It won’t come as a huge shock to you, that food is ultimately my one true love*.
*this is of course completely separate to the true love I feel for my family, friends, boyfriend and beloved dog Lulu you understand.
Everything about food, I fall hopelessly head over heels for; the snow-white, fluffy innards of a baked potato, encased in its fibrous, crispy skin; the plump, pillowy bites of a perfectly seared scallop; even a bowl of Weetabix, combined with just the right amount of green-top milk for superb texture – I confess, I really do love it all.
But like all relationships, the course of true love very rarely runs smoothly; and while some of you may be thinking; “Woah, there Franks, I just came here to find out about the best avocado toast in town, what’s with the deep chat?” People’s behaviour towards food is something I’ve wanted to explore for years, and though I have plenty of my own past experiences which have shaped my love of food, I have also been prompted to explore this subject by some of the negative developments I’ve seen in close friends which have led to unhealthy relationships with food.
This is why I would like to to reserve a corner of this blog to talk about relationships with food; the good relationships, the bad relationships and sometimes, the destructive relationships; alongside the delicious anecdotes I so love to write about.
But that’s the thing with love, it isn’t always linear and it ain’t always pretty; but ultimately we can learn and try to become better, which is exactly what I hope for with these posts.
SO! A lil bit of history.
I have suffered with an eating disorder since I was 13 years old…and I have maybe only ever used the words “I” and “eating disorder” in the same sentence maybe 3 times in my whole life.
You are officially the 4th person to learn this about me – congratulations!
I’ve kept this a secret for so long, only admitting it to few close friends who previously sussed me out or caught me in the act. Mostly because I’ve been a little bit ashamed of myself, as an advocate and lover for all things food and a constant voice of encouragement and praise for my friends and their own figures during times when they’ve wanted to lose weight; I felt like a fraud and frankly quite ridiculous to be so unable to take my own advice when it came to self-acceptance.
Thanks to a mum who excelled in home cooking and faltered greatly in portion control, I was blessed with an appetite of (quite literally) mammoth proportions as a result of always receiving the same sized platefuls as my dad and older brother. This often led to awkward tea-times at friend’s houses; where Christina’s mum would serve your standard, little-girl portion of dinner and I would be left bewildered asking; “where in Polly Pocket’s name is the rest of it?!”
Rude? Perhaps. Hungry? Always.
Despite obtaining this unique characteristic in my pre-teen years; which was of great relief to Jan (mum) who suffered with my refusal to eat ANYTHING between the ages of 2 and 3 (I was eventually given a chart decorated with stars every time I ate a meal); I was actually a very slim child and it wasn’t until I was 13 that I ever had to bother with thinking any more of food than how I would be able to get the lions share over my brother and sister.
Then it happened; High School, the home of questionably sourced baked goods, strangely attractive History teachers and pre-pubescent wit. Sigh, them’s were the days eh! Would we have even become the people we are today without it?
Hopefully not, just to make the whole ordeal seem semi-worthwhile.
It was here which first nurtured my obsession with food and appearance. There’s no need to go into the finer details, the comments from the boys which first planted the seed of doubt in my mind that would ultimately cause me grief for the next 15 years. It angers me so much that young, impressionable me didn’t have enough strength to be confident in who I was and to tell the fuck-wits (sorry mum), who tried to convince me otherwise to take a hike (but in a much more colourful way I assure you).
Throw in a (now past – thank god), boyfriend who silently manipulated me into thinking neither me, nor my body was quite good enough, perfectly-timed comments from acquaintances who assured me that post-illness I looked much better for the weight I had lost, countless magazine articles which I took way too seriously and various other contributing factors – and there you have a recipe for a semi-destructive eating disorder.
Horrifically low in calories and leaves a revolting taste in your mouth, trust.
The word “disorder” often evokes a harshly negative connotation in ones mind; the kind of word which I fear will make people recoil in their seats when they find out; furrowing their brow before mumbling; “you okay hun?”
Whereas in reality, the word reflects a much more common behaviour that we all have the potential to find ourselves in.
1. a state of confusion.
“Confusion”, that’s exactly what a disorder is, exactly the mind frame I found myself in (and shamefully still do on occasion), for longer than I wished to be and so desperately wanted to figure out. It feels like a puzzle you want to crack, a bad boyfriend you want to break up from and a toxic relationship with someone you thought was your friend.
Thankfully it wasn’t always to be that way, and while I’m nowhere near the finish line, I’m running in a marathon I never thought I’d even thought I’d have the strength to pull the running shoes on for.
My posts following this will delve deeper into the ins and outs of the above along with additional recounts, advice and opinions of my friend’s experiences. While I’m desperate to keep this topic as light as possible, I am in no way trying to make a joke out of my eating disorder and though it may seem like I’m poking fun at myself and the idiocy of past-Frankie’s behaviour, I am well aware of the destructiveness that were my previous daily habits. But if I can take you on this journey and share with you how easily they can develop and how only with time and hard work can be resolved, maybe I can help someone who may find themselves where I was a year or so ago.
So please stick around, please divulge any of your own advice or experiences in the comments below and please be kind to yourself always.
p.s details of the best avocado toast in town is coming, I promise.