Something cool about my own recovery is that I discovered how I love baking for my family and loved ones. Back in the day, when food was a struggle for me, baking used to terrify me.
I was scared of baked goods because those were my binge foods, my “bad” foods and I felt I had no control over them.
Cake scared me, celebrations with food in them scared me.
Cake and baked goods were also my only coping tool, something I went to when I was happy, sad, bored, numb etc.
Today is the birthday of someone I care about a lot, and I want to make him Angel Food Cake.
I’m excited to have the apartment smell like baked cake, and to blow candles with him for another birthday. I need to rush out of work today so that I get the ingredients and start baking before he gets back.
The days when cake scared me, I never once really enjoyed any baked goods past the first few bites, because I was flooded with guilt and fear of weight gain, then, those thoughts would trigger a binge episode.
I avoided making baked goods for my loved ones because I was too afraid I would eat half of the uncooked batter, then all the cake leftover on the next day…
So I didn’t even “go there.” Baking was just not for me because I couldn’t handle it.
Today I’m not really thinking about cake, or how it will taste. I want it to be a good cake, yes, but mostly because I’m hoping it can be a beautiful symbol in today’s birthday celebration. I will obviously eat a slice, or two? who knows? But past that, I will not care about cake. I will enjoy it and move on. There will be leftovers in the fridge and I might or might not eat them through the rest of the week. I just don’t know.
And I don’t care.
That’s what recovery looks like to me today.
I care about celebrating with cake. But I don’t care ABOUT cake.
These are some of the small gifts I get. The hours I spend feeling present and working on new projects and ideas now that I’m not always thinking about food, my next binge, or how to avoid a binge. The anxiety completely going away. The feelings of happiness, sadness, boredom, stress…still there…but the food doesn’t interfere with them anymore. The amount of self-love that continues to grow inside of me as I nurture myself and others. The space I make to rest and really relax now that my brain can be quiet again. It’s the small things that make me feel like life is so big today.
For me, it’s about being able to bake for someone I love again. For you, it might be something else?
What still makes me want to continue to work with others around their food struggles, is that there are so many people out there still battling with food.
Just to give you an example…A minute ago, I went online to get Angel Food Cake reviews, and 2 out of the 6 reviews were by women saying they love this recipe, but know its so “bad” for them.
One woman reviewed this cake recipe and left this message:
“I could literally eat this whole thing and cry about it for an hour I love it so much. It’s so fluffy and delicious but really bad for you lmao we have this every year for my dads birthday and it goes soooo good with a vanilla icing.”
Honestly, reading it made me a little sad because my past self could relate to this commentary. I see a woman struggling to celebrate with her father, and just eat a freaking piece of cake. Yet there she is, full of judgements about how “bad for you” a piece of cake is and feeling like she wants to cry because she wants to “eat the whole thing” and yet, if she eats it, she probably won’t even enjoy it due to her self-imposed judgements and rules.
My past self can deeply relate.
This is exactly what disordered eating and diet mentality do to us. They normalize our shame and guilt. They take away our natural, intuitive relationship to food, and replace it with made up food rules and judgements that keep your food and your life feeling constrained and restricted.
You don’t need to live like this anymore. Have your cake, eat it too.
Here’s to future celebrations and a bigger life.
PS: If you want to work with me, get on my calendar and fill out a quick application so that we can see if 1 to 1 coaching is for you. I’ve been there and can help! 🙂