Eating Dessert During Eating Disorder Recovery Is Okay

April 20, 2016 Z Zoccolante

In our eating disorders, we fear fat but yes, eating dessert during eating disorder recovery is okay. We fear the way it looks in the mirror or how it collects on our thighs and the way it shows itself in the grams on labels and hovers in molecules of our food. When we have an eating disorder, we’d rather do anything than be fat and so we do. We react in unhealthy ways by starving, binging, purging, overexercising, obsessing over calories, or putting foods into lists of can/cannot eat. In recovery, we learn how to eat for nourishment but desserts can still be a feared and precarious category. But what if recovery included our ability to eat a cookie for the pleasure of it, simply because it’s delicious? What if eating disorder recovery included eating dessert?

Eating Dessert Before Eating Disorder Recovery

There are phases to an eating disorder. The first is, obviously, before it starts. This is what some people refer to later as, “normal.” It’s when we just ate food and there wasn’t a chaos of thoughts, or the voice of the eating disorder whispering about calories, fat, or other nonsense (How I Learned to Love Food in Eating Disorder Recovery). For most of us, there was a time when food held freedom, when we ate cookies and birthday cake with a smile, when we moved our bodies for fun, and looked in the mirror to make faces or brush our teeth. We may have happy memories that involve desserts like baking chocolate chip cookies with our moms, or dying icing for cupcakes.

Eating Dessert During an Active Eating Disorder

There’s a point in recovery when it’s mystifying. Somewhere along the line we were “normal,” and then the eating disorder stepped in, and we were not. There’s a feeling that the eating disorder broke us in some way. Some of us are unable to recognize hunger cues or satiation. Some of us have filled our minds with memorized information like the caloric contents of an obscene amount of foods.

In the active eating disorder phase, desserts are somewhat of a joke. Anorexics won’t eat the cookie for anything (Navigating Triggers During Eating Disorder Recovery). Bulimics will eat handfuls of cookies and bring them back up. Bingers will stay stuffed. Desserts are in the danger zone.

Eating Dessert During Inpatient Eating Disorder Recovery

Eating dessert during eating disorder recovery is okay; you can enjoy dessert. There's no need to fear enjoying a dessert in recovery. Check this out.

Eating disorder treatment facilities have structured meal plans that depend on each person’s caloric needs for recovery. In the facility I went to, a girl at my lunch table shoved a cookie into her mouth and chewed like it was poison, but her life depended on it getting down her throat. It looked like she didn’t even taste it.

Her meal plan had one cookie a day for the next few days. She told me she scarfed it down in an attempt to forget she was eating it. Just get it over with seemed to be her mantra, and this made me want to cry. I didn’t just want to get through life, get through meals, or get through cookies. I wanted to love them, savor them, and to eat them with joy (How My Attitude Affects Your Eating Disorder Recovery).

Eating Dessert During Eating Disorder Recovery

From that point on, I knew that one hurdle in my recovery was about being able to savor desserts. Yes, we can learn to love ourselves and not eat a dessert; dessert isn’t a prerequisite for self-love. However, part of loving ourselves is embracing the juicy bliss of life and sometimes food is a great metaphor for this. Can we savor one cookie like we’d savor a sunset and walk away fulfilled? Can we savor the things in our lives in a healthy way or do we grab at them with greedy hands, indulge with guilt, and throw them away with regret and self-loathing. Eating dessert can provide an interesting mirror for how we view life.

Eating Dessert For Life, Without the Eating Disorder

Eating disorder recovery is different for everyone. If desserts aren’t a part of yours, that’s okay. They are, however, a part of mine. I enjoy every bite the same way I’ve chosen to enjoy my life and this wonderful, imperfect body of mine.

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APA Reference
Zoccolante, Z. (2016, April 20). Eating Dessert During Eating Disorder Recovery Is Okay, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Z Zoccolante

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