I’ve spent pretty much my entire life feeling not good enough. Always believing there was something wrong with me and always finding “evidence” that my belief was true. I used food to feel better. But it betrayed me and caused me to gain weight which was the perfect button for my older brother to push. Fatso, Thunder Thighs, Fatty, etc. Nowadays we call this bullying but back then it didn’t have a name other than “sibling rivalry”. It’s just what brothers do to sisters I was told. So I snuck more food and ate to try to make myself feel better. Now I had the shame of being fat, the shame of sneaking food and then the eventual shame of having to lie about where such-and-such food went in the house.
It all turned upside down when I was told I had “better watch it” in regards to my weight. Now the jig was up. It was now confirmed that I wasn’t good enough. So I started to diet and weight I did lose. I started to feel good, I received praise. Finally I thought I might be enough.
I decided that by taking up less room on the planet, I somehow became worthy. At less than 90 pounds I felt vindicated. Even empowered. I finally shut my brother up but I was now in a self-imposed jail cell. I was terrified of food and gaining weight. I became a vegetarian during my anorexic year(s). I don’t often offer that up when asked why I became a vegetarian but the truth is it was easier to eliminate entire food groups to satisfy my disease.
I’ve wrestled with this many times over the years. How can I claim recovery from an eating disorder if I still maintain some of it’s rules?
I never liked eating meat. I hated the texture and when I did give it up, it was truly effortless. I’ve done a tremendous amount of soul searching when it comes to regaining my life and not going back to eating meat has always just felt natural to me. It’s part of who I am. I believe I was born to be on a plant-based diet.
So when I embraced veganism earlier this year, it was the first time I chose to eat a certain way for reasons other than my body weight. I think it is why I feel so energized by eating this way, I’m finally eating for my soul and not my head!