I think I might start calling my dietitian (H) my “food therapist”. We talk about normal dietitian things; the 5 food groups and benefits of them all, we talk about variety in foods and proper portioning but we also talk about what food (and lack of it) means to me. I tell her my story and history with food and she helps me see how that’s effecting my current relationship with it today, then we set goals trying to lessen the hold that food has over me.
I’ve been doing VERY well with food lately, getting everything in on a daily basis and eating every 2-3 hours. The only issue is that I’ve been getting into habits and routines with food that are becoming quite rigid. Since giving my dietitian a detailed list of the foods that I have been eating for the last few months she noticed some patterns in my intake that she challenged me to take a closer look at. I tend to eat the same types of foods at the same times; my breakfasts are usually one of 3 things, my morning and afternoon snacks are usually the same things from day to day. Now, this could be due to natural routines that normal eaters fall into but it could also be a warning sign for disordered behaviour which is why I’m going to spend the next few weeks changing these routines. My emotional reaction to the changes will tell me whether my habits are problematic or normal.
I started on Saturday after seeing H, I like to get right on these types of challenges so there is less room for excuses from my eating disorder. I started small by switching up some of my snacks, eating my afternoon snack in the morning and adding some new variety to my snacks. Things were going well, the changes produced minimal discomfort until yesterday. For my morning snack I usually have a granola bar with my tea around 9:30 or 10am but instead I had a package of almonds, It felt strange to eat something like nuts so early in the morning but there wasn’t too much of an issue with eating them. When it came time for my afternoon snack, I had brought 2 greek yogurt cups and I had a very hard time eating them.
All of a sudden I got anxious and emotional, my inner toddler was kicking and screaming at how unfair it was that I had to eat yogurt instead of my normal snack after eating almonds that morning. I even found myself resenting the almonds and the other 8 yogurt cups I had just bought. Woah, wait a second… where did THAT come from!? It’s been a long time since that stubborn and angry toddler came out and I was shocked to find out that she still existed. So, I did what I knew I had to do and I ate my yogurt cups. I took a breath and just started eating them. My inner toddler put up a bit of a fight but eventually gave up after I started my second yogurt cup.
I guess the moral of the story here is that your work is never finished when in recovery from an eating disorder. Even if you’ve been doing really well you have to be sure to not become complacent and let your guard down. Maybe one day I will be able to trust that I’m not falling into old patterns when I’m not paying such close attention to my intake, but for now I know that I have to keep discovering and challenging these little ruts I might find myself in. I’m sure I will discover other little hangups I’ve developed as the weeks go on, but I will just add them to my list of things I have to conquer. Eventually I will have conquered them all and food will no longer have a hold over my life or effect the choices I make in my day to day life.