Usually in my cupboard (unless someone else buys my food for me - like my momma!) I have a mix between the "eating disorder" foods and the "jenn in recovery" foods. And the amounts of each of these groups depends on where I am currently at in recovery. Right now... I am disappointed to say that most of my food is "ED food" and I realize that is not good, but... it's how I am coping right now and it's the only way I can get myself to eat at all lately - so I am trying to pick my battles, if you know what I mean...
I know I am not supposed to be buying the diet foods, the low-fat or fat free foods, and low calorie foods but the urges to buy these foods are still so strong! Especially when I am so used to buying these foods for so long without any guilt while I was actively listening to the ed (this is prior to my start in recovery). Those are the foods I feel safe buying and safe eating. I am working on it, and sometimes I do better than other times.
But I think the biggest thing that gives me anxiety when it comes to grocery shopping is the mental battle I have over what to buy. Most of the time, all of the planning I make before I go (and everything I have learned in treatment) - quickly goes out the window once I get to the store and start shopping. And that's one of the reasons it takes me so long in the store. Because I am going up and down all the isles, looking at all the food, and fighting with my ed thoughts over what I "should" buy and what "the ed wants" me to buy. I am obsessing over the different foods!
Here is an example of what goes on in my head when trying to decide:
"This one would be safer because it has less calories. But I am supposed to be in recovery so I should get the regular one. But I can't get the regular one because it will make me fat, and it's too scary to eat! If I just get this safe one then I am more likely to eat it...)"
That is just one example of the many arguments I have with myself. It's exhausting. It's overwhelming. It's too much pressure - and therefore, the ed usually wins so I can move on to the next item. There are three options when it comes to grocery shopping - and all of them give me anxiety & overwhelm me. But here they are:
Option one: I go and buy lots of food to just get it over with so I won't have to go again for a while - but then that gives me anxiety over all the food I have at home, and that stresses me out (especially if a lot of it are my fear foods). And I usually have to throw a lot of it away because it expires before I am able to force myself to eat it. And then that makes me feel bad because I am always wasting food and wasting money.
Option two: I go and just get a little bit - but then I get anxiety knowing I have to go back in just a few days and do it all over again, and then again a few days later, and then again, and so on...
Option three: I go with someone else - but then I feel rushed and hurried and that give me anxiety! Because other people go waaaay too fast for my comfort level! It takes me (and I am not exaggerating when I say this) hours to grocery shop! I spend waaaay too much time in the grocery store. And why does it take me this long? Because I am obsessing over the labels on the food (I try not to but I can't help it, I have to do it or my anxiety is worse).
Option three is probably the best option (and it's the one I do the least) because I am not able to get away with buying "ED" foods (especially if I go with my momma). But then we come to the issue of me not being able to eat it, and then having to throw it away, or it just sits in my cupboard for months because most of the foods we get are fear foods if I go with someone (like my mom).
So to make this long story short, I hate grocery shopping. I hate it and I hope that when I get further into recovery it won't be such a stressful thing for me. I think maybe the reason why I am writing about this now is because I am struggling a lot when it comes to eating. I am feeling super discouraged because I went grocery shopping a couple of days ago. I did option one - and so I have a lot of food, but most of it now is my safe "ED" food. I am also feeling discouraged because I am still on "weight restoration" and still trying to get myself to my treatment teams goal weight for me. (And it doesn't help that I have lost the few pounds that I was able to gain recently...yes I am weighing myself and I don't want to talk about it). And I realize that I can't get there on the low-fat/fat-free and low calorie foods that I feel safe eating. And I know that is one of the major reasons why I can only reach and maintain my "goal weight" when I am inpatient or hospitalized and therefore being forced to consume large amounts of fattening foods and/or having the NG tube (a.k.a. - feeding tube) which I hate! I try to do it on my own but I always fail. It's frusterating and it's discouraging. And I know that it just gives the ed more power to bring destruction in my life.
But it's how I have been coping lately. I know that's not an excuse - but it's the truth. I am trying to be honest here, because this is a place that I feel safe being honest. A couple weeks ago, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I kind of took a turn backwards and towards the eating disorder. I thought I could turn things around but as these weeks have gone by I am realizing that I am slipping. I am slipping fast! I am worried, but there is still time to turn it around. And I need to turn it around soon or I am going to be back in the hospital. Which can't happen right now because I interviewed for another job a few days ago and I think I have a really good shot at getting it! I need this new job - it would be a really perfect job and the last thing I need is a major relapse... but that's where I feel I have been headed.
I didn't want to say anything earlier because I was ashamed and thought I could turn it around. I am saying it now because it needs to be said in the hopes that I can turn it around and back into the direction of recovery! I have been working so hard to stay out of the hospital, inpatient, & IOP. And I haven't had any emergency room visits so far this year - which, if you know me & my history, is an amazing thing for me to accomplish! And I don't want to start it up again now. But I will turn it around... I have to!