Up until a fairly bemused and bewildered councillor asked why on earth I was torturing myself in such a way; my Instagram, social timelines and general internet tabs were only ever bookmarked and congested with excessive photos of food. You’d be wonderfully amazed at the number of people who insist on taking photos of the most sought after food; tormenting us with almighty cravings and a slightly watering mouth; almost teasing us with what we could be having; instead of the salad leaf we’d put aside for dinner, in our #summerbod goals.
It’s safe to presume we all make the same assumptions to the stereotypical attributes that constitute anorexia. With it, comes thoughts of exceedingly low weight and bone like appearance; flea-sized portions and the irrefutable fear of any association with food; the perfectly acquired ability to deceive hunger and say no; or the overwhelming effort it takes to avoid excessively ogling over your friend’s chocolate coated profiteroles.
So aside from the excessive ogling over chocolate treats, (which let’s face it, we all do anyway!), I would never claim to have adopted many of these already made assumptions in the early stages of my illness. Many of my issues then, would not have appeared distinguishable at face value; because, like for many with eating disorders, it was all happening like an overwhelming internal mind-invasion.
Until maybe the last few months; I did not have an exceedingly low weight and the fear of food wasn’t as heightened as it is now. My vegetable dinner portions were not flea-sized; instead they were mountainous and probably weighing in at the same kg to fuel a vegetarian bear for a week. I was hungry at all hours of the day, even after my dinner, and the fear that I may never feel full-up or satisfied again constantly lingered; and what may seem contradictory, I am quite possibly; completely, unwillingly, obsessed with food.
I was in hunger overdrive! It was almost like my body’s way of counteracting; that because I was not fuelling it with the food it needed, my response was instead just looking, thinking, speaking and dreaming about the food it needed; around the clock. If there was a cookery programme on; I would be watching it (all hail GBBO). If someone was eating a meal; I’d inquisitively impede them with 101 questions about it and state how delicious it looked – knowing full well I was already instinctively rejecting their offering of some, to me. If there were photos of different bakes/meals uploaded on social networks; you’d be sure I’d have probably already liked it even before it was published. If I felt more hungry on a particular day, it wasn’t remotely uncommon to have dreamt I’d eaten something I shouldn’t have; resulting in a distressing night panic as well as a growling, retreating and disappointed stomach in the morning. My mind and body only ever seemed to have felt content when it was surrounded by the ideas of food as it contested to accept that I just couldn’t implement it to my own life.
So at face value; no, I didn’t have an exceedingly low weight and reveal a bone-like appearance. I wouldn’t have appeared afraid of food as I was unwillingly word vomiting about it and was openly able to consume a meal in the presence of others. And I wasn’t always able to say no – as my body either lost or was trying to gain control – as it descended into ‘binge mode.’ However, as time progressed, my body disheveled to a slightly more concerning appearance. I became so afraid of eating (apple or otherwise) around others, even to the extent of my mum who I’m living with. I no longer sought the comfort that talking about food used to have anymore and I had virtually become afraid of food altogether. The anorexic attributes were winning.
Though I am fully aware that the fear of food is by no means going to vanish overnight, I have definitely began to appreciate how rewarding food can be, again. It may still virtually be raw, vegan and rabbit food on the surface, but for now, it does satisfy me enough to minimise the ogling! In the ever wild lives my mum and I lead, we are at least now able to enjoy occasional meals at the dinner table together (though her beef casserole looks far more appetising) and I just may have conquered eating a meal out last week…
With each day at a time, I hope that these stereotypical attributes will continue to diminish, however small the fragment may be. So the next time I’m heard to have said “Ooh, that looks so good” with a wanting, hungry and greedy look in my eyes; just tell me to “man up, eat the Hobnob biscuit, because you know full well it tastes like heaven covered in chocolate!”