to think how the cogs in my brain will approach planning meals and deciding what I’d ‘like’ to eat again, rather than what I’m ‘allowed’ to eat.
There was one or two milliseconds today at the taste of carrot that felt quite triggering. I genuinely love vegetables… I luckily don’t have to ‘force’ myself to eat them, because I just genuinely love the taste. But before I was in recovery from my Eating Disorder, I guess they were also a familiar pair of favourite socks. I used to eat a wheelbarrow-full of them looking back. To the point I’m pretty sure I was in a romantic relationship with swede!
But maybe I enjoyed them even MORE because unknowingly, I spent my days always hungry, and as the majority of my meals were made up (after analysed and weighed of course) of vegetables, they tasted even more incredible. Because I must have been so hungry, that my whole taste experience had been turned up full whack. Like a good old power shower. Whereas the normal experience of tasting something you enjoy would perhaps be a steady flowing tap in comparison…
…there was definitely more of an emotional/friendly connection to my veg. Anorexia can encourage abnormal behaviours – if it fits in with it’s rules, anything is acceptable. I found it a comfort – the same job done from a bowl of vegetables… from what used to be a chunk of ‘Cabury’s Dairy Milk’.
So my favourite ‘supper’ of choice for example used to be a bag of pre-chopped swede. (feel like I’m bringing up an ex-boyfriend here…) A whole 500g of it. Sometimes multiple bags one-after-the-other in the past. It was the most bizarre addiction I’ve ever had! I literally found it as enjoyable as I used to with chocolate a long, long time ago. I got to the point of no longer craving those foods we NATURALLY crave. As humans, our body sends signals/cravings to go searching for certain foods when it recognises it’s low on particular food groups… chocolate when it needs fat/a sugar top-up etc., carbs when it’s energy sources are low…
…so please don’t beat yourself up for giving into a ‘craving’. They’re not always emotional cravings, it’s your body working WITH you. Take reassurance in that and put the guilt to bed. You DESERVE flavour – and as one of the patient’s gave me as a quote recently (she sticks them to all the patients milk bottles on weigh-day, bless her!)… “You can’t live a full life on an empty stomach.”
But that’s what’s scary… how the mind can be so powerful that eventually when you’re caught up in an Eating Disorder… your body slowly shuts down – hormones, natural bodily processes and all. ‘Starvation mode’. And I think that’s why my starved brain made bizarre choices…
…this is going to sound weird, I feel like I’m confessing my sins! But I used to pre-cook the bag of swede so that it would go cold (because it seemed to bring out the flavour), season it with lots of salt and pepper. Then get tucked up in bed, as would be normal with a nice toasty hot chocolate or whatever, make sure there was something good on telly in order to allow myself to eat, and then savour one cube at a time. There’s been nights a few years ago that I used to wake up, which must have been out of hunger, and microwave bags of swede at ridiculous hours of the morning.
On the odd night out, instead of opting for cheesy chips, I used to look forward to making it home early to be united with my Mr Swede.
Of course I used to feel extremely embarrassed about my veg affair. To the point where I’d try to hide the bags as best as I could in the fridge – I was ashamed of my ‘weird-ness’ and especially when it came to putting them in the microwave and making a smell. Anorexia literally smelt the house out. Spraying toxic green fumes to remind me and my family of my abnormal eating habits. Which yes, fed into the guilt even more. And Eating Disorders LOVE a bit of guilt… it’s more petrol in the tank, more encouragement for it’s thoughts and behaviours.
Anyway, now that I’ve introduced you to my Anorexic version of Mr Grey… Mr Swede, I’ll leave that one there. I vow never to be so romantically involved with vegetables again. Especially in bed. Never is there a valid enough reason for swede to take up any space in a bedroom.
I guess this all comes hand-in-hand with my ‘divorce’ proceedings from Anorexia… ! Time to put an end to the literal love affair.
What better way to keep the ball eagerly rolling than facing another weigh-day tomorrow morning… oh, the joy.
Seeing that number go up will be like the tearing up of old photos with an ex-boyfriend. It HAS to be done.