So, it's Eating Disorder Awareness Month here in the US, Canada and the UK. I wasn't sure how to honor it, really, so I decided last night to have a cupcake. A huge one, from Crumbs. Red velvet cake, vanilla cream cheese frosting, sprinkles and 2 red fondant hearts... Why? Well... let me tell you.
I honored it because I still struggle with atypical anorexia. I ate the cupcake, fondant hearts and all, to prove that I love myself and I have power over myself. The mental aspect of the disease doesn't have a hold on me -- not strong enough to deny me from eating healthy foods and not-so healthy ones. There are no 'danger foods'. There are just foods I want to eat, when I want to eat them!
Recovery isn't a one-step process. I know there are a lot of people out there who feel that eating disorders can be 100% recovered from, but I am one of those who thinks this will, in some shape or form, stick with you for life. Food is one of those things you can't just 'abstain' from, unlike other addictions. You HAVE to eat. You HAVE to mend your relationship with food, whether a binge eater, anorexic, bulimic, EDNOS sufferer, etc. It is a constant process, one that can be mended over time but still may crack occasionally.
I find myself falling into old habits sometimes. I am smart enough (and it's early enough) to catch it when I recognize the signs. If I'm run down, sick, randomly depressed or feeling melancholy, I can get tripped up. I can start overchecking food labels, or limiting certain things (fats, carbs). I can start considering a 'new diet' (raw diet, low-carb, paleo), when I don't need one.
Alternatively, my mind works healthily now, so I am able to squash these things when they start creeping up. I think about how much I love hiking, and how I'd never be able to do it if I weren't healthy. I think about how I am making muscle gains and fitness gains, and how I couldn't do those things if my body were essentially eating itself. I think about having clear skin, lots of energy -- and my hair not falling out. I think about not being covered in fuzzy lanugo, 3 layers of clothing and 5 blankets just to keep warm. I think about not passing out from standing up too fast due to low blood sugar and vitamins in my system.
So, I ate a cupcake.
And I don't feel bad about it today. I don't feel that I have to limit my intake any to 'make up for' said cupcake. I am just going about life, business as usual. And that's all I can wish for my friends who may also be struggling, whether outed or secretly, with an eating disorder.