It’s been a week of eating more, of making sure I leave the table with a sense of fullness and of course, it makes me feel a sense of greed and lack of self-control. And yet, the last couple of days, I’ve found myself getting hungry about 2 hours post-lunch, even after making sure I have eaten more than enough to keep me filled until the next meal/snack. I wondered whether this emptiness within me was purely psychological or merely because of ‘Gluttony’ being unlocked. So I paid Google a visit and I came across this blog that hit me in the face with every feeling I’ve been going through the last few weeks.
As I read about this idea of ‘extreme hunger‘ and how to ride the wave, it reminded me of how in previous attempts at recovery, I had to go through exactly that before my body told me that it was happy and didn’t need to hanker after all the added fats and carbs and sugars anymore. Still, as much as I know about this through past experiences, ED has been doing a good job convincing me that this time is different, this recovery journey will see me losing control and never being able to find that balance within my body, and that I will never stop gaining weight.
I agree with Sarah that recovery shouldn’t be about ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods, ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ foods. My body has been put through a lot of trauma with all the rules and restrictions that I placed upon it, and more than I realise, I have probably also created a lot of destruction internally that requires repair and restoration. The fact that I may crave for sweets and breads and peanut butter only serves to highlight that my body needs and wants these things to fuel my recovery. And as much as ED would like to deceive me into thinking that this will be forever, it will not, just as the many survivors of ED who shared about their extreme hunger experiences in Sarah’s blog has held testament to.
While I haven’t gone through intense periods of extreme hunger, just one-off days mainly, I have to admit that it isn’t easy to sit with. Yesterday, after adding an extra slice of Peanut Butter slathered Banana Walnut Toast topped with Honey to my afternoon snack, and digging into my favourite tub of Haagen-Dazs Macadamia Nut Ice-Cream, and having a Red Bean Pau after with a side of Chocolate Milk, I went off to meet Flo for a special dinner that he wanted to treat me to because he could see how much effort I have been putting into recovery lately.
My stomach felt incredibly bloated and distended and my abdomen screamed with discomfort and a sharp ache as if punishing me for the additional food. Still, I wanted to enjoy dinner with my favourite man. And enjoy it we did at Bincho at Hua Bee.
I even had my first cocktail in 10 years(!!) and finished it although the Asian in me obviously meant that my blood rushed to my head and ears and before I knew it, I felt all dozy. It was Longan Sakura Tequila that I had and I have to admit, I enjoyed it although I think it was the last gulp at the end that got the alcohol pulsing through my veins.
Flo and I ordered off the ala-carte menu some beautiful sashimi – Tuna, Salmon, Mackerel, Sea Bream and Yellowtail. We sat right in front of the open kitchen which gave us a wonderful view of the chefs at work, not only cooking our food before our very eyes, but also plating them with such elegance and beauty. It was definitely a visual feast for us as well!
The platter of Grilled Vegetables encompassed a mix of interesting greens. To eat with Mushroom Salt were the sweet Japanese Baby Corn and the Large Broad Beans. The earthy bitterness of the Brussel Sprouts were offset by the citrus acidity of the Yuzu Miso it was paired with. My personal favourite were the Bamboo Shoots that went amazingly well with the sweet, salty umaminess of the Kinome Miso.
We also had a portion of tender, perfectly seasoned Kurobota Pork with melty, sweet Black Garlic. I wasn’t quite so keen on the layers of fat within the pork but I have to admit that I’ve never had pork yield so easily to the bite before. And while I think you can never go wrong with garlic, Black Garlic is like a whole other level that brings you another step closer to heaven!
Our last dish was also my favourite of the night. It was the most amazing Grilled Octopus I have ever had. It was so soft and almost creamy without that chewy, rubbery texture that octopus is so known for. The one served here at Bincho was simply excellence personified in my humble opinion with a subtle crustacean sweetness that was beautiful without the need for much embellishment.
Of course, as dinner rounded up, I could feel the discomfort around my abdominal area intensify. My heart was racing and I felt short of breath. Flo and I went for a walk around the quaint neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru before we hailed a cab home.
I’m not sure if it was the alcohol in my system but I have been getting heart palpitations more often this recovery period and feeling a lot warmer especially after heavier meals. I’ve been waking up more in the middle of the night to pull the blankets off of me because I get uncomfortably hot whereas only over a month ago, I was burying myself under them to gather some warmth.
I mentioned earlier that I believe that food shouldn’t be categorised into ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and similarly, I am beginning to think too that where recovery is concerned, there needn’t be a set time for snacks if my body feels hungry before or after those times. There needs to be some flexibility as well. Kind of like how we feed babies when they’re hungry, we should feed ourselves when the body screams for food too.
Also, I think that closing myself off to certain foods or saying that I can only eat at this time and only this amount of snack is in effect a form of control and fear towards calories. Right now, breaking the rules as wrong as it feels, as guilty as it feels, as disgusting as it feels, is exactly what’s right. And I guess the more ED tries to convince me otherwise – and we all know how convincing it can be, the more I need to go against it. Funny how I used to rebel so much against my parents in my teenage years when all they wanted was the best for me. Yet, with ED, which wants to destroy me, rebelling against it is hard work. But as my psychiatrist Dr. Lee used to always say, “If it feels like work, you’re doing it right”.
On that note, I have also decided to start seeing a psychologist whom one of my good friends, an incredible ED survivor now ED psychologist, recommended to me. I figured that as well as I believe I’m currently doing on the eating front, I still need some support psychologically and seeing someone professional with experience in this field may be beneficial in helping me stay strong and move further along in my recovery. I want a full recovery (or indefinite remission as some might call it) this time – not a partial one as with every other time I have tried.
I thank God every day for Flo always reminding me the reasons I want to recover and be well, for the hugs and reassurances that he provides me with every morning and every night, for the love he shows me even when I feel awful.
I thank God every day for Mum and Dad who check in on me through text or visits to my place to make sure I am ok; providing encouragement and support when I’m feeling distressed after eating ‘too much’.
I thank God every day for strength to carry me through the day even when I wake up feeling weak and not wanting to go through my meals valiantly. It is because of Him that I find myself able to press on with every meal.
I am blessed and I have so much more to live for. With every night that falls, with every day that turns into darkness, the light within me shines brighter and the life within me grows. Hope. Faith. Love. I have all three.