Take notice of your hunger, don’t put it on a pedestal – this is an excellent concept, one that “puts food in its place.” The concept of “eat to live, don’t live to eat” is based on this. But the latter is wrong.
The last couple of days, I have felt gray. I have felt like I am just going through the paces of this new food regimen, but having only muted feelings around food. The Day 1 excitement has worn off (which to be fair, wore off about three hours after that entry, when I had to scour the blogsphere for eating disorder support mantras to allow me to sit down in one place all day) and it is becoming more day-to-day. The routine isn’t as exciting as ones I jumped into before: there is no adding portions, there is no breaking through black list items, there is no opening up structure, there is no skipping or postponing to get that restriction high. This is different, maybe because it is finally normal. The thing that defined me as “special” (in my warped eyes) – my overwhelming hunger and restrictiveness – is leaving me and there is a void, a grayness. What I’ve perceived as enjoying food has (more often than I thought) been enjoying hunger.
This is the point I was making: I can put food on a pedestal, but not hunger. I feel that I can make food and nutrition and healthy lifestyles all part of my life, even a central facet of it through reading incessantly, finding new and exciting ways to workout, enjoying healthy recipes and foods, exploring grocery stores like museums, taking pride (internally, not externally) in being healthy (and not defining others by the degree to which they do) and that my definition of healthy makes sense (as opposed to a bunch of stupid time frames and pseudo-healthy restrictions – “oh no, eating in that order will cause you to crave more or that would be too much healthy fats…”). These things make me happy and I have a very tough time accepting that, believing that getting lost in those things will lead to that “slippery slope” – that I will lose myself in fat kid life or sex kid life or some other perceived Puritanical hang-up. For a lot of years, I attached a negativity to indulgence, which became a negativity to simple indulgences, like being free and enjoying the moment. Losing myself for three hours on the Internet is not something to be ashamed of, even if they are food articles – they are not automatically destructive, so I should just enjoy! I don’t think that I should be ashamed by these things anymore. I should take pride in making a good tasting vegetarian curry or butter/sugar-free cookies that are acceptable (because let’s be serious, I’m sure butter would make them softer and more moist).
But hunger and control are not parts of any of these, and they shouldn’t be for me. Today, I would still avoid tasting something outside of mealtimes. I still have anxiety over a two portion snack before or after dinner. These are the restriction/control elements that go beyond the eating disorder. These are elements of the blackness that I believe caused my hyper-vigilance, my over-cautiousness, my sleep issues, my attachment to the eating disorder (as per my earlier paragraph, I will be vigilant and cautious by nature and sleep will always be important to me, but the extreme nature of each of these is what gets me into trouble – and as a side note, extremism in any form = bad news, just ask Muslims how they are treated after the emergence of extremist zealots). These are the things that I think appear when stress and tension and being lost cause me to gravitate toward control, things of which I will need to be cautious and vigilant about during recovery.
I will start tonight by not ending my night with food. I will eat early and do something exciting (or notable) afterwards and see if that works. I believe that food can define me, hunger cannot. I can live to eat, but can never truly live hungry.