Topic Tuesday: Overcoming Fear
“Food Fears” (By: Kristin F.)
Isn’t it funny (in a not funny at all kind of way) that modern day society fears food so easily? Advertisements for diet programs air on TV almost just as often as fast food ads. Isn’t that ironic? Food sustains our bodies and minds. Food allows us to perform the everyday tasks that life requires. Food builds us up, helps make us stronger. Food is pleasure, too. Trying new tastes, exploring our palette. Food is beautiful-how different herbs work together to create an impact of flavor. Food is community, coming together to share a meal for a couple of hours. Slowing down time to sit and enjoy dinner with someone leads to powerful conversations.
So if food has so many positive qualities, why do we fear it? Society. Diets. Superficiality. Image. Control. What does society tell us? You should look this way. You should not eat this because it will do that to your body. If you don’t look this way, you should follow this plan to get you that much closer. What does this create for us? ED. ED is that little devil sitting on our shoulder that says “make the right choice here. Remember what you NEED to look like.” We are constantly surrounded with images of the ‘perfect’ body. We are brainwashed to think that this is what we should achieve–those legs, that butt, those arms.
So what about our health? We sacrifice health and happiness for this image. We restrict ourselves. We tell our bodies that we can only consume this much so that we stay at that weight goal. We won’t let ourselves touch that cake because it would go straight to our ass. Before you know it, these rules are guiding your EVERY life choice. Your own personal freedom is taken away because you are scared of what may happen to this ‘perfect body’ as a result of eating. Your friends stop asking you to come over for dinner because they know you won’t eat what they cook. Your community is being taken away. Food is no longer beautiful to you-it is color coded by what is good for you and what isn’t. Food no longer sustains us because we aren’t getting enough. Food keeps you from performing those everyday tasks because you are so focused on what task has to do with eating.
And without even realizing it, all the wonderful qualities of food are no longer a part of your world. You are now in a food prison. This has happened to me. I was in my own personal food prison for 6 years. I didn’t know how to get out……I had created so many trap doors and different cell blocks that I felt like I had a life sentence. And, instead of the life sentence, I wished I had the death penalty. Food became my WORST enemy. I didn’t know how to survive with it or without it.
What happened? I was saved. I was found not guilty and released. I was given help and guidance, love and care. I was shown how to undo the food rules I had given myself. My brainwashing was slowly but surely being unpacked. I was given food TRUTHS.
Two years into this, it is STILL such a journey, an upward battle. I have found my taste buds again, understood a ‘healthy full,’ and discovered freedom with food. I haven’t weighed myself in two years. Numbers mean nothing to me anymore. I still struggle with food and community-going out to a place without healthy options, a friend cooking something that isn’t something I normally eat. But slowly I have been able to find rest within food. I am not scared anymore. I can access this rest, and I can access ED. It is up to me to decide with which I settle. My brother just celebrated a birthday. For the first time in years, our family was together again to celebrate. Our old tradition for his birthday was to go to a Hibachi steakhouse. Hibachi steakhouse = ED’s worst nightmare. It is an over-consuming heaven. Years ago when we would go to these places, I would have no problem eating it all. An hour later, I would slip away to my easy answer and throw up everything. So, two years into recovery, I thought hey I can HANDLE this! Thirty minutes in, I am feeling ED’s presence behind me. I am starting to feel suffocated. I am beginning to resent celebrating my brother’s birthday because it means I have to eat this unhealthy meal. ED tells me that even ONE meal will change my body. ED tells me that feeling full means go throw up. I made the mistake of letting ED’s voice outshine my own for about 30 minutes, as I started to drown in my own thoughts about my body. And then, BOOM, I shut him off, snapped out of it, and realized it is just one meal. It is a celebration-I was able to be with my brother on his birthday! That is a happy thought. Back to the food and community-it truly can be a place for celebration. And I almost let ED steal that from me….but I overcame. And I will continue to overcome as long as I let the truth shine.
About the Author
Kristin is originally from North Carolina but has lived in Nashville, TN for the past three years and now calls it home. Upon going to college in Virginia, Kristin fell victim to bulimia and struggled with her eating disorder for six years. Two years ago, she confessed to her family (who were unaware of her struggle), that she needed help. Through outpatient treatment, under the care of her beloved therapist, caring nutritionist, compassionate doctor, and countless support groups through EDCT, Kristin was able to overcome her bulimia and find peace in her recovery. The openness and vulnerability that Kristin experienced within the support groups allowed her to relate with others and overcome the intense loneliness that was a result of her eating disorder. She is extremely sensitive to these issues, as she knows ED is always lingering around the corner. She hopes that her story of finally standing up to ED can help others. Lastly, Kristin has found that animals are a wonderful vehicle in recovery, as they allow for unconditional love, no matter your size. She recently adopted a pug named Rora who brings her great joy.
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