Picture this: you are in a restaurant and really craving a burger. Or a salad. You freeze. Will people judge what you choose? Do you judge what other's choose? And how does this get in the way of your Food Peace journey? Listen to this latest episode of Love Food with special guest Jenna Hollenstein RD author of Eat to Love.
This episode's Dear Food letter:
I have recently been on an uphill battle to try and fix our relationship. After countless years of living a secret life with an unacknowledged eating disorder- consisting largely of restricting and bingeing- I made the change to recognize and treat my disordered eating patterns. I have since been diagnosed with an eating disorder and am currently adventuring through the recovery process with a support system of professionals and loved ones.
Although I can feel and appreciate the changes that I’ve made and the growth that I’ve experienced, there is one recurring thought I cannot let go of. I feel that it is keeping me trapped in my eating disorder world. Currently, I am gradually increasing my food intake and attempting to diversify the types of food that I consume. However, I’m finding this to be a painfully difficult experience because I cannot stop thinking that everyone is constantly judging me for what I eat. Essentially, whenever I eat something, I believe that other people are thinking to themselves, “wow, look at her eating that…she is eating that because she is fat”. This thought is strongest if I were to ever eat food that is constructed as “unhealthy”, but is also present if I were to eat food that is constructed as “healthy” but consume a lot of it. For example, when I eat a restaurant, I fear finishing my plate because I assume that the wait staff will judge me for eating all of the food and will judge my body.
That being said, I understand that this is an illogical believe to have. I have countless pieces of objective evidence (e.g., from doctors, the number on the scale, the size of clothing I wear) that indicate that I am not fat, I am not overweight. Yet, this evidence doesn’t override my internal belief that my body is too big and that others are in agreeance with me. Throughout my recovery process, I have come to understand that I hold a strong core belief that my worth comes from my body and that I should always strive for a smaller body. I know this belief is problematic, but I can’t stop agreeing and believing it.
To add one other layer to this puzzle, this thought- where others judge my body and believe that I shouldn’t be eating because my body hasn’t achieved the thin ideal it has been striving for- is particularly difficult for me to let go of because I hold this judgment on others. I find myself judging others for what they eat and I tend to, in my mind, idealize those with small bodies and not hold them to this same judgment. This has been a difficult piece for me to accept because it makes me feel so sad and ashamed to think that I am doing to others what I fear others are doing to me. This fear has fueled so many problematic behaviors and I know it is so unfair for me to hold this judgment on others.
I am wondering how I can overcome this. How do I remove this judgment that I place on myself and on others? How do I let go of this tiring, inaccurate mind-reading game I am constantly playing? Will I ever accept my body and accept the fact that it deserves to eat food- and a variety of foods?
A life of judging and judgment
Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com.