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‘I Eat Very Slowly and Pick at My Food’ – Recovering from Anorexia

By December 5, 2012

I try to prolong my meals as long as possible. I eat very slowly and pick at my food. I’m recovering from anorexia and I see that I’m allowing food to run my life. I’m at a healthy weight and I wish I could change my behaviors to finally be able to live life instead of letting anorexia run it for me! Please help! – anonymous

Dear Anonymous:

You write, “I’m at a healthy weight and I wish I could change my behaviors to finally be able to live life instead of letting anorexia run it for me!” This is where the change in your behavior has the highest potential of moving in the direction you want! You apparently made a choice to work a recovery from Anorexia and find yourself at a healthy weight. You are starting to realize that what Anorexia wants to do is to run your life for you. It wants to control, talk to, and make agreements (promises) with the you that was hurting and played with food. And recovery demands that you go back to the original self (the created being you were before Anorexia) and protect the part of you that gets scared, that feels, with new coping tools. Prolonging meals, picking at food, moving food around, pretending to be in recovery are red flags that you need to find your way back on track to where you want to be—free of condemnation.

Prolonging the meal and picking at food means you put YOU off and send a message to the recovering you, the original you, that “I do not trust you are worth fighting for.”Go meet YOU at the table. Tell the part of you that walks slowly and picking at the food: “I want to live. I have the right to live,” and take it one step at a time.

Recovery is not an overnight process; do not despair if you see some behaviors still exist. The hardest thing in the world to do is to stop something. So, how about you take a vacation from judging if you are “stopping behaviors” and start noticing when you are doing something that, if repeated many times, would definitely represent that you are back on the recovery track!

Kindest regards,

Leanne Spencer, LPC, MAMFC