Savory grilled salmon, that melts like butter as you put it in your mouth. Perfectly cooked brown rice with a dreamy, fluffy texture. Sweet carrots and bitter, but scrumptious, fresh broccoli. To most people this sounds like a heavenly, balanced meal. I am pretty sure most folks would have no problem licking their plates clean just to get every last euphoric taste if they were given the chance.
But to people with eating disorders, this meal is not a meal. It is a threat.
Just by looking at a plate of food, our palms become wet with salty perspiration and we can feel our hearts pounding underneath our chests. Our thoughts are racing as our brains impulsively try to accurately calculate the amount of calories, fat, and carbs found in each component of the meal. You would think our minds would take a much needed siesta after coming up with the approximate energy and macronutrient value of the meal, but unfortunately that isn’t the case. Ours brains continue to hastily work themselves to the bone in order to strategize a complex plan on how much how each food we should ingest in order to meet our pre-arranged daily caloric allotment.
Sounds like a lot of work if I do say so myself and it makes me wonder, why does food have to be this way? Why does it have to scare us? Why does it have to make us feel like curling up into a fetal position every time we place a bite in our mouth?
Nourishment is necessary for every single living creature on this very planet. We need it order to carry out the most basic bodily functions, like keeping our heart beating and our lungs breathing. Even if we are sitting on our behind 24/7 watching back-to-back episodes of The Office or Family Guy, we would still need the energy found in food just to keep us from well . . . . dying.
Somehow us ED folks aren’t mentally “programmed” to view food in this light. Instead of seeing food as something the must be part of daily life, we immediately equate nourishing our bodies with becoming fat, worthless, and all around not so wonderful person. But hey, I don’t know about you, but I seriously am not a fan of despising every once of my being just because I am performing an act that is a prerequisite for survival.
We need to stop seeing food as a poison that is going to transform us into some hideous hag and instead, see it as medicine. And not just any medicine, one of the most amazing and health-transforming drugs on the market today. Food can be used to cure and alleviate the symptoms of so many diseases that cripple one’s quality of life. A great example of this is the ketogenic diet for epilepsy. The ketogenic diet is basically a diet of nothing but fat (and just so you know the people on the ketogenic diet do not gain a single once just from being on this diet. Why? Because they are under the watchful eye of a dietitian and physician). The diet is believed to have an anti-convulsive effect on the body due to the fact is produces ketones in the blood. A vast majority of people who go on this dramatic nutrition regime report a dramatic decrease (and sometimes even a disappearance) in seizures even though many anti-seizure medications just weren’t working for them!
So think of food as YOUR medicine that will keep your body functioning at an optimal level. That way you can enjoy all life has to offer. Remember, we only have one life so we have to live it to the fullest. There’s no second chances and sorry to break it to you, but there never will be.