I ate a donut for breakfast today. I don’t eat a lot of donuts. But this morning I wanted a donut. So I went and I and got one. And it was pretty good. It wasn’t the amazing thing that I thought it would be, but it was good. Perhaps it wasn’t amazing because I didn’t prohibit it and tell myself that I couldn’t have it, then get into a battle where my compulsive self finally took over and just bought it and sat in a dark corner and forbiddenly ate it. No, it wasn’t that high pleasure of “sooooo good” that comes with anguish and emotion and stress and relief after winning or losing a battle with desire and food. It was good. It was a doughnut. Nothing more. Nothing worth life or death or orgasmic or thinking about too much about. It was just a doughnut. Without any emotion tied to it. And so, it was fine. It was a freaking doughnut.
And then at lunch, I had some avocado and turkey slices over a bed of spinach, because that’s what I wanted.
About 15 years ago, if I’d gotten a donut for breakfast, it wouldn’t just be a donut. It would have been an emotional event. I would have fought with myself and fought with myself and fought with myself about it. I would have asked myself what I was really feeling, why did I want this donut? What was I really hungry for? And I would agonize and try to keep myself from eating the donut and this war would last for awhile. And if I gave in and ate the donut, I would be so angry at myself. And then the rest of the day would turn into a binge day. I’d dive into cakes and cookies and bagels and pasta and bread pretty much all day long. Because I felt that one “indiscretion” with food ruined the day and it would then be filled with foods that made my body feel unfed and uncomfortable.
I would be so anxious that if I had a donut in the morning that it would set the tone for the day that it would.
But today, I ate a donut without a whole lot of self protesting. Because I knew that just because I had one donut, it didn’t mean that I had to spend the day eating food that made me feel bad. I knew that the donut was not going to throw me off balance and that I could balance it out with a healthy lunch. And I did. And I did it without thinking about it too much.
I thought that I would mention it because today I noticed that my body and my mind were so integrated with intuitive action around food that I was no longer trapped thinking about it all the time. Eating the donut for breakfast and eating the salad for lunch both just happened because it was what my body asked for. People ask me if you can ever truly be cured of your food issues and not have to think about it constantly for the rest of your life. My answer to that is yes. There will come a time when you can eat a donut for breakfast. There will come a time when eating a donut for breakfast won’t mean that you are having a “bad day with food,” or that you are undisciplined or bad. There will come a day when donut (or any other “forbidden food”) doesn’t taste like the most amazing thing on earth, that it just tastes good because food is no longer the center of your universe. Recovery is possible and full recovery, where you are just eating without worrying too much about it, is completely possible.
It’s okay to eat a donut. It doesn’t make you bad or shameful or naughty like some may have you believe. When you are on the other side of recovery for your food issues, eating a “trigger food,” becomes possible because it won’t set you off because you will be in a place where you have balance with food. The food won’t have power or control over you. It will just be a donut. Nothing more, nothing less. There won’t be meaning or a moral value attached to it.