[IMPORTANT NOTE: This post should not be taken as something to get worried about. I'm exploring the topic. Don't take it literally.]
For the first time in my life, people I know are joking about me becoming anorexic. They ARE joking, of course. Anyone who knows me will find the very idea ridiculous. However, for the first time in my life I can sort of understand how it happens.
This year, I've experienced a mindset at times when it feels like there's a wall in my mind stopping me from crossing. Whether it's the block of chocolate-covered turkish delight in the pantry, or the chicken parmigiana on the restaurant menu, I have found the will to refuse. But in many ways it's more than that. To even consider eating these things can feel like an absolute taboo, like something that will ruin your life forever.
Psychology is an interesting thing. I don't know where I suddenly found the strength to change my eating habits. The decision came out of the blue: suddenly it was made and I was counting everything that I ate. For me, the formulaic and ultra-rigid approach worked well. The fact that everything had to add up to a specific number gave me the reason I needed and the framework to pick and choose. I have likened it to playing tetras.
But now, for all intents and purposes, it is time to stop. Or is it? This is where the mind is strange. All along I have said I would be happy to lose 20kg. I have now lost 25kg, which is just 2kg shy of the ultimate goal. On the one hand I have friends and family telling me it's time to stop. On the other, I have myself thinking that it would be good to see whether I could knock off those last 2kg. I now no longer doubt that I can do it. But should I?
In many ways my will is waning. More and more frequently, I'll stop counting half-way through the week, giving it up as a lost cause (although not falling off the wagon completely). Cake is now experienced more frequently (although in limited portions). But ultimately I can still see plenty of room for improvement . . . and so the temptation to keep going sticks around. As the weight keeps coming off each week, it gets rather addictive!
So I see the next challenge as being maintaining a consistent weight. Logic says it can't keep falling, so at some point I have to decide to stop. But to return to former eating habits would be a disaster. What then can I tolerate? How often can I eat cake? Can I ever have chicken parma again? Will I be able to phase in some things and know how much is enough? . . . And this is where I can see how people get anorexic. When you're on a moving train, how do you jump off?
Fortunately, I like food far too much for this to be an issue. Throughout this entire process I have not stopped eating dessert. Crappy low-fat chocolate mousses they may have been, but they have been dessert!
And here's some more psychology for you. Someone commented today that they thought I seemed much happier and content with my life these days, and attributed it to the 'new me'. I was a bit taken aback by this, because I don't really feel much has changed emotionally. (I now realise this is a common assumption from many people.) Anyway, I have been pondering the comment and have come to the conclusion that it is far more likely that my present state of good cheer is due to finishing the first draft of my novel!