Each morning, I have a stare-down with my breakfast. I could have a Nugo bar or a Clif bar or a smoothie. I could have orange juice or one of three types of lemonade. I know the exact caloric values of each of these. Nugo bars are lower in calories than Clif bars and Nugo bars tend to taste better. Nugo bars taste like candy bars; they probably are glorified candy bars. On that note, I decide on a Clif bar. I usually pace the sips of my juice or lemonade to last longer than the Clif bar.
I do not usually eat lunch until after 2 pm since my classes run until 1:50 pm. Some days, during my noon class, all I can think about is lunch. I weigh my options. I can go to Boulder and grab a wrap or a salad. I can go to the smoothie place or the taco place. I can play it safe and get a muffin and a piece of fruit. I stare at the clock, growing more anxious with each minute.
Usually I get a wrap, since I like monotony. A spinach wrap with pepper jack, black olives, honey mustard, avocado, and sometimes pickles, toasted. I eat in my room or with friends, depending on if I see anyone I know and how anxious I feel. I cannot eat alone in public–that would be like walking around naked. I do not mind eating with other people, although it usually triggers my anxiety.
Thoughts infiltrate my mind like water in a sponge. Everyone must think I am fat. I sit up straighter and suck in my stomach.
I try to spend as much time as I can with friends or studying. It reduces my risk of obsessing over food. Even when I am engaged in conversation or writing out Latin flashcards, thoughts of food and weight creep into my mind.
I should not have eaten that before. What should I have for dinner? Maybe I shouldn’t eat. I should work out. At this point, I usually catch myself and ask what is triggering these thoughts. Sometimes these thoughts creep in when I am anxious, bored, upset, lonely, or tired. Other times, I am physically hungry, and should be thinking about food.
Obsessing over food is not trendy, cool, or fun; it is distracting, annoying, and almost tore my life apart. While people like to joke about being obsessed with food, they probably are not. Liking food and obsessing over it are completely different; someone who likes food enjoys trying new foods or likes certain foods whereas someone who has an obsession cannot stop thinking about it, and it could interfere with a person’s life.
When we portray it as trendy, we belittle the struggles of those with eating disorders. I did not choose to be obsessed with food, and I do not think I am cool for it. My eating disorder is an illness that I battle everyday.