Yeah…it’s been a rough little bit I am so tired, so drained so everything (and I know I have said it all before.) It’s just been hard to manage my blog.
I think I will sort through some of my homework assignments and post them. That will keep my words going.
Here’s one I just did.
What would I like to change about my relationship with food to develop a healthier relationship with food. Attitudes. Beliefs. Stuck points. How is it tied to emotions?
I have struggled with this agenda and actually set it aside for a month because I didn’t know what to say. My relationship with food is unbelievably complex and it goes all the way back to my childhood when food was used in weird ways by my family. I would really like you to read this blog post which addresses some of the issues that revolved around food as I was growing up. I think knowing some of the background is important. This is another post that addresses how my mom used food to avoid dealing with my feelings.
Now that some of the background has been established, what would I like to change about my relationship with food?
- I would like to have fewer “unsafe” foods
- I would like to rely less on “safe foods”
- I would like to have a less rigid routine around food (i.e. the ability to be flexible about meal times)
- I would like to be able to be spontaneous with dining out or getting together with friends
- I would like to not have to worry about every calorie I eat
- I would like to not have the automatic correlation that eating will make me fat
- I would like to be able to enjoy foods without guilt or shame
- I would like to be able to eat treats without it becoming a reflection of my worth, me fearing gaining weight or me feeling ashamed and disgusting
- I would like to not think that I have to burn off all the calories I eat by exercising
- I would like to not be obsessive and have compulsions regarding calories, negating calories
- I would like to not feel disgusting when I eat
- I would like to not eat to punish myself
- I would like to not foods I don’t like
My biggest issue with trying to look at these changes is that, right now, I feel like I am afraid of food. I am afraid to eat it because I will get fat. I am afraid to like it because I will want to eat more of it and become fat and I am afraid that if I don’t micro-manage everything about food….I will get fat. This is not an ‘if’. In my mind I, have an unequivocal correlation that eating will make me fat. Food=Fat. Even here, with reassurances that I have not gained weight…I am convinced that I have gained/am gaining weight.
I also believe that some foods are better than other foods. Natural, whole, non-gmo, non-chemical-ed (artificial sweeteners, dyes, ingredients that aren’t foods), locally sourced foods are all superior to other foods. Anything that falls under the category of junk food or is high in fat or that, in my mind, is empty calories is not a “good” food. Something that is kind of embarrassing about the good food/bad food thing is that I feel like when I see people eating foods or my idea of “bad” foods, I feel like I am better than them. I also get really, really irritated when I see people eating “bad” food, especially at home when my husband or son are doing it. I carry a lot of shame and about this. Like, why does it matter what people eat? I shouldn’t care and ultimately, it is not my concern. But the sense of being better than them because I have the control to eat heathy food still prevails over my shame.
I think my biggest stuckpoint with food is that I cannot give up the idea that eating will make me fat. Sometimes, I get in an absolute panic because I am eating and I can’t measure (calories/weight/measurements) to see if I am losing weight. I also feel like, if I can’t know how many calories I am eating, then I can’t eat. Of course, it is all sort of a stupid thing to obsess about because I am fat already. But the idea of gaining one more ounce of fat just kills me. I cannot be fat (ter). It cannot happen. As a matter-of-fact, at this point in my life I feel like my weight is an all-or-nothing deal. Either I lose weight and keep it off or I am an utter failure. I also feel like there will never be another chance to do it right again. Honestly, I would rather kill myself than weight what I did a year ago. And yes, I feel a lot of shame about that too.
My emotional connection with food is also complex. I don’t even quite know how to address it. I used to eat for comfort which was a self-soothing technique I started in middle-school and then used for years, except when I was having bouts of restriction. At this point, I take no comfort in my connection with food. The primary feeling I associate with food and eating is overwhelming shame and disgust. I shouldn’t eat because I don’t deserve to eat. I don’t deserve to eat because I am not worth wasting food on. I feel like when I eat, I am wasting both food and the money spent on the food. Plus, I am fat anyway, so I don’t need the food.
Lots of feelings also interrupt my eating process. Like, if I am mad I can’t eat. If I am overwhelmed with sadness, I can’t eat. If I am embarrassed/ashamed I can’t eat. I also hate eating while crying. As a child, I spent many dinners crying while eating and it is still very hard for me to eat when crying (which can be a real issue in ED treatment).
Okay…I don’t know where this assignment is going. I feel confused and overwhelmed and I don’t know if I am even expressing myself right. This is probably why I didn’t tackle this assignment when Mac first gave it to me. I just can’t put all of my thoughts/feelings about food into coherent words. I hope that this has given enough insight to at least be a springboard for discussion.