Wholemeal toast x 2, butter. (…marmite on one slice)
Turkey mayo sandwich (white), 5-bean salad, side salad.
Baked lemon tart.
Soya chilli, garlic bread, boiled potatoes, sliced carrots.
Cherry full-fat yoghurt.
Weetabix x 2.
…& the usual PINT of semi-skimmed milk.
Does it ever scare you to think what habits – whether that’s in your behaviours OR the way you think… are actually driving you day-to-day… ? That you are being told, by your brain to walk down the same garden path every time, when there’s also a million and one wooden arrows pointing to a whole variety of other choices. But you have your ‘habit’ blind-fold firmly on. Those things we repeat and repeat either on auto-pilot, as a method of defence like an emotional shield, or simply because it makes life easier.
LOTS of habits are helpful and positive, don’t get me wrong. But what makes me worried, which I guess has fed my motivation for the BETTER to over-power Anorexia by trying to listen and understand my OWN decisions… what I may be walking around blind to, what habits I might be dancing with without realising, what other opportunities/ways of thinking I may be missing out on. Feeling weak to my repeated patterns. What if there’s things I’m doing that are making me unhappy without me realising? More importantly, what if I still have habits covered in the cobwebs of Anorexia?
Worry and curiosity, both, I guess. It’s quite exciting to think that there is ALWAYS another way of looking at things. But how will we ever know when we continue to constantly walk down the SAME garden path… ?
This is what I’ve been chewing over in my mind the past few days. (pardon the pun) And this is where welcoming OTHER people’s feedback is so important… this is the ‘beauty’ of hearing either criticism or praise… from people on the other side of the goldfish bowl of our lives.
I’ve found this feedback an incredible wake-up to the habits I want gone. The ones that I was COMVINCED I needed to keep in order to emotionally survive. A bit like all those old, now very ‘dull’ photographs of ex-boyfriends lying around in hidden places… the spark has vanished. There’s no romance in those still images any more.
Anorexia may have still left a heavy print on my mind… and I’ve thrown away MANY of the old photographs I can find with my own eyes. (as in worked on eating behaviours/’challenging’ foods/altering my mind-set) but when you look and look, sometimes you miss things.
Lunch today, was an example of this. A few weeks ago, I’d made a lot of progress with challenging my ‘auto-pilot’ eating behaviours and monitoring it each day – as in the order of food groups etc. But when I got so far, I realised I brushed it under the carpet whilst I worked at all those 10489349 million other things I’m eager to conquer…
Baked lemon tart. Portioned. On the table. In the ‘pud-zone’ I cracked on – spoon in, the warm lemon zest in my mouth… then when the support worker sat down, it almost made me jump in confusion at why she was prompting me about the way I was eating. That she was finding fault in what had been weeks and weeks of the repeated ‘norm’. So therefore this MUST be the ‘right’ way? It was like walking by now.
The little pilot in my jet plane was fully trained in ‘our’ (Anorexia’s) way of eating ‘indulgent desserts’. After a second or two of stubborn-ness when she told me to ‘try and eat it together’ without separating it’s parts… I then actually realised she WASN’T being petty… and I felt myself wake up to a bit of an Eating Disorder hang-over…
…my bubble popped, I could now see what I was doing. I’ve been focused the past week or so, on the ‘complete lifestyle change’ perspective of the ‘full recovery program’ I’m now enrolled on. This means nit-picking my ways of thinking and smallest abnormal habits that could be driven by Anorexia… it will help to destroy the little seeds that could sprout into a relapse in the future. Which is why I’m quite anxious about trying to work on a million things at once, so I can dust off the cobwebs once and for all.
So my little ‘pilot’s’ dessert-eating-training involved always seeking and eating the ‘fruity’ bit first… so in today’s case, the lemon curd. Which meant de-roofing my tart (yes, I’m pretty sure that’s probably not a word – but Microsoft didn’t underline it with red, so I must be let off)… by that I mean flipping off the spongey top with my spoon to reveal the shiny yellow middle.
Then mopping it up to make it all ‘neat and tidy’… then squaring off bits of the soggy pastry bottom, before the thicker pastry crust edge… before finishing with the sponge finale. I remember a good few weeks ago when all these little behaviour rules felt so ‘stubborn’ and drilled in with a good old handful of sharp metal screws.
It became a ‘habit’ even to ‘react’ stubbornly today when I was picked up on this behaviour. Even though I know that I am eagerly now LOOKING for all the things I can work on and nip in the bud, to clear out remains of that ex-boyfriend. So for that, I was so THANKFUL to be reminded of something that still had power over my behaviour. An ‘unhealthy’ habit that could easily get dragged on and on without me knowing. It makes me weak to think I’m still clinging on unknowingly… which makes me determined to gain a sense of power back.
I remember feeling so scared a few weeks ago to even contemplate breaking the ‘structured’ way of eating any kind of ‘indulgent’ dessert. It helped to take away the guilt, to give something so chaotic (because of the enjoyment of taste/feeling undeserving/feeling this sense of reward for having not done anything to achieve it) some kind of order. For Anorexia to put it’s stamp on something else it could reach.
Admittedly, because I had already started and committed to this routinely way of eating this now-familiar pudding, by the time the support worker promoter me, I found it difficult to break out of… like a dance to a certain music track I’d practiced time after time, and someone telling me to stop and improvise on the spot instead.
BUT I’ve made a pact with myself – to never eat that baked lemon tart in the same way again. This is where I realise my head really has changed, and for that it feels quite empowering. That it IS possible to gain a new way of thinking. Especially where recovery from Eating Disorders are concerned. No matter how strong the urge to ‘de-roof’ that tart, I need to remind myself what I’m aiming for – a ‘complete lifestyle change’ which is the unwritten mantra for ‘full recovery’…
There’s lots of other niggling things in terms of my behaviours/familiar ways of eating things that have sparked a little lightbulb moment whilst eating over the past couple of weeks – stuff that’s not massively obvious, but still just as important. But it scares me to unconsciously keep dragging them along with me down this recovery path. Extra baggage, that is likely to just weigh me down in the future.
Anyway, no more banging on for tonight! Let’s just say that the brain is one handsomely crackers bit of stuff…