During my eating disorder I lied to myself. I convinced myself I didn't like certain foods because they weren't healthy. That certain foods are evil and they will ruin my body if I eat them.
I haven't had McDonald's in over 5 years because my ED told me no. My ED told me that if I ate something so horrible I would be a failure. That I would have to do hours of cardio to burn it off. That I had to restrict calories like crazy the next day to "make up" for what I just put in my body. My ED told me I had to be the healthy one and never go near fast food.
Well, no longer do I give into ED thoughts. Friday night I wanted a McDonald's burger, so I got one and I ate it. Here's what I learned:
1. McDonald's is fucking delicious
There's no denying it. I'm not going to lie to you. I enjoyed every single bite and devoured that damn burger. No longer will I lie to you or myself that certain foods are "bad" and say "I can't eat that because it's not healthy". Yes, it's greasy. It's full of carbs, and fats and a bunch of other "unhealthy" ingredients. But, it's also fucking delicious.
2. Spontaneity is necessary
Being spontaneous and living in the moment is part of life. I don't want to miss out on memories and the freedom of eating because of ED. When someone asks me "Hey do you want to go get a burger?", I don't want to feel anxious anymore. I don't want ED to control my life. I want to be free. Free to make my own choices. Free to eat and be happy. Free to get out of my fucking habits and stop eating the same foods all the time because they are "safe" and comfortable. My god, don't miss out on life because you're afraid. Afraid of a burger.
3. I didn't gain 20lbs
I woke up the next morning. I was alive. I was happy. I was healthy. I didn't gain 20lbs. I lived. My family still loves me. I still love me. Back in ED days I would have woken up the next morning and exercised ASAP to burn as many calories as I could. I may have even worked out multiple times that day. But now I don't have to. Because food doesn't dictate my relationship with exercise. Food is not a reward, and exercise is not a punishment.
4. Fear is part of the process
Again, I won't lie to you. I still did experience some fear - some ED thoughts.
"Did I workout enough today?"
"Did I eat too much already?"
"Will I wake up tomorrow and regret it?"
"Do I deserve this?"
But how you deal with these thoughts is how you overcome the challenge. Instead of ruminating on them, I accepted the fact that I was having the thoughts, then reasoned and rationalized that it's okay. Thoughts are just thoughts and fear is part of the process. Challenging yourself and stepping out of your comfort zone is where change happens. It's a burger - not the end of the world.
5. Pairing the food with something "safe" made it a lot easier
Oh, that "safe" word again. I talk about it in my post I Can't Date You Because I Have An Eating Disorder. I ate this burger with the guy I'm dating (yeah, I'm dating someone. I'm just as surprised as you are). He knows everything I've been through. He knows it's been over 5 years since I ate McDonald's. He knows that this wasn't the easiest thing for me to do, and that it's a big step in my journey. But being with someone who cares, who knows, and who understands was refreshing, was comforting and it was special. Yes, eating a damn hamburger with him was one of the best moments I've had in very long time.
6. Celebrate your accomplishment
I had to document the moment. This was the FIRST time in 5 years I ate McDonald's. This was like bigger than getting my diploma. This is something I never thought I'd do. And you better believe I took a damn picture. This shit is not going unnoticed. I am proud of myself. As I mentioned before, when you have an eating disorder, doing "normal" things (like eating a burger) is not easy. It's terrifying. But the fact that you overcome something so incredibly difficult NEEDS to be recognized. Stop and think for a moment about what you just accomplished. Throw yourself a mother-fucking party. You deserve it.
IMPORTANT: This post isn't about me telling you to go eat a burger and you'll be recovered. I'm actually all about intuitive eating. If you really don't want to eat it, then don't. But my point is, stop denying that you love food. Stop denying that burgers are fucking delicious. Stop depriving yourself from food and life. Challenge yourself to eat fear foods. Why? Because you'll survive and you'll improve your relationship with food. The guilt will go away and you'll find freedom. Freedom to just eat the way you want to. To live intuitively.
Be free my friends. Live.