After I wrote my post yesterday morning about celebrating my one month milestone, I began to think about how I should celebrate it. I thought about getting myself a cupcake or dessert of some sort, but the risk of that triggering a binge would not have been a healthy choice for me right now, so that idea did not work. Then I thought about going to the mall to buy myself a new outfit, but knowing that I am not in a comfortable place with my body right now as it is changing because it is becoming healthier, I decided that was not a healthy decision for me either.
Instead, I decided to put myself up to a challenge. Being able to beat that challenge would be my way of celebrating my one month milestone of not weighing myself.
The challenge was to break three of my food rules.While I have been consistently breaking many food rules since I started recovery , yesterday I decided to break more.
Before I go any further, let me explain what I mean by my food rules.
When I first started seeing E, she asked me to write her a list of my food rules. At first, I didn’t understand the assignment. But as I went home that night and began to think about it, I realized that Ed (my eating disorder) had created an entire rule book of food regulations that I needed to abide by every single day. By the end of the night, I had came up with seven entire pages of food rules.
These rules are what I lived my life by for the past two years . These rules ensured me that on Friday morning, I would get the number on the scale that Ed wanted me to get. They were my facts; they were how I navigated my life in my eating disordered world.
To not have them, is unknown and the unknown is terrifying. To not have them feels like I am losing . a sense of control over what I eat. Those rules listed my safe foods, the foods that Ed was ok with me eating, and they listed danger foods-foods that he would never let me eat.
To put it simply, those rules are what feed Ed. They are what make him stronger, louder and more physically apparent in my life. And in order to break Ed, I need to break his rules.
The first rule I broke was that I put creamer into my coffee without measuring it. This may sound so tiny and ridiculous to many people, but for me, this was huge. It felt scary because by not measuring, I did not know the exact amount of creamer going into my coffee and I did not know how many calories it was. More so, I should say that Ed did not know how many calories it was, and he did not like that.
The second rule I broke was that I ate the lunch on my meal plan, not the lunch Ed wanted me to eat. I was not hungry, and Ed was telling me that lunch was really not what I needed right now, and that instead of eating my lunch on my meal plan, I should just eat my 80 calorie muffin. But I fought him, I disobeyed him, and I broke the rule that said lunch has to be only 80 calories. This was very hard for me due to the fact that I was so full for hours afterwards and I don’t know how I will push through that uncomfortable feeling again today .
Lastly, I broke Ed’s rule about salad dressing. I actually was able to put dressing on my salad for dinner , and even more than that, I did not measure it out.
Breaking these rules all meant one thing-it meant leaving more of my black and white eating disordered life behind, and stepping into the gray areas of recovery.
I am scared for this gray area. I am scared about this meal plan. I am scared that it will change my body in ways that I will not be able to accept. But I know that recovery means change, both emotionally and physically, and that is something I am going to need to learn to accept. How I will accept these changes, I am not sure; but I know with the help of my support system and my treatment team, I will find a way.
And at the end of the day, I gave Ed one last major blow; I deleted my most beloved app from my iPhone, Lose It. I used to look up every single food on Lose It and see how many calories it had. I would play with different goal weights for myself, and I would refer to it multiple times a day. But yesterday, I deleted Lose It and I replaced it with two new apps, both made for people in recovery for eating disorders.
Those seven pages of food rules still sit in my nightstand, and one day I know I will be able to shred them to pieces.
But for now I still want to keep them there. They are the last part of my eating disorder that I am holding on to and while I’m ready to start breaking the rules, I’m not ready to totally throw them away.
Line by line and page by page–every single one of Ed’s food rules for me will one day be broken, and to that I can say, “hello life.”