I’ve been practising intuitive eating for a good two or three years now. I’ve discovered I’m not particularly a biscuit person, I’m not addicted to chocolate, stale crisps are not nice, mature cheeses are too strong, and I feel better in myself when I add in gentle nutrition.
So why was I still struggling with ice-cream?
I couldn’t figure it out. I’d made peace with so many of my former binge foods, but I still struggled to recognise when I’d eaten enough ice-cream, and before I knew it, the whole tub was gone. I knew it was THE most significant one for me, the first I used to reach for, the most comforting, the one tied up in childhood memories. But I’d made peace with pretty much every other food I used to abuse myself all those decades. What was it about this particular one?
I began to despair that I would never be free. I would never feel safe. What was wrong with me that I couldn’t make peace with that amazing sweet, frozen, comforting tub of dairy?
Then, one day I realised.
I was still restricting it.
Not in the same way as all those other foods, but restriction all the same.
My freezer was always full. There was very little space. So I could only ever buy one small tub of ice-cream at a time. That would get eaten quickly, then there would be no ice-cream available until my next food shop a week or so later. The lack of space meant ice-cream was always a scarcity, and that scarcity meant a scarcity mindset, more cravings, and the potential for more binges.
And there was such an easy fix: make space. And that’s what I’ve done. I decluttered my freezer and ice-cream now has a permanent space in my freezer. And now I can finally start to make peace with it.
Making space. Making peace. They’re both so essential to recovery. Making space to grow, to feel, for everything other than constant thoughts about food. Making peace with yourself, the you who was entwined with the eating disorder, the one who lied. Making peace with the loss the eating disorder caused, the wasted time, energy, brainpower. Making peace with the physical damage caused, too.
And so I face this final frontier. Yet again, I find myself making space, and making peace, to recover from this illness which has taken so much.