What French Toast Taught Me
If I could guess a similarity between you - my lovely reader - and myself, it's going to be that at some point in your life, you had felt anxious after consuming a sugary food. Maybe it was a funnel cake at a school fair, maybe it was Grandma's chocolate cake that you look forward to at every Christmas. Or maybe it got to a point of fearing other foods such as fruit because of its sugar content.
I can relate among all of those.
Nevertheless, feeling guilty for consuming something that tastes DELICIOUS happens far too often. Even for me - who finally chose to go all in for recovery. It is exceedingly difficult to escape the myriad of social media and constant chatter among the dinner table of deciding what foods are "good" and what foods are "bad". We can't escape the reality of our society.
But we can change how we think to ourselves.
So today, I wanted to share with you my thoughts I have learned to help work through my fear paralysis of eating a "bad" food (specifically for today: sugar).
My nutritionist left this on my food log the other day:
"French toast has...much needed energy and pleasure (pleasure and satisfaction are essential for whole-person health)."
I went out to dinner with a bunch of my friends to enjoy breakfast for dinner - one of my FAVORITE things to do. Yet when I sat at the dinner table and examined the menu full of mouth watering pancakes and french toast, I felt the anxiety and ED thoughts linger back into my head.
"You already had enough sugar for today, get eggs because they are low and calories but have protein to keep you full so you won't feel hungry."
"If you eat those pancakes, you are going to feel so disgusting and bloated - you won't look good in that skirt you were planning on wearing out later tonight. Who wants to see that??"
The thing was though...I wanted that french toast. The sweet taste of sugar and bread - always count me in. But at the same time, I was paralyzed by the fear of it not being "nutritious" enough. Why consume it if its not going to benefit my body? I spent these moments up until the waitress asked me for my order to dwell over these thoughts.
"I'll have the gluten free french toast please."
Once those words left my lips, anxiety took over. I felt it closing in and it take control of enjoying myself. Why did I just order that?? .
WELL ED, I ordered it because it brought satisfaction to my health. I was given the opportunity to spend quality time with my dear friends, enjoy a warm, cooked meal and laugh. As my lovely nutritionist pointed out to me: these feelings of joy and satisfaction are crucial for my well being. I'll never get that time back with my friends and that is more important to think about than how many silly calories are in a serving of french toast. I am here to live a life of quality, and not decrease the quantity (and I am talking about calories and the experiences I can have over here). So here is my reminder:
When the anxiety arises (which it will) and the fear consumes you (completely inevitable), have some reminders - either logged in your phone or write it on your wrist. Use some sort of platform to help bring you away from that foggy hole. Remind yourself that one time will not cause a domino effect. Meaning eating some pancakes or a cupcake will not ricochet into binging on sweets for the rest of your life.
Journaling these feelings also is very helpful. It amazes me to reread old entries I had kept and see how upset I was for eating dessert, (or even at times a freaking protein bar) and realize that I didn't blow up or gain weight. All it did to me at the moment was disconnect me from my loved ones and friends.
Don't let obsessing over what is a "good" and "bad" food take away your quality of life. You have one life to live - it's your duty to live it in full.
And yes that means honoring your joy and satisfaction. Make that a high priority. Especially if that means eating a damn plate of french toast.