The Breakfast Challenge

Saturday morning I woke up, threw on some yoga pants and a t-shirt, and pedaled over to my boyfriend’s, who had the adorable idea of having a special vegan brunch πŸ™‚

Only very recently have I found the courage to tell him about my ED, trying especially hard to keep the ED apart from my own personality, in my own efforts to weed the ED out of my identity (which it should not be a part of!). My therapist was the first to suggest this, and at first I greeted her idea with… lukewarm enthusiasm, to put it lightly. But I also know that I am very reserved when it comes to my personal life (especially where my ED is concerned), and that I am somewhat obsessively independent, and reaching out for help or support can be a good thing. In fact, it is the only thing that has helped me get so far in my recovery.

So, I told him. It suddenly seemed very organic and natural, and it just really seemed like it needed to be said. For better or for worse, this has been a huge part of my life (though, again, I am trying hard to stress that this does not mean it is a huge part of me!), and it needs to be put out there between us, or it will keep growing and morphing and festering and things will get worse instead of better. I was in a bad place one day, and he asked me what was wrong, and I just told him. I finally told the truth and just stopped lying or covering up my real problems. It was such a terrifying, liberating experience.

I was nervous even as I biked over. We had decided to make vegan pancakes, and my bag was full of fresh fruit and soymilk (haha). Luckily I had found an easy recipe forΒ 5 Minute Vegan Pancakes, so it required minimal ingredients and effort πŸ˜‰

I reflected as we put together ingredients and stirred the batter… “I have not had pancakes in probably three years, minimum,” I said out loud.

“Well, you’re having them now!” And it was true– I was! Isn’t it funny how sometimes after denying ourselves for so long, we begin to feel guilty about enjoying common pleasures? And it’s true– I actually thought to myself, “Isn’t this too good to be true? Can I really have pancakes and not gain 20 pounds in 5 minutes???” Even though I knew the nutritionals, even though I’ve seen more nutritionists and specialists and read more books and magazines on food and diet than anyone would care to know, I was still afraid. It’s really sad, actually, how this slow restriction becomes a form of self-punishment. I had to bring myself back to a time when I was 6 years old:

I stirred the batter, just like I did when I used to help my mother in the kitchen on Sunday mornings.

I licked the bowl, just like I did when I was 6 and didn’t know what a calorie was. And enjoyed it.

I smiled as the batter hit the pan and sizzled.

I laughed when I tried to flip my disobedient pancakes.

I ate. First the safe fruits, savored the tart grapefruit and the tangy kiwi and the sweet banana slices. Then one bite of a golden pancake. Then another. With a drizzle of maple syrup, no less.

He may or may not have urged me to take the first bite on purpose. He may or may not have told me to take the last bite on purpose. And he may or may not have been lying when he claimed he was full and left the last bits for me to finish. But it is OK. I’m still here. I didn’t gain 20 pounds. I ate pancakes for breakfast and didn’t explode or turn into a hippopotamus.

Perhaps the most challenging part of these victories is maintaining them. Even though I probably only took in 100 or so extra calories at breakfast, I couldn’t help but struggle with the urge to restrict later. Anyone come across that problem? It’s like, “Great, I did it!… Now let’s go back to square one.” It’s so hard not to skip lunch, skip snacks, not make up for things at dinner and so forth. It’s a challenge every day to convince myself that I am not a better person because of all the restricting I managed. I choose instead to focus on the victories and not the failures. I am bigger than my eating disorder. I am not a number on the scale, or a dress size. I am a person, for chrissakes! It’s time I start treating myself like one.

My body is a temple, not a slave

— A beloved, borrowed affirmation



PS: As for the pancakes? Delicious! Non-vegan boyfriend even claims they are better than milk ‘n’ egg hotcakes πŸ˜‰ In other words, go make them now!!!


April 25, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Uncategorized. 3 comments.