I HAVE CONTROL????
Several years ago, on my brother’s birthday, one of the most shocking things that could ever happen happened. My mind was blown, and nothing made sense.
My family went to dinner to celebrate his birthday. When we came home my dad started cutting into the chocolate cake that we made for him. And then…my brother said, “I don’t want any, I am full, You guys go ahead.”
I was truly so shocked to hear these words. This was his cake, on his birthday, and he turns it down? He can do that? Because he’s full? And he is fine if others eat, and he doesn’t? I was so confused, and my brain genuinely could not compute or understand what was happening.
After being in recovery for a little bit, my brothers’ words are no longer confusing or wrong to me. I now understand that he was able to feel comfortable saying this because he did not have an eating disorder controlling him. He was listening to what his body wanted and needed.
Recently, this same chocolate cake was made for a family birthday, and I had to remind myself that I have control over what I eat. This is tricky, because I have thoughts like:
- “You have to make sure to eat more than everyone else”
- “You must try to hide that you are eating more than everyone else”
- “Eat a slice when everyone is gone, or eat in the bathroom, and eat it quickly”
But then, if I follow these instructions, I hear
- “You’re disgusting”
- “You’re fat”
- “Your body is gross”
- “If people knew you ate all that cake, they will love and respect you less”
I also have thoughts that tell me not to eat any cake, and I will feel shame if I do eat it. I am damned if I do, damned if I don’t.
When I allow thoughts like these to take over, I can’t win. My eating disorder will cause me to feel shame whether I eat cake or not.
But the truth is, I can eat cake if I want to. If I don’t want any, I don’t have to eat any. If I want ice cream with the cake, I should eat cake with the ice cream. If I don’t, I can eat it by itself. If I want a big piece, I can eat a big piece. Small piece? Nothing wrong with that. It is also okay if I am the only one that eats cake, or the only one that doesn’t. It is so simple. I have control.