I Wish I Could Say I'm A Girl Who Loves Food
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Health and Wellness

I Wish I Could Say I'm A Girl Who Loves Food, But Instead I'm The Girl With The Eating Disorder

Plenty of girls rejoice in loving food or being "foodies," but my relationship with food has never been what you might call a healthy one.

I Wish I Could Say I'm A Girl Who Loves Food, But Instead I'm The Girl With The Eating Disorder

Please consider this a trigger warning for anyone who has an eating disorder, exhibits disordered eating habits, or is triggered by mentions of such things.

I've talked before about how mental illness is an experience that's full of battles. Any regular readers of mine know how much I'll talk about how progress isn't linear, and how you can go from an awesomely successful day to a day where even the smallest thing is a roadblock.

This morning, that roadblock was a bowl of cinnamon apple oatmeal.

I sat on my stool at the kitchen island, staring at the oatmeal, a breakfast I usually love, as I contemplated the small spoonful I had. I was going through a morning depressive spell, and chief in my thoughts was how disgusting and large I was. I could practically feel the fat on my body. But I hadn't eaten much last night, and I knew I needed food. So I ate a bite. Forcing myself to swallow it felt a bit like trying to swallow a rock. Nausea bubbled up in me immediately, and the rest of the oatmeal looked vastly unappealing.

Food, in general, felt vastly unappealing, even the thought of consuming calories made me sick.

But I forced the oatmeal down anyway.

I've never been diagnosed with an eating disorder. My psychologist has definitely told me that I exhibit disordered habits of eating, but I'm not anorexic or bulimic. I've never starved myself for more than half a day, I've never exhibited binge eating or purging behavior (throwing up after eating, overexercising after eating, taking laxatives, or other similar things). Those criteria definitely aren't me. But that doesn't mean my relationship with food was, or is, a healthy one.

I honestly can't remember the last time I just ate something sweet without either justifying it to myself, thinking of calories, or feeling absolutely awful.

It's always either "I can eat this, I've only had about x calories today, it's fine" or "God, I'm so fat, eating like this." Same goes for really just about all food. And you might be saying, "Well, Rachel, that's what a diet is!" And yeah, counting calories definitely has its benefits. This article definitely isn't me saying I should be able to eat whatever I want and not gain weight. A balanced diet is important. But being able to indulge a little bit, or even eat breakfast, without feeling like a horrible person, is also important.

My relationship with sweets is perhaps the shakiest one I have, but like I talked about earlier, food, in general, can be a challenge if my depression is bad. Yeah, I don't actively try not to eat, but if I forget a meal, it's more of an accomplishment than anything else. Food is the first self-care thing that goes out the window when my mental health is bad, largely because eating, more often than not, makes my depressions worse. It's not something that helps me be happy and healthy--even a salad is just more calories on the way to me being fat on my really bad days.

In case there's any doubt, this absolutely isn't healthy.

A lot of people, myself included for a time, think that if they aren't jeopardizing their physical health with their relationship with food, it must be healthy. Sure, I used to think, Sure I am happy when I don't eat, but I'm not starving myself, I eat anyway. I'm not in the hospital on an IV and I'm sure as heck not dropping 20 pounds underweight. But--and this goes for just about every mental health issue--just because you're healthier than the bare minimum, doesn't mean you're healthy. You can deal with depression without attempting or contemplating suicide. You can deal with social anxiety and still go out in public and be "social."

There is a difference between surviving and living, and having a disordered relationship with food, even if you aren't hospitalizing yourself, definitely falls under "surviving."

So if any of my readers relate to this, I really encourage you to talk to someone you trust, look up some resources, or, if you can afford it, see a counselor. For me, a huge help has been changing my diet to be healthier and something I love--being vegetarian has honestly been a big bump up in my image of how I eat. But that's in conjunction with therapy, medication for my depression and anxiety, and the support of those I love.

Don't let yourself be miserable because you're not as bad off as some people are. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to be able to eat with minimal worry. And you deserve to get the help you need. You are beautiful, you are worth love, and food is never, ever, going to change that.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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