Tuesday, January 9, 2018
2017: In which I realize I have an eating disorder
Please note! This post has content related to eating disorders, food, and weight.
Among all the big upsets happening in my life, I started to put together the pieces on some little things. Things that added up to make the most sense out of a troubling pattern that I'd observed for several years.
2017 was the year I slowly realized I have an eating disorder.
What kind? I don't know! Some good general information on ED's can be found here. Whether or not I fit any of the criteria for a diagnosable eating disorder, I definitely have disordered eating and a weird relationship with food.
Maybe it's more of a phobia than an eating disorder -- I don't know. I do know that I hoard food, have an irrational fear of food not being there or of losing food, sometimes eat too much either for no reason or because of a fear that I won't be able to later, and go order takeout too much to avoid diminishing my store of food. And I definitely hang on to things like leftovers and whatnot far past when it's reasonable to throw them out. Sometimes I take home or prepare food I have no intention of eating, just to have it. More rarely, I have very occasionally avoided eating because I'm convinced there is no food to eat (even if there is), although this is rare for me and I hate doing it.
I forget to eat, or I overeat. My stomach physically hurts a lot, so eating is already stress-inducing. Until I started an appetite medication, I couldn't tell if I was full or not, or really hungry or not. And there was all this weird anxiety around food being gone or going away or that the food I did eat would somehow not be "enough" or...something.
I've decided to focus on this in 2018 because I can point to the exact factors in my life that fucked me. This, in theory, should make it easier to address.
First, I did not want to admit to myself that I had disordered eating because I did not want to follow the family pattern. Let's just say that there are certain anti-fat people who have contributed to the development of eating disorders in multiple generations of my family. I don't think that they had a very large influence on me; however, if I wasn't so determined to escape their toxic attitudes on this front, I might have recognized and dealt with this sooner.
Second: without going into too much detail, I also have bad experiences related to food in the past -- in which some other people have been rather terrible to me about it, perhaps planting the grains of this fear that I would be denied food.
Finally, I went to college, where food was only available at certain times regardless of when I was hungry -- so I had to stuff myself even when I wasn't and do other things that promoted an unhealthy relationship with food. Add all that together, throw in some financial anxiety, and you come up with a...whatever this is.
Anyway, a 2018 resolution of mine is to address this and get some advice for dealing with it. I've already started using a food tracking app -- MyFitnessPal -- to log food and exercise, and HOLY CRAP the difference is already astounding. It helps me remember when I'm hungry, reminds me to eat and drink water, and most importantly in relieving this anxiety, assures me that the food is, in fact, there, that I did eat it, and I'm not going to, idk, run out of food or not eat enough. Translating the food into concrete numbers has been incredibly helpful in this regard.
I know there are many misconceptions about eating disorders, some of which have prevented me from realizing sooner why I was so miserable about food. I've been sifting through a deal of information and I think I'm reasonably well-informed of what my next steps are.
That's all. If you have dealt with or are dealing with anything similar, I support you! :)
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