One of the key things to recovering from an eating disorder is finding the right therapist, a friend, or a role model that will kick your ass and talk you out of the dumb things your brain conjures up.
I had a great therapist. But I also had someone very unlikely help me.
Although I never sprawled out on his couch for 50 minuets while I cried about my thighs being huge and how I’ll die alone eaten by the cats I’ll hoard, his philosophy about food and eating is one I try to model.
How did the cynical, no bullshit author/chef help me with my recovery? True to my form, I think its best I lay this out in bullet point form:
“Its Just Food!”: An episode of Bourdain’s show, No Reservations, aired about a year ago about people obsessed with food. Three bloggers were featured in the episode and openly admitted to using food blogging to fill a void in their life (specifically the lack of women and sex). This sounds a lot like what my eating disorder inflicted upon me: it filled a void (and I guess lack of men in my case). Bourdain’s take: ”It’s just food”. All of the analyzing and food porn camera shoots ultimately take away from the experience of a meal and the company you’re with. Sure, some people subscribe to belief that they just want to share every wonderful meal and feel the need to prove how awesome they are through their recommendations. But when you have an eating disorder, this isn’t healthy. Food is your medicine and its great and all, but its just food!
Eat for the Present (Not for the Future or Past): A big issue I had with my eating disorder was strict rules about what I was gonna eat and feeling of guilt about what I already ate. This is no way to eat! Thinking about the past is useless, thinking about the future implicates unnecessary anxiety. Anthony often says, “Enjoy it in the moment. Savor the experience. Move on.” Right on. If I’m hungry now, I eat NOW and move on. It’s not like its my last meal on earth.
Be Realistic: Web MD interviewed Bourdain a little while ago (I know, how Web MD got him to agree to be interviewed is beyond me). They asked if he had any New Year’s resolutions to which he replied,
“No resolutions. I’m realistic.”
I think when it comes to recovery, being realistic helped a lot. I remember negotiating with my dietitian like I was at car dealership. I just had to be real with myself. I knew 15-20 pounds would not come on me overnight, and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to lay off the exercise and chow down like linebacker. In the end, being realistic helped my sanity and actually got me to my weight goals.
You’re Stronger Than You Might Think: From all the foreign street food Bourdain has consumed, he’s only gotten sick one or two times.
Ok, no matter how strong my stomach is, I’m not a fan of tenticles
In recovery, its important to keep in mind our bodies are incredible machines! They can handle a lot of calories without morphing you into McDonald’s grimace (who I personally think is adorable anyway!). Laying off exercise won’t kill you, and neither will eating 4,000 calories or however many it takes you to eat per day in order to be at a healthier weight.
Sometimes, You Just Have to Tell Your Eating Disorder To Fuck Off: Anthony just happens to be good at cursing
And in regards to food blogs…..
I’m not sure I consider my site a “food blog”. I love food, its my profession, and occasionally like to write about it. But I have never whipped out my camera at a restaurant for a photo shoot and loath the label “foodie” (no offense Jolene, with you its ok).
I agree with Anthony–it’s just food.
As Bourdain says,
“food bloggers are a necessary evil and undoubtedly the future. But rather than be so competitive and hostile, bloggers should embrace what food is all about–community.”
Do you have people that inspire how you eat or your attitude towards your food choices? Do you agree with Bourdain’s points?