For so long, I've had skewed definitions of so many words I've associated with food. Words like healthy, good, safe, and phrases like back on track.
Cait and I were talking a few weeks ago, in a continuation of what we'd talked about in my last post. We'd just walked to a great pizza place near our apartments and had a yummy dinner, but the entire time we ate, I couldn't stop saying things like, "I have to get back on track. I have to get back on track. I have to get back on track."
Which, in my mind, means going back to severe restricting during the day (coffee, a yogurt, maybe a piece of fruit) followed by a "safe" dinner that evening (low-calorie, low-fat, low-flavor). And that also meant that any time I broke those rigid rules, I'd need to purge. Without question.
But Cait, in the patience and wisdom she's gleaned from fighting her own demons, said something that's stuck with me. As we walked down the sidewalk, each of us carrying half-full pizza boxes, me panicking about what I'd just eaten, she said:
"Here's the thing, though, Hal. You want to get back on track, but all that means is that you're getting back on track to scary, dangerous eating patterns. You're not getting back on track to health, you're getting back on track to the eating disorder."
She's right, of course. And in retrospect, I can't believe that concept hadn't come to me. But it hadn't. I was so blinded by the desperation to lose this weight that I've gained that I was willing to do anything — anything — to get there.
I'm also so tired of puking.
I'm so tired of chugging coffee all day trying to give myself a little bit of energy because I haven't eaten enough.
I'm so tired of being a slave to this eating disorder — unable to relax and just enjoy life and food and good times.
After that talk, I realized for the first time that I was finally ready to give up my eating disorder. It's not going to be easy, no, but for the first time, the thought of not having my eating disorder as a crutch and a coping mechanism doesn't fill me with panic. I want to do this. I want to get past this.
I can, and I will. And I'm trying, again, for the millionth time, but this time is different. This time, I'm not secretly (or not-so-secretly) holding onto the paralyzing fear of what I would be (or how much I would weigh) without my eating disorder. This time, I'm done. I want it gone. I want it out of me, out of my head, out of my body.
So I'm trying again to eat. And then stop eating. And then eat. And then stop eating. Normal eating patterns, normal healthy food...I'm trying.
I can do this.