The past week and a half has held some great hurdles and even greater triumphs.
I feel like I need to write about it, because for me writing is therapy. It’s a release. It’s the way I can rationalise the chaos that goes on in my brain.
This week gone by, has been most confronting but equally the most liberating week of my recovery.
I asked my boyfriend Antoine, if he would conduct an experiment with me. It was food and exercise related. Two elements of my life that I require the control of for my own piece of mine. Two elements of my life that cause me fear and anxiety.
I’ve known for a long time that I needed to confront my need for control. I have even written about I’m stuck in certain habits. There are certain routines that I abide by to calm my mind.
So, for a long time, I have avoided confronting my fears. Because being in the comfort zone is just so…comfortable. I prefer to be wrapped in a blanket of assurance than be out met with the brittle air of uncertainty.
Initially, Antoine was bamboozled by the power I had given him. He had control over what I ate, how much I ate, when I ate as well as my entire exercise regime.
I could have chickened out. But somewhere deep inside me, I wanted someone else to tell me what to do. Because my disordered behaviours are still looming in the background. The only way to challenge these fears is to face them. Face your fear. Confront your comfort zone.
This week, I was completely out of my comfort zone. I hadn’t had a square of chocolate for over four years. This week, I’ve had chocolate on four occasions. I still have fears around carbohydrates. I’ve had complex carbohydrates for every meal every single day this week.
I won’t lie to you and say it was all fine and dandy. The anorexic side of my brain was battling for airtime and connecting emotions to the foods I was consuming. But I let it happen. I set my mind on my goal. My goal was to follow every single one of Antoine’s instructions, no matter how frightening they were.
I let myself be free.
I have never felt more liberated. In the five years since I developed food and body image insecurities, the answer was giving away control to someone I completely trust.
I trusted that Antoine would test me but wouldn’t hurt me. I trusted that he would challenge me, but would also nurture me. I trusted his knowledge about nutrition and the human body. I trusted him completely.
And he challenged me alright. Portion wise. Food wise. Exercise wise. I’ve had more challenges this week than in my whole recovery journey combined.
As a young woman I am constantly surrounded by people who have a disfunctional relationship with their body and food. Friends complain about their body or whinge about their weight. I feel like I’m always trying to convince or reassure someone that they’re beautiful. That their body is perfect just the way it is. That going on a diet isn’t the answer.
I’m aware of the messages the media shoves down our throat. We’re taught that foods are “good” and “bad”. That we should steer clear of sugars and avoid fats. That we should mainline quinoa because ‘health’ when it tastes like shit. Why am I the only one who admits that quinoa is expensive glorified gravel?
Well, you know what this week has taught me? EVERYTHING is okay in moderation. You need to listen to your hunger cues. You need to tap into what you feel like rather than what you feel you should have.
In fact, I’ve learned that I should eat more like a bloke. Which in short means eating until I’m satisfied and not dissecting the nutritional content of everything I put in my mouth. That also means eating for pleasure. And NOT providing a lame excuse for doing so.
So, we’ve decided to lengthen the experiment. Keep up the challenges until they stop being challenges and just become normal.
Cheers to good health, good food and good company.