Ding Dong? Moon Pie? Or a Twinkie? Which one would YOU choose?
3rd day of treatment at Remuda Ranch in Arizona, it was weekly snack challenge day, and I had one of 3 options…(well actually 4—If I didn’t choose a Hostess Cake, I had to drink an Ensure Shake instead).
Sick from my shrimp fettuccini alfredo and garlic bread the night before that had me, once more, asking the recovery coaches if I could PLEASE go to the restroom, I was surviving—but definitely not thriving—in treatment. The eating disorder (“ED”) alone was LOUD enough:
“You are going to gain so much weight,” and “You are ugly,” and, “You’re pathetic. This is what your life has come to you,” played back in my mind.
In addition, OTHER voices (from the doctors, my parents, therapist and nutritionist also played in the back of my mind:
“Lauryn, just do it. You can do it.”
I was conflicted. Who do I listen to? What is “healthy?” What is right? How do I actually get “better?”—over these thoughts in my head? Is it just by eating Twinkies?
It was also crazy to me that I would even need “coaching” or support to do something (like eat a snack cake), but Twinkies, and Ding Dongs and Moon Pies meant so much more to me than calories or fat grams…
The cakes meant: Loss of control
Being forced to sit (with myself) and feel icky in my own skin.
Facing some of my greater fears of being unloved, unaccepted or “not pretty” or “good enough” in an image-focused world…
I had been a PROFESSIONAL “clean eater” (or a professional “not eater”)—able to have perfect self-control and succeed at something most Americans could never achieve (ie. losing weight, being thin, eating healthy), and now, in treatment, this identity was equally stripped away.
People pleaser me chose the Twinkie, and slowly ate every bite as the recovery coach made sure I didn’t hide any in my sleeve or drop it on the floor…and as I sniffled back tears and the clenched the pit in my gut, I said a prayer under my breath, believing maybe, just maybe something greater would come out of this confusing mess