(doodle from lunch!)
Weetabix x 2.
White toast x 2, butter. (…apricot jam on ¼ slice)
Cauliflower cheese, roast potatoes, baby carrots.
Ice-cream (2 scoops).
Afternoon snack ‘
Fruits of the Forest Cheesecake and cream.
Sultanas and raisins.
…& the usual PINT of semi-skimmed milk.
Nurse: “If you don’t manage your snack when you’re out, you will be honest and tell us won’t you? So that you can have it in the evening instead?”
Me: “I’m 99.9% sure that won’t happen. But yes, I will…”
I’m HERE! I lived to tell yesterday’s tale of ‘un-prescribed cake’… …posted three celebratory cake pictures on my Instagram yesterday, so I won’t bore you about how delicious it was and pretty it looked… but it was delicious and pretty and delicious and pretty.
Topped with a honeycomb cream-swirl and the surprise mysterious little crumbs of ‘Crunchie’ between the moist, chocolatey sponge layers… they were the highlights in a nutshell! I could even let the fact it was almost a fiver (FIVE whole items from a pound shop!) off the hook. I’ve never felt as cool as a cucumber paying for a single slice of cake…
Chels and I actually entered Starbucks at first – got as far as queuing, eyeing up what there was… to then say “f*ck it, shall we just DO it?” (Patisserie Valerie, that is) We were both pretty indecisive about where to go, hyped up I guess by this momentous occasion we could FINALLY do together after yeeeeears! So Starbucks was the nearest place of choice at the time…
PLUS I was trying to give off care-free, casual vibes, to convince myself I totally didn’t mind where we went (Anorexia: “Aaaaaaaghhhh, why didn’t we plan and know this in advance?! Maybe then we could have looked up calories/nutrition info online?!”)… also feeling wary about making my sister anxious… I didn’t want my selfish Eating Disorder (thoughts which were actually quite well sealed in a bottle, surprisingly) to allow time for over-thinking or to take the ‘fun’ element away from spending quality time together.
…anyway, in Starbs’ we SURPRISED ourselves at feeling quite disappointed by the small range of cakes left in the cabinet …I’d actually revved myself up for something more ‘challenging’? It felt shameful for feeling this way (well, Anorexia did). BUT we agreed – if we were going to eat cake together for the first time in so long… then we may as well do it in bloody good style!!
So UP came ‘Google Maps’ on my phone, and we followed the directions on screen like eager Chinese tourists, hunting down the Buckingham Palace in London.
Patisserie Valerie has always been one of those places I’d walked past in cities, gobsmacked at the beautiful cake selection, thinking “If only I was allowed that…” “They look amazing… I wish I was a successful or confident enough person to be worthy to taste one…”
It’s still difficult to accept that apparently ‘I am’ entitled to enjoy and taste a handsome piece of food… but I’m learning to trust that regardless of what I ‘achieve’, it’s a human right to enjoy food. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what your expectations are for your life… or however far you are from your goals. Food shouldn’t be the gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s a daily right to every human. As common as a copper penny in your pocket.
The only words I have for tasting that cake yesterday, with one of the most important people in my life are: ‘utterly’ and ‘priceless’. We were sat, giddy in a corner waiting for our orders to arrive… realising looking around, how ‘normal’ this experience was for other people. They seemed so familiar and settled with their casual afternoon cake, and in comparison I felt like I was about to meet a member of the royal family… or about to embark on an exotic adventure. All for a piece of cake. (literally)
On a bit of a tangent here, just thought it was important to thrown it in – the other day I’d approached my dietician in a bit of a panic. After I’d excitedly arranged this cake date with my sister, I checked my meal-plan and realised “sh*t” …I was already down for a ‘new’ snack choice for supper – something that ALREADY felt so indulgent. That was planned to be my bit of ‘neon magic’ for the day (read ‘DAY#59 FULL PORTIONS; Neon Magic…’ to understand!)… and now, I had ‘neon chaos’ going on. ‘Neon overload’…
…so I’d asked if I could switch the supper choice around with the day before, to avoid having as many ‘struggle’ foods in one day. The result… she said no – and I was actually secretly hoping she would, anyway. I needed to ‘test’ that it was perfectly okay to eat more ‘indulgent’/tasty foods on some days than others… there is no ‘right’ way to spread out your enjoyment of food.
Yep, it made me feel shit to enjoy that gorgeous cake and to have to come back to the Unit and munch on a chocolate fudge cookie that I’d never tried before… but I know it was the ‘right’ thing. It has helped towards re-training my brain (away from Anorexia) to think more flexibly about what I’m entitled to eat in the same day.
Only 4 months or so ago, I remember being sat in Starbucks, Hull, by myself… mini plastic lunch tubs open, plastic fork smartly on a napkin by the side, waiting for the clock on my phone-screen to hit that ‘exact’ minute. The precise time I’d allowed myself/planned to eat lunch. I’d probably changed tables 2 or 3 times, finding the ‘right’ place to sit. As if there should have been a ‘right’ spot if I was to deserve to eat. I scribbled down the time, exactly what and how much I was eating – the calories in a circle beside. Seeing the calories written down was the stamp of approval, that now I was now ‘allowed’ to eat. I was in control.
I remember feeling sad, looking round thinking “I wish I could have a casual coffee and cake/treat and be WITH someone – enjoying their company, not isolated like this all the time… it keeps me safe and in control, but it’s torture…”
…so it felt therapeutic to look back on yesterday. That this was one step further to be ‘doing that thing’ as part of normal life. I realise, after future repeated cake dates (yes, there will be more! Recovery helmet still firmly on)… the novelty may wear off (which will be a positive sign that it’s becoming ‘normal’). It definitely won’t be the rollercoaster high it was yesterday… cake will still make me happy… and guilty… but I won’t let the choice of cake be taken away from me any more.
Fact: cake does not ‘make you fat’. The amount you choose to eat, COULD contribute towards putting on weight. Just as eating more of ANYTHING than the energy your body uses up could. If you eat a healthy balance of EVERYTHING (fat being AS important as all the other bits)… we can ALL have our cake and eat it – as a regular part of everyday life! This is one AMAZING thing I can thank this journey of recovery for teaching me…