climbED: “Healthy” Eating In Recovery

This morning I had a conversation with my psychiatrist because I haven’t been too well with anorexia lately. I was talking about how even when I was in recovery I felt the need to eat ‘what I consider to be healthy food’ and he asked me what that meant and I explained that I feel like it’s okay for everyone else to eat what they want and eat ‘normal’ meals but I feel like I have to eat raw, vegan, natural, nutritional food otherwise I get the thoughts that I didn’t need to eat what I did and I didn’t deserve it and that the food feels unnecessary.

He told me that unless I foraged for food then it isn’t natural, everything is manufactured and chocolate has a lot of natural ingredients and it made me realise that I have these irrational thoughts in my mind of what is healthy and what isn’t healthy but when I dig deeper into those thoughts they actually make no sense. I need to start thinking more about my thoughts and rules around my eating and weight because I accept them as right and that is the way things are but there are actually no facts to support them.

I’ve noticed that there are ‘fashionable foods’, for example sweet potato and quest bars. Those foods that start appearing on menus of all the hip restaurants and are plastered over instagram. I think sometimes my eating disorder interprets these as healthy. In recovery I wouldn’t eat a normal baked potato with normal beans but I would eat a sweet potato with ‘5 beans’, the reality is that there is very little difference between the two but in my head one is totally okay and the other is completely not allowed.

I also find it difficult because as I have had anorexia for a very long time I often feel judged by others. People seem to have the assumption that people with anorexia only eat ‘healthy’ food, they are under the impression that people with anorexia eat only apples and vegetables and never touch sweets or chocolate but this isn’t true at all. People with anorexia sometimes have food that they never touch but there are also some people with anorexia that will eat any food but in very small portions. I know many people with anorexia who eat sweets and chocolate. I worry that others will judge me by what I eat as I’ve had the ‘anorexic’ label for so long. I feel like I can’t eat chocolate in front of people, or crisps, or popcorn at the cinema. I feel like I have to live by anorexia’s rules out of fears of others judging me. If I really think about it, I don’t think anyone would judge me, they would probably be pleased to see me enjoying life but it is a contributing factor to my ‘healthy’ eating. I even feel judged by the checkout worker in the supermarket.

The problem with my approach to eating and the need for food to be what I consider ‘healthy’ actually leads to the unhealthiest thing because it often leads to avoidance of food and I will say this over and over again: There is no food unhealthier than having an eating disorder.

I am going to try to remember that there is no such thing as an unhealthy food, only unhealthy diets. It is healthier to have a croissant and a hot chocolate for breakfast than it is to have nothing. There is no such thing as a healthy or an unhealthy food when recovering from anorexia.


2 thoughts on “climbED: “Healthy” Eating In Recovery

  1. Well said Claire!! This is a CRUCIAL point. To you and all sufferers reading this, don’t ever forget it: There is no food unhealthier than ‘no food’

    For underweight people, ‘healthy eating’ rules simply don’t apply. It’s kind of liberating. ‘Is it healthy? Of course it’s healthy, it’s food, it’s fuel, it’s medicine!’

    Well, that was my excuse to have a *Cornetto every day for three months… 😉

    Don’t let the media boss you around. You SHOULD have your cake and eat it. You DESERVE it. You NEED it.

    I want you to get there. I want you to know the freedom of eating what you want, when you want.
    Like you, I developed anorexia before I’d heard of the word, and struggled for over a decade.

    But now I’m weight restored. And truly, truly, it’s a weight lifted.

    Because nobody is worried about me.

    Because I’m five centimetres taller than two years ago. (and I’m 23!)

    Because the message from my GP after my first bone scan was ‘I’m afraid, your bones are rather weak, but on the plus side, it might get you seen sooner’. And after my second bone scan (2015): ‘Good news!’

    Because I had my first proper kiss a year ago. (and I’m 23 – no one wants to kiss a skeleton…)

    Because in my home town, since 2013, I have eaten a meal in a restaurant beginning with every letter of the alphabet (except X, I can’t find an X…)

    Thanks for blogging. Thanks for your honesty. Keep flipping the V’s at anorexia. It’s a battle that is well worth winning.



    *substitute your favourite food – not the eating disorder’s. Go on, I dare you. Start with a month. Add it as an extra to your mealplan and post it on Instagram.You’ll be flying in no time.


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