My Maple Nut Badunkadunk moment: on celebrating healing and trusting the process
May 8, 2019
Have you ever been taken on a walk by the morning? As I left apartment building I'd made my home for the weekend on Sunday morning, I had my Google Maps walking directions in hand and a goal. Coffee shop, river, and, eventually, brewery. I'd already logged a steady 45 minutes of walking this morning and taken an indoor cycle class I walked between Denver blocks, sunshine pouring into the streets and cross walks, to the coffee shop where I lamented regretful high school fashion choices withs he baristas before learning, woefully, there were no local-approved bagel shops on my route. As I left, I turned right and saw the mountains creeping above the city's horizon. I made my onto way to the trail that followed the river and got lost once again in the morning: the cool air, the warm pressure of the sun on my skin, the urban animal life, the Sunday morning quality timers... it wasn't until I crossed the bridge and realized I was less than a quarter mile to my final destination that the hunger hit me again.
It was almost after noon, I'd collectively been walking for over two hours and there were no worthy bagels in sight. I looked to my right and saw what I thought, at first, was a boozy brunch spot. No, it must be a weed dispensary? No... it's a donut shop.
The sign had an electric pink medical cross on it and the sign was just graffiti-esque enough to be enticing. The donuts danced behind the counter... oh now here is a picture, I thought.
As a person who's spent most of her life "not liking donuts," I'm not exactly sure what I was else thinking as I turned left and walked into the shop. Curiosity, of course, and desperate hunger? Maybe I was hoping to find a bagel?
Whatever I was thinking, it led me to find myself standing on the sidewalk again, the sunshine starting to add a slight glow to my cheeks, sinking my teeth into a maple-glazed donut with candied pecans. I bit right in. I didn't tear it into pieces. I didn't cut in half, and then in half again. I took a bite, and I'll be damned if my heart didn't skip a beat as that maple glazed melted around my tongue, and I kept walking to the brewery...
Do people throw themselves recovery parties? Are there food freedom graduation ceremonies, yet? How about coming-out-of-anxiety galas?
Maybe that will be my next business venture: a food freedom and self-acceptance celebration party-planning service. The top tier package would include:
1 trip to Denver (economy class via an economy airline, of course)
Full itinerary including suggested outdoor activities, restaurants and breweries
1 voucher for a Habit Dispensary Doughnut
Selfie-lessons (if needed), because you deserve to document that sh*t
I didn't knowingly book my a weekend trip to Denver to celebrate ED recovery or my work in the self-care space but as sunk my teeth into that "Maple Nut Badunkadunk" donut, I the weekend for what it was. Over the course of the weekend, I'd move my body through hills and mountains, I'd explore breweries I'd been dreaming of and breweries I'd never known before, I'd go out in search of fantastic food, and I'd totally forgot about food. Over the course of the weekend, I'd just... live.
What was the difference between that donut and the chicken sandwich I had the night before? What was different between that donut and the steak that I intuitively ate on Friday night? Nothing really, and that's what was so special about it. There was a time where all of those foods: crispy chicken, steak, and donuts, all felt off limits. This weekend I ate all of those foods in an intuitive way: I ate then when I was hungry and I stopped when I wasn't. I enjoyed what tasted good and fueled my body in the process. What made that donut so special is that I stopped to celebrate it (okay and maybe because that donut was really that good).
I've spent the last three to four years doing some serious work: some of which you've been privy to via the pages of this blog and myInstagram musings, and a lot of which you haven't been. A lot of that kind of work can't be seen or shown. Even though it involves something as palpable and public as food, even though partners and friends and family might bear witness to the certain events and choices that are involved in the work, and perhaps even be invited in to help navigate through some of it, what is seen outside of oneself only scratches the surface of what's really happening.
In the beginning, when I was just starting to live out my commitment to rumble deep with my complicated relationship with food and my body, almost every choice that involved one of the two (spoiler alert: that's most choices) came with an inundation of thoughts and questions. There were the pre-existing ones, the ones I'd been tripping over since I was twelve. The ones that came from the disordered thoughts and the diet lessons and the desire to stay in control. Then there was another, second and even longer set of questions that came with challenging that first set of questions.
Is this food allowed? Is this safe? What will this do to my body? How many calories are in this? Can I balance this out reasonably? Can I regain control after eating this? Am I in control for eating this? How can I regain control after eating this? Did I work hard enough for this?
Will these thoughts ever go away? Am I actually hungry for this? Should I eat this as a way of challenging food rules? Is eating as a challenge healing for my relationship with food or harmful Do I even like this food? Am I just curious to try it because I used to be off-limits? Am I doing this right? What would my therapist think? What do I think? Will this ever get any easier?
etc. etc. etc.
This flow of questions is normal, I'd remind myself in the exhausting moments that I just wanted to EAT. It's a part of the process, it's a step. It's okay.
And so, too, was the satisfaction that spread through my body as I bit into that donut. So, too, was simple, almost thoughtless decision making process of: hunger --> donut --> satisfaction.
So, too, is having moments where control is lost. So, too, is having moments where you slip up. So, too, is stepping on the scale even though you vowed you wouldn't. So, too, is looking down at the number and realizing it hasn't changed despite any of the beer, any of the workouts, any of the donuts, any of the salads, or any of the sleep. So, too, is realizing that it wouldn't matter if it had.
The process is messy, and it doesn't always make sense. One night you might reach take-yourself-out-to-eat-for-burgers-and-beer-without-a-diet-thought-in-the-world status only to wake up the next morning and catch yourself wondering if you're allowed to eat toast. You might spend all summer feeling at-home in your body only to start struggling again in fall, when life slows down or that new jobs starts to play with your sense of ease. What matters is that you keep you going, however imperfect. What matters is that you admit that it's okay that it's a little bit messy and frustrating because, at some point in the process... maybe a month from now... maybe a two years from now... you'll find your own Maple Nut Badunkadunk moment. You'll catch yourself living your life just as you please, and just as you deserve to, and you'll stop dead in your tracks on the sidewalk and realize how significant that is...
and I wouldn't blame if you if you took a selfie to celebrate it.