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Why Is Food So Special?

February 13, 2011

This post is more of a reeeeally ramble-y rant. If you find it boring, annoying, or offensive, I sincerely apologize. I am by no implying anything about any of you. It is only directed at me and my own behaviors.

I really think that about 75% of the time I am completely out of my mind. My obsession with food, eating (or not eating), shopping for food, and cooking food are still waaaay too extreme. Though it has gotten better, I still restrict a lot of food types – dessert, sat fat, oil, chips, and many snack-foods.  Because of that, I think I tend to “eat” with my other senses. I begin to “eat” with my eyes (looking at the food), nose (smelling the food), and fingers (cooking the food). When I don’t eat with my mouth and taste the food, my body fights to find other ways to “eat”.

Why in the world should eating be this hard? Is sleeping, drinking, breathing, peeing, blinking, or any other physiological need hard? No! So I really don’t understand why as a human, I make it so. I mean, does any other animal on the planet get anxiety attacks after eating her/his food? No! So then why do I? I’d bet that if those animals knew what an ED was, they would seriously think I was insane, or just plain dumb. And really, even among humans, we don’t hear, “Oh my goodness, I just breathed 3 breaths too much, now I’ll have too much oxygen in my body for the next 15 seconds. I overslept 30 minutes. I suck!  Oh no, I peed once more than I should have today. Now I’m a horrible, fat, ugly, stupid, worthless, undeserving, disgusting piece of shit with no self-control.”

I’ve never had any of those feelings towards myself for breathing, sleeping, or blinking. However, over the past 2 years, I have called myself every single one of those insults at some point for eating. Why? Why should even the thought of eating certain foods promote anxiety? Why should eating, something every living creature needs to do to keep living, cause such nasty, hurtful feelings? I really don’t know the answer, and I wish I did. I wish I knew why developing an ED and using food as a coping mechanism is what I turned to rather than compulsively holding my pee in or forcing my eyelids open. Eating is equally as necessary as any of the other needs I mentioned, yet it is the only one that gets treated differently. It is the only one I choose to control.

When I’m upset, I immediately want to cope with those feelings by crying…then restricting like crazy. I think it would be great if I could cope by painting a masterpiece or composing a symphony. But I don’t. I (used to) starve myself. I don’t restrict calories anymore, but occasionally I find myself wanting to. As soon as I have a clear answer to why I use food to cope, I can be pretty sure I’ll never have another urge to fall back to ED again. Until then, I’m just taking it day by day.

Ok, so that was the end of the ranting and rambling. This post was all over the place. For some reason, I could not write down my thoughs smoothly enough tonight. I don’t expect many of you to make it though this mess, but if you did, congratulations!     

For the past month, I’ve been doing so well with food. I’ve increased my “safe” food intake and gained weight. I’ve also eaten more “fear” foods and gained a little more mental freedom from ED.  Lately, life has been so much easier, but I still struggle. Today, I felt not fat, but OBESE all freakin’ day. It was awful, and when I got home from ballet, I just broke down. I jumped in my bed and started bawling. I used to cry like that evey day, but I haven’t in so long. I felt so relieved afterwards!

Right now, my mood has been lifted and I am quite happy. A little later I’m going to bake some healthy, chocolate flavored bean cakes brownies. I plan to use this recipe and top it with my pear ginger sorbet by this brand. Then, I’m going to enjoy my snackie and watch the Grammys with Mommy!


Why do you think food is (or was) your coping mechanism? Or are you just as stumped as I am?

Do you watch the Grammys?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. February 13, 2011 8:08 pm

    I made it through your “rant,” which was actually quite cohesive and well written. I wish I had the answer why food is a coping mechanism. It is very frustrating to be incapitated by a mental disease that thrives on fear of one of the things essential to life. Body image must play a role in the desire to restrict. But I do not think that I am so vain that I should be possessed by irrational fear of foods just to lose weight.

    But I’m so proud of the work you’ve been doing to fight your ED. You’re such an inspiration girl, keep going!

  2. Sarah permalink
    February 13, 2011 9:11 pm

    I think this is a great thing to discuss in therapy. I’ve learned through therapy that even before my anorexia started, I’d been using food for various emotional reasons. There was always a TON of emphasis placed on good or bad foods and I was surrounded by dieting as a kid (I actually used to sit in on Weight Watcher’s meetings with my mom and grandma when I was like 8…0_0). I know some people turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with pain, but for me I never wanted people to be able to point out that I had a distinct problem. Restricting my food made this easier (until I got really bad) because I could do it and no one would really have to know. I could just be a little less hungry one day…or maybe not feeling well. Ed was like my own little secret, and I loved that!

    It’s interesting that you ask why we developed eating disorders instead of something else like restricting breathing or peeing (that would be so uncomfortable! lol). I think it has a lot to do with the popular ideas of good food vs. bad food. Whether those were prevalent in your family or not prior to ed, they’re definitely screamed at us by the media. The first thing that we can do to be “good” is to eat “healthy” (whatever that means!). If we think we’re not good enough, it makes sense that we would grasp the one thing society tells us we can do to be good enough and run with it.

    Good job fighting, girlie! And CONGRATS on the croussant yesterday!! Take that ed : ).

  3. February 13, 2011 11:27 pm

    This post totally spoke to me, so you don’t have to apologize for the length 🙂

    Food (or the lack of it) is definitely one of my coping mechanisms. If I’m “feeling fat” or just like I have no control, I start restricting. I guess it’s just because it’s the one thing I feel like I can control. Another big one for me is crying. I’m a really sensitive person and it doesn’t help with my ED at all. It just makes me feel worse, though a big cry can actually be super-helpful.

    Unfortunately, I’ve never watched the Grammys! :O I really want to though, but I always find out too late. There’s always next year, right? 😉

    Stay strong girlie, I know you can do it!

  4. February 14, 2011 3:40 am

    such a beautiful post! i lve how you related eating to other behaviors such as peeing.. so so right!! and i LOVE those brownies- ive made that exact recipe! so so fudgy!

  5. Laura permalink
    February 15, 2011 8:53 am

    I know I’m a little late commenting here, but this post was something I really related to. For a long time, I was really stumped about why I had an eating disorder. Honestly, I have a wonderful life and nothing seemed to add up. Then I started to realize I used my eating disorder to numb feelings. If I concentrated on food (which is actually something you spoke of in the beginning of this post), then I didn’t have time to think about how I was feeling. The less I ate, the more I focused on what I was eating, the less emotion I had to feel. I also used it to alleviate anxiety and fear, by thinking that if I just ate a little less, no a little less, no even less, then I’d be thin enough and wouldn’t have to worry so much. Basically, every anxiety and fear I had was transformed into worry and fear about weight and food. For me, it was also something that was dependable and reliable – no matter what, I could go back to those thoughts, eat less to weigh less. No matter what, it would be there. I think it was also, in a very strange way, my way of communicating with people (not in an attention-seeking way, though) and it also gave me a sense of purpose. I don’t know if any of these things ring true for you, but I hope that maybe I gave you some things to think about. I know that my reasons for my eating disorder aren’t the typical perfectionism/control issues/family issues, etc. so maybe you relate a little more? Anyway, I hope it helped, and if you ever want to talk about recovery and eating disorders, I’d love to email.

  6. February 15, 2011 7:15 pm

    Hey! I just found your blog, and I have been trying to read up on some of your older posts 🙂 I just want to let you know that you are an AMAZING person, and I know you can do this! Recovery is one of the hardest things we do, but it is SO worth it 🙂

    Stay strong,


  7. February 20, 2011 8:15 am

    I can totally relate to your frustration. I always wonder the same thing- why this? Why? Why should it be so hard, why do we make it so hard? So frusturating! Even more so, when you figure out the reason, it doesn’t even necessarily stop it! Like the fact that we know it’s bad- doesn’t stop the thoughts, doesn’t make us think “You’re right, this is unhealthy.” and then stop. Nope..much much harder than that.

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