The other night when I was about to eat a snack of crackers and peanut butter, my mom asked “does this look like two tablespoons to you? I just eyeballed it and I’m not sure.” I looked at the plate that had a mound of peanut butter perched on the edge. “Uh, I’m not sure” I said. “It might be a little more than two…” I trailed off, trying to measure the peanut butter with my eyes. The dietitian I have been seeing weekly suggested I add a protein to my usual snack of crackers at night. One of the options was two tablespoons of peanut butter. TWO TABLESPOONS.
Yikes. And to make this snack even scarier was the fact that I had just eaten a hamburger and fries from McDonald’s. And a full fat Greek yogurt earlier in the day. And a breakfast of a banana, a little 2% milk, and a slice of peanut butter toast. And I still had more food to go after this. I never would have been eating this…”well” on my own, without the suggestion from a professional, or maybe my mom. If I myself had made these decisions of what to eat, I would think that I must be crazy. Yes, I am making the decision to eat this food, but in some sense, my hands are tied. I know that if I don’t eat what I am instructed to, I won’t be able to stay outpatient. This is one reason why I am able to eat more now. But it’s not scary, like it could be. Not threatening. I think the reason I’m not overwhelmed by the thought of inpatient treatment and being threatened with it this time around is this: I’m trying. And not only am I trying, I’m doing my best. I know that the doctor has told me she will be able to tell if I am eating what the dietitian tells me to, by what the numbers on the scale say. It’s true. And the only thing I am afraid of is that by some odd phenomenon the scale starts dipping down instead of going up, despite the fact that I am following orders. I guess this could happen if my fantastic metabolism kicks in and goes absolutely bonkers, but hey, I guess at least I’ll know I am being honest. This time there has been no lying and deceiving. It’s so freeing to know I am doing this, I have help, and I’m not sabotaging my own recovery.
That’s not to say every step so far has been easy. I think the biggest fight I have had with “Ed” has been about coffee. I say I want coffee with my milk in the morning, because it tastes good. Ed says I don’t need good, I need less. Even though coffee is basically bean flavored water, he says a solid “NO” and I then have to fight tooth and nail to get him to relent enough for me to go through the motions of making the beverage. Once I’ve made it, there’s no going back. And I enjoy that milky coffee so much! I just have to keep fighting, even on the tiniest things, because I know that down the road, it’s going to be bigger things I have to face. Like making my own meals. With multiple ingredients. All mixed together.
But getting back to the beginning of this post, when I was facing a bunch of peanut butter and crackers…I found myself hesitating before scooping up my first dollop onto a cracker. “I could put just a little bit back, since it’s probably more than the two tablespoons” I found myself thinking. I thought this twice. I looked at the peanut butter, and reached for a cracker. I tentatively dipped an edge into the gooey goodness. I lifted the cracker, laden with medicine, to my lips and bit into the savory snack. I took a step forward, even though it was frightening, and felt so wrong. And I thought “a little extra peanut butter won’t kill me.”