One of my friends always makes a point of asking me what I am eating at lunchtime; and, when I’ve finished, whether it tasted nice. I mumble whatever I am eating; snap, when I have finished; and, bristle with hostility throughout. Then, I feel terrible; apologise for my behaviour; and explain that I’m not quite up to talking about food yet. Her response? She realises that, but she’ll keep asking, all the same, because it’s a normal kind of question, and I need to get used to being asked.
What I think she’s doing – and I’m not quite used to yet – is refusing to talk into the eating disorder; and, therefore, making me talk in a different way too. If we talk about things differently; then the behaviour and emotions can sometimes change as well.
This morning, after I finished my breakfast, I noticed my head expressing approval: “well that was nice”. Instead of putting it in check with the same sharpness that I normally award to food-related speak, I let the comment hang – and refused to place any judgement on what I had said.
My breakfast was nice. And that is perfectly okay.
I realised, through my encounter with myself in the kitchen, that I haven’t been giving myself the opportunity to change the way I speak about food. That by refusing to participate in the social conversations and stopping any inner dialogue relating to things I might like or enjoy, I have removed the space to change the message, leaving the same stuck thoughts grinding in my head.
What started as a way of avoiding food – or talking myself out of eating – or denying any hunger, has slowly become deeply ingrained.
I think this is beginning to shift.
I think I am becoming less scared of liking food; and more able to tolerate preference, and desire, and hunger – without assuming that it’s an indication of greed.
I am therefore seizing the iron while it is hot; and have challenged myself to continue complimenting my food. I’m not up to public appreciation quite yet, but I can start by letting myself rehearse the new way of talking in my head.
So, this morning I liked my boiled egg (noticing the discomfort that provokes – and letting it go); and I also particularly enjoyed the vanilla yoghurt I had with my lunch. And tomorrow, I’ll keep my eye out for the same moments of enjoyment and make sure that I put them into words –
Because changing how I speak about food might gradually change how I feel about it – and eventually re-write what it has come to mean.