WOULD AN EATING DISORDER BY ANY OTHER NAME LOOK AS SICK??
I think one of the most overlooked areas in eating disorders, is treating people who are too “overly health conscience.” Most people look at people who perfected the art of “eating right and exercising enough” to be of a superior human race. They are the ones that have will power, who have enough stamina and grit to pass up a plate of gooey brownies, or run those 10 K races every weekend. They are the ones who shop at Trader Joe’s, drink almond milk, wouldn’t let anything artificial pass their lips, and have wheat grass juice running through their veins.
They smell like vitamins, and have a life-long membership to Gold’s gym.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this lifestyle, and if done correctly can be very beneficial. However there is a fine line between being healthy, and being so healthy you are actually making yourself sick.
Case in point, there was a period of time in my Eating Disorder where I wasn’t binging, purging, taking massive amounts of laxatives, or starving myself down to a corpse. I was actually doing everything as I thought perfectly right. I had read gathered years and years of information on how to life healthy, I just had never really practiced it. After all I had grown up with an mother who was a health nut, and an aerobics instructor. I used to hate her wheat germ cookies, and ”Lets get Physical” revivals,growing up, and rebelled against it by hoarding Twinkies under my bed, and hiding all her Jane Fonda videos.
Of course as I ventured into the underworld of Anorexia and Bulimia I didn’t have to worry about any of that, because I had my own way of controlling my weight. I didn’t have to sacrifice what I wanted or worry about burning it off either. Of course this worked at first until that smart little diet becomes a full blown addiction and you find yourself being sent to rehab to try to fix it.
My first treatment center ever was a very old-school OA philosophy and it centered around the “no white flour, no white sugar, weigh and measure all your portions” philosophy.
The minute I walked in the door I was handed a measuring cup, measuring spoons and a food scale.
We were all required to weigh and measure our portions down to the exact ounce, cup, or teaspoon.
While this has been known to work well for Binge Eaters and compulsive overeaters, I don’t think it works very well for somebody who has a severe history of perfectionism and anorexia.
Eating disorders are very much about Control. You cannot control your life so you choose food. My Eating disorder was born from that. I began controlling every calorie that went in, and every pound that came off. It wasn’t until I couldn’t take the razor sharp pain of hunger anymore, that I began to binge. I of course began to control that by purging it out.
So here I was in treatment, being taught how to control my food in a different way.
I was living in the same House, I had just switched rooms.
After I left that treatment center ( let me add that it was by scaling a fence and going AWOL) that I went home with all that information and then twisted it into my own demented environment.
It would take me approximately a whole day just to grocery shop. I would have to go to nine different stores for 50 different items. This store didn’t have the right size apples, this store was the only one that had the right ounces of yogurt, this one had the only pasta that had sugar listed as the 8th ingredient instead of 5th.
Each meal took forever!!!!
I had to weigh every single ingredient that went into everything. If I made an omelet I had to weigh the eggs, the tomatoes, the mushrooms, the cheese etc. After it was cooked I had to weigh it again to make sure it was the right amount. It was basically a kitchen of CukooCaroo!!
Of course you aren’t eating much of anything with taste so I would come up with crazy concoctions just to make it taste better. You can only do so much with a limited amount of allowed food, so you come up with a million different ways to Florentine and egg bake a chicken, or saute a mushroom. You have heard of the saying “there are more than one way to skin a cat”, well I came up with a gazillion different ways to scale a fish
I remember getting obsessed with canned pumpkin. I had made this odd recipe that was supposed to be an imitation of pumpkin pie.
I ate it everyday and after a month my skin started to get a weird orange tint. All that Beta Carotene had turned me into a cast member from Jersey Shore.
It also made it impossible to go anywhere, or eat anything as I didn’t know what was in it and exactly how much. Heaven forbid it was a soup or casserole, all those mystery ingredients..that was food 911 to me!
It was great that I was eating and keeping it down, but that was only because I was controlling the whole thing with an iron fist!
It doesn’t make for a very happy life, and in my own weird way I thought I was recovered because I was doing everything so on point.
It wasn’t any surprise that after almost exactly one year, I walked by a plate of macaroni and cheese, and decided I was moving back into the Bulimia room.
So my point here is sometimes eating disorders wear very good disguises. You may be out of the frying pan, but you are still very much in the fire.
Being overly concerned with your food and exercise falls through the cracks, because people don’t really see that as and Eating Disorder.
I’m here to tell you it very much is.
In my next blog I will tell you why.
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