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I could have waited – had one serving at a time – but what if it was gone by tomorrow? What if it was no longer good? What if I woke up and changed my mind, wanted a different taste in my mouth? What if this was my last chance… So I indulged.
Without leaving time for a breathe I forced it down, despite the fact I knew it was wrong – a taste just to start would have been ample, a taste just to start would have been healthy – but I consumed anyways, because I had to.
And then when I was done the sickness set in, the remorse of how quickly it had all happened, the pain in my stomach, the vulnerability, the fear of what would happen to me if I kept it in…I had given myself up to it so quickly and now I wanted it to go away, far far away.
I couldn’t trust myself with it, clearly I had lost control and I wanted it out of me and I wanted to be rid of it. So I purged.
And then it was over. A little weak, a little empty, but feeling a sense of satisfaction over my discipline and ability to conquer something I had no control over just moments before, I carried on with my life. Just another binge, just another purge, nothing new.
You are probably thinking I am referring to something edible like a batch of brownies or perhaps a large tray of nachos…Well I am sorry to say that you are wrong. I am referring to a person, actually to people, different people who have come into (and out of) my life since I was young, people who I have ‘used’ in the same way a drug addict ‘uses’ their substance of choice or a food addict ‘uses’ the contents of their fridge.
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See, I never realized the parallels that could be drawn between my eating disorder behaviours and the way I approached other aspects of my life until now.
We tend to think that ED is all about food – bingeing on it, purging it, restricting it – if only it were that localized, but it is not.
ED goes viral. He inhabits every aspect of your life from your relationships with friends, family, lovers, and groups to how you handle work, homework, and exercise. He slinks in to these areas of our lives and destroys.
In the past I have restricted more than just food; I have restricted fun, or creative expression, or love from others because I felt I didn’t deserve it.
I have binged on friends or romantic interests and become frightened by the attachment that formed or simply ‘had my fill’ and then purged myself of them.
I have gone through periods where I exercise for two hours a day and then suddenly go weeks without so much as taking a brisk walk.
I spend days doing nothing but work or homework – missing out on social activities and neglecting relationships – only to get frustrated and stop doing any work at all for an extended period of time.
Do you see the pattern? Do you see how Bulimic behaviours are about more than just bingeing and purging food? How anorexic tendencies leave you restricting more than just your caloric intake?
That is because ED goes viral and the damage he does in these more intimate areas of our lives, although the damage cannot be seen physically, is just as harmful (if not more so) than the way he abuses us with food.
This is why it is so important in recovery to spend time focusing on all aspects of your life.
It is important to really assess the way you approach everything, not just food. Just like we must retrain ourselves in regards to our eating habits, we must retrain ourselves in regards to our life and relational habits as well. This is the only way to fully recover. You can master intuitive eating and healthy exercise all you want, but if ED is still controlling your relationships you will not be living a full life (never mind how it can hurt those who are at the receiving end of your relational ‘binge/purge’ cycle).
So I challenge you to look into your life – look into ALL areas of your life – and find out where ED has gone viral.
Look for patterns in behaviour or in relationships that replicate your disordered eating behaviours and begin working on altering them and putting an end to those patterns. You can do it; it may be scary at first, and I know it will be hard. And, yes, you will probably screw up once or twice before you figure it out, but it will be worth it. So start NOW. There really is no reason to wait.
Kick ED out of ALL the areas of your life – sweep him out of the dusty, dark corners where he hides so well…and then you will be Free.
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