“If You Give It An Inch, It’ll Take A Mile”

One thing a lot of people know about me is my addiction to Starbucks. Over the holiday season, I accumulated a lot of gift cards to this delicious franchise, which I have been utilizing just about every weekend. I normally go and order my normal safe drink- a grande iced skinny vanilla latte (light ice). However, because today is the kick off for NEDA week, I asked my recovery friends to give me a challenge.

Right now I am currently sitting here fighting back the urge to cry/hide/throw up as I stare at my tall caramel Frappuccino in front of me. When I ordered it, I did not think that there would be a mountain of whipped cream and caramel drizzle on top.

IMG_4190.JPGNone of the people around me probably are aware that I am currently freaking out of a four-dollar drink. All the people chatting and working around me have no idea that I feel like the walls are closing in on me and that the thoughts in my head are telling me that with each sip I take I am gaining pound after pound.

This is a snippet of what it is like to live with an eating disorder. Most people do not think twice about what they order (other than the fact that they spent a ridiculous amount of money on a tasty drink LOL). However, for me, this drink is one of the most challenging things I will do all day.

A simple blend of coffee, milk, and caramel is causing me far too much anxiety. I wish I could sit here and just drink and enjoy like all the other people around me. I noticed that as I sit here typing and slowly drinking I am slipping into comparing myself to other people. I saw a very slender woman walk in and I was instantly filled with self-hatred because I was thinking how I lost all self-control by drinking my calories. Ana demands that I must always be the skinniest person in the room. I cannot do that by drinking these calories she yells!
However, THAT IS NOT NORMAL/HEALTHY THINKING! But, the thing is, I am not the only one who thinks like this. So many people suffer with an eating disorder and are filled with these thoughts. I am being controlled right now by whipped cream. I am letting the idea of consuming whipped cream cause me to spiral out of control.

My good friend Hailey was the one who told me to challenge myself with this drink. When I first saw my order, the panic set in so I texted her. I was texting her how I couldn’t drink this and that I needed to get rid of the whipped cream. I wanted to just scrape all of the caramel whipped cream goodness out of my cup and into the trash. I was in a full out panic. Hailey responds to me with this simple sentence: “If you give it an inch, it’ll take a mile.” 

I wanted to challenge myself today because it is the kick off to NEDA week 2017. I wanted to challenge myself because I deserve to be able to enjoy a drink without freaking out. I wanted to challenge myself today because I want to gain my life back. I am so sick of living in fear over food and calories.

This frappuccino will not end me. It will not make me gain ten pounds nor will it make me a failure. The only thing that will fail me will be if I give my eating disorder that inch of control. If I give ED that bit of power, I am inviting the behaviors back in. I am welcoming ED to come waltz in and torment me. So, all I have to say to ED is, not today b*tch. Not today, not ever again. I am in charge of my life now. I am the master of my fate.

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What NOT to Say

There’s a lot of things people casually say without being aware of how triggering it can be for some people. Now, I cannot speak for everyone suffering with an ED, but I can tell ya that these 5 sayings really trigger me. Words carry a lot of meaning and when talking to someone you know who is in recovery, some things said can easily be interpreted the wrong way. 

So here are my top 5 “do not say ” 

1. “I haven’t eaten ALL day.”

Do you want a trophy? Because lemme tell ya. There is no reward for starvation. Our body NEEDS food. It needs the energy. There really is no excuse to not eat during the day. There is always time for food. Think about it. Carry a granola bar in a bag if you know the day will be busy. You can easily break it apart and eat it throughout the day. Or make a smoothie. Liquid meals count as eating.

2. “You look SO much better now!”

I know people are just trying to make conversation, but when in recovery mode this can cause setbacks. We are eating, but we still deal with the ED thoughts in our head. Healthy still equals fat. Change is scary. I do not like people pointing things out about my body. Yes, I am glad that I am looking healthier, but sometimes it can be hard to take in.

3. “I wish I was anorexic.”

Okay well, this one should be OBVIOUS. This is equivalent to wishing for a death sentence. Seriously why would you wish for this disease. It is not a fad, stage, diet. It is not cool, it is not something you can just become. It is a lifelong disorder. We recover but we are just in remission. I know I will always have weird relationships with food, but I know I will at least be stronger at fighting Ana.

4. “I didn’t eat so I could enjoy this meal.”

This is normally said when going out to meals. If I hear someone say they didn’t eat for the meal then I start to think to myself that I probably should have restricted too. I cannot be the one consuming more calories than other people. I need to be the one in the room with the most strength (Ana thoughts.) so when people say this it sends me on a tangent. If your body is hungry, eat. Who cares if you’re going to Olive Garden later…you cannot restrict just because you’re going out to dinner!

5. “I worked out so I can afford the calories.”

Eating is not something you buy. It’s something you do. If you want a cookie than eat it! We should not feel like we need to earn the right to eat a cookie. Moderation is good. If you want a cookie EAT IT. Enjoy it. Workout because it makes your body feel good. Don’t work out because you feel you need it in order to eat.

Eating disorders are confusing and in my mind I love to twist the meaning of words because well that’s what this disease does to me. It’s similar to talking about any disease. There are things we are aware to not say for others but eating disorders and mental health is not talked about nearly enough. So if you know someone struggling try to avoid stuff like this. Recovery is a tough and long process. 

fear food friday

I am probably the worst newly 21 year old ever. I always turn down going out with friends, ordering drinks, and I already have searched for my “safe” drink. On top of all of that, my ED has a really bad way to compensate drinking. 

The rule used to be, if I was going to drink that day then I could NOT eat dinner. If I ate dinner, it would be more calories, PLUS my body would need more drinks to feel the effects of drinking. That’s just too many calories.

I pretty much stopped going out entirely this past year at school because well, I was really not taking care of my body. I can’t starve all day and then drink with friends. That’s not smart! So I’ve been working on this. 

If there is one thing people seem to LOVE to do, it is going out to get margaritas–One of my biggest no nos. there is just so much sugar in a margarita. Plus Mexican food is so good and high in calories…I could never let myself enjoy. After turning down my moms offers many times to get margaritas with her, I finally realized this is something I am afraid to do. So when my sister and cousin asked if I wanted to get margaritas I said YES. I am done missing out on fun. 

So that’s exactly what I did. I had so much fun. I did not look at the skinny margaritas and order one of those, I ordered the one I wanted. I even ordered dinner since I had not eaten much that day and well, I need to eat dinner! Sure they all ordered another one and I just took about over an hour to drink my one, but I did it. I challenged myself and stepped out of my comfort zone. 

I still really just do not like drinking. I only really drink when I am with friends. But either way I did something I was uncomfortable with. Maybe I’ll even do it again.