In my time on this blog, through my eating disorder, and through my recovery, I have found many other recovery stories from really strong, amazing women. Still looking for men recovering because I know that is highly underrated, but I only have women’s to go on.
These stories break my heart. Truly. My mind goes through a plethora of thoughts and emotions: sadness, anger, jealously (this one will need some elaboration), happiness, relief… I feel like I am living their experience by their side. And yes, as much as I hate to admit it, I am jealous of how deep their disorder went. I know that is awful, and I wish I did not feel this way. So often I feel like my eating disorder was not real or valid. I won’t go into that much, but you can read about it over here. [Chipmunk version: I am jealous that these girls got that thin, that they had that much will to do take it that far. I am jealous that people noticed and made them get help. Unless you read my blog, you would never know that I had an eating disorder at all. You still might not think so. I am jealous that they are sure of what they had, and I am not.]
But in so many recovery stories, blogs, videos, these women find their recovery in words like veganism, plant-based, gluten-free, and so on. I am totally, 100% not discounting their recovery. They are at a healthy weight and are eating enough. That’s great for them.
Sometimes I think that maybe I should do that. I mean, I never could because I am in deep need of an In-n-Out burger right now. But sometimes I see their smiles and their tasty-looking smoothies and…and…I can’t think of anything else without looking it up. And that is exactly the point. If I became a vegan or went “plant-based” or something like that, I would feel like I am depriving myself of all of the foods I once loved. I would feel like I am getting gipped out of conquering my fear foods because so many of my fear foods fall into the category of “Do Not Eat” in those lifestyles.
That has been a huge thing for me: conquering my fear foods. It is how I know I am recovering. If I feel like I might be restricting one day, I venture out to get a donut after dinner. Or I make a sandwich with extra cheese or with an extra swab of peanut butter or honey. I know that I am getting what I need and a little bit extra. I do not feel the need to eat a piece of fruit afterward or in lieu of one of the ingredients.
“It is a healthy lifestyle.” Well, great. Donuts really are not that good for you, but that does not mean I am going to gain a million pounds if I eat one. Quite frankly, I could not make that lifestyle change because I don’t have the bank account for it. I would rather skip out on a few “gluten-free” labels if it meant I could buy a new pair of shoes to go with my rockin’ bod. Which I have. Even if I don’t go to the gym every day and eat only fruits and veggies.
Okay, this all sounds very critical of this type of recovery. And in a way, it might be, even if I don’t mean it that way. But that recovery works for some people, and I am so, so proud of anyone who choses recovery. However, I do have this question: do you miss any of the food you can’t eat under your lifetsyle? And if you were given one of those items (be it a burger, a taco, a brownie (a real one, not a protein one)), would you eat it and be able to enjoy it?
I know that if I chose veganism or something like that I would so longingly look at a slice of cake or a donut. I would feel like I was not really recovering because I would not eat the donut or cake out of fear. I would be terrified to let that sugar and fat into my body like I was every dark day in my eating disorder. And you know, sometimes I am still afraid of them. ED Thoughts are still a part of me some days, and I will say no to a trip to a 24-hour donut shop or a pastry at Starbucks. It is okay to still be afraid, though. Fear is a natural emotion, and there are times when I must give into those fears to stop an anxiety attack. I can try again tomorrow or the next day.
Because recovery is about conquering your fears. It’s terrifying, like jumping into darkness, but you have to do it. Just a little food for thought (ha ha, get it? Food. Yeah, I know you got it.).