Mirrors, Food and I
Today we are talking about food!!!
But before we start I just want to say welcome back:) I feel like I haven’t written in the longest time. The blog challenge had me on a different blogging schedule, but I’m glad to be back to my usual routine.
So much has happened these past few weeks and I don’t think I can squeeze it in one post. However these past few weeks have forced me to face something that I do not like talking about: my relationship with food. Don’t get me wrong, I love food. I love the smell, the colours, the textures, the tastes… But I’m also afraid of food.
Growing up I was always the kid that ate more than most adults. I ate portions that would put Supersizers to shame. And for a long while I truly enjoyed food. I looked at it as something that is to be enjoyed and consumed. I never thought about calories and fat content; I just thought about my next meal. And I think it would have stayed this way had people not started commenting on my weight. People took it upon themselves to remind me that I was “fatter” and looked older than my sister.
This impact of these words were magnified when I went to high school because all of a sudden I was in grade 8 and way bigger than my peers. That’s when the fear of eating began to creep in. Every time I put food in my mouth, I could see myself getting fatter. There were moments when all I could think about was food: what to eat, when to eat, how to avoid certain foods, but most importantly how to starve myself.
Many people, including myself, didn’t notice that I had begun cutting off food items from my list of what was acceptable to eat. As I got to university my food choices dwindled. Students know how to make a dollar go a long way, and certain foods are simply luxuries that cannot be entertained. And that is what I used to justify my lousy diet that consisted mainly of cream buns and 2-minute noodles. When I look back I don’t think I did it to lose weight, I think I did it because I didn’t want to worsen what I saw in the mirror.
Because I hated what I saw in the mirror.
Before I new it I hardly ate anything anymore. When people started asking me why I had lost so much weight, I blamed it on being vegetarian. It was easier than telling them that cooking gave me anxiety and some foods made me scared. How do you explain to someone that your fear of food is more powerful than your fear of death?
My previous psychologist has warned me many times about what could happened if I didn’t tackle this fear now. Some days I wish that I could just stop. Stop eating that is. Then I wouldn’t be conflicted all the time. Then I wouldn’t have to fight with my mom about eating beetroot or tomatoes (I really hate raw tomatoes). My rational mind knows to avoid mirrors as it worsens the thoughts of self-deprivation and the like. However the thoughts have become more and more intense. I find myself wishing to have bariatric surgery even though I have a “healthy” BMI of 22.
Writing this feels weird. It feels like I’m over-exaggerating. Maybe I’m not the only one that doesn’t like eating in front of people out of fear of being called greedy. Perhaps they are more people like me that feel like starvation is a good punishment for when you eat fries for the first time in months. Maybe there are people like me that count the spoons of food they eat, that dilute their juice with tons of water and that avoid using large spoons when eating out of fear of overeating.
Hi Ros, thank you for sharing this most relatable piece. It’s almost as though you were writing about my experience. Those are some tough fears to unlearn and even tougher harder habits to kick but it’s not impossible. I find that keeping a food diary has helped me track how healthy my eating is and when it gets destructive its easier to identify and change it. Also, listening to songs like Beautiful by Doja Cat have really helped.
It’s so hard to let go of the habits because of the fear of what will happen when you do. But I will look into keeping a food diary. I think maybe I will give myself a break when I see that my eating habits are not that bad.
PS: I love the song. For some reason it reminds me of Salt-N-Pepa