It’s anorexias speciality. The ‘why did you just eat that?!’. The ‘you just ruined everything’. It screams at you ‘1000 calories. Did you really just eat 1000 calories?!’. And no matter what you do, the voice doesn’t go anywhere. It gets a bit quieter, but it never leaves.
For me, this is the hardest thing to get over. It’s hard when you are waiting for the wave of guilt to drown you after dinner. The need to exercise it off to fog your thoughts. You expect it. You know it will be there. And it’s hell. Why would you put yourself trough that?
Well I’ll tell you why. Because you deserve nutrients and life. Your body needs it, even if your brain is hiding that from you. And it’s crap. There’s no denying that it’s absoloute crap. Because you increase the calories and you increase the guilt. Up up and up it builds until it tumbles down. But the guilt does get better. But you have to get better at ignoring it.
How I deal with ‘Food Guilt’.
Number 1. If you’re anything like me, your phone is a life saver. With anxious thoughts, with low moods and with guilt. It just distracts your mind and takes you into a place full of bright skies and fuzzy socks. This is really simple, and you probably already use it. But your phone can act as a great distraction when the food guilt rears its ugly head. *Warning*. Stay away from twitter if you have an ED account. It can be a very triggering and toxic place. I tend to avoid twitter a lot more now, and generally don’t get too involved in other people’s tweets. I would definitely say that Recovery Insta is the place to be. It’s full of people in a similar position and people battling anorexia. It is truly inspirning.
Number 2. There was a point when ny OCD was so bad I couldn’t pick up a book. I used to be the biggest book worm. But pens, paper, books were associated with school and I couldn’t deal with any of it. But thank God I’m over that. Nowadays, reading is a such a good distraction. You get caught up in this whole other world and it’s just not possible to be obsessing about percentages of fat and the carb content. You’re far to busy wondering if Boo Radley is actually real.
Number 3. This is probably my most fool proof one. I go upstairs, put in headphones and blast songs really loud. Nothing depressing. Whatever you do, do not , I repeat DO NOT listen to depressing songs. That is quite counterproductive. I sing very loudly and very out of tune. I often take part in an impromptu performance. Dancing with everything I’ve got (not a lot lets be real). Probably looking like an insane person (oh the irony). But it helps. Not only does it help, I find it puts me in a better mood than I was in before eating. The only negatives with this one are your family’s annoyed sighs as you shriek out the lyrics to ‘I will survive’.
Number 4. This one is usually what I go for if the guilt is really bad. Getting outside is so helpful, but it can be disordered. If I do this, I try and distinguish my thoughts from the anorexia. My anorexia might be saying ‘Go for an 8 mile run’. Whereas I might be more like ‘How about a little hike?’. So I usually put in headphones and listen to inspiring and relaxing songs and just go for a gentle stroll through the forest. I sometimes opt for relaxing apps if my anxietys decided to play up too. Getting out the house is always helpful.
Number 5. Carrying on with your food plan can be a terrifying though if you’re feeling guilty. But you have to do it. The guilt actually gets worse if you start avoiding food. Because in a disordered mind, you are just saying, ‘You need to make up for that’. This is not true. Try to tell yourself that, even if you’ve gone over your particular calorie plan, that it’s ok. And totally normal. So no matter what, have your next meal. Tell somebody how you’re feeling so they can ensure you don’t skip it. This is the best way to really start ignoring the anorexia.
Number 6. This simple little idea has great results. I try and accept the guilt. Yes, yes easier said than done. But I have this little thing where if I’m feeling guilty, I put the kettle on for some tea, anything really. While it’s boiling I have a little chat with the anorexia ( I swear it’s not as insane as it sounds). I basically repeat positive little phrases, ‘food is fuel’ and ‘I deserve food’. ‘I will be ok’. ‘I’m strong’. Once the kettles boiled, the guilts usually faded a tiny bit. Then I’ll usually have a nice green tea, which is helpful in itself. It’s detoxing and relaxing properties are a dream in anxious situations.
Number 7. This one helps me tons. Searching up recovery quotes. Google images can be both dangerous and brilliant. Do not type in anorexia quotes, eating disorder motivation. It might seem a harmless. And you’ll expect lots of positive and reassuring pics. But that is not what you’ll be met with. Instead, I opt for ‘recovery quotes’ ‘recovery inspiration’. Just include the word ‘Recovery’ and you’ll be fine!
Number 8. Easier said than done again, but tell someone. Whether that’s a friend, family member, messaging your therapist. Just be honest that you’re feeling guilty. I have a few people that I always go to. They will (usually) understand that you are struggling with the anorexia thoughts and help you through it. Fighting it alone is way harder than fighting it together.
Well there you have it. How I deal with the food guilt, that is absoloutely unavoidable. But totally beatable. I hope that this has helped someone, somewhere, see that food guilt is normal but there are so many ways to deal with it.
If anyone reading has any other coping techniques, please leave them in the ‘reply’ section. I’d love to see what helps other people!
Stay safe and strong.