This is sort of the story about how for me- a brown, paper, grocery bag came to represent excitement, then fear, then joy, and then fear again coupled with frustration. Remember in elementary school when kids would bring paper bags full of treats on their birthdays, and the unexpected sugar completely made your whole week? I do.
I also remember learning to dread those treats as they continued to trickle into classrooms in their brown paper bags through high school and college. I remember refusing to even look at what those bags bore inside because I knew my eating disorder would never allow me to have a bite. But then I learned the secret to recovery, and for a brief time those brown bags coming into college classrooms, even more seldom now, made me happy once again as I learned how to enjoy dessert without the fear of the calories.
And then my Celiac disease diagnosis happened. And as you can imagine, brown paper bag cupcakes and cookies are hardly ever gluten free. I find myself feeling frustrated when I see them but also a bit fearful as if I’ve come full circle and I can’t help but wonder: is it more than coincidental that now that I am no longer afraid of food that I cannot eat it? Is Celiac disease punishment for my eating disorder?
I try not to live my life with regrets, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t ever think back on certain experiences my eating disorder stole from me. Because there are certain opportunities I’ll never get back. Like the Thanksgiving of ’10 when the frown on my face felt permanent- induced by all the calories I was sure the cream corn had. Like the year I spent living in a sorority house with an incredible chef who cooked 3 meals a day – 3 meals I never touched but instead opted for microwave egg whites. Pretty sure I’ll never have my own chef again and well, that sucks that I
didn’t couldn’t appreciate it.
Breakfast: 1/2 an Udi’s GF bagel with avocado and a fried egg.
Plus coffee with my new pumpkin spice creamer, milk, and sugar!
*About an hour later I had a banana before heading to the gym*
When I started experiencing severe abdominal pain and digestive issues during one of my attempts at recovery, I began to feel like I deserved to be in pain. Deserved what my body was doing to me after everything that I had done to it. I would later learn that the only thing I deserved was forgiveness. Forgiveness for what I endured and the strength to move forward. But then came the diagnosis with Celiac disease, and it made me wonder if I had more to forgive myself for than I thought.
Lunch was two tuna tacos with guacamole & cream cheese.
Paired with a Root Beer Kombucha soda (enter to win some HERE) and
followed by a *mini Hershey milk chocolate bar*
See, being Celiac is not like having a gluten allergy. Sometimes people with gluten allergies can make an exception once in awhile for certain foods that don’t bother their tummies OR just decide to deal with discomfort if something looks insanely delicious. Celiac disease means going gluten free and never looking back. It means no exceptions or “cheating”. Because when a Celiac person eats gluten, his or her body declares war on the intestines which is no bueno and can lead to cancers and all kinds of not cool further damage. So that means I can’t have just one bite of that Costco planet sized muffin I used to love before ED took over, and even if you order me a plate of steaming hot french fries I probably won’t be able to eat that either since most places fry gluten with non gluten. And wouldn’t you know that many of the foods I now can’t eat are foods that my eating disorder banned years ago. The irony is not lost on me.
Snack at Costco was my favorite berry smoothie they serve + some
various samples. *Also snacked on a few chunks of Japanese yam at home*
That irony started to make me feel like maybe I deserved to be Celiac, just as I felt that I deserved the pain in my stomach after restricting for so long. I’m not religious, but it started to seem like God was doling out justice. As if to say, “Oh you thought it was cool to skip meals and bread and carbs and dessert? Now you can keep on missing out on them forever.”
Snack before dinner was a few handfuls of mixed nuts &
a 2% peach Fage yogurt + *another mini Hershey*
It wasn’t up until a few weeks ago that I actually expressed this (unfounded) fear to my GI doctor AKA the specialist who is getting my Celiac disease under control and helping me get healthy again. It was then that she told me that developing Celiac disease had absolutely nothing to do with my eating disorder and was in no way caused by any of my choices regarding food. I breathed a sigh of relief but still something wasn’t feeling totally resolved.
Dinner: gluten free rice noodles + peas + marinara + cheddar cheese.
*Followed by a pack of peanut M&Ms + some cheddar popcorn + 4 chocolate cookie thins for dessert*
If you go on telling yourself something for long enough, you’ll start to believe it’s true. That’s why building positive body image and practicing self love is so important, because the way you think becomes your reality. And me thinking I brought Celiac disease upon myself had become mine. It’s now my job to let go of the blame, forgive all of my past, and begin my future as any other gluten free girl would.
What was your prior knowledge of Celiacs disease before reading this post?
Can you think of a time you needed to forgive yourself for something (big or small)? How did you do it?
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