Feeling the need for every meal to be “perfect”
Does anyone else feel the need or desire for all their meals to be “perfect?” Like it has to be the right time to eat, you have to have measured the correct amounts of whatever you’re eating, take a certain amount of time to eat and not be interrupted or disturbed while eating? This makes me sound crazy maybe, and I’m reasonably flexible day to day with most of my meals, but I just prefer if I’ve planned everything “perfectly” and all goes according to plan. Breakfast at 8, lunch at 12, snack at 3, dinner at 7, etc and I get to eat exactly how much I want with out anyone asking for any of what I’ve already measured... I’m recovering from an ED and eating the right amount of calories, but this perfectionism about food and not wanting it to be interrupted or derailed is definitely the hardest thing to shake. Does anyone have advice for me?
by marcus at 2018-11-19T17:22:32
Eating Disorder
Yes! You are basically protecting yourself from failure and growth at the same time. I also spent time in this awkward stage in recovery! After a while I decided to put aside the food scales, meal prep containers, and rigid eating times and even my dietician made meal plan. It might take you a while but always push yourself. A big thing for me was variety. I ate the same thing at the same time for years! Don’t be me. It’s not as fun as I thought it was. Besides variety I recommend listening to your body. I spent years telling my body what to eat without actually listening to how hungry it was. Also therapy! It’s gonna take time and you will mess up. When you are having even your darkest days remember that we only have so much time. Life is too short!
by chris at 2018-11-19T17:36:07
I totally feel you OP! My whole life I've been a perfectionist and ritual and routine was everything to me. In the six years that I've been going in and out of recovery with this ED, it has sometimes been the only thing holding me together. I still hold onto that part of me, but because it can help with efficiency and flow in daily living, not because I need it for everything to be okay. The biggest turning point for me, was to realise that none of it matters, and that came during inpatient when I looked at how much I was panicking about which part of the meal I should eat first in the context of digestive health (a mealtime ritual of mine). I decided, "do the opposite," and it scared the **** out of me but I did it, and the world didn't end. I started applying that to other things, like eating different foods, asking for random orders, and just basically changing things up to mess with the routine because I realised the world will not end if I'm not in control of things all the time. There are plenty of ways to use your mind to deal with and justify control and the possible loss of control. For example, whenever I get anxious about anything whether it be weight gain or a job interview, I say, "Liam, what is the very worst that could happen?" and not caring so much about death, our common worst fear, I discover, the very worst thing that could happen is that I'll have to deal with how I feel if [thing] does/doesn't happen. Big deal. Of course I'm scared of my own mind more than anything else, but I can handle it, and so can you. Your mind is so powerful, it got you here and it'll get you out of it. That said, though, a the****** who specialises in EDs is a great ally, so don't resign to doing it all alone.
by jessica at 2018-11-19T17:35:55
I definitely had this at the beginning and first month or so of my recovery! Honestly it just took time and food and some weight gain and it has mostly gone away. The need to ritualize and make sacred the food is a part of malnourishment and the refeeding is bringing that to the forefront. Also after awhile life will start to get in the way of those rituals rather than them getting in the way of life. I wish you the best of luck! Feel free to pm if you ever need support.
by jordan at 2018-11-19T17:35:44
Do you have someone that you can talk to about this? Sounds a lot like my Ed, and I have orthorexia, which is a lot of being perfect in everything regarding food. You may benefit from bringing this up to a the******. Best of luck!
by lilly at 2018-11-19T17:35:36
I really agree/echo the sentiment that your body subconsciously sees this as a sacred opportunity; it's so accustomed to not eating often or well, that it sees food as a commodity to be cherished. That, to me, is why you want the situation to be perfect. The best remedy is to keep eating often, and never, ever miss meals or your meal plan if you have one. If you are undereating, your body is still thinking it needs to protect whatever it can get, so your brain reads this as "do not let anyone/thing get in the way of this!". Just keep eating your nourishing meals per the refeeding plan, and remember: you are going to eat again in a short while. There is going to be a snack or meal just around the corner, and nothing will take this away from you. ((hugs)) I understand.
by sally at 2018-11-19T17:35:26
I wish I did. I feel this way a lot. You’re not alone! The one thought that helps is if you ever have a bad meal, just remember you can always have a better one tomorrow. Because you’re in recovery you WILL HAVE a tomorrow and that’s a beautiful thing.
by john at 2018-11-19T17:35:16