I had a post all ready to go for this evening, but just read one by Marion at Affection for Fitness, which provoked this last-minute change.
In her post Marion talked about her eating habits back when she was younger – at University and in her early 20s. When she was of a normal weight. Happily for Marion, after struggling a bit with her weight, she’s starting to settle back into old eating habits. In a good way.
She asked about our own (former) eating habits from back.
Understandably it’d be nice to think we could all reflect on a time before food, dieting and exercise ruled our worlds. But sadly, I cannot.
I’m shunted back to high school when I became anorexic and the battles with my parents over eating. Or not eating, as the case may be. Of exercising for several hours a day. To being completely obsessed about my weight and body – to the extent that (despite being pure-as-the-driven-snow), I’d skip classes at school to do sprints out at the local basketball courts, or eat biscuits out of our freezer and make up new batches while no one was home.
And then at University I ate secretly. Barely eating initially, before becoming bulimic. Discovering that powdered Milo came up easily and often bingeing on that. The occasional self-harm behaviour which accompanied my self-hatred. And then, intermittent dieting and bingeing behaviour as I tried to keep my weight in check and to stop it spiralling out of control. Which it eventually did.
It occurred to me that I cannot really recall eating ‘normally’.
Ages ago I read a post by Julia from Feed Me Daily. She talked about a session she had with her therapist and about how she binged to cope with her feelings and emotions. Her therapist asked her to revisit a time in her past BEFORE she binge-ate, and asked how she dealt with her feelings back then. Her post and the question posed was something I found quite confronting and had me pondering for days.
I use food to fill the empty gnawing void, quieten angst or stifle the anger. All of the time.
So…. I tried to think back to what I used to do. Before it was all about the food.
And I couldn’t.
So I emailed my mum to ask her how I used to cope with everyday life.
She wasn’t really sure either.
I think back to my eating behaviour and I was far from healthy. I loved biscuits and chocolates. I loved my ‘treats’. I ate more of the things I loved than I should. But… while I occasionally over-ate and wasn’t overly healthy, I wasn’t a binge-eater.
I do recall however, that I thought I was fat and tried to ‘diet’. But I was an amateur back then. At my pre-anorexic heaviest (left) I really only needed to lose 5-7kg to be at an ideal weight. That was nothing. I was barely chubby.
I had a shitty day today. I know compared to others with REAL problems, the things that pissed me off were nothing in the overall scheme of things. But one thing on top of another caused me to really struggle . I had the type of embarrassing tantrum that only a 44 year old woman can have in public; and then threw myself onto my bed to wallow.
Of course I was unable to calm down so ended up getting up and ‘writing’ about my frustrations. And… it helped. But, many many times I contemplated how much better I might feel if I went and bought all sorts of unhealthy foods. (And no, not just A chocolate or A bag of chips, but a lot of either and / or both.)
But I didn’t.
I vented online, wrote out my frustrations and exorcised my demons. And it helped. And that – quite frankly – is a start.
Can you reflect back on your childhood or young adulthood behaviour? How did you act around food? Did you exercise? How has that changed?