I wish I could claim to have come up with the phrase of being ‘held hostage’ by the eating disorder with the foods we have at home but I can’t.
However, it is something I have found myself regularly falling victim to and I think others might relate…
This term refers to when you are perhaps food shopping or consider going out for lunch and want to really face a food challenge, when the thoughts pop in to say, ‘No, don’t do that today – you have x at home to eat, so stick with that.’
With an eating disorder, the scarcity mindset is a key component to the illness. The associated fear of spending money and the automatic thoughts that you should not spend more on food than is necessary will frequently pop up in a boringly predictable and familiar fashion… yet despite this they can be powerful and persuasive.
As a result, when you are in recovery and considering that big food challenge when you are out, these fear based, eating disordered thoughts pop up and before you know it, have convinced you that it is not a good idea to face the food challenge you were planning on and you are back home, either with your old safe foods in hand or intent on eating those familiar, safe and restrictive foods that you had at home waiting for you.
Of course, this is also something that might have actually been taught to you growing up. As a child you might have been told that you can have the other foods you are asking for, but only when you have eaten what is at home already…
And to someone without an eating disorder to overcome, this is a perfectly rational way of thinking as they know that they are not scared of the alternative options and that they will get them next time, without any drama.
But in eating disorder recovery, you really do have to seize the moment and the opportunity to ED bash whenever possible!
You cannot stay victim to the eating disorder holding you hostage or you won’t get better.
Recovery is a rollercoaster, where in some moments you will be feeling braver than in others.
If you are in a moment of feeling brave enough to face a more frightening food or situation…. regardless of what foods are at home, you need to seize those precious brave seconds and use them to their full advantage!
Plus, I wouldn’t mind betting that the food at home holding you hostage is actually in the freezer or will keep until tomorrow, or actually could and should be eaten in addition to anything else that day (if you are truly intent on recovery!).
So, in my recovery, I am working at recognising this other sneaky way the eating disorder has to manipulate me and keep me stuck…
If I see something I want to try or I have an opportunity to do something spontaneous that involves food, I know that I have to forget what is already at home to eat and go with it, no matter what the illness (aka my own powerful thoughts) say!