I have such a messed up relationship with food.
It gives me so much anxiety.
I'm having a really hard time being okay with eating and being able to re-discover what I like and don't like. Yes, running has helped a lot but this part of my disorder will be hard to shake. I already know roughly how many calories are in most things I eat and I still sub consciously add everything up in my head.
I still restrict. I still have things that I consider off-limits, but this list is gradually getting shorter.
I prefer not to eat meat, that's just my personal choice. I'm not completely vegan and I don't completely do it for animal rights reasons but I just choose not to eat meat or meat products. This decision is for many reasons, but it is largely because I've never actually liked meat that much! I've been like that my whole life. I also don't think a person needs meat to live, the treatment of farm and slaughter animals is appalling and the sustainability practices are terrible. Yes this is considered a restriction or a rule I've created for myself and my disorder might have a play in it, but it is a decision I am very happy with and it absolutely helps with my food anxiety. Sometimes I will have things with eggs or dairy in them but not very often - only once or twice a week, and if I do choose to have meat it is salmon or seafood but that is super rare, Ive only had salmon or any meat twice since January.
I love vegetables and fruit and they are the largest part of my diet and have been since my eating disorder started. I do not have a hard time eating 'clean' and although this started for a bad reason, I'm happy keeping this pattern in my life ESPECIALLY because I run! I hardly eat processed foods (expect maybe candy or chews/gels for running), almost never eat fried foods or anything with a lot of oil in it and I try to stay away from a lot of chemicals or GMO's in everything. This doesn't feel like a restriction. This feels like I'm allowing myself to eat what I like and not to eat what I don't like - and being conscious of what kind of fuel I am putting in my body.
I have found that if I can plan my food then the anxiety of eating can be managed. I will plan my breakfast, lunch and snacks beforehand (usually the night before) so that I don't have to stress about it and I usually have a lose plan for dinner but I sometimes change it depending how I feel. Sometimes I'll have food guilt if I stray outside of this plan and that is something I still have to deal with, but for the most part the plan works and it usally looks a little like this:
- A smoothie with greens and whatever fruit I'm feelin', sometimes with vegan protein powder
- 1/2 cup of oatmeal at work with some fruit OR sometimes toast if I'm okay with bread that week
- an apple around 10:00
- a salad for lunch - lettuce, cucumber, homemade dressing with mustard, apple cider vinegar, agave and hot sauce - I'm actually trying to get off of salads for lunch because they aren't fueling my afternoon runs as well as I'd like it to
- carrots and celery around 2:00, sometimes I have something a little bigger if I am planning a big run after work
- dinner is usually a salad with some TVP (textured vegetable protein) or beans or some sort
This is my plan and it works. Yes I know how many calories are in it.
I don't like when things mess up my plan or there are things that are tempting me to mess up my plan. If there are cookies or something at work or my friends or family offer me something it instantly puts me into panic mode and gives me anxiety. Do I want it? Do I take it? Whats in it? How many calories are in it? Did they use butter, dairy or eggs? I freak out in my head. Sometimes I feel okay about it and I think how great it would be so I have it, then the anxiety and food guilt comes in afterwards and I think that is one of my biggest struggles. My mind instantly goes into restricting mode and I tell myself "you can't eat lunch/dinner now," or "you have to run twice what you wanted to tonight now because you ate that." I have to make up for it, for letting myself enjoy food.
So I stick to my plan.
This is also why I don`t like going out to eat and travelling is VERY difficult. For everyone else it is so stress-free and if they do have any stress it is that there`s so many things on the menu they wants to eat and they can`t decide. For me and anyone with an eating disorder or food restrictions it I s HARD. It is more of a decision of what will I allow myself to eat and what will give me the least guilt, but is still something I want. If I ever go out to eat I get a salad 99% of the time because it keeps my anxiety at bay and it is less likely to make me want to restrict through the rest of the day. Sometimes I want to try something else, but even the thought gives me food guilt.
So I stick to my plan. And I don`t go out.
Sometimes I let myself eat something I would never have and unfortunately it usually back-fires on me. I have thrown out so much food that I have bought, ate a little bit of, felt guilty and thrown out. I have made food that I was excited about and then thrown all of it out. I also have purged to get what I have eaten out of me - this has happened more recently than I'd like to admit.
So I stick to my plan.