by Erin Valentine
Originally written for The Mighty
Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741-741.
Eating pizza in public has become my new Everest. As someone on the road to recovery from an eating disorder, eating pizza has become an emotional rollercoaster of an experience. I write this as I sit in my favorite pizza place, listening to classic rock and trying to fight the voices in my head as the lunch rush hits full swing.
For those who have never dealt with an eating disorder, it’s a bitch. Every meal becomes a test. Am I getting better? Am I getting worse? I’ve struggled with binge eating disorder for over three years now but I don’t think I’ve ever had a healthy relationship with food.
Right now I’m forcing myself to sit in a booth and slowly eat my biggest trigger food. Pizza. That’s right, pizza. Chewy crust, melted cheese, the works. It breaks all my food rules and has become my go-to binge food.
This morning I met with one of the doctors I’m seeing while I work through recovery and she praised the baby steps I was making. But, I’m impatient. I want results now. I want to be better now. Recovery isn’t going to happen nowthough.
So I’m taking another baby step. OK, this is actually a huge baby step. I’m sitting in public eating six wings and two huge slices of cheese pizza. I’m forcing myself to take my time and focus on my food. I’m trying not to binge. Keyword: trying. It’s so hard to not give in. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to not give in to the negative thoughts, force the food down my throat and then make myself leave, shrouded in embarrassment and shame. For eating pizza!
I’m proud of myself though. It wasn’t a perfect experiment, but I’ve been here for 45 minutes when before it would have been 15 minutes. I paused a few times throughout my meal and checked to see where my hunger was at that moment. I’m a little uncomfortably full, but that’s to be expected, putting myself in my “worse case scenario binge position.”
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline: 800-931-2237.
I’m only three weeks into my structured recovery process. It’s been a hell of a three weeks. I’ve cried approximately three times this week alone with overwhelming emotions of relief that I’m working on myself to sadness and frustration because I’m officially acknowledging I have an eating disorder. Not eating issues. Not an unhealthy relationship with food. An actual eating disorder.
I can feel my emotions going multiple directions and I know that I have years to go for a full recovery. Right now though, I have baby steps and pizza.