Fried Chicken: Eating Intuitively (Dear Cookie Monster)

Fried Chicken: Eating Intuitively

Dear All of You,

Quick note (I swear this is not a diary): first day of work was inexplicably excellent.

At least with the kids, not with the adults, which was my biggest concern.

I was really awkward and nervous around the adults but surprisingly good-natured and relaxed around the kids once I stopped being unnerved by all those staring eyes. It made them relax, too, which was really nice.

Now they all say “hello” to me in the hallway with big smiles and I cannot explain how incredibly giddy that makes me. Sort of like getting that email from a friend the other day – no one is that happy to see my anymore.

Now, on to business:

I’ve been having trouble separating into different ages so I (we) can write letters.

So much has been going on and I just want to write about that (like a diary) rather than focus on this writing project’s intention (writing letters). We were all there, so writing about what happened serves no purpose most of the time. It’s just a non-constructive indulgence.

Well, enough of that.

Here’s an idea to get back into letter writing: Let’s share things that helped us handle life when we were our respective ages.

I (25 years old) have been all of you, seen through your eyes, thought your thoughts , and done what you do. Most of that has shaped who I am, and the rest is probably there as well but I’ve just forgotten it.

So, remind me. Tell me about your best tools for navigating your world.

I’ll go first: this blog of writing letters has brought me so much relief and clarity than anything else before.

It’s made me feel compassion for my younger self/ves rather than angry or ashamed. I (we) are still working on this, but I (we) have come a huge way in a relatively short amount of time.

Another thing: just eating what I want when I want has helped tremendously.

I’ve had an eating disorder since I was eleven, yet recently, I somehow have been able to suspend all that for small windows of time (currently in one).

It works like this:

If I want a deep-fried chicken steak the size of my face (literally – I am not exaggerating), I go to the specific food stall about 30 minutes away by subway just to eat one.

I’ve gone there so many times since I arrived a few months ago that the guy now recognizes me and tells all his co-workers I’m his “Foreigner Friend.” I don’t know if that’s something to be happy about since I started eating there while I was deep in my binge fest, but the chicken is great, so I don’t care.

After I eat my deep-fried chicken, I don’t want to binge because I ate what I wanted in the first place. Normally, I would spend at least another hour or so bingeing at the rest of the food stalls in that market, but I didn’t do that the last time I went (about a week ago). Just ate the chicken and left.

The same thing happened yesterday when I had to pick up my health check results from the hospital and felt that familiar rush anxiety, shame, and depression.

Afterwards, I really wanted some frozen yogurt at that great place (45 mins away) that has amazing toppings and you can get an actual brownie (like it actually is a legit brownie that could have been made back home). My mom always gave me ice cream when I was sick and I just wanted to feel that familiar comfort

After that, I didn’t feel like bingeing. The last time I went to the hospital a week or so ago (to get the health check done), I binged so much both before and after. Not at all this time. Not at all. I cried a bit in the subway bathroom, but I didn’t stuff it down with food.

Normally, I would just binge and not know why besides not wanting to feel what I felt. Or just feel a compulsion and have no idea at all that there was anything else to it other than a primal desire to consume everything and anything.

Amazingly, the weight I gained from bingeing non-stop for several months several times per day has started to slide off.

I don’t mean that as a “phew, finally I’m getting rid of all those pesky/disgusting pounds!” I’m not going to disrespect my body like that anymore. My body reflects what I put into it. It just does it job. It doesn’t gain or lose weight to be upsetting, unfair, or infuriating on purpose. It just is and anything I feel about it is just me not accepting that.

The weight coming off is convenient because it is easier to move around and wear clothes and not feel so conspicuous. It also makes me feel better because that weight gain resulted from bingeing, isolation, and despair

This is not about the weight itself, but rather how it got there. Not that bingeing and gaining weight is bad, just that it’s not fulfilling the need it’s intended to take care of.

Ok, moving on.

I am just eating, some days more, some days less.

Some days I want lots of sugar, other days I crave vegetables (like the past two days. I don’t think I’ve eaten a vegetable intentionally since August). 

I’ve just been rolling with it and it has been incredible. I saw a flyer at work today for a staff banquet in January and my first thought was “Ooh there’s going to be lots of tasty food there” rather than “How can I get out of this so people don’t see how weird I am with food?”

Just surrendering has been the key, as well as letting go of my beliefs about food.

For example, I used to think (still kind of – this might take years to change) that sugar would make me hungry, so I wouldn’t eat it, and the binge on it and blame the bingeing on the sugar rather than me not letting myself eat it in the first place.

Now, I just eat and therefore I don’t binge. If I feel hungry (due to sugar or because I actually need food), I eat because not eating when I’m hungry will end up making me binge.

So simple.

Incredibly difficult (although surprisingly natural and intuitive sometimes), but simple.

Ok, I’m tired now. It has been a long day and I have to do it all again tomorrow.

Best wishes,

Ana (age 25)


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