What’s in my “toolbox”…er…”lunchbox”

My emotional state is connected to how much or what I’ve eaten. The body is our vehicle, our instruments, our temples – however you’d like to describe it – it’s a thing that we are in. As an eating disorderee, I often find myself unable to join body with self. My body is a thing; a thing I can either torture or nourish.

So I need tools to find ways to connect what I feel to what I see. One is obviously surfing. I metaphorically paddle, get up and enjoy the ride (or the hold-down). But another tool in my toolbox is particular foods.

Food. Sometimes I question why I need it when it just seems to cause me so much heart ache. There are days I am voracious and days when you can’t convince me to eat a vegetable stock cube diluted with hot water. Emotionally and physically, I enjoy the numbness of emptiness and the lack of pain it allows me to feel. But what kind of food can make me feel good about myself? Good food. Here are four foods from my toolbox – food that can cheer me up and that I’ll never let my disorder make me resist again.

1. Bananas. Most eating disorderees* that I’ve met in support communities have the good old banana down as what we call a “fear food”. I’ve never allowed bananas to fill me with anxiety. They make me feel good. Unwrapping them is like unwrapping candy. Phallic symbolism and all, I enjoy eating bananas. I believe it stems from my mother giving me mashed banana whenever I was ill. It’s the Australian equivalent of the “chicken noodle soup”.

2. Pineapple. Pineapple is sweet and brightly coloured. Yellow! Come now, who doesn’t feel happier even just looking at a pineapple with its funky “hairdo”?

3. Oatmeal. I must have been the only kid in the world that couldn’t wait to have oatmeal for breakfast. Monday mornings were oatmeal mornings. I’d wake to the sound of my mother stirring it in the pot, the flame hissing as it licked the edges of the pot handle. I couldn’t wait for my next bowl even as I was finishing it.

4. Tomato sauce on a slice of bread. Since returning to vegetarianism, it’s come to my realisation that perhaps I never liked the Aussie traditional “snag in a bidda bread” (aka sausage in a bit of bread) for the sausage. I think it was for the tomato sauce with the bread!

I am getting better at remembering that I have coping skills and enjoyment in my toolbox, I need to also remember that I have foods that I can eat without fear of a binge. The psychologist tells me that I have nothing to fear from having comfort foods, even though comfort food is a huge aspect of my Bulimia. Refusing myself the foods I feel safe and loved eating is not an affective way to battle through my issues. So I thought I’d share some foods that I love to eat.

What are some of your favourite comfort foods?

*My own personal term. We are all different.

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