2 October 2013

Oh, burger...it felt normal.

"....You need to start eating out more, with people, eating outside your bubble, eating in real life,"  suggested Ms F.  Sarah rolled her eyes and moaned; "But I've never liked eating out, it's not anorexia. I don't want to or care, I just don't see the point." Ms F gave Sarah 'that look' implying that she'd at least have to try and said; "Maybe by doing it more often and trying new things and making it normal, you WILL begin to enjoy it...?"

Knowing deep down that Ms F. is right. Normal non-anorexic and emetophobics actually enjoy eating new foods, in restaurants, with friends. (who'd have thought?) I went ahead and booked at table at The Bear Grill in Stafford.

A new eatery for me, and on my current food recovery work theme of challenging my lingering healthy/unhealthy, safe/unsafe, thin/fat, greedy/non-greedy thinking, it tied in perfectly for Ms F...

 I knew I was going to have to order burger and chips. 

It's okay, their website says; 

"Where once the traditional burger was seen purely as a fast food option, gourmet bear grill burgers are knocking tradition on the head. The Bear Grill have created a nutritious sophisticated product using the best and freshest ingredients available. Innovative and exotic combinations bring together the freshest produce prepared with care and attention to maximise flavour" 

I like this local Staffordshire group of bars and restaurants (I ate at The Swan with my friend Sam recently too)  they've all got fresh, locally produced food, they actually have decent vegetarian options AND even better, they do not print any calories, anywhere on their menus. Hallelujah. 

I want to say I was terrified, I want to tell you how awful it was, that there were tears, panic attacks and near cancellations. Yes, Ana would love that to be what I'm about to say. But she's going to be gravely disappointed. 

Because, well, it all felt surprisingly normal. 

We actually sat on this table too. 

I was looking forward to catching up with N, telling her about work, life and having our usual political rants. I was interested to hear how her PhD was going and having a moan about our usual moans. Normal stuff.

I'd already checked out the menu online (again, thankful no calories to be seen) so I felt prepared, something I've learnt through CBT and found really useful in recovery.) I ordered my Sweet Potato and Bean Burger topped with mango chutney, which is served with chips and salad. I slurped my Diet Coke and waited for my food to be freshly made. 

The usual thoughts were with me all day I shouldn't have that snack because I'm eating out. I won't have supper after (I did), I won't eat all of it (I did), I can't do it before this months weigh in (Ms F cancelled, so actually I have), I need to run because I've eaten out. I DON'T eat CHIPS (well, actually after years of not eating them I've have them twice this week)

I tried all day, and still am trying to be honest, to justify, analyse, work out the possible calories, gather meanings, reasons or rules. I body checked for a 'burger shaped belly' this morning, the eating disordered thoughts are still there before and after, but I accept that. I have anorexia after all. 

But last night, during my burger, it was all rather, well, normal. In fact, it was a really nice dinner. I enjoyed eating it (and would recommend it too). 

I really don't want it to be normal. Part of me hates that it felt normal. It annoys me that I can say I enjoyed the taste of the burger and the evening itself. Part of me despises it's something two normal 28 year old friends would do, on a girls 'date night' to catch up. Part of me is dreading people telling me they're proud of me FOR this too. Why be proud, it's just food? 

I'll leave it to YOU to work out which 'part of me' hates this. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not suddenly 'fine' with eating out, I didn't eat the chips. I don't suddenly want to book top tables and the top restaurants and I very much doubt I'd 'go in blind' with out researching and preparing myself.

But sometimes living in recovery is about using the tools and putting them into action, doing challenges and seeing what it stirs up inside. But oh, burger me, I've certainly let Ana down here. 

1 comment :

  1. This is such a good read, Sarah! I think I need to go here over Christmas - you can show me how it's done ;) xxx