Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday foods; normal eating

After asking on my instagram, I received a lot of requests to make "what-I-ate-today" posts a reoccurring thing. From now on, I'll try to post something every Friday or at least every other Friday about what I ate for one day that previous week and to make it a bit more interesting, I'll include a my thoughts about some topic and write about it in a more stream-of-conscious way.

I know that for those who spent years struggling with an eating disorder and going through cycles of recovery and relapse, forced refeeding and restriction, you just lose sight of what normal eating is like. After years of convincing yourself that you just absolutely looooveeee celery and protein pancakes, making dressing-less salads for dinner, and always choosing the lowest calorie option, of being fed through an NG tube and stuffing down pints of Ben & Jerry's until you turn into a frozen popsicle, of counting, measuring, and planning you are just lost. Anorexia is incredibly rigid and controlling. Recovery requires that you adhere to strict minimums (which is a good thing!). And at the end of the day when that is all said and done, you don't have any more rules and it can be quite terrifying.
[Breakfast was some French toast with almond butter and syrup]

But that's the beauty of normal eating, of post-recovery eating! There are absolutely no rules. For the first time in years, food no longer controls your life. You aren't fitting your life around food. You're fitting food around your life.  
"Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it—not just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good. Normal eating is mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful. Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be undereating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life." - Ellyn Satter
[Midmorning snack packed for class was an English muffin, maple almond butter, and almonds]
[Unpictured lunch was a turkey sandwich and fruit cup from Einstein's]

When you eat normally, sometimes you'll be too full and sometimes you'll be a bit hungry. You'll be able to accept eating foods that frankly don't taste too good without worrying "wasted calories" because yes, sometimes you'll pretend that the dish your mom spent hours making for dinner was absolutely delicious (when it was not) because she worked so hard and you didn't want to hurt her feelings. And then sneak out later with your dad to get some fast food because you were still hungry. 
[Midafternoon snack was a banana-chocolate-peanut butter smoothie]

Normal eating is eating from a plate without always having to first artfully arrange everything and snap a picture for the internet but sometimes when you're really feelin' artsy you will act like a food photographer for the day (like what I did today!). Normal eating is cooking up a nice, healthy veggie-filled dinner, but it is also sitting down on the couch with a big bowl of mac 'nd cheese and pint of ice cream.
[Dinner was a massaged kale salad with olive oil, green beans, peppers, chicken, and nutritional yeast inspired by Robyn and a few slices of bread on the side]

Normal eating is eating at the proper meal times or improvising when you have to (like I did this day). It's being able to eat eggs for a snack and noodles for breakfast because why not? Normal eating is eating meat, but it is also vegan or vegetarian. Normal eating is eating in a way works with your ethical beliefs, religion, culture, and tastebuds. 
[Night snack was a stack of oatmeal pancakes topped with almond butter, cinnamon, and syrup]

But most importantly normal eating is freedom. It's severing yourself away from your eating disorder. It's seeing food as something that feeds the body and the soul. It's about getting in the right amount of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It's about eating a nutritious diet. But it's also about passing down that delicious family recipe for cinnamon rolls, midnight bonding with friends over a pizza, or having a bar of chocolate just because. 

Normal eating truly is such a beautiful thing and it is so, so worth it.