I love food. I love talking about it. I love preparing it. I love eating it. I even love reading about it.
I remember a couple of years ago I ordered a new cookbook. My dad was visiting and he saw me looking at it. He said, “Are you actually reading that cookbook word for word?” I responded with, “Of course! I have to read the recipes so I know about all that is available in this book!”
Weird? I don’t know. Maybe for some. But, in my world it is completely normal. Good food is a passion of mine.
Years ago, however, food and I had a love/hate relationship.
The bulk of my adolescent days were in the 1980’s. I grew up eating the typical American diet. Convenience foods were growing in popularity. Most families still sat down to a family dinner, as mine did. My mother cooked plenty of homemade entrees…sometimes with some “processed food” help. I ate my fare share of pastries for breakfast – my mother owned a Dunkin’ Donuts in our hometown. Donuts were at my disposal 24/7. I have very happy memories filling and frosting donuts at the “donut shop”, as we called it.
I had a healthy relationship with food growing up. I ate when I was hungry, stopped when I was full. I was active – I’ve never been one to sit still for long. I often prepared my own food, sometimes for the whole family. I baked banana bread and various cookies. Never in a million years did I ever think food would be an issue for me.
Enter the college years. I left for college in North Carolina and moved into a dorm. My kitchen was a microwave and a mini fridge. Packaged food became my best friend and I gained the world-famous Freshman 15! Ugh!
I enjoyed my new found freedom entering college. Maybe a little too much. I actually thrive on routine and order. And, well, in college that all kinda went out the window. I wasn’t the most confident of individuals. My grades were not very good my freshman year, and I was a top student in high school. I suddenly realized at the end of my freshman year that I was headed down a path I didn’t thrive on.
I needed some structure. I needed to achieve some success from my endeavors. Plus, I suddenly realized that I really didn’t know what career path I was taking.
I’m not sure how it happened…but, I slowly started focusing intently on the food I ate. I cut out lots of things. I started eating the same breakfast day in and day out. I’d skip lunch. I drank diet drinks instead of eating food. I lost weight…quickly. And, I became infatuated with the scale and the way I looked.
My friends noticed a problem and reached out to my family. I went home for Christmas and made the decision that college was not working for me and I needed to move back home.
After moving home I was clinically diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. I began seeing a dietician and going through some outpatient treatment. I continued to decline. You see, Anorexia is a strange disease. You will not get better if you do not want to. And, those diagnosed will likely go through a period of time where they try to be the best anorexic they can be. Sickening, I know. Generally, those that have a predisposition for the disease are overachievers – they seek great pride from perfection; they want to be the perfect anorexic.
I remember my turning point – that aha! moment. It was a cold winter day. I was out shopping with my mom and I was SO cold. So cold that I hurt all over and it brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t live feeling that way! What was I doing to myself? WHY was I doing this to myself? At that moment I realized that I needed to get better. I needed to get myself headed down a path of positive thinking, a path that I could excel at in a positive way.
It was not easy. It didn’t happen overnight. I sought the help of professionals and my family. I read books – my favorite being When Foods A Foe, by Nancy Kolodny. (Please note that this is an affiliate link.) I experienced ups and downs. But, overtime, I conquered. And, if you are currently going through anything like this, you can too!
It’s been about 20 years since this ordeal and my relationship with food has changed immensely. My passion for food returned and I have turned that passion into a learning experience for my family of 5.
I am on a quest for complete food happiness. One where I feel good about the things I am putting in my body. One where I feel good about the things my kids are putting in their bodies. One where I feel like I am making a positive difference in the lives of those around me.
Please, join me on this journey!