I’ll be blunt… I suck at cooking. I burn everything and I have no patience in the kitchen. This is obviously something I have to try to get over, but it is also not the easiest when you are recovering from an eating disorder. I have my fair share of anxiety about handling food, but I have also realized that who I am comes out in cooking.
First, my cooking looks like blindfolded monkeys cooked in the kitchen when I’m done! It’s that bad!
I have come to realize that my cooking parallels my journey through recovery! I have been trying to diagnose my cooking issues to understand why something things fall apart after cooking, aren’t cooked through or just turn out NOT like I expected (sometimes not edible).
At one point, I was discussing my cooking habits with my therapist and it all made sense… I skip steps. If anyone knows me, they know I often say, “I do what I want.” Really…. I do…. My entire treatment team has had to have so much patience with me because I will do it my way as I’m always sure that my way is the way that will work!
As I try to conquer cooking I have come to realize that my way is not always the right way (I will never admit that I said that to my treatment team – my secret is safe with the world, right?). I have times when I leave out steps in the process of following a recipe. I might think, “well, I don’t feel like sautéing first” or “it says put it on parchment paper, but I’m just going to go with a regular ‘ol cookie sheet”. I do this all the time. A recipe calls for “Xanthan Gum” — what is that? Seriously… if I don’t know what it is, it’s not going in my recipe.
This is a problem.
My cooking parallels recovery.
If I would just follow the directions of cooking (and not skip steps), my food would turn out something like it is supposed to. Truthfully, every step in the cooking process is important. Apparently that’s why they take the time to write it all out 🙂
The same goes for recovery.
If I would have just followed what my therapist said all along, I may have been recovered by now! Each step of the process (variety, meal plans, challenges, food prep etc.) is important…. It’s there for a reason.
Now, don’t get me wrong…. My slips and relapses were worth something; they put me back into the thinking I just hated and wanted away from. I learned something new from each relapse and it has kept me moving forward knowing how much the eating disorder does nothing for me.
As far as recovery, there were many times when I have tried to skip steps in this process. Admittedly, I remember calling my therapist from my car outside of skinny camp (partial hospitalization) telling her that I didn’t need to be there. I told her that I was not as sick as the girls there, that my eating disorder thoughts and actions were not as severe and that I should be allowed to leave. Truth be told – I was sick. The program at Hershey was a necessary step that I had to take in my recovery.
I am getting better with patience and learning patience in this process (still a long way to go with cooking). My therapist commented on why this process takes so long – she said that it takes time to make lasting changes. People who will truly recovery will be doing this for a while…. and it’s worth it.
Looking at this parallel — if I skip steps in recovery, much like cooking, I can expect to have a terrible end-result. It will be something that I can’t eat (pun intended), something burnt, uncooked or just gross. We get what we put in.
I’ve learned that skipping steps is not the best choice in anything! 🙂