Stop Talking to Me!

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It’s sure been a battlefield the last couple of days! I had to eat out both lunch and dinner yesterday, and I had lunch out again today. Tomorrow I’ll be eating out for dinner also, and again on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!

I’m not going to lie. There has been two clear forces battling within me. There is my ED, going ballistic about all the unknown calories that I’m ingesting, and then there’s my conscience, berating me for all my stupid fears and anxieties.

My ED side is malicious and sneaky and bitter, trying to entice me to resort to his manipulating ways and deceits, encouraging me to order the “safest” item on the menu, coaxing me to eat as little as possible. Meanwhile, my conscience is snotty, critical, and judgmental, telling myself I am stupid and selfish and weak for having such struggles in the same place.

I hate either sides. I hate how both of these two battling voices in me make me feel guilty, weak, frustrated, and hopeless.

I have never been too comfortable with eating out, because obviously the food will be richer, and ED freaks out over not being able to know the exact nutritional information in each bite that I put into my mouth. Anorexia, as I once mentioned, is really all about control, about following my own (but really ED’s) set of rigid rules and calculated numbers, and being faced with a dish prepared by somebody else freaks the hell out of me. Who knows how much freaking oil or butter the cook ladled in there? Who knows what other sort of sneaky, disgusting, high-caloric and super-unhealthy things they slipped into even a simple thing like a baked potato? Nothing can be trusted, nothing is safe.

I can deal with eating once in a while, but eating out consecutively, most of the time with me having no idea exactly where we will be dining and what the menu will be like…that requires a ton more concentrated effort and motivation and fighting spirit.

The thing is, I can always take the easy way out. I remember when I used to only order salads. Dressing on the side, no croutons, no cheese, no meat, actually, why not just bring a mega bowl lettuce and tomatoes, thank you very much. Man, I’m really splurging today, aren’t I?

At times when I was really forced to eat something I did not want, I would resort to even more desperate, shameful attempts like hiding my food in my napkin, pretending to chew my food then spitting it out secretly, and yes, at times even rushing to the bathroom to puke anything I could out.

But I’m no longer at that stage, thankfully. I’m at a weird conundrum, actually. I’m at the point where I desperately want to get well, yet I’m still deathly scared of the process, the necessary steps I have to make in order to recover. I try my best to order something that will be challenging, but not that scary enough to send me into an anxiety spasm.

That’s where the battle between my conscience and my ED comes in. One says, “You’re actually going to eat that you crazy fat hippopotamus? Have you forgotten you are anorexic? ANOREXIC?! ANOREXIC!!” The other says, “That’s the best you can do, you stupid cowardly rat? Do you still want to be anorexic? ANOREXIC? ANOREXIC?!!”

Please…just shut the hell up. ED, I’m not anorexic anymore, and you’re the one who has no place in my heard. Now shoo, I have better things to worry about. Conscience, you need to tone down and give me some space, girl! I’m trying my best, and constant self-criticism won’t help the least bit.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a bit about what was going through my very messed up head during these last three meals that I had recently.

For lunch yesterday, I went to Eatzi Gourmet, a family-style steakhouse and bistro. They wanted to go to a Chinese restaurant at first, but I begged them to reconsider because I detest Chinese food and I’m still not comfortable with eating foods I truly find unappealing.

I order the set lunch, which included soup of the day, main entree, dessert, and coffee.

The soup of the day was cream of mushroom soup and garlic bread:

It was very rich and creamy and the mushroom taste shined through. I could only manage half of it though, as I did not want to fill up on soup before I got to the main course, which was…

New Zealand sirloin steak in brown sauce cooked medium-rare, with french fries and cooked vegetables

I was disappointed that it came with french fries, because deep-fried foods is not something I am ready to handle yet. Especially when my friends’ executive set lunch came with this!

A loaded baked potato! Topped with loads of sour cream, fried bacon bits, and chopped spring onions! Thankfully, she did not like her potato, so I switched my french fries for her lovely loaded baked potato.

The steak was really juicy and tender, though a bit more cooked than I would have liked. I ate almost all of my steak, plus a few bites of a NY steak and a rib-eye steak. I didn’t touch the vegetables, because I knew they would fill me up too much.

We were all stuffed by the time coffee and dessert were served, which was a good thing, because dessert was horrendous.

Horrendously sweet, that is. I don’t even know what this is supposed to be. Some sort of coffee cream cake? All I could taste was the sugar! Blech! The bottom yellow cake layer was okay, though, so I just ate that part. She didn’t even touch hers, she only ate the cake part like me, while she ate all of his and stole a few bites off hers. And I thought females liked desserts more than males!

For dinner I met up with a church friend. After discussing some options, we decided to dine at Swensen’s, a family restaurant known for its ice-cream.

I ordered the Chicken Ratatouille:

Baked chicken roll topped with tangy tomato sauce, with authentic French ratatouille and roast potatoes.

I have no idea what that green thing in my chicken is. Anyone familiar with French cuisine who knows what it is? It tasted like some kind of meat, but I couldn’t detect what kind of meat. It almost tasted sort of like…offal…especially since the French loves their sweetbreads and such! But it was actually pretty good, and I polished off all of it.

And the ratatouille…Oh my God, it was freaking amazing!!! That was the first time I tried it, though I’ve been wondering what it tasted like ever since I watched the movie Ratatouille (one of my favorite movies, by the way). It was definitely really oily though, but its incredible taste made me forget about the amount of fat in it.

The potatoes were quite nice, it was creamy in the inside yet crispy on the outside.

Vivien ordered the Beef Rouladen:

German recipe of stuffed beef rolls braised in herb sauce, accompanied with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.

I had half of one of her beef rolls, and unfortunately found it rather tough and stringy, though the sauce was quite superb. And of course sauerkraut is always awesome! The mashed potatoes were a little too creamy and buttery for my liking, though.

Our dishes also came with the soup of the day:

Creamy corn soup. It was quite good, but only because it was laden with MSG. I could tell right away this came from a package or box or something. I had half of it.

We also had a cup of Lipton tea:
Lunch today was with her at Cedele, a bakery and deli. I was the one who suggested this place because I was craving sandwiches for some reason.

And I think I spiked my craving for sandwiches even more, because mine was freaking delicious!

Smoked turkey with cranberry sauce and brie cheese in Wholemeal Linseed Loaf.

Holy…freaking…good!!! One slice of bread was slathered with spicy mustard and mayonnaise, the other with a thick slab of brie, and they sandwich a luscious layer of thick cranberry sauce and smoked turkey slices and crispy lettuce and fresh tomatoes in the middle.

At the first bite, I was so disappointed that the bread was so hard and dry! But after a while, the bread soaked up all the acidic-sweetness from the cranberry, the smoky juices of the turkey, and the pungent, rich fat from the brie…

The cranberry sauce was tangy with whole bits of cranberries in it, and not at all saccharine. The turkey was smoked to perfection, so flavorful and yummy! And oh my gosh the brie!! My only response to it is groans of ecstasy.

As you can see, I’ve definitely been indulging a bit more. The food is richer than my normal fare, and most of them I have never tried before. I’ve walked this battle path, and I will be walking several more for this week. I think it got easier and easier for each meal. The voices are still loud in my head, but that doesn’t mean my actions towards recovery have been seriously disrupted.

It’s emotionally and mentally draining to have these struggles battling within me all the time (before, during, and after meals, so pretty much the whole day) but I can feel myself getting stronger and braver at each step, in each bite, with each satisfied burp. I think this is another necessary and beneficial training process towards recovery, and I shall do my best.

Plus, I’ll never ever forgive myself if I ruined all my last moments with my precious friends worrying about the little additional weight that I desperately need to gain anyway!

Question of the day: How often do you dine out? Do you check up on menus beforehand? Do you get nervous when you don’t know what restaurant you’ll be dining in beforehand?