Thursday 13 January 2011

The anorexia gets weaker...

When the anorexia was at its height (and before he was banned from the kitchen) Ben would spend AGES preparing food. He would ritualistically chop dried fruit and other fruit into tiny pieces and eat a diet which scarcely changed from one day to the next - behavior that is common with anorexia sufferers.

Over the next year, the anorexia meant that he felt compelled to eat his meals at certain times and eat the food in a certain order. Even when we were 'refeeding' to regain the weight lost by the anorexia (on around 2500 calories a day) his meals were still pretty regimented and he would take AGES over their preparation. He would insist on making his breakfast and lunch because if I made either, my 'version' wouldn't be as 'perfect' and 'precise' as his, and the anorexia would make him freak out. And if his own meals fell short of the 'perfect' mark in any way, he would also go mad.

Also, when the anorexia was at its height, Ben couldn't bear any interruptions to mealtimes, for example if visitors came round or if I wasn't sitting with him. The slightest problem would cause him to go crazy.

Because he had a fats phobia, his meals were huge while re-feeding, imbalanced with far too many carbs. This meant that he had to get up at the crack of dawn to prepare his breakfast in time to catch the school bus. His (virtually fat-free) breakfast was ENORMOUS and took AGES to prepare and eat.

As time progressed, the anorexia 'voice' got weaker and Ben's fats phobia diminished, his meals got smaller with the extra calories made up in fats, oils, nuts, etc. Plus, he wouldn't mind when  he ate his meals; lunch didn't have to be 'on the dot' of 12.30...

And as he started to recover from the anorexia, his food rituals ceased. Instead of taking ages over food preparation, he'd whiz up his breakfast in moments - and eat it quickly, too, without needing the 'perfect setting' and time to eat his 'perfect' meal. A quick bowl of (high calorie) porridge and a couple of (thick) slices of toast with jam or Nutella and he was ready to catch the bus. And he would happily vary it, something the anorexia wouldn't have permitted him to do in the 'old days'.

Also, unlike the 'bad old days' of high anorexia, he no longer spent ages agonising over his body image or hair in front of the mirror. A swift blast with the hairdryer after the shower, on with the clothes and out the door.

Wow, who would have thought it?!

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