Ways to Make Food Your Friend in Eating Disorder Recovery
Making food your friend in eating disorder recovery is a scary notion. For many of us, food has become something to be feared, rationed, avoided, or lied about. Food has become a source of greed and pain, purging and sorrow, restriction and pride. We use food in unhealthy ways to regain our sense of control over the spinning world around us, and the pain in our lives. As much as we dismiss the food, the obsession with it grows until it becomes a thing of love and hate, want and fear. But food is much more than this. It’s time that we made food our friend in eating disorder recovery.
Food is a creative art. It’s a creation born of the earth, with seed, dirt, water, sunlight, and living matter. Food is prepared in numerous ways across the world. Food is a time of gathering together and of celebration. Food is comfort, joy, and nourishment. Food is a time we can share conversation and build memories and connection with others. Food holds hope and joy.
But for many of us food has not been these things. Now can be our time to reclaim food as something good in our lives. We can reclaim food as blessing rather than a curse. Here are three ways we can do this.
Make Food Your Friend by Eating with Gratitude
Simply put, we are blessed to have food. If you’re able to eat to live a healthy, active lifestyle you are more fortunate than 795 million people in the rest of the world. Others don’t have the option to open a cabinet, or the refrigerator, and decide what to eat, binge and purge, or even avoid.
When I was in my eating disorder, I knew that I was lucky to have food but it didn’t matter because I was engulfed in the sadness of my disorder. It was only as I began to recover that I began to see food as a blessing and a gift. As you recover, you can begin to see, and choose to see, food this way as well (Thankfulness: How to Bring Gratitude Into Your Life).
Make Food Your Friend in Eating Disorder Recovery by Eating with Love
A story that makes me smile is when my friend brought in a huge container of fruit and vegetable juice as her contribution to our class event. She told me about how she was rushing to juice the fruits and shoving them aggressively into her juicer saying, “Love. Love. Love.” I thought this was hilarious but the point was important.
Our food is made with energy and intention (How To Practice Life-Affirming Rituals Every Day). If we prepare our food with love and joy then the vibration of that will enter into our food filling it with love and joy. It’s the same reason why people say grace, to bless their food and give thanks. This puts us into a state of gratitude and infuses our food with intention.
Next time you prepare a meal or snack, see if you can notice if the food tastes better when you prepare it with positive energy? Can you prepare your food with joy and tell yourself nice things. Notice how the food is pretty, or smells good, or will nourish your body, or make your hungry belly feel taken care of.
Make Food Your Friend in Eating Disorder Recovery by Enjoying It
In my eating disorder recovery, I didn’t want to just get through meals, I wanted to enjoy them. I wanted to savor my food and eat for pleasure and nourishment rather than the tortuous rituals I’d been involved in. So I made this a goal in my recovery.
Begin with a small meal or snack. I love chocolate chip cookies so let’s use those. Take the cookie, put it on a pretty plate, and give thanks for it. Be present in your body and focus on the cookie. Enjoy the smell. Enjoy the feeling of it. Bite into it and savor the taste and texture. Actually taste. Enjoy it. Allow the cookie to be an experience.
Today, I usually have chocolate chip cookies in the freezer and enjoy one or two every night in this way. Yes, they’re delicious and I love every bite, but I didn’t get to this place overnight. It was a process of learning to feel safe around food and allowing myself to enjoy and be present.
Make Food Your Friend in Eating Disorder Recovery by Eating with Friends
A huge part of life is about relationships and food seems to bring people together. We laugh, talk, share, and enjoy each other’s company. Eating disorders rob us of connection and in recovery we can begin to take that back.
Eating with others is a time to connect and share. If you have a tendency to isolate find one safe friend and reach out to them to share a meal with you. Invite them over and cook together; watch a movie and make popcorn; go for a walk and get a coffee or an ice cream.
Friends make life better and more fun. Eating meals together can be a time of connection and joy.
Making friends with food is a healthy part of eating disorder recovery. We can begin today, one little step at a time.
Zoccolante, Z. (2016, June 15). Ways to Make Food Your Friend in Eating Disorder Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, February 6 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivinged/2016/06/making-food-your-friend-in-eating-disorder-recovery