I had the most fabulous brunch on Sunday. There's an awesome neighborhood-type place around the corner from the shop where I got my wedding dress. ('inoteca, if you're in this neck of the woods.) I got out of the house, got out of the neighborhood (a real feat) and had some seriously good food: bruschette topped with the freshest ricotta, pesto, and olive tapenade you can imagine (that's three different bruschette, not all on one), and the house brunch specialty, which is basically two egg yolks in scooped-out artisan bread topped with fontina, dried roe, and white truffle oil. Also: blood orange mimosas. Also also: Nutella panini.
It wasn't a ridiculous amount of food, all in all. It wasn't even a large amount of food, but a large variety. But you can't do a meal like that in the midst of an eating disorder. You can't relax at brunch, or at most any meal. You certainly can't relax about something like white truffle oil or ricotta or fontina, much less Nutella, unless you are that rare anorexic or bulimic who can truly compartmentalize. Unfortunately, non-compartmentalization is part of the disease and its progression. You start out able to compartmentalize to a certain extent, in certain situations, and by the peak your entire life is structured around your anorexia, your bulimia, your exercise bulimia, your binge eating, etc. That's not to say you can't eat any of these foods; but even if you don't purge them afterward you can't simply enjoy them, unless you get momentarily lucky.
Even several years out from my anorexia and several months out from clinically fitting the bill of "bulimia nervosa," I had to take quite a few moments to remind myself to enjoy. So what if this meal mostly consisted of bread? It was one meal, and it was a really, really good one. So what if prosecco added calories to the blood orange juice? Sunday brunch only comes once a week - more realistically, once every few months. In these moments of discomfort I paused in my head, and I breathed, and I resumed my enjoyment. And it was great.
Eating disorder recovery is a lifestyle choice. Need to learn how to make the choice? NEDA can help.