2 plain slices to go? Yes.
Want to share dessert? Yes.
Do you want croutons in your salad? Yes.
Butter on your bread? Yes.
I used to be a “no” girl. I used to not partake in life situations surrounding food. And if I did, everything was on the side. I was known for ordering something at a restaurant and then basically changing the entire thing (think salad with grilled chicken without the dressing, cheese, croutons etc.) And now, fully recovered from anorexia, I am a “yes” girl.
It makes me smile writing this because with recovery comes freedom. During my years of anorexia and bulimia I was a prisoner in my own head. Even if I really wanted a certain food I would not allow myself to eat it. I would stare at people eating bagels and pizza with utter confusion. How were they able to say yes??
I became a “yes” girl through tons and tons of fear exposure. Fear exposure is engaging in a behavior that brings you unbearable discomfort-doing it despite the discomfort-and then sitting with that discomfort.
What worked for me was exposing myself in any situation that came up.
- If I was at a party and they served cake I had a piece.
- If the office ordered pizza for lunch I had a slice.
- If my mom put out her platter of cookies on Christmas Eve I had a few.
- If there were bagels for breakfast I had one.
- If I was at the movies I shared a box of candy.
- If my friends ordered subs for dinner I ate one (the way it was ordered!).
In the beginning of my recovery the discomfort I felt was almost intolerable. With consistency the discomfort became less and less. And crazy as it sounds sometimes it was exciting. It felt like I was on a new adventure. Recovery is doing things over and over again that seem impossible and with time you build the strength and courage to face your fears.
Choose to engage in a behavior that is scary and act! Avoid avoiding. Recovery is not comfortable. If you are feeling discomfort than you are doing something right. Recovery is possible. We can recover one day at a time.