Food: My Best Frenemy

Food: My Best Frenemy

Food is my best friend and worst enemy. Few pleasures compare to a good meal, and few leave me as wracked with guilt.

I’ve always liked to eat. As a child I rarely had to be encouraged to finish my plate; indeed I would often go back for more. My parents encouraged me, praising my appetite, and I have long sought to feel accepted and secure through praise.

Food became a source of comfort, making up for a dearth of friends. Reliable: a sure rush of pleasure and a slow come-down in the warm afterglow.

I might often feel lonely but I can always rely on eating to take my mind off that for a brief spell, fill the aching void and dull the pain.

And yet…

As I gnaw my way through the pile of food, gnawing back at me from inside comes my guilt. Guilt at overindulgence, guilt for my lack of self-control, guilt for my obesity, guilt for my weakness.

So I purge. Put my finger down my throat as far as I can reach to trigger the gag reflex, make my stomach spasm and eject the food I just ate and that weighed so heavily on my mind.

I keep going until I am dry retching, nothing left, red-faced and struggling for breath. Eyes blurred by tears. I blow my nose, clean up, rinse out my mouth and wash my hands. Realise that the emptiness remains, that the aching remains, that the guilt remains and was not voided along with the food.

My thoughts turn to food again, my desire for comfort warring with what remains of my will. I choose emptiness this time and sit in melancholy silence while the void inside feeds itself on the remains of my tattered soul.

3 thoughts on “Food: My Best Frenemy

  1. I wanted to like this to acknowledge that I’d read it, but I can’t. I didn’t know this about you, and I wish I could hug your pain away.

    I, too, have an eating disorder. Part of the reason I drink is so that I don’t want to eat. I’ve had EDNOS since my teens, and to me food is a punishment/reward system – after a bad break up I became depressed and would only eat if I felt I deserved to: instead I’d fill up on coffee, cider and cigarettes. I ended up detesting even the sight of food.

    Things haven’t changed much, over the years. It was different while I was working, because I used enough energy to become hungry and desirous of food – certainly I always felt that I’d earned and therefore deserved it. Now I’ll eat as little as possible, and sometimes nothing, because my enforced lifestyle means I burn no calories and, once again, eating has become a chore instead of a pleasure.

    I know that my appetite will return if I stop drinking alcohol, but the idea of actually feeling hungry frightens me.

    Liked by 1 person

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