This term was coined by my boyfriend when I was talking to him about the cupcakes at my job.
One of my recovery goals is being able to say yes to the treats that people bring into work. I am proud to say that I have normalized these instances; however, knowing when and why I accept the treats can still be difficult.
I used to feel embarrassed eating in front of others. I feared spiraling into a binge any time I tasted something remotely “unhealthy.” I hated the attention I got from saying no. I’d hear comments like: “You’re better than me,” or “Wow, I don’t have that kind of willpower,” or “You eat so healthy.” Some people would be condescending; some seemed annoyed; but the worst were the ones who worshipped me…As they enjoyed the cupcake, I sat there empty-handed empowering ED. “That’s why I look like this and you look like you,” they’d say. My eating disorder was glorified.
During the course of treatment, I learned to eliminate the terms healthy and unhealthy. My brain underwent complete rewiring. Food itself cannot make us fat. All food falls into 1 of 6 categories (fat, starch, dairy protien, protien, fruit, and veggies) even desserts (all of my old forbidden foods have a category that they fall into.) When I now consume one, I will mentally place it in that category and go on with my day.
We can eat anything in moderation. I love this and I often argue with people when they call something “unhealthy” because it triggers a nerve in me.
How do I argue something that has become common knowledge? If you ask 100% of people, they would probably consider a cupcake “unhealthy.” But I know they are wrong. A cupcake is a not unhealthy, it is a “sometimes” food. It is unhealthy to NOT eat a cupcake if you crave it because thats what causes mental deprivation and leads to binges. So in the long run, one cupcake is nourishing to your brain and your soul 🙂
My ability to say yes guiltlessly really depends on the day.
To be honest, my initial reaction to a “sometimes” food walking in the door is to say no. I already packed all my meals and snacks for the day. If I eat this unplanned treat, I feel a little less in control. It’s easier to avoid it. But I know my immediate reaction is just ED trying to creep back into my life.
So I have to take a minute and reevaluate the situation. The first thing I do is ask myself if I crave a sweet or just want to say yes because I’ve denied these foods for so long. Just because I allow myself to say yes now, doesnt mean that every time I actually want it.
Using taste preference helps to figure this out. I do not particularly like whipped frosting, so I will turn down one of those cupcakes. Buttercream, on the other hand, reminds me of the delicious baked goods from my childhood and I definitely want to enjoy one!
I take one. I eat it slow and am very proud to be normalized like the rest of my co-wrokers.
That is the goal, but it doesnt always go that smooth!
Recently during a birthday party, my favorite cupcakes were brought in. Today for some reason I was having trouble allowing myself to eat one. When I finally decided to take a cupcake, I consumed it so fast out of guilt. Now I was full and the cupcake was gone. I debated taking another. (It is okay to go for seconds, but in this scinario I was full and contemplating a binge, not enjoying the taste at all). It’s just sitting there. It’s not an option to move it out of sight. I keep starring. I go for it. Dammit, I ate that one just as fast! I’m feeling overwhelmed guilt and disgust now. I feel like giving up and continuing to binge. There’s frosting on the bottom of the containter. It looks so good. I want to take spoonfuls of it. So I do. Finally, the box is moved out of sight. Now–I’m absolutely miserable.
That. Was. A. Disaster.
I want to use symptoms and get rid of all the food. But I don’t. I wait. I cry in the bathroom. A couple hours later my stomach ache has gone away. A few days later and the cupcakes have been digested. Without symptom use, they are now completely out of my body.
Okay, so it wasn’t a COMPLETE disaster. At least I tried! I simply had to do the next right thing after a slip, and I am proud of how I handled it. And guess what!? I dont look any different after those two cupcakes (give or take some extra frosting).
At the time, it’s hard to see past that moment and not give into a full blown lapse. But, those instances do happen. That’s what recovery is all about. And I have to have faith that I will learn the balance.
A week after my episode with the buttercream cupcakes, another person brought in the exact same box.
I stare at them and wonder if I should have a “re-do.” I can eat it the right way this time.
I allow myself to remunate over this idea. I may have gone about it the “wrong way” last time, but I didn’t deny myself the treat and I still remember how good the cupcakes tasted. I don’t neccisarly need to have any this time because I don’t really crave them again. Suddenly, I realize, it’s okay to say no to my favortie snack.
To rationalize this even further: if I had allowed myself one cupcake last time and one cupcake this time–I would feel way less guilt. But in the end, it’s all the same amount!
Therefore, I politely said, “No thank you, I enjoyed these cupcakes the other day. I will pass today.”
I talked to my boyfriend later on. I was proud of the way I handled it all: my ed, the cupcakes, saying yes, saying no. I am learning that IT’S OK to eat a cupcake, but I cannot have them everyday. He laughed: “Knowing when to say yes and when to say no—
that’s a normal-people problem,” he said