The real world starts again! Hello, new school year!! 🙂
For teachers and students in recovery, it means change – whatever, I’m used to that so that’s not my issue. I was preparing for the year and the excitement of a fun lunch crowd. That excitement went away fast! Really fast!
Almost all of us have had this experience, and I’m sure every therapist and dietitian has had to discuss this with people in recovery…. lunch experiences at work and school with people who don’t have eating disorders. These should be great, right? WRONG. Some can be great, but others can be disastrous.
Last year was great. I had my BFF to eat with and conversation was fun! After her schedule changed, I tried eating with the teachers in the teacher’s lounge. Everyone says avoid it, but for me, I was trying to have “food friends” so I could be distracted during lunch. This didn’t go over well, or last long.
These are the people and situations that you have to try to laugh at, or avoid.
I tried having lunch with this crowd last year, and then again this year. As the lunches started, I entered the teacher’s lounge with my lunch box and excitement.
My experience, you ask? AN EPIC FAIL.
First, we forget that when people sit down and eat together (mainly women), it is expected to hear some form of body bashing. There is this understood hatred that so many women have and the conversation highlights that. And somehow, there is a connection in that bashing and hatred. It looks a little like this:
So…. Socially, it’s the norm to talk about that to get motivation from one another…. But I wanted to scream. My treatment team says, “why don’t you just ask them to stop talking about that because it bothers you?”…. GREAT SUGGESTION! I’m trying to fit in and now that will just put a label on me! Let’s be real, it’s not easy to do that. I’m getting there, but not yet.
The next lunch day rolls around and I’m plugging away at my meal plan like a champ!
Seriously? I’ve seen birds eat more food than what they had in front of them! But… I could talk until I’m blue in the face about what a healthy diet consists of and they will still fight me with their “expert” opinion (which is probably a TV commercial of the newest fad diet or cleanse).
It’s true…. I drank the kool-aid… I believe I know what a healthy diet is from all the work of my dietitian, but implementing that knowledge is still my goal.
Back to these enlightening lunch conversations…
This happens all the time. So, how do we fix this? Well…. We can’t. The only thing we can do is try to avoid situations like this. This type of conversation is very prevalent in our society because we are so focused on body sizes. We have a choice … this can influence us, or we can let it pass. If we let discussions like this change our behavior, then we are not making our own choices. What I’ve learned to do in these situations is feel bad for the person talking. I feel bad for her and that she has to put her body through hell, and that she doesn’t have the luxury of being happy in her body. I also remember that I don’t want to ever be there again.
I’m learning that a lot of people become self-conscious about their body at some point – to think you won’t is just unrealistic. The point I’m working toward is not focusing on it daily. My goal is to not become so obsessed with my body that I change my diet completely to attain something that isn’t healthy. My goal is that I also become happy with my body where it is, and where it wants to be. I can live a life of pain trying to be the wrong size, or I can live in happiness and peace being the right size.
Life will always go on.