Hope you're all doing ok :)
For this week's Thursday thoughts I wanted to talk about the lying and secretive behaviour that tends to come with disordered eating.
For me there are 3 aspects to lying:
- lying about having eaten when you haven't
- lying/hiding food that you've binged on
- lying about being bothered by food
Lying about having eaten when you haven't
At Christmas or birthdays I would (and still do) often throw away most of the chocolates and food I get given, and then pretend I'd eaten them. "They were so delicious". Early on when my parents would occasionally still buy me the odd chocolate bar I would eat a bite, and then hide it under all the other rubbish in the bin.
I've never been someone who's taken food off my plate at the dinner table and hidden it, but I know that this is another common way of avoiding food.
I know I've been at points where I would literally say anything to avoid having to eat a meal. And I'd lie my butt off to avoid anyone finding out I hadn't been eating enough.
Lying about having binged
Lying maybe isn't the word, although the first time my boyfriend asked me whether I binged I did say no. I couldn't face him picturing me eating in that way. But on the whole, it's more secretive. For me, the perfect binge was when I knew there was no one at home and I could sneak to the shop, buy a (sometimes trolley) load of food, lug it back to the house, sit in my bed and shove the food in my mouth. I would then put any leftover food and wrappers in a bag (normally the next morning after I'd passed out in a sugar coma/been in so much pain from being full that I couldn't move) and wait until bin day to put them in the wheelie bin. I couldn't risk them seeing all the wrappers.
And if I couldn't get out to the shops, I would eat whatever food was in the house. My parents would wonder where an entire box of cereal had gone, or I'd have to go out and replace the box of my flatmate's bicuits or loaf of bread I'd eaten before they got back.
Very few people know that I binge: my boyfriend does now, as does my Mum...and then my therapist. But other than my therapist I've never discussed it in any depth. I once wrote my boyfriend a letter to try and explain it as I couldn't face talking to him face-to-face about it, and I'd lied so many times to him that the reason I couldn't meet him was because I was tired/had bad period pains/had too much work to do, when in fact I'd binged and could do nothing but huddle up in a ball in my bed.
A binge represents to us everything that we feel we shouldn't be: greedy, obese, no self control.
However what if that binge actually represents everything that makes us human: we binge because we're starving ourselves, we've found a way to deal with the stress in life, our brains are naturally wired to find certain foods addictive.
That doesn't mean we should keep binging, but we shouldn't be ashamed or secretive of it. It's our bodies' cry for help, and rather than sweeping it under the carpet we need to face it head on, discuss it, and learn from it.
Lying about being bothered by food
I thought that image summed this up nicely. In my head, the way we should be outwardly presenting to the world is that we hate food. We can do without it. We don't need food for happiness, energy, enjoyment. Our LIVES were more important - all the exciting experiences and achievements we were creating every day.
At the same time, though, if a friend would be waxing lyrical about how cake made the world go round, I would agree, say how much I would love a piece of cake right now. Even though if she'd presented me with a piece of cake I wouldn't have wanted to eat it!
I'll rave about a restaurant that I've been too, even if I only ate a 1/4 of the dish.
I will never tell anyone that I spend all my time thinking about food, counting up my predicted calories for the day, dreaming about chocolate cake.
I will never admit that when someone else is eating something I've denied myself I can't look them in the eye as they eat, as I'm so focussed on the plate of food in front of them. My eyes feel glued to it.
So, we lie to the people who we love, the most important people in the world to us, all so we can try and drop some pounds.
When put that way it sounds ridiculous, right? But in our heads all logic and rational thought gets removed.
Something I'm already learning from seeing the therapist is that I have to be honest. No matter how awful what I've done sounds, or how scared I am of putting on weight, I have to tell the truth. If she doesn't know something about me, she can't treat it, and therefore I'm never going to get better.
So let's cast any fears of the results of being honest aside, and remember our fear for if we continue with the alternative. We are strong individuals, and we can get better. We can live a life where we're not caught in a tangled web of lies and deceit, where we're not thinking on our feet to find an excuse for a certain social occasion.
Mental health issues are not something to be ashamed of, nor to try and run away from. Face your problems head on, speak up about your issues, and start on your road to recovery :)
What have you done to overcome lying? How does lying make you feel?