“The trick is to eat food out of love. Never eat out of hate.”
A phrase coined by myself, I learned to succumb to this quote, and utilize it whenever I need guidance. Long ago, I had taken the first step, and recognized that I have an eating disorder. Hello, I am April, and I am a compulsive overeater.
Whenever I mention my eating disorder, there’s this sort of passive air to any reaction I gather. “Oh yeah, haha, me too. I totally eat too much. Sometimes, I don’t know how to stop.”
Yes, we are all guilty of overeating: a few extra chips while binge watching your favorite TV series, eating half of a tub of ice cream while crying hysterically over that recent break-up, an extra slice of pizza at your best friend’s birthday party. But there is no ‘sometimes’ when you’re an addict. The addict mindset IS all or nothing. Much like our current society, it’s black and white. All or nothing. There is no in between.
Luckily, I learned over time to live in the grey.
It was difficult- and still is- to figure out how to eat. Everything social is cultivated through food. Friends, dating, clubs, even family celebrations, all revolve around food and drink. Even while writing this, I’m in a coffee shop. Sometimes, it feels like food is constantly shoved in my face, whether or not I’m the one physically shoving it. In college, my friends and I always went out and partook in alcohol and/or other leafy green substances which caused me to binge eat. Nowadays in the office, it’s suddenly someone’s birthday every week, (side note: please stop pretending it’s your birthday at restaurants just so the wait staff sings for you. We’re not your monkeys so we shouldn’t have to dance for you). Even my love life posed threats to my diet: first date dinner and drinks added up (both financially and calorically), and when I (finally) found a partner, all I wanted to do is lay on the couch with them and order take out.
It’s not until I learned how to love myself that I felt at peace with my eating habits. I didn’t want to live my life being scared of food.
I originally wrote that food has nothing to do with my self-image, but that is a complete fallacy. Food is my airplane! It takes me to greater heights, and allows me to feel alive. I travel to the most beautiful lands and memories when I take a bite of my most favorite morsels. I love cooking, tasting, baking, writing, tasting, experimenting, talking, tasting (did I mention tasting?) food. I have learned, however, that food- much like many other substances- is a tool, and you can either use that tool to enhance your life, or detract from it. Addiction is not a choice, but you can choose to take the steps in order to heal from your pain in a healthy manner. Once you love yourself, you begin to develop a sort of repertoire with your thought pattern, and then the healing commences. But the key word is just that- love. So make sure that every time you take that first bite into your favorite crispy empanada, or twirl your fork around to fit in all the spaghetti on your plate, you do it out of love, not hatred, for yourself.