This weekend, although amazingly fun, was equally as challenging. Why? Because I have a fear. Well, I have many fears but this one, now that I am admitting it to all of you, sounds pretty ridiculous.
I have a fear that people judge me when I eat. My mind likes to tell me people are scrutinizing what I eat, when I eat and how I eat it.
I don’t think of myself as a conceited person. In fact I feel like I have a long way to go when it comes to self-confidence, but the part of my brain that is still very much engaged in an eating disorder loves to scream in my ear how much people look down upon me because of my food choices and intake. Rationally I know people have much better things to worry about than what I am putting in my mouth, but I try to avoid eating with others who do not know my situation or I feel self-conscious around.
I am an early riser naturally, so I thought I could at least have breakfast alone. Which I was thanking God for because it is my very favorite meal of the day and I did not want to it be disrupted by even more negative self-talk. So on Saturday I crept around the kitchen like an intruder in my own house because I did not want to risk waking anyone. And wouldn’t you know it…as soon as I started spreading my peanut butter on my bagel thin I heard the steps creek as one of the guys groggily entered the room. Oh no. The panic set in. Do I throw this away and pretend to just be making coffee? Do I prepare the rest of my breakfast and sit down casually like everything is completely cool. I don’t know what kind of courage came forth that morning but I asked him if he would like a cup o’ joe and an english muffin, quickly toasted it up, and sat down beside him. WHAT?! I actually ate breakfast, my normal breakfast that actually does follow my nutritionist’s meal plan, beside a man I see only once a year.
This may not seem like any major accomplishment. And in someone else’s world, it probably is not, but for me this was like a monumental victory.
Let me go back to the beginning so maybe it will shed some light on this extraordinarily stupid phobia…
I have a healthy appetite. I love nutritious foods but I like my carbs and protein, and there were many times when I did not stick to the recommended three to four ounces, deck of cards size piece of grilled chicken at a meal. I played sports, I like the gym, and to fuel those kind of activities, and listen to my body in an appropriate manner, it means sometimes you eat more than the “average” person. So one weekend Ryan and I were staying in Philadelphia to go to some museums and an Eagles game. One of our friends stayed with us Saturday night because he was coming to the game as well but as tradition has it, we always go to brunch at The Continental Midtown. I have written about this place in a previous post to prepare for the HLS, because they have the most amazing breakfast food (as well as other meals!) and a cool retro atmosphere. So not only are we at one of my favorite brunch spots, but breakfast food is my favorite genre ever and I had just had a nice run and lift session at our hotel gym. I walked to meet up with the guys and my stomach was raging. If I remember correctly I ordered an egg white omelette with vegetables that came with whole grain toast, and the greek yogurt parfait with homemade granola and berries. I probably ate almost all of it, with a few shared bites to my husband. Was I full? Probably but probably not so stuffed I wanted to unbutton my pants. And our friend turns to me and pointed out how much I had just consumed and how girls don’t typically eat like that.
So I started thinking…
Were the waffles I liked for breakfast too much?
Did I really need all that turkey on my wraps? Should I even have a wrap and instead go with a salad?
Did I need something sweet after dinner, almost every single night?
Maybe I should skip the rice next time we go for sushi?
I didn’t have a weight problem at the time. I was definitely within the healthy range for my height and I was a pretty active female but his comment (and obviously a lot of other underlying issues that I had not yet realized) catapulted me into observing and analyzing all my daily habits.
But back to the present. I was petrified of this weekend, worrying that someone would make a similar remark or heaven forbid think my meal plan was wrong, but no one said a word. In fact my breakfast buddies chit chatted and made my morning routine a little more fun. I am not used to having a coffee partner, or someone to share my love of dark chocolate dreams. I need to stop being so paranoid and start having more faith because maybe if I let my guard down for more than just one meal, I might be surprised; maybe even get back some of the relationships I have damaged in the past few years isolating and being closed off…
At this point, what do I have to lose?
What is the best way to overcome a fear?
Do you ever find yourself facing it only to realize it wasn’t so scary?
Is it better to jump with both feet, or enter with caution?