Life without Anorexia

My motto is
'Dont let the sadness of your past & the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present'

My life at the moment is completely different to how it once was. I spent 5 years sick with anorexia nervosia and depression as well as struggling with self harm and overexercising. I spent 2 years in different treatment centres.
And since 2012 i have been declared healthy from my eating disorder.

I have been blogging for 7 years, and my whole journey is written in my posts. I now represent healthy and happiness. I want to show anyone struggling that it is possible to recover, no matter how hard it may seem.

I now blog about recovery, my life, veganism and positivity!

If you have any questions leave them in the comment section as i am much quicker at answering there, otherwise you can always send an email: lifewithoutanorexia@hotmail.com

Translate

Monday, January 25, 2016

Social eating

As for questions, mine would be about social eating again. I'm a healthy weight and I eat healthily on my own, though perhaps a bit chaotically. What I struggle with when it's social is not so much embarrassment that I eat, as the sense of other people's expectations, the combination of power and food, and the sense of being judged partly by the way I eat.
It isn't just ok to go out for a meal with people and not participate in the food the way they expect you to -- there is a kind of power that makes it necessary to submit to those expectations, and if you don't, they sometimes get cross or upset, and they want explanations, as if it were something simple to explain.
When I'm on my own, I do what my body needs. When with others there are social expectations which take over, but I can't handle eating to social expectation... I get nervous, I stop wanting to eat, I get cross ...



Hello,
  I understand completely what you are saying, there are some sort of "social expectations" when you eat with others. For example, here in Sweden there is alot of "fika", basically meaning coffee and cake time which often happens in work places and sometimes in school as well. And then there are usually buns and cakes and cookies offered as well as tea and coffee, and it is sort of expected for everyone to take... to be social. And in the beginning, after my eating disorder i would always take even if i didnt want to and it was 1) to be social and to join the group and 2) because i wanted to make sure it wasnt my eating disorder saying i shouldnt or couldnt have the cookie or cake, just because it was "extra". But then after a while i realised, i didnt have to eat it just because it was offered.... some would say it is socially correct to take some, but i dont think so. Everyone has a choice, i mean you can try some if you want, but if you dont want it, you shouldnt feel pressured to take it. If i wasnt hungry or wasnt craving what was offered then i would politely decline, but i would still sit there with my friends... and at first they asked why, but then i just said i didnt want any and that was that. Each time something was offered i made the choice if i wanted some or not, based on if i was hungry or craving what was offered and nobody really cared if i said no. (Though i recommend to anyone, if they are struggling with a restrictive eating disorder.... then say yes to food when it is offered, just to fight your ED. When you have a healthier mindset, then you can make a choice based on hunger and craving, and not just based on calories and fear).

One thing i have noticed though is that when people get cross or irritated or begin to question your choice, that is because there is an internal dillemma for them. Because in all honesty, it is no body elses business what someone else eats (unless, it is a doctor or family member who is helping you or concerned about your eating habits). For example, if you order a salad with some bread and then someone else orders pasta and then they begin questioning why you took a salad and not something else and it becomes a sort of interogation... then its often because the problem is within themselves. They might be insecure or might think they should have ordered a salad as well or something else... so the problem isnt you. Everyone has the right to order what they want when they go out to eat.


Though it can be good to think about that if you are going out to eat with a group and you know you are going to a pizza place or italien place and you know that everyone will order pizza, then you might want to do that as well instead of ordering a salad just because it is your usual and what you would enjoy most....  (Though i guess there are other dishes like pasta, chicken, fish etc at italien restaurants or pizzza places etc). But really, like mentioned above you can order whatever you want and if people ask questions, tell them the truth.....  and be honest to yourself about the truth as well (i.e make sure you choose your food based on what you want to eat and enjoy, not just calories... the body knows how to deal with extra calories every once in a while!). People may question you, but who cares.... they shouldnt get angry at you and if they do, well then they have their own problems (UNLESS.... it is that you eat very restrictively and someone wants to help you but all you do is eat very little and choose the lowest kcal, then it can be frustratin for people. But as the person who wrote this said they eat healthily (hopefully meaning enough) then i presume that you can make choices based on what you like and not just calories?).

Some people may ask out of curiosity, for example if you choose gluten free or lactose free, and then you just say that you are lactose intolerant or gluten intolerant (because otherwise there is no need to order LF or GF!!!!). 


The only way to overcome this obstacle and the fear which you seem to have is to face it. Go out to eat and order whatever it is you want.... even if you go out with 5 girls and they all order salad and you want pasta, go for it... order what you want, not just what everyone else is ordering. I never personally feel the social expectation of how i should eat when i am with others, because i just eat what i want..... sure i have gotten questions when i have said no to food offered, but that was just the first time or so. And i have also gotten questions regarding the amount i eat, but then i just explain that i have a fast metabolism and exercise alot so need alot of food, and then after a while they dont make comments. The best thing to do is to answer peoples questions honestly and straightforward, no need to smile and act shy... that wont get you anywhere.

Or actually, when i think about it.... the one time i felt a sort of "Pressure" to choose something differently than what i wanted was my first date with my boyfriend. We went to burger place and i dont actually like burgers, but i ordered a falafel burger anyway as i didnt want to give the impression that i was someone who ate very little and just ate salads.... but then after the second or third date, my true self came forward and i was like... i enjoy my salads so i will eat those, but i will also eat starters and dessert!! haha. So at that moment i felt pressured to ordered a burger, (im making it sound like a bad thing, it wasnt... but more, that i shouldnt have felt that pressure).


I feel like i am just wandering off and making this post super long, but know that you can order what you want. Dont worry about what others think, everyone always has their different opinions and people always think its ok to make comments about what other people are eating or not eating - which in my opinion is unnecessary. But you shouldnt live in fear and not go out to eat just because you are worried about what others will think..... it will pass. You need to face the fear and realise it is ok, it is ok to eat differently from the norm!!! You need to eat, even when you are with others, and if people are judging or making comments about your food then they most likely have their own internal problems... unless their comments are infact helpful comments because of disordered eating.... that is something you need to distunguish yourself!

I know this post wanders off and isnt so clear, but i hope it helps somewhat :)



4 comments:

  1. Thank you, Izzy. It was me who asked the question. I wish everyone felt the way you do about this! I think the responses I get from people are sometimes that they have issues with food, but sometimes it is more that do feel that you are being rude if you don't participate in a certain way. In both cases, people get genuinely upset by me, and it's horrible to upset people so much. And it isn't right that I should put food before their contentment, but it is also very hard to give up my freedom to eat as I like. Anyway, I must work on it.... Until everyone thinks like you! Which would be much easier for us all...! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well that's true, I guess not everyone thinks like me... but I truly wonder why people would get so upset that you eat differently? As that really isn't healthy or normal? If it's your friends or family that act that way I would talk about it as it's very strange, I think anyway. But if it's work colleges or people "you sort of know" well then you can't really talk about it, but it's very strange if they get angry or upset that you eat differently. ... you have the right to choose what you want to eat. But it might also have to do with culture? I don't know where you live and that might have to do with how people react to how you eat.... in Sweden I guess people might be more liberal and none caring, and if people get upset or ask lots of questions regarding what others are eating it is because they are curious or have some type of problem. .... but it might be different where you live. ... which is why people might act differently. But for some it might be a sense of control as well? Some people like to control what others eat and if you eat differently they don't have that control? But I hope you learn to be confident in yourself and learn that it's ok to eat differently, even if not everyone approves. Do what makes you feel best and what is best for your body. But sometimes I guess you just got to conform as well.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think I understand this. Something similar happened to me where my partner has curry nights but as curry really does not agree with me I opt to have something different. At first he didn't like it and refused to have curry nights saying what was the point as I wasn't having curry but now he just gets on and orders his takeaway and I have something else. I felt pressured at first and did indeed give in but it made me feel so rotten I thought why am I doing this? eating something just to make others happy - so I decided enough was enough and no more!
    It is difficult not to bow to social pressure but you have to stay focused on what you as an individual want to eat or participate in and stick to it. If those people don`t agree or take offence then Izzy is right, the problem is with them, not you. You can be social without eating the same as everyone else. Its rather like alcohol I guess - if you don`t drink then you can sometimes be classed as a bit of an outsider, but I think if that's peoples attitudes then maybe I don`t want to be round them so much as they're not the friends I thought them to be.
    I hope you find some solution to this, but please try not to feel beholden to others when it comes to food, you are you and what right have they to dictate to you what you eat? I can understand it is hard but I think if it were me then perhaps I wouldn't want to be around those people if they made me so miserable about should be a social occasion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, both Carol and Izzy, for your supportive words and shared experience. X

      Delete