Thoughts on Food: Now and Then

This Sunday, after my runger finally stopped raging and I had not been the nicest person to be around for a few hours in the afternoon, I got to thinking about my relationship to food a year ago, or two or five or ten, as compared to what it currently is. There’s a huge difference between now and then, and I’m grateful for it, but change didn’t happen overnight. It was gradual over time, so that sometimes I’m still surprised when I realize how far I’ve come.

 

 

 

4-17-16 Post Half Food Insta

 

 

 

I struggled with an eating disorder for nearly a decade, something I shared here on the blog during NEDA Week last February and this one. Food was not something to be enjoyed. It was something to be fought and feared. Hunger was an enemy, and giving into it a weakness that I thankfully could not suppress enough to do lifelong harm. I used to count the calories in every morsel that passed my lips, foregoing any food that I could not accurately estimate. I’d go to my favorite childhood ice cream spot and only order the fat free, sugar free “yogurt” weighed in ounces I could tally. My beloved sprinkles were near forbidden fruit unless I knew exactly how many teaspoons were heaped on top.

 

 

 

Emack and Bolio's Chocolate Strawberry Soft Serve

 

 

 

 

While I consider my second year of college to be the lowest point, recovery wasn’t a steady process. There were peaks and there were valleys, and the valley in my second year of law school was nearly as low. Even a year ago, when I was firmly on an upward trajectory, this kind of day would have been impossible. Now look at me. After Sunday’s race, I essentially ate all day except for when I was walking or otherwise moving. Even then, I was eating some of the time (see ice cream jaunts one, two and three). French fries went uncounted. Spoonfuls of sunflower and peanut butter went down the hatchet without a second thought.

 

 

 

bareburger sweet potato fries

 

 

 

The old me could never have had such a day. She would have imagined it, wanting to be able to let go so desperately that it drove her to tears. She would have stared longingly at the canelles in the pastry case, unable to eat one because she had not even the slightest idea of what dessert most resembled the French treat and thus could not accurately estimate the calories. She certainly would not have been able to share French fries with her boyfriend. In fact, she rarely ate in front of others at all, preferring to consume what little she was allowed prior to dinner with friends.

 

 

 

NoGlu Canelles

 

 

 

 

Can I say that I didn’t experience even one disordered thought on Sunday? No, I can’t, and I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry for all the time wasted on memorizing calorie counts, the energy and brain space it took to control every aspect of food in my life, the way it affected my relationships with family and friends, and most importantly, how it made me feel like I didn’t deserve a day like Sunday. I can’t go back. I can only look forward, and be grateful to the friends who helped me get to where I am now, and to my boyfriend who lets me eat more than my fair share of the sweet potato fries every time and who reminds me of all I am and everything I have in this life when the thought loop turns negative and threatens to drag me down.

 

 

 

Half Marathon WIAW Instagram

 

 

 

 

Four Sundays ago, I ate peanut butter out of the jar on a New York City subway. Yes, that is pretty revolting. Yes, my inner clean freak wanted to sanitize my intestinal tract afterwards. No, I don’t regret it. I don’t regret anything Sunday, or the other ice cream sprees that have happened since, or one too many spoonfuls of anything else. Life is long, but it’s also far too short for that.

 

 

 

Deborah Ann's ice cream instagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How have your feelings about food changed over time?

 

Do you eat in a way now that is different to when you were younger?

 

If you’ve recovered from an ED, what is the one thing you’d like to tell others who are struggling?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2016 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

18 thoughts on “Thoughts on Food: Now and Then

  1. It’s definitely a blessing to be able to look back and see how much your relationship with food has improved over time. I look back at the things I used to do when I was in the depths of my ED and I’m just like… how could I live that way? Definitely something I’m happy to have left in the past.

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  2. Can I just say I love the image of you eating PB out of a jar on the subway? So awesome!!

    I’ve thankfully never suffered disordered eating and good genetics have allowed me to get through life without having to put much thought into calorie counting or watching what I eat. I know, lucky me, right? As a result I never feel I have much to contribute to these conversations except to say that I’m glad you were able to fight through and get to a better place. I know the memories must be painful but think of what a difference you could be making in someone else’s life by sharing what you’ve overcome.

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    • That’s what motivates me to share the most – the thought that, if I can help even one girl out there who’s struggling with the same thing with my words, then what I write and even what I lived means something and has purpose.

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  3. ‘I struggled with an eating disorder for nearly a decade, something I shared here on the blog during NEDA Week last February and this one. Food was not something to be enjoyed. It was something to be fought and feared. Hunger was an enemy, and giving into it a weakness that I thankfully could not suppress enough to do lifelong harm. I used to count the calories in every morsel that passed my lips, foregoing any food that I could not accurately estimate. I’d go to my favorite childhood ice cream spot and only order the fat free, sugar free “yogurt” weighed in ounces I could tally. My beloved sprinkles were near forbidden fruit unless I knew exactly how many teaspoons were heaped on top.’

    THAT. RIGHT THERE. I relate so much, but I can’t say that I’m in the point of recovery that you are yet, but I know that it’s a journey. It’s so AMAZING to hear about you spooning out of a jar without a second thought, eating without a second thought. I love all of that, and I’m really grateful for you sharing this this morning.

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  4. That is awesome that you have seen so much progress over the years. I love how you are honest about it and point out that – as with any type of struggle in life – there are peaks and valleys, but it’s the overall trajectory that matters. Life is too short to not enjoy good things, including food!
    I never struggled with an ED, but I did have a time in my life where certain foods were “healthy” and others were “unhealthy.” I actually believed at one point that avocados were not healthy because in health class we learned that foods should not have more than 30% of their calories from fat. Which is just silly in retrospect, but at a young age opinions on food are easily influenced.

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  5. Thankfully I never had a full blown ED, but I have certainly suffered from disordered eating much of my life.

    It’s a fine balance for me, because I can too easily gain weight if I’m not careful, but I also want to get to the point where I don’t think about it so much. I have come a very long way, but I’m still not where I’d like to be in my relationship with food. Maybe I never will be, but I keep working on it.

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  6. This was so beautifully written! I saw your reply to my comment over at Lord Still Loves Me and decided to come over here and check your blog out, and I’m glad I did. Girl, we have a bunch in common. It encourages me so much to hear your thoughts on this topic. I, too, am getting to the point where I am doing things that me last year could never have even imagined. Disordered thoughts still run through my mind, especially when I’m stressed, but I’ve gotten a lot better at telling them to shut up and let me live my life. Much love ❤

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  7. Lovely post. It’s interesting how those of us with histories of eating disorder, even when we’re in a really healthy place, can fall so easily back into disordered thought patterns, whether it’s the calorie counts we once memorized (me too!) or the food rules we once invented. Those French fries look amazing–sounds like an awesome way to recover from a big run!

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  8. I’m glad I came over to read through your post as well! I can relate to many of these tumultuous emotions you were going through. My early college years were also the worst times for me with my over-controlling eating habits. So happy to see someone else who’s come so far!

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