Friday, February 27, 2009

Birthday Goodies


For a while now I have really really REALLY been wanting to try and revive my old favorite nostalgic food: Maccaronni and Cheese. I'd seen a healthier version in an Annie's brand and I have been working up to the challenge. Well this week I finally bit the bullet and made the decision. I wanted something special for my birthday. I wanted something I knew that I would like and that I hadn't eaten in a long time.
Mac and Cheese it was.
I was gonna do it.
And I told my family too so that they would hold me accountable and so I couldn't chicken out.

I nervously anticipated the dinner all morning. At one point I just had to shut myself off in my room to pray. Because I haven't really struggled with food at all this week the anxiety over such a challenging meal was really intense. I even find myself struggling to eat certain foods that normally I would have been okay with and was constantly fretting about sugar content and fiber and whole grains and sodium. It was really frustrating!! But then I rationalized that today was my birthday and I should not have to worry about food!!
I should be able to enjoy my day and enjoy my food and eat what I want!! It's my birthday for crying out loud!!!

Finally the time came when my mom and I went to the grocery store to pick up the boxes.
Annie's Real Aged Chedder Mac and Cheese Shells.
I was nervous but determined and plucked the boxes off of the shelf and put them in the cart. I was going to do this. But then I found myself depressed over the "Cake Celebration" issue.

Since I've had my ED I haven't eaten any cake with my birthday. Last year I was able to do some homemade muffins with candles stuck in them, but this year I was completely stumped. The mac and cheese was a really challenging food. It posed as at least 2 fear foods of mine (pasta, pasturized cheese, and sodium) and made up almost all of my dinner for the night. Because I had eaten my snack earlier I wouldn't be able to "afford" really much of anything else. Plus I didn't want my entire night to be ruined if I was so overwhelmed with anxiety about eating the meal. So I decided to forgo any kind of dessert treat. And I didn't want my family to have a cake either, mostly out of selfishness (ugh so stupid). Why should they get to have something to celebrate with just to make themselves happy? It didn't seem right.

But when I got home, the stress of the day caused everything to cave in. My dad had unknowingly already bought a cake for the family to celebrate with. I was crushed and hurt. Later I had a little meltdown but my mother was able to talk me through it and help me understand that my dad didn't intentionally buy the cake to hurt me. ED tried to push me to restrict dinner and give up on the mac and cheese but I fought back.

I AM going to do this.

And I did :)

I can't even tell you how happy I am that I ate this meal. While I was preparing it a wave of happy memories flooded my head, reminding me of how much I used to enjoy eating mac and cheese as a kid. I didn't really care for any other pasta except for the shells. They were the only way to go. I always loved how slippery and funny feeling they were and the way they would stick to the end of your tongue if you ate too big of a bite. For the first time that night I felt relief instead of anxiety and was actually looking forward to eating dinner.

When I took that first bite of maccarroni and cheese, I smiled. It was REALLY GOOD!! It tasted exactly like what I remembered the Kraft version tasting like. And you know what? ED did not butt in once. I enjoyed my meal, I enjoyed eating and I felt no nervousness whatsoever. During that small amount of time spent at the dinner table I actually felt NORMAL again.

I am also very glad to say that I ended up making some lickety-split homemade oatmeal and applesauce muffins to put my 2 and 0 numbered candles in. I don't care what ED says, but a birthday just isn't a birthday without blowing out candles!!
I even ate one of the muffins too even though it was a little over my meal plan. Because I WANTED TO. I hate feeling so abnormal and so weird when I go to special occassions. Everybody always asks me why I'm not having any cake to celebrate or looks at me funny. It feels so uncomfortable. And that night I just wanted to be able to celebrate and ENJOY myself.

It was a really great birthday!!
I am SOOoooOOOOOOoooooOOOOOOooo glad that I was able to push past my ED feelings. I feel so free and so powerful and so ALIVE now. I conquered HUGE hurdles and made great strides and did things that I never thought I would have been able to do before.

I took one more step away from my anorexia and one more step TOWARDS
M E.

Happy Birthday.

Girls, you are strong. You CAN do this. Just think, if I had allowed my anxiety to get the best of me before I ate that first bite I would have been too scared to eat it. But because I pushed past my fear I discovered that everything was OKAY and I had a good time. Sometimes it's the initial dread of an event that prevents us from doing something and scares us off. Give things a chance before immediately turning on your heel and running away. If you don't give things a chance you may never get to experience the good things God has to offer and you will always be holding yourself back.
P.S. You know what???? I am definitely going to be eating Mac and Cheese more often now!!!


Kiki March 1, 2009 at 5:12 AM  

YES I am so proud of you! Amazing job with all the birthday food! You're exactly right, you deserved to enjoy yourself on your birthday. If ED was still strong, eventually, you wouldn't be having birthdays. So I'm glad you told him to shut up. Ahaha I'm seriously smiling for you so much right now! Keep up the great work!

Elle March 1, 2009 at 9:48 AM  

First of all, happy (belated) birthday! And secondly, AWESOME about the Mac & Cheese AND your birthday treat. I'm so glad that you powered through and didn't let his voice dictate how you spent YOUR birthday. It's so important for us to have those "moments of normalcy" like you experienced eating dinner with your family. If we can remember HOW GOOD those moments felt when Ed's voice is at its worst, it gives us the little extra boost we sometimes need to tell him to bugger off. I'm SOO happy for you!!

dancelikenooneiswatching March 1, 2009 at 12:49 PM  

i can not tell you how proud i am of you...its things like that, that prove we are going to beat ED and have the best lives :) well done happy for you xxxxxxxxxx

Lexi March 1, 2009 at 3:19 PM  

Hey - I just found your blog and it is SO awesome that you ate a feared food. I am so glad you enjoyed it! Keep working hard! Happy birthday!