As I sit to write this I wonder will anyone else need to hear this? Maybe...
Yesterday, I went to pick up my granddaughter early because her parents had something they needed to do. Off we went to get our coffee...she usually gets a hot chocolate or chocolate milk these days and a cake pop...yes its just after 8am. No judgement, please. Today she asked if we could go to McDonalds instead and I was happy to oblige, I didn't want to go to 3 different places for a quick breakfast.
Before we ordered she changed from her regular breakfast at McD's which was just an egg and the muffin to "I would like an egg, bacon and cheese muffin, a hashbrown and may I please have chocolate milk? Grandma I want the works!" she said. I laughed and replied "that's a big difference from what you normally have, you sure?" She gave me a solid yes. Then I ordered all our breakfasts. I got my normal sausage mcmuffin with egg, a coffee and a hashbrown.
Now this may seem like no big deal but wait for the rest of the story...
My grandchildren teach me so much each and every day without even trying. Nora, seems to be teaching me about intuitive eating. Its instinctive. She listens to her bodies cues. She eats when she wants and eats how much or how little she wants.
You see, we are born intuitively knowing, but somewhere along the way some of us lose it. I lost my intuition as a young child. Hearing things my parents were taught and taught me..."Clean your plate, there are starving children in the world! or You're not hungry you're bored. If you're hungry, eat a carrot. See you're not hungry. You can't eat that, its bad for you." I was taught the morality of food choices. Good food and bad food...if you made the wrong choice...well you know ... bad things will happen. You will gain weight. You have no self control. You won't be good enough. Here is where I learned to not trust my body's cues because they were betraying me. Telling me I was hungry when I wasn't and trying to get me to eat so called "bad food"
Nora will eat how much she feels she needs without guilt. She will graze throughout the day, have a meal if she wants and if she doesn't, she won't. She is happy, healthy and not afraid of food. She enjoys what she enjoys and she won't eat to make anyone but herself happy. It has nothing to do with anyone else's feelings. Mind blowing to someone like me.
I on the other hand have a pretty bad relationship with food. I have hated it, been obsessed with it and felt so much guilt and shame around it. Food gave me anxiety. But how could someone the world considers "fat" hate food?
After going through the process of letting go of the pain I was carrying from my life's losses I was finally able to be honest enough with myself that I have an eating disorder, body dysmorphia and disordered eating. I carried and still carry shame and guilt. I am working through all this in therapy with a therapist and working with a weight inclusive registered dietitian both specializing in eating disorders. I have been working through an over 40 year struggle with this mental illness. They have both been so patient with me, encouraging me, enlightening me, educating me and pushing me to work on the hard things always giving me compassion and support.
So...what is this blog about... it's about a little victory.
I sat with Nora, her grandpa and we had breakfast …tears are welling up in my eyes as write this. They were laughing and joking like they always do and I was watching and smiling. I took a bite of my McDonalds sausage Mcmuffin and I tasted it. I liked it. I enjoyed it without guilt. I enjoyed my breakfast. Wait what??? I'm not sure if I could tell you when the last time I really liked my food or even really tasted it or didn't feel guilty or didn't have so much anxiety that my eating disorder took over. In this moment, I didn't feel guilty, I just ate without judging myself.
This moment brought me back to the first meal I ate with my soon to be husband. We went to a little restaurant in Saskatoon called the Birdcage. I remember the booths were cages and I loved the atmosphere. I couldn't tell you what the food was like. I remember so much about that moment, though. How he looked, what he ordered, how he ate, laughed, spoke and how he enjoyed his food. I don't remember what I ordered but I didn't eat much if any...I pushed the food around my plate. I didn't want him to see me eat. I believed if he thought I didn't eat much I would be more attractive some how and hopefully I could keep it up and lose weight. "Be more acceptable" How sad is that? My heart breaks for that 17 year old girl who never felt good enough. Who had been taught her value was held in the size of her body.
This journey is long and difficult. At times I felt like I was getting worse instead of better. I questioned how I could even feel better. I wanted to quit but I couldn't go back to the yoyoing, the binging, the restriction, the shame and the pain of my life before I started being honest. Is it painful? Yes, but I have support as I walk through this recovery.
This story is a little victory.
This moment I celebrate.