Recovery Tip: My Body Wrote Me A Letter- And It Hurt

Hi all,

Busy awareness week for eating disorders.  Feeling a little ‘in my head’ about my own after having talked about it so much so while I’m sitting at a cafe with a French Vanilla Latte, I want to bring my recovery back into a personal perspective.

So often I get wrapped up in the story of my recovery that I tend to shy away from the reality of it. I forget sometimes to take care of my own mind so with that I decided to go back to ”the rehab diary.” It documents my entire time through rehab- from every good day to every bad.

Tucked away in the crevices of this messy journal, I found a letter I wrote one day and pulled it out only to be reminded of an activity we had to do where we wrote a letter to ourselves from our own body. Cheesy? Sure.

But it’s stronger than you think, and one year later I’m reading it again and it’s helping me take another bite of my Foccacia bread sandwich.

Try it. Write to yourself from your legs, your heart, your skin. Keep it for you. It’ll borderline on awkward when you start, but the more you think about it from the perspective of your body- the more your mind opens to the idea of chilling the f*** out.

Anyway, hope you all enjoy. Still reeling over being on the homepage of Refinery29 with “My Healthy Habit Almost Destroyed Me” and am so thankful for the mounds and mounds of support from people I know and those I have never met.

letter from my body

Continue reading “Recovery Tip: My Body Wrote Me A Letter- And It Hurt”

HelloGiggles.com article: How A Facebook Status Helped Me Recover From An Eating Disorder

One year ago, I made a statement on Facebook that would change my life.

Tired of sneaking around my hometown, I was fed up. Status box open, fingers on the keyboard, I got about that far before deliberating how bad of an idea this was.

What am I doing? I asked myself. Did I forget my Prozac today?

I thought immediately of my parents; imagining them at a party with women staring at my mom wondering whether or not I “got” my eating disorder from her. Would my exes read this status and smirk to themselves thinking how glad they were that they got out while they could? Would my friends roll their eyes and think about how I always have to be the center of attention?

All these thoughts skipped through my mind when I thought of the prospect of being forthright about my eating disorder; when I thought of all the years I’d spent building (and ultimately defacing) so much of who I wanted to be. Would I ever get a job if I did this? Would I be labeled only by an eating disorder? I didn’t really know anything that night except that lying and omitting were still keeping me sick, and I was exhausted.

For 8 years, my life had revolved around a mosh-posh of sneakiness. 8 years of scanning, scoping, mutilating, and twisting in order to maintain an image. 2 months into rehab, I was still struggling with letting go of the games of my eating disorder. Transitioning from in-patient to out, I’d been rapidly finding myself falling backwards instead of forwards.

It’s ridiculous how much they make us eat, I thought one day, hiding pieces of a bagel in my sweatshirt. Just lay off the carbs, I wanted to scream when the counselor passed by. Don’t you know the glycemic index of bread? Sulking until breakfast was over, I carefully disposed of the bagel before group therapy started. Feeling guilty, I took my place on the couch but when the counselor asked me how breakfast went, I smiled and said ”Great!”

The truth is I was adjusting back to reality, and I was scared. Despite having gone through 6 weeks of 24-hour care with Nurse Betty telling me that I couldn’t leave the table till I licked the spoon, I was still extremely uncomfortable with the vulnerable parts of recovery. I knew sitting there on that couch that day that I was free to carry on in the way that I’d always found comfortable. Manipulating, twisting, shamed– running into people at the store and telling them I was home “for a few days,” or telling my parents I was ”fine” every night they asked how rehab went that day.

2 months in I was still struggling to understand that eating disorders crave an instant self-validation, and that allowing myself to be honest and vulnerable didn’t exactly mesh. Self-deprecation had always been my charming way of being honest about myself because it meant that I was in control of my own “vulnerabilities”. It meant I got to draw a picture of what sucks about myself in whichever light I wished to paint.

Honesty, however, equated to vulnerability because it meant being forced to stay on a path of accountability and of letting others help keep me accountable; neither of which appealed to my sickness. I’d always equated honesty as something you fine-tune with every situation– bending and stretching the parts of you to fit into the situation at hand.

Going on a date?  Be the “alluring” you. Self-aware and witty. My friends have joked for years that I have the ”girlfriend 8-week game,” and while we’re all a better ”version” of ourselves at times, I’ve regularly sought self-confidence through the validation of others.

Why be completely honest when I have the ability to do what I do? I’d wonder. I got social butterfly tattooed on my forehead. Admitting that I was “struggling” with something seemed like a one-way ticket out of the little web of protection I spun. I was so sure that the moment I admitted I was flawed- and not ha-he-ho flawed in that self-deprecating nonchalance I’ve always had- really f****** flawed- I’d lose the bubble I’d shielded myself with for years.

Sitting there, writing out that status on what we think of as the ”news source” of our peers I wondered how my life would change if I posted. Would all the cards suddenly fall?

You’re fun, my therapist said once. You walk into a room and it lights up with your energy, but that’s not what you’re here to do, she said. You’re here because you’ve got to deal with you, and you’re never going to be free of this until you allow yourself to exist as a real person– a flawed one, she said. You have to work at being in touch with yourself. Allow yourself to be honest about what’s hard. Your emotions? She paused. They’re valid- you don’t have to hide them. You don’t have to feel bad for feeling bad.

It’s hard for me to let go of that visage, I told her then– admitting my bagel heist from the morning, but the truth is, I knew she was right. 2 months into this stint, I had been slowly growing used to the idea of imperfection. Hell, I had to. 24 hours a day under supervision will do it to a person. Not being able to shave your legs for 6 weeks- that’ll do it. Stripped of all dignities, I’d spent over 2 months standing naked in front of various nurses. 2 months sitting in family therapy telling my parents about “that one time,” and 2 months in AA meetings working steps and making lists of things I’d done wrong.  

I’d cried, snotted and snapped at every fellow patient around me thinking to myself ”well this is it- I lost that person as a friend ” only to have them come around a few hours later and give me a hug. 2 months in, my family was still my family-–smiling when I walked in the door, and my best friends were still my best friends– unyielding.

Is it worth it? I’d been asking myself. Is living this way worth it? Here I was, 24 years old, still living some days bagel by bagel- still opening the door to deception, and guilt, and shame. Sitting there that night, the answer felt like no. If it’s out there, I thought, typing the next word– and the next– well, then it’s out there and perhaps I won’t always feel like I have to put on a show. Perhaps if I just ”own” it- well- then I really do OWN it.

In all honesty, I’ll never really know what drove me to write that Facebook status, but I posted it anyway to the open arms of nearly 2,500 “friends” and family; to people that had met me once at a bar– or on a seat in a plane. Having lived so long behind a smoke screen, exposing my struggle so publicly meant that I could finally walk around it– like all the walls I’d built suddenly caved– leaving me bare, yes, but able to fully start from scratch and reconstruct my life.

Messages poured in from every “phase” in my life. The outpouring support was overwhelming, but more than that, a reality check. So often, we think we hide our demons in spaces that no one can find, but the truth is that many people for many years knew I was struggling but lacked the words to say.

Before I knew it, I was receiving mail from people all over the world asking for my insight into eating disorder recovery. ME? I thought– baffled. They want to trust what I have to say after so many years of manipulating? It was then that I knew that I’d never again be able to go back to what was before; that I now had the eyes of many keeping me accountable.

But, was all of the feedback positive, you might be wondering? No. Since I started blogging and freelancing about my experience in rehab and recovery, I’ve heard everything from “she’s not big enough to write about recovery” to “she wasn’t that skinny in the first place.” People are people and the internet is the internet. We live in a world where we have to be weary over what is thrown on the web for our reading pleasure. However, while I don’t love criticism (who does?) I know that everything I write is true to what I’m doing now. It’s true to who I want to be. No masks. When I struggle at times, someone knows. They’ve read– and I know I’m not alone. When I go out to dinner and want to only drink wine, I’ve got someone around me who can now lean over and say “C’mon Linds, order something.”

My life changed the day after that status published, and while social media is not always the modem of choice for disclosing your personal life (although we all have a tendency to overshare) I’m thankful every day I pushed “post” for it meant that I could actually be free.

recoveryis

 

— As I pack tonight, I want to take a moment to appreciate everyone in my life who has supported and loved me through these past couple months. After years and years of life with an eating disorder, I am now presently at a point where existing is more simple than I ever once let it be. If I could go back, I’d have asked for help years ago but I suppose we live in a society that doesn’t always condone imperfection. I struggled with this secret for all these years thinking I’d one day “grow out of it,” thinking if maybe I just ran around the world I’d find myself, and I watched it take away my life and take away my hobbies, my friends, my faith, my health, my mind, and all the while I wondered if I’d ever really be free from the guilt that any kind of disorder brings. I wondered if maybe every human was destined to have obsessive thoughts and actions they could never be free of. I thought “hey, I’m not that thin, I just don’t eat and then I binge eat. I run 12 miles then I eat a box of cereal. It evens out.”- And am I ashamed of what I did? In some ways yes, I’m human after all. It took away my dignity. But the beauty of this experience is knowing that one can change when one becomes honest with themselves. One can fight to live a happier life. And I’m choosing to be open about this now because I don’t want to go through the rest of my life pretending I don’t struggle. This is life and sometimes we all need a reboot. I’m thankful for every card, letter, and word that have been sent to me while I’ve been away. I struggle to let go of a disorder that became such an identifying factor to my life, but I can sit here tonight and say I’m happier, healthier, and no, not a vegan eating leaves anymore- and I never thought life could be as magically simple as it is right now. Home is where the heart is my loves- and I love my friends- I love my faith- and I love my family- it just sometimes takes a dose of reality to remember what’s important in this tiny little life. And it truly is, a tiny short life. I have the best people in the world. Y’all some good folk ye is.-

10 Tips For Grocery Shopping With An Eating Disorder

10 Tips for Grocery Shopping With An Eating Disorder

fooooood

Grocery shopping is difficult; let’s call a spade a spade. But grocery shopping with an eating disorder is downright impossible. Two years ago, I was right where nearly 30 million men and women are today– pacing up and down the local grocery store aisles, investigating labels like the Carmen Sandiego of food products.

I’d scour the store for hours at a time but duck out of the way of the employees as to not look suspicious. “It’s all a trick, I used to think– holding up two loaves of bread and comparing the grams of carbohydrates. The store wants you to fail; it wants you to buy all the junk so you’ll come back for more– but I will prevail, I’d whisper to myself like the scene from Braveheart where Mel Gibson beats his chest.

Hungry from starving myself, I’d enter into the store with my stomach growling and my mouth salivating as I passed the bakery cookies and the cakes. “Don’t look,” I’d tell myself. But after two hours of pacing the produce aisles, I’d find myself standing in the cereal aisle, my eyes locked on the newest “Special K” flavor– the Nature Valley granola bars– the sugar-free sugar cookies (how is this a thing?)

Overwhelmed and hungry, I’d eventually end up throwing a few extra “in cases” into my shopping cart. “I mean, what if it snows this week?” I’d think. “I need backup.” Even though I knew fully well no apocalyptic snow was headed to my area of town, I felt like a horse being taunted with a carrot in its face.

I never had lists, and I never had a plan. I’d walk around critiquing all the “bad” foods, secretly congratulating myself that I knew which fruit might have more pesticides than others, but still leave with bags of food that ultimately provided no nutritional value.

Throwing money at the latest “sugar-free peanut butter” and “no additive granola,” I was literally being eaten alive by a grocery store.

One year into my recovery, here are 10 tips that rehab taught me about grocery shopping with an eating disorder:

  • Set aside one day (usually a Sunday) each week to do meal planning. Plan meals one week in advance. You’ll save money and you’ll have leftovers so you won’t be constantly panicking on GrubHub trying to decide which restaurant might be excessively dousing your salad in dressing.
  • Try grocery shopping only once a week and no more than twice per week that way you’re not schlepping down aisles with no purpose.
  • Do not spend more than ½ hour going through the aisles. This is SO important. The longer you spend in these aisles, the more your mind will play games with you. Each aisle has something for your benefit– listen to your body. If you want a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, grab it. Then leave.
  • Do not go grocery shopping when you are tired and hungry. Your stomach will lead you astray. This seems like such a “duh” tip but think about how many times you’ve “run into the store” to grab something and left with 10 unnecessary food items. You’ll end up spending excessive amounts of money and you are setting yourself up to potentially binge later.
  • Make a list prior to shopping and stick to it. Avoid impulse shopping– but you don’t have to freak out if you come across a bag of chips you’d like to dip in that hummus. Having a list, however, helps you moderate.
  • Take someone supportive the first few times. You don’t even have to tell them about your eating disorder but having someone around to walk the aisles with will help distract you from your own mind games.
  • Try something new each time you go to the grocery store. Your taste buds will thank you. Variety is the key to a healthy diet.
  • Be cautious of excessive label reading and stay away from fat free, sugar free, and “diet” products. These items will not satisfy your stomach and they open the door to self-manipulation.
  • Check your pantry at home and see what you have first because no one wants three boxes of couscous laying around taking up space. (saves money, too)
  • BEWARE of marketing techniques that lure you in. Compare prices of store brands and “no names” and buy the least expensive.

 

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Check Out My Greatist.com Article On Exercise Addiction!

Running was a love affair that started from a healthy place.

It was March of my senior year of college when I first laced up a pair of running shoes and hopped on the treadmill. This was for me alone, a way to regain control of my life. Days earlier a court-ordered breathalyzer was installed in my car after I’d been arrested for driving under the influence—drinking pinot noir had gone from a casual college habit to three glasses every night when my bartending shift ended.

“Stretch your legs out,” I remember thinking as I reached the treadmill. “Take a deep breath. Turn up the music. Get a hold of your life.”

I pushed “go’’ and ran four miles. Walking out of the gym that day, the fatigue in my legs felt like the kind of self-control I needed to keep me on track. I repeated this the next day and the day after that. Before I knew it, two months had passed, and I was running six miles, four times a week with an almost never-ending runner’s high.

I made it a point to outrun all of the people on the treadmills around me, and for the first time in a while, I felt good about the direction my life was going. All the recklessness and self-hatred lifted when I watched that treadmill turn another mile, music blaring so loud that it felt like I was screaming all the thoughts from my mind.

By month two, my ribs started to poke out, reminding me of what it felt like to be the thinnest girl in the room. It was a badge of honor I enjoyed in elementary and middle school—I was known as “skinny Linny” until I hit my teens and puberty set in. My parents praised my new “regimented” lifestyle while my girlfriends grew jealous. “You’re so tiny, Linds!” they’d say, grabbing my arm. But I’d wave them off. “I just needed to give up the wine,” I’d say with a laugh.

Next thing I knew, I was on the treadmill nearly every day. The more I ran, the less I ate. I’d sit at the table with my fists clenched, secretly congratulating myself on how much self-control running had given me. I’d gloat in the mirror at night as I massaged my thighs with my thumbs and marveled at their definition. Then I’d give myself a big hug to feel the bones in my back. As I got more and more obsessed with my vanity, I knew I could never lose running—that I could never feel this confident without it.

The Tailspin

Three weeks after graduating, I hopped on a plane to Seville, Spain to start my new life as an au pair. I reasoned that moving away from the comforts of home would be good for me (and give me something new to focus on besides my looks). But two days into my stay, the compulsion to find the treadmill consumed me. Instead of exploring this new foreign city, I found myself walking around, map in hand, asking passersby where the local “gimnasio” was in my broken Spanish.

Anxiety mounted to new extremes as I realized I was in a society that was far less obsessed with the latest fad diet, and far more engrossed with the local white bread and sangria. Unable to find the food I deemed healthy, I started throwing up in my host parents’ bathroom to avoid the extra calories. Soon running six miles a day didn’t seem like enough to burn off the calories I ate.

“Eat only the food you can count,” I wrote in my diary. Eat 250 calories in the morning and run five miles. Eat fewer than 10 bites for lunch. Run four miles after. Walk one mile to pick up children from school.

Being thin—and feeling totally in control of my body—gave me the kind of self-gratification high I didn’t want to climb down from.

“You are too thin,’’ my host mother clucked six months in, but I’d just smile my big toothy grin and brush her aside.

“Was I a little too thin?” I wondered as my jeans loosened in the back, or when I woke in the middle of the night, clutching my legs as they cramped. “Maybe,” I thought as I crawled down the marble stairs with tears welling in my eyes from the sharp pain in my back. But the muscle pain, even when it seemed unbearable, couldn’t stop me. Being thin—and feeling totally in control of my body—gave me the kind of self-gratification high I didn’t want to climb down from.

The Breaking Point

After one year in Spain, I moved home to Texas, where my compulsion to exercise escalated to a level I felt both empowered and controlled by. Exercising became my identity. I’d run 16 miles one day then 10 the next. If I took a rest day, I threw up. I had constant pain in both shins that shot through my legs. But the pain dulled when I ran so I pushed ahead, even after doctors told me I had stress fractures in both legs and needed to give up running cold turkey.

My weight sank and the compliments faded. I could see the pity in my friends’ eyes when I hobbled late to a dinner—the perfect excuse to always miss appetizers—but I refused to believe I was sick enough. If I lost five more pounds and got down to what I truly deemed a sickly weight, I told myself I’d let up a bit.

I knew that I was teetering on the edge of something bad, but I only thought about eating disorders as a weight thing. I’d find myself scrolling through Instagram photos of painfully emaciated “pro-ana” women and compare their sickness with my own. Since I didn’t have a thigh gap, I told myself I couldn’t have an eating disorder. Around the same time, I heard about exercise bulimia, but those searches turned up pictures of people with more bulging musles than I knew existed. None of them looked like me.

Another six months passed, and I jumped at the opportunity to move to New York and take my first job in publishing. I thought this would be the move that would help me find a change of pace and something besides running to obsess about. But the pull of the treadmill didn’t let up. My busy work schedule made trips to the gym difficult, yet I’d find myself sneaking out of networking events to head back into the 24-hour Planet Fitness, my teeth stained purple from the free wine.

My behavior became increasingly erratic. More than once, I ran completely intoxicated, my foot slipping off the side of the treadmill, but I’d just laugh it off with the gym employee. Like a hamster on a wheel, I couldn’t stop moving. I’d walk eight miles home from work and then head to the gym to run another 10.

Increasingly bulimic, I’d binge eat a box of cereal at home and then throw it up before forcing myself back to the treadmill. My energy dwindled and I started to wake up with a sore throat, a dry mouth, and a bloated stomach.

I’d find myself sneaking out of networking events to head back into the 24-hour Planet Fitness, my teeth stained purple from the free wine.

If it hadn’t already,body dysmorphiaconsumed my every waking moment. I stopped showering with any kind of consistency because I couldn’t deal with the stress of being naked. Fearful that I took up too much space on the subway, I wouldn’t let myself sit down between people, and instead spent many rides fighting back tears.

At the urging of a therapist, four months after my move to New York, I told my parents that I was struggling. They were willing to do whatever it took to help, but I wasn’t ready to give up my exercise—the only thing I was sure would make me feel better. The final straw came when I went home for Thanksgiving that year. Weary of my eating, my parents counted the cereal boxes in the pantry before we left for a wedding. When I woke up the next day, they confronted me with two empty boxes I’d binged on the night before. Rehab on call, I went without a fight.

The Recovery

Stripped of both running and alcohol, I had to relearn who I wanted to be without the aid of a drug—and yes, exercise was my drug. We live in a society where exercising and focusing on clean eating are the signs of a healthy (and even sought after) lifestyle—and I was able to hide behind that for years. While exercise is important for our health, it can also be used as a coping mechanism.

Growing up with a family that swore by the gym, I thought of exercise as a positive way to blow off steam. When my best friend passed away unexpectedly at the start of college, I found the gym to be a saving grace, the only place to subdue the grief.

Exercise is scientifically proven to boost moods, and it helps many achieve balance in their lives. But exercise is not immune to the same types of dependency and abuse that booze and drugs carry when it’s escalated to a level of obsession.

Fresh out of rehab, I assumed I was mentally capable to go back to a “healthy running” routine, but I quickly found myself sucked back into the hole of calorie counting and compulsion. Running had been my identity for so long that I felt anxious without it. At the advice of my therapist, I turned in the towel and spent all of last year using my old gym time to discover the other things I wanted out of life. I changed jobs. I went to a book club. I finally started a blog. I recently started dating again and instead of shying away from my past, I told him exactly who I was—and much to my surprise, he stuck around.

Running had been my identity for so long that I felt anxious without it.

One year later, I’ve accepted that I will always have a challenging relationship with the gym. I’m still learning how to accept the idea of exercise as something that is an addition to a balanced life, and not thedefinition of a successful one. I’m far more mindful of the fact that running will not fix any discomfort I feel. It’s a Band-Aid, not a stitch. I’ve started working out again, but I stop myself from heading to the treadmill and obsessing over the digital readout of calories burned and miles run. I take classes instead—bootcamp, barre, Zumba—you name it, I’ll try it. I’ve even come to enjoy them. I like the feeling of my body growing stronger, not weaker. And on weekends, I rest. I eat veggie burgers and fries. I lie in bed watching Netflix because sometimes it’s nice to do nothing.

While I’ll can’t go back and change the past, I now know that I can choose to be mindful—thinking in terms of self-love and self-respect—of the way I live from here on out. And as I finish my story, sitting here at my computer, I’m choosing to be mindful of that.

Recovery Tip: ED Fact-Check (Cut To The Chase)

stereotypes

Happy Sunday, y’all!

Since it’s the beginning of NEDA’s 2015 National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (2-22 – 2-28), I wanted to jump on the bandwagon and provide some stats that I’ve received via my work with Project Heal.

Often, I feel as though people still don’t know where to place eating disorders on the spectrum of mental health issues- so I think it’s beneficial to take it back to the facts on occasion and put the disease in perspective.

Take a look:

10 Million: The number of men struggling with an eating disorder

30,000 (!): The average cost per month for eating disorder treatment

-81: The percentage of 10-year olds who are afraid of being fat

-30: The percentage of 18-24 year olds who cut food calories to replace with alcohol (Drunkorexia)

-10: The percentage of of women and men who actually ever receive treatment for eating disorders*

-1: Eating Disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder.

 

50% of women in America use unhealthy weight control mechanisms such as fasting, skipping meals, and purging. 

Surprising?

Think about it. Think about the people in your life.

Notice.

*Note:

Treatment was a blessing, but there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the women I shared those hospital gowns with– and how many of them could not afford to stay longer because their insurance crapped out and they simply didn’t have that kind of money.

The insurance system for eating disorder coverage is bullshit. Google “eating disorder treatment costs” and you’ll find a slew of negative articles about the “loopholes” of the mental health coverage in this country.

I watched countless times as women packed their bags sobbing in the hallway of our facility.

I do NOT forget those tears.

They were deemed “healthy” by an insurance system of people who had NEVER seen- never spoken- never given a second glance- but merely ”stats”- and turned back out to keep fighting a battle they weren’t equipped to win. This, in turn, perpetuates a system of relapse. It perpetuates a whopping 85% chance of relapse for eating disorder patients.

For more on our bogus insurance check here: 

http://www.wcsh6.com/story/news/health/2015/02/19/the-beauty-within-catie-colbys-story/23651017/

And here:

Let’s keep fighting where we can. And by fighting- I mean talking. Because nothing changes without awareness.

“So, Like, What’d You Eat In Rehab?”

I get this question a lot.

Truth is- looking back- when I first consented to going to rehab I thought I was entering the motherland in terms of nutrition.

GOD FINALLY, I thought. Off to the land of Kale Smoothies and Quinoa.

Butternut Squash and plump Eggplants.

Coconut milk ABUNDANCE.

There’s no limit to the whole grains and veggies, I pictured gleefully.

IN FACT, I’LL TOTALLY EVEN LOSE WEIGHT IN REHAB! (my secret goal)

I won’t be binging cereal, I reckoned, and I’ll have nature’s vitamins at every meal- I’ll be a slenda’ beyotch when I leave!

Continue reading ““So, Like, What’d You Eat In Rehab?””

Recovery Tip: Eat A Meal Alone (It Won’t Kill You)

eat alone

So tonight, I ate a meal alone. Hate doing it, hate eating in public- but after meeting a friend for dinner, this person had an emergency and I had to sit at a table and decide whether on not I’d eat the meal I’d ordered.

Do I leave? I wondered- watching the tables nearby.

I should leave, I thought. If not, I’ll be that sad girl in the corner eating alone.

People will watch, I reckoned. They’ll watch and they’ll think to themselves “poor thing is just stuffing herself alone.”

I sipped my wine.

What would it be like to eat a meal alone? I’d never done it.

Sure, I’d gone to a movie in college alone (once)– but to be fair, I’d snuck out halfway through (I mean, Gulliver’s Travels, REALLY JACK BLACK… Not your finest choice)

But a meal?

I’d binge ate alone, definitely. I’d snuck food in the crevices of my armpits– sure.

But to actually eat a meal? No.

It was pressure I didn’t want.

But in a way, it was the pressure I knew I needed.

Why write about recovery if I’m not willing to push the limits of it?

And it wasn’t comfortable, sitting there letting the waiter tend to me. In fact, it felt unnatural (she left the table set on the other end)- but towards the end of it– once the pressure ceased- and I realized people around me were simply just living their lives unbeknownst to me (WAIT- I’m NOT the most important thing since sliced bread?)

I walked away knowing it’s possible- and life still keeps going. Sweet potato fries, wine, salad, and all.

Try it sometime- that’s my tip- you might be surprised.