My counsellor said I was looking well this week. I covered my face and moaned of course-who with an ED wants to hear that?- but she immediately said ‘that doesn’t mean fat, it’s important for you to be able to hear this without it meaning fat’. I asked her what she did mean then, as all I associate with that statement is ‘you’ve gained weight’ ‘you’re bigger’ and other ED voice phrases. She replied ‘you look like you’re doing okay, that you’re coping, your face is bright, you’re here in the room with me – it’s different to other sessions where you have looked defeated, still working hard, but defeated’. When put that way, I guess she was right. I replied that I felt resilient at the moment and she said what a wonderful way to feel.
I do feel more resilient as of late. There are some home things going on that are just tough tough tough at the moment (which are about other people so I don’t want to write much here), but I am facing them, taking it day by day, looking after myself while looking after others. It’s hard, and it’s reduced me to tears a couple of times a day for the last while, but I can pull myself together and get on with things. I faced up to some difficulty university stuff. I stood my ground against a colleague even though she didn’t like the outcome and yes it upset me but I felt it and moved on. I’m not avoiding things like I usually do, my resilience is being shown in my accepting things are happening, changing what I can and trying to cope with the rest.
I can do this now because I am not hungry. I’m not starving like I was. I’m not cold to the bone like I was (it’s winter, so I’m cold, but not the horrible can’t warm up my blood kind of cold). I’m not sleep deprived (I still rarely sleep a night but I don’t wake up at 4am totally wired-and hungry). I’m not running on empty and always go go go because I’m afraid to stop.
I nourish myself. I eat enough. As a result I sleep better, I have energy to make good decisions about looking after myself, I get fresh air without it being related to burning calories, I can have a bath to give me space to think, I can manage difficult conversations, I’m in touch with my friends, I am doing my laundry and other boring life tasks.
Being resilient is so important, but no one talks enough about how much it is related to food. Getting the core physiological stuff right (eat, sleep, move) lays the foundation for all the other things in life. Want to be in love? Eat enough so you can feel it! Want to get more study done? Eat enough so your brain can function! Want to be able to multi-task at work? Eat enough so you can sleep and have energy for the day.
I’m not saying other things aren’t important, of course they are, but they need to come after getting good nutrition. Food won’t solve everything, I’m not suggesting that, but it does need facing if talking therapies, self-care, medication, mindfulness and lots of other approaches have a hope of working. It has taken me so long to realise this.
I know it’s not that straightforward though, that if we all with EDs could eat fine then we wouldn’t be in this mess, so it is crucial to get some of the other stuff started too, but viewing healthy eating (for you- whatever that might look like) as a solution rather than just a necessary evil might help with some of that.
I thought food was the enemy, I can’t believe I’m rambling about how it might actually be the answer!
PS: feel free to remind me of this when I’m next moaning about food and eating!!!! Let’s see how long this positive viewpoint lasts!!!