A little challenge and the art of wallowing
Day 17: Do you have an eating disorder?
I suppose this challenge is as much about reflection and self awareness as it is about weight-loss. When we understand our habits we are better able to change them. If we understand our self-sabotages and destructive behaviour we are better armed to make the tough decision to change our pattern of behaviour. I wouldn’t say that I have an eating disorder. I do, however, have other problems (I would never say that they are ‘disorders’) that can manifest in the way I eat.
I’ve struggled, fought, overcome, won and lost in the battle with depression and anxiety for over half my life. Sometimes this means I over-eat, sometimes it means I can’t eat. By looking at my eating habits I can recognise where my mind is and it can keep me in check to redress any impending inbalences and negative thought processes.
You’ve probably all heard the jibe about the bulimic who doesn’t throw up… I was that child. I don’t know where I got the idea but I somehow got it into my head that, after eating all the biscuits in the house, if I was sick it would make me feel better. I drank salt-water; it didn’t work. I put my fingers down my throat; it didn’t work. I tried using a toothbrush to make me gag; you guessed it, it didn’t work. So instead, I’d just over-eat and leave it at that. To some extent I still do over-eat. But now I am better armed to understand why I want to and I am able to control it.
If someone has a broken bone you wouldn’t tell them to ‘get over it’ and that the pain isn’t real. You’d give them painkillers and time to heal. In the same way, there are times where I allow myself a wallow and a tub of icecream. It’s a weird trick I play on my mind, but by giving myself permission to eat a whole tub of ice-cream I am less likely to then eat everything else in reach. By allowing the indulgence I am breaking the perpetual cycle of: binge, feel bad about bingeing, binge to feel better about feeling bad about having binged.
We are human, we feel bad sometimes, we are allowed to recognise this bad feeling and do something about it. Sometimes that thing is ice-cream, but in more recently it is a run and a slice of recovery cake.