Because of the fear and guilt surrounding eating, it can be nearly impossible to eat what we need in order to survive. I have a logical brain, but the emotional one is always trying to talk over it. How rude! I know that I need to eat, and all food is good and useful for the body. However, my illogical, emotional ED brain is always shouting, “Hey! You don’t need to eat that. You have to eat this way!” My ED brain is trying to kill me. How do I fight it? Here are some of the strategies I use:
1. Choose to not have a choice
Sometimes, I can’t force myself to eat. Other times, I become so consumed by my ED thoughts and rules that I can’t decide what to eat. During these times, I find it helpful to pass the responsibility of eating to my parents. I ask them to fix my plate. Even though this is extremely difficult, it is an effective tool. I am able to see appropriate serving sizes and it takes power away from the ED. By giving up the choice to control my food, I am choosing to live. This is temporary. Basically, instead of nurses forcing me to eat, my parents do. If you don’t live with your parents, you could give this responsibility to your dietician, therapist, or spouse.
I struggle with the temptation to purge after I eat. What I find the most helpful is to stick with family after meals and snacks. If I go to the bathroom, they come with me. I give them permission to do this separate from meals. Because when I’m around food or having urges, I might not have the strength to ask for support. If you need this type of support, you could possibly ask a close friend or family member.
3. Breaking OCD Habits
I do weird things to food. *sarcasm* I know that’s hard to believe. For me, these annoying procedures are so ingrained they are almost involuntary. I find that the OCD is a way for my ED to control food and to mitigate the guilt of eating. ED is a controlling jerk. I’m sure my habits are different from yours, but the best way to prevent these behaviors is to rat yourself out! Eat with people who know your secrets. Pay close attention to the way your eating. You might not notice yourself manipulating the food. Break each habit one at a time.
Be brave, warriors!