Most of us find it quite easy to consume a minimum of three meals a day. We love food ... it's as simple as that. But, not everyone has a healthy, easy going outlook on eating.
Benazir Radmanesh found herself organizing her hours, days and weeks around controlling her food, her exercise, her body weight and her shape. She found herself removed from her day-to-day life on a mental, emotional and physical level. Life was not about the simple pleasures, but about when she could eat, what she could eat, what she couldn't eat, where she could eat and when and where she could exercise.
"Evening plans with friends were routinely turned down to allow for my nightly date with the gym treadmill," she says. "Eating out became a stressful and unpleasant social activity and required desperately scouring the menu for the safest food option available. Friends would dive into the all-you-can-eat sushi menu while I feasted on my side dish of pickled ginger."
Benazir's idea of normalcy in daily living was stripped from her, and each day became a battle she dealt with internally. Her life was confused by counting calories and tracking stairs climbed.
"The deeper into this world you enter, the more you leave behind reality and physical and emotional presence in the 'real' world," she continues. "Before recovery, my life was dictated by where, when, how, and what I could or couldn’t eat. Finally surrendering to eating three meals a day, every day, was both the scariest and most freeing step I had to take toward getting back a life worth living."
And while it took her a long time to feel like she does today, she hopes her journey into being able to eat three, healthy balanced and normal-sized meals a day will help others who are dealing with a similar issue to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
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"There's so much freedom and joy in being able to eat all those 'fear' foods again — like cheese, bread, eggs, avocados, dessert, and even certain fruits — that I was so
afraid of, when they are contained within a healthy, loving meal."
"I have so much more headspace and time created by letting go of counting, weighing, and tracking numbers."
"Eating out is pleasurable and enjoyable, not a one-off occurrence followed by a week of starvation."
"I rarely think about food between meals and am able to fully engage and participate in life."
"I can eat with friends and family and be more interested in the people and the conversation than the food."
"I fully enjoy the hours between meals because my body knows it will be nourished properly at regular times throughout the day."
"I am finally pursuing the activities I am passionate about because I have the energy, time, and space to explore them."
Benazir notes that there has been quite a bit that has gone into her recovery process, but eating three proper meals a day as been a huge accomplishment, and has brought a giant sense of freedom into her life. She no longer finds herself weak from low blood sugar only to binge heavily to make up for it later on, for instance.
And, of course, she admits she is not perfect, and her recovery is a constant journey. "There are definitely moments I struggle — days I don’t want to eat or meals I feel I will never be able to stop eating; times when I eat consecutive snacks or seek out food to alleviate feelings of boredom, anxiety, stress, or fatigue."
She remembers that forgiveness is extremely important, too. She has to love her body, not loathe it."My body is a lot wiser than I am and more complex than my mind will ever fully grasp. This is a daily reminder because my default mode is to criticize and condemn my body. But just as it took time for me to surrender to eating normal-sized, balanced meals, I trust that the journey of self-love and self-acceptance is happening in its own time as well. One day at a time, I eat my meals graciously with the knowledge that doing so has given me more of a life than 'thin' ever did," she concludes.
Are you in recovery from an eating disorder, and can you relate to Benazir's story?
Source: Mind Body Green
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