A common misconception uneducated outsiders perceive about mental illness, is that it’s curable. That, once you’ve received help, the magic problem fairy vanishes all your negative thoughts away and alters your way of thinking. I wish, we all wish but sorry, it doesn’t exactly happen that way. We most certainly become stronger and overcome many struggles but our minds are programmed to think, feel and act a specific way.
A few years ago, I started noticing an unhealthy relationship I formed with food. I only saw food as a source of weight gain instead of fuel for my body. Now, I’m not here to reiterate my life story, but I can now say my relationship with food is much better. But for people who never knew what I went through, my experience still affects me and will always affect me. If you notice me doing these 5 things, don’t worry, really. I’ve come too far to completely fall in reverse. But even if I don’t show it, it’s still a small struggle every day.
1. I will automatically know the calorie count on almost any kind of food. Besides the fact that I’m a nutrition major, I used to constantly count calories. It was my way of being in total control over what I was eating, I didn’t feel as guilty. Even now, whenever I look at food, my brain is already guesstimating the amount of calories it has.
2. I will still hesitate sometimes during large meals. Occasionally, my mind will say “are you sure you want to eat that?” The guilt may crawl itself into my thoughts, when this happens I tend to pick at my food, but I will never intentionally skip a meal.
3. I get anxious at social gatherings that have large amounts of food. This occurs because I’m afraid I’ll over eat, I’m so worried about eating that I actually begin to binge eat. It doesn’t have to make sense to you, it’s how my brain is wired.
4. When people comment on the amount of food I’m eating, I get defensive. It’s a natural reaction I will always have. One, because I’ve come such a long way with my food relationship, that I feel attacked. And two, because before I admitted I struggled with food, I would convince myself and everyone around me nothing was wrong. I did this for too long, it definitely became a habit. People also don’t understand, consuming large amounts of food in one sitting is normal for the average American but certainly not healthy.
5. I will still have low, lows and high, highs. Just like everyone else, I’m human, I’m not perfect. We all have weaknesses, it will get the better of me sometimes, but I have to continue my progress and remind myself how much happier I am now.
I don’t know where it comes from exactly, far as I know, no one else in my immediate family has eating disorders but mental illness is prevalent in the gene pool. And now, I can confidently say I enjoy eating. I am fueling my body with the best foods I can, and that also makes my physical-self happy. I have more energy, I’m one-hundred percent more motivated and more importantly, I feel strong. I’m actually trying to “bulk-up”, that’s something I would’ve never said, even a year ago. I promise myself to never let myself fall back into my old habits. I am looking forward to more good food and body peace.