(146) My eating disorder is at the wheel and I don’t know how to take back control (with Whitney Catalano).

Do you find yourself reliving certain polarizing food memories over and over again in an exhausting loop? Curious why they have so much power? Do you feel like your chaotic eating has all the control and you just want to be the one driving the bus for once? Listen to the latest Love Food Podcast with special guest Whitney Catalano where we explore some possible next steps.

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This episode is brought to you by my courses: PCOS and Food Peace and Dietitians PCOS and Food Peace. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how. Get 30% off using the coupon code ‘lovefood’ at check out through the month of February 2019.

thirdwheelED is a social media advocacy platform that raises awareness of eating disorders in LGBTQ+ communities. Started by a queer couple whose writing addresses the intersectionality of eating disorders and body image, including gender dysphoria; a queer identity; trauma; and gender identity and expression, CJ and OJ provide a dual perspective of eating disorder recovery through the lens of a nonbinary person in recovery and of a nontraditional family carer, who just happens to also be a registered dietitian! CJ and OJ would love to work with eating disorder professionals on cultivating inclusive treatment for eating disorders in LGBTQ+ communities and are available to discuss training, webinars, and speaking engagements. You can follow them on instagram, facebook, and twitter @thirdwheeled or email them at info@thirdwheeled.com.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear Food, 
 
I hate you. 
 
I think about you every second of every day, and I think of all the things I’ve lost and can’t get back because of the power I’ve given you. 
 
Growing up, I was always bigger. Actually, the biggest. The bigger sister, the bigger cousin, the big friend. I was a quiet, sensitive, and curious little girl, always the observer. I also had a difficult home life, which was the best kept secret in town. My dad was a volatile alcoholic, which led to a great deal of anxiety, fear, and chaos, and a mother who was in too much pain to really be there for us girls. I compensated for all of these things by attempting perfection in almost every other part of my life. 
 
Straight A’s through high school, studied abroad for a year, president of the international club. I wasn’t much of an athlete, but it wasn’t because I didn’t like sports. It’s the classic big girl dilemma – they’ll judge me if I don’t, they’ll laugh at me if I do. Instead, I was a musician. Principal cellist of five different ensembles, and the only high school cellist in the college symphony. But it always came back to my size, and no matter what I achieved I felt like losing weight was the only thing that would make me belong or be truly loved.
 
The busy schedule I designed for myself meant that I didn’t “have time” for food most days. Really, what I had was a rock-solid alibi for my absence in the school cafeteria. I had tried everything under the sun before I had even reached junior year. Skipping meals, eating frozen grapes because they took longer to eat than regular grapes (logic where???), you name it. To my perpetual shock and devastation, nothing worked. 
 
When I was a senior in high school, I was on a diet and my family knew about it. It was probably not a safe, healthy diet, but I was overweight so they encouraged the behavior. My dad, especially. He was big his whole life, and had just dropped a significant amount of weight. 
 
This particular night, I had been at school since 7:30 AM, and didn’t get home from college orchestra practice until close to 9:30. I was exhausted, and, quite literally, starving. I grabbed a can of Lite Progresso Soup for dinner. My dad made a condescending remark, something to the effect of “You should be careful, that has a lot of sodium in it.” 
 
I completely shut down. I put the soup back in the cupboard, and walked upstairs unable to speak or look anyone in the eye. Once I got to my room, I started to sob. I remember hearing my mom say something like, “What’s wrong with you?” to my dad. 
 
As I write this, I’m in one of the deepest holes I’ve ever experienced with my binge eating. I feel like I’m on a runaway train, except I’m the driver and I can’t get it together enough to take the wheel (don’t think trains have steering wheels, but you get it). I haven’t been able to shake this memory for a few weeks, and I can’t exactly articulate why but I know this was an impactful moment in my life, and there were others like it. I know my dad came to talk to me after, but I don’t remember what he said because it didn’t matter. He couldn’t unring the bell, in my mind. I don’t remember if they were able to get me to eat that night, but I remember feeling the emotional pain overcome the hunger pains, and I couldn’t stomach the thought of eating. 
 
I’m 25 now, and I can feel that I’m in a nosedive, and I feel absolutely powerless. I’ve gained 20 pounds in the last year, and my preoccupation with food and my eating disorder is negatively affecting my job, my social life, and my health. I eat to soothe my psychological pain, but my psychological pain stems from my inability to control my eating. My eating disorder is definitely at the wheel right now, and I don’t know how to take back control. I don’t even feel that I’m strong enough. 
 
From, 
Runaway Train

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

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