The other day I read a post by Jennifer Rollin, discussing the signs of partial recovery, and despite my belief that I'm in active recovery, some of the points described me. This served as a reminder as to the importance of checking in on how you're doing in order to prevent becoming complacent. Today therefore, I wanted to look at how our ED's can hide so they are able to maintain at least a little control over us, and why it's crucial we can spot and eliminate them.
One sign that resonated with me was "You stick with familiar foods and mostly avoid trying new foods". Personally, I have fallen into the habit of having the same breakfast, morning snack, and lunch everyday, and am only slightly more flexible with my subsequent snacks, meaning the only thing I really switch up is my evening meal. I have justified this by saying it helped prevent relapse, as I have struggled previously and blamed this on me pushing my ED too hard, too fast. Upon reading Jennifer's post however, I have realised that it is my ED which has presented me with this excuse, and so I can no longer allow myself to fall back on it. Consequently, over the last week, I have been challenging new lunches with unknown calories, added extras, and different ingredients to show my ED who's boss. On top of this, with the support of my girlfriend I have also been mixing up my snacks a bit more, including different items which we have been baking, such as the carrot cake muffins I shared over on Instagram, as well as vegetarian sausage rolls and the TikTok pancake cereal!
I also related to 'still having rules when giving yourself permission to eat dessert', or in my case any food that still invokes guilt or anxiety. For example, last week me and my girlfriend shared a chocolate Easter egg, and I interpreted my ability to do this with only minor discomfort as a recovery win. On reflection however, whilst I am still proud of myself as it is massive progress from the place I was in a few months ago, it was my ED sneaking in that eased the anxiety. By this I mean that I was still engaging in compensatory behaviours, or at the very least looking for things such as considering my previous intake or how much movement I'd engaged in to give me permission. The anxiety was also eased by the fact i woke up the next morning with a flat stomach. Yes, this is a positive in that it allows for reality testing and proves to me that my fear of gaining huge amounts of weight just by eating some chocolate are irrational, but the relief is still disordered for me. This is because I don't want to only be able to eat these foods because they don't result in terrible body image. In order to fully and actively recover I need to be okay with weight gain, and so I cannot only allow myself to eat what I want and what my body needs for this reason. My body is changing, I still have quite a long way to go, and even if I didn't, I don't want to be trapped thinking I can only eat these foods in recovery. Food is just food, and it's an always thing.
I hope that reading this has inspired you to check in on your own recovery, and maybe opened your eyes to some of the ways your ED is still sneaking in. I don't want to partially recover and have to live a double life, only able to eat the foods I want when it suits my ED. I want to be able to be spontaneous in order to make memories with those I love and not be wrapped up in thoughts about food. This last week has been really scary for me, as I have challenged my ED a lot, and not just once or twice, but multiple times a day. It has felt a bit like early recovery again and that has been tough because I thought I was getting closer to the other side. It has however been necessary in order to overcome these last hurdles, and has reminded me as to the importance of questioning when things are feeling too comfortable, as recovery isn't easy, and so if it's feeling that way, you probably need to challenge your ED even harder.
More from me soon,
Mais// The Recovery Bean <3