Food As Medicine

When you have sinus infection doctors give you an anti-biotic. If you get poisin ivy, they give you some weird pink lotion that takes away the itch. When you have an eating disorder, they give you food, but the difference is, you do not want their prescription. In fact, in most cases it is your worst enemy ever and your body does not want anything to do with it.

Think about it, because I can remember when I had a sinus infection, all I wanted was some relief from the awful pain occurring in my throbbing head, burning throat, and runny nose. I wanted the meds and I wanted them ASAP. When I got stung by a bee (I am super allergic) and I felt like I couldn’t breathe, I welcomed that gosh darn needle with open arms (and I am probably the most needle-phobic person ever!) But when I got to the hospital, and they tried to give me butter on my roll, I threw a 5-year-old hissy fit, left the breakfast room and refused to return.

Why? Why would I rebel and refuse something that was ultimately essential to the healing process? I am one hundred percent on board with the perks of recovery. I am excited to be social, wear nice clothing again, be able to run, but do not even think about making me gain weight.

Unfortunately, recovery does not work like that. You cant have a without b, and you certainly cannot have nice shiny hair , or functioning organs, without some essential fats in your life. So even with knowing the scientific facts about overcoming anorexia, WHY was/am I still adamant about refusing certain foods, or a higher caloric intake?

My therapist challenged me to reach a 10 on the discomfort scale at least once a week, which in my case usually meant trying a new food. And for a while I was doing really really well. I had a big list to chose from, some foods I even managed to dodge in hospitals, which is pretty much unheard of, but with Ryan by my side, I have recently conquered:

  • Peanut Butter Cups
  • Non-Light Bread (Thank you Great Harvest!)
  • Nuts
  • 92% Lean Ground Beef (instead of the 96%)
  • Cheese (I love you Cabot!)
  • Olive Oil
  • Eggs

It may not seem like anything major but to me they were pretty exciting accomplishments!

The one thing I still have not tried, and to this day cannot fathom even being in my grocery cart for a reason other than baking, is butter (Im definitely going to need to work on this ASAP…remember what I said about letting ED creep back into your life? If you give him an inch, he will take 394086503986803 miles)

Obviously I have had butter in things. I mean you cant have most cookies or restaurant food without it, but I have never deliberately smeared some on a piece of toast or put it on my vegetables just for the taste.

Ryan thinks this is absolutely ridiculous but its not something I grew up with so I just don’t see a need! Maybe I don’t know what Im missing, but it is one of those foods of which I just cant seem to get over my fear and have absolutely no desire to try (like I said, I need to work on it!).

But regardless, butter is not the main point.

The point is, why are we, as an eating disorder population, so afraid of the one thing that can make us better? Until your brain is functioning somewhat normally, which can only occur with proper nutrients, aka FOOD, you can never tackle those pesky underlying issues that started the eating disorder in the first place.

So after my freak out yesterday, with the scale and the triggering numbers, I started to think, does it matter if I am eating more calories than my meal plan originally prescribed? If the ultimate goal is weight gain then will a measly 100-200 extra calories on any given day really make that big of a difference in a “negative“ manner? Would I deny myself more medication, if I had another health problem? I’m going to go ahead and say no. If there were a pill that would be filled with healing power to get over strep throat in a day, I would most definitely take it. So in my situation, that extra yogurt or handful of nuts could get me one day closer to my goal, and yet I am beating myself up if I want to have it! Does this make any logical sense? No!

So I am proud to report that I did have my dinner last night. It was as if God was reading my post and decided to have Ryan magically appear at the pool to visit the second I hit save, because in he walked and immediately asked how I was feeling. I explained my guilt about “forgetting” dinner and he looked pretty disappointed. I don’t know what came over me at that very moment but I asked if he would mind bringing what I had packed for me to eat while I was here. 10 minutes later, I had leftover Pumpkin Chili, some salad greens and plain Oikos in my hands. What an awesome husband, and thank goodness I was able to reframe the ridiculous ideas I had earlier in the day.

Like I said, one time of letting Ed back in can be a super slipper slope I am not willing to go down.

And with that I am headed to a women’s health conference called “Fun, Fit and Fabulous!” where I will get to meet some amazing people, enjoy some delicious food at the Hershey Lodge, and get to see Allie Vincent, winner of the Biggest Loser, as the keynote speaker!! Can’t wait to give you the recap!

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10 thoughts on “Food As Medicine

  1. You have a fabulous husband! Keep it up. I think you are a brave woman and I can tell you want whats best for you. Can I ask when you started to suffer from skewed eating? I am just interested because it seems it usually starts around middle/high school.

  2. i think the reason we’re afraid of the things that save us is because we’re afraid to be saved. it’s hard to give up the thing you’ve clinged to for SO long, because it has, in it’s own crazy way, worked. it has served us a great deal, and it has been a constant companion. we want recovery, but we don’t trust it, because it’s foreign. hang in there, i know butter is SO scary- but you’ve conquered so many hard things, i know you can do it!

    • You are exactly right!!! It seems way easier just to stay in the safety zone then push it too far! Unfortunately something I’ve learned is when I only give it a 50% effort I don’t get healthy results! I’m so glad someone can relate…it’s nice to know I’m not alone 🙂

      • you are SO not alone! i actually wrote a post pretty similar to yours last night on my blog. pushing is hard, but worth it! and man is it so easy to do in treatment when you don’t have a choice. trying to make my life as much like treatment is really the way i get through tough times, as crazy as that sounds. but if i don’t let myself get away with things i couldn’t get away with while i was inpatient, then i know i’m on the right track. i’m always here if you need someone to talk to!

      • whats your URL? I want to read!!! im always looking for new blogs! but i definitely agree…i can totally justify eating everything in treatment, but not at home for some reason! ridiculous right??? They would never let me use light products in a hospital and yet I am drawn to them at the grocery store. old habits die hard 😦

    • Thank you!!! Can you tell we are a little bit obsessed with your products in our household!? I’m waiting for the cheese sticks to come to our stores!! Thanks for putting out some awesome cheese 🙂

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