I have an eating disorder. No, I don’t puke up what I eat. No, I do eat three meals a day. No, I don’t binge. But I do spend altogether too much time on any given day obsessing over food. How many calories is this? How many fat grams? If I eat this now, will I be okay with just yogurt for dinner? If I don’t eat until 8, I can probably make it until bedtime without feeling too hungry. It is a problem.
I’ve always been a picky eater… I like my pizza with only cheese, my chicken sandwiches plain, and wish I could still eat off of plates with the little dividers. This makes me prone to thinking and planning my meals since I have often gone hungry instead of trying a new dish.
My issues with food did not really start until last fall. I always ate whatever I wanted when I wanted and while I didn’t have a 6-pack never really worried about it. I lived with a family during the summer that ate out at restaurants 3 meals a day and I put on more weight than I was comfortable with. At the end of the summer, I immediately began dieting and shed it all quickly. But the time spent staring at the scale and the nutrition labels became a habit.
I have wonderful friends at school, but they have their quirks when it comes to food as well. We have the one with 47 food allergies, the one with krohn’s disease, the vegetarians, the binge eater, and a couple that suffer from serious eating disorders. Food and nutrition and exercise was a regular meal topic. Menus had to be looked up online for nutritional information before we went out to eat. When we weren’t eating, we were generally talking about food or planning our next meal. We would share whether we were succeeded or failing when it came to our healthy habits and would tell each other what we ate at each meal. A dinner out at my favorite pizza place would turn into hours worth of guilt and hating myself and my body. A cupcake at the local bakery became more torture than a treat. I would try to enjoy it, only to hear from my friends (who are tiny) that they can’t believe they ate that or heaven forbid they didn’t go to the gym today.
I honestly didn’t realize how food had begun to control my life until I went home and my mother called me out on it and I have been working on balancing my habits this summer. It is a frustrating process, eating is still mostly a chore and annoyance. I still plan my meals for the whole day before I even eat my breakfast, and carefully watch and compare how much my friends eat when we go out to dinner. I am terrified to have sweets in the house, and spend too much time looking at other girls bodies. I am still trying to figure out what hungry actually feels like (that’s how confused I got about food) but I made cookies tonight and didn’t bother to count how many I ate.
I am a healthy college girl. I wear a single digit size, exercise at least a couple times a week, and like vegetables as well as a fresh pizza. I am a beautiful me.
Girls, just because you eat doesn’t mean that you don’t struggle with your relationship with food. Your fear of or desire for food should not control you. I think a truly beautiful and healthy girl listens to herself, and both her needs and her wants. We need to allow ourselves to actually eat when we go on a date (and it can’t be your only meal of the day) and bake cookies with friends.
Does anyone else struggle with this stuff? How do you keep yourself grounded in a world that equates a number on a scale or a tag with true beauty?