One of the most common concerns in the emails I get is about eating “junk food” during recovery.
People tell me, “But that food isn’t good for me!”
You SHOULD eat junk food in recovery!
People are very concerned with their health, to a sometimes orthorexic extent, and want to feed their body with nutrient rich foods. I get that. I lived that. There is SO much health information out there now about kale-this and super food-that, that it seems that the ONLY purpose of eating is to overload our systems with vitamins and minerals.
Some people live their lives that way: food is fuel and nothing else.
But for recovering anorexics? No way.
Food is experiences, friends, love, fun, spontaneity, nourishment for both body and soul. Yes, it should keep your body healthy, but a healthy MIND is important too.
During the weight gain process I think it’s important to make sure no foods are off limits and to eat whatever your body craves. If you want nothing but cookies and peanut butter for a few days, do it. It’s just a few days, and you need the calories anyway! You may start to crave things you’ve been restricting previously, which is normal. But I promise over time it will even out and you will start to crave vegetables again. I went through it all.
I don’t like saying that foods are “good” or “bad”, but I understand it. Some foods provide more nutrients for your body than others. Its good to eat lots of those. But you need to be OKAY with eating even the “bad” ones at least on occasion, and know that they won’t change your body. You need to be able to be spontaneous, eat whatever is provided (unless you have allergies or intolerances), and enjoy the surprise cookies at work or banana bread your neighbor drops off.
For a while you might not eat as 100% clean as you’re used to. You’ll survive, trust me, and your mental health will get so much better. The “bad” stuff is good for your BRAIN, even if it isn’t the best for your body, and that’s what needs to be healed and nourished at this point.
Once you fully recover and are at a better place, you can focus on eating more nutrient rich foods with the occasional delicious dessert or pizza party or juicy burger with fries. (I’m at this place! You CAN get there!)
But not now. Now is for recovery, and recovery means eating ALL things. Even the stuff you think isn’t so “good” for you.