When I had an eating disorder, I would relieve the anxiety of said eating disorder by writing down all of the things I had eaten that day, or was going to eat that day. I would be in lecture – college, medical school, residency – and start scribbling on the side of my notes: banana 100 calories, cereal 120 calories, soymilk 80 calories…and on and on and on. I would write different permutations depending on what I thought I would eat that day. I had most foods memorized by caloric content and was pretty proud of that fact.
I would also read a lot of blogs by people who had “recovered” from disordered eating or who were advocates of “healthy eating”. These blogs would undoubtedly have a What I Ate Wednesday (or WIAW) feature. These bloggers would write things like “spoonful of dark chocolate chips” or “tablespoon of cashew butter” to show how indulgent they were in their eating. All of it was insane.
I also remember thinking: “After I have kids, I’ll still eat healthy and work out. I won’t let myself go!” Well, that was also an insane thought, because I can barely manage to pack a lunch these days, much less make sure that it’s nutritionally sound.
And so I thought it would be interesting to write down what I really ate today, this Wednesday, mostly as a parody but also so that if anyone with disordered eating or hypothalamic amenorrhea were to read this, they would hopefully realize that most people don’t measure out what they eat, and that’s actually normal.
Breakfast: I have no idea. I know, this is a terrible way to start WIAW. But the main point here is: when you don’t obsess about eating all day, it actually takes quite a bit of effort to think about what you ate. I know I drank coffee w/ soymilk (Yes, coffee is not great during pregnancy, but I just now in the second trimester starting craving it again and only have 6-8 oz on the days that I do drink it). Oh wait, now I remember: a scone from Trader Joe’s – not sure what type.
Lunch: PB&J sandwich, Strawberry Fage yogurt
Mid-afternoon snack: biscotti, hot chocolate, apple
Dinner: tortilla chips, TJ’s meatless patties x 2, baked oven fries, bites of the veggie burgers I made for my kids. Most of this was eaten standing up.
Dessert: chocolate chip cookie, vanilla ice cream
The best part about having recovered from disordered eating is that I can write everything down and feel nothing – no joy if I ate “well”, disappointment if I ate “badly”. That list is just facts. I don’t feel good or bad about it, and that’s an incredibly liberating feeling. Honestly, there was a time in my life when I thought that I would never feel that sense of freedom around eating. I feel so fortunate to have overcome it and hope that anyone struggling with disordered eating will soon overcome it as well.