The Summer I Ate Burgers and Chips

The first summer of nearly full eating disorder recovery, I ate burgers and chips.

It was a summer of eating food I hadn’t consumed in years. And with it, I discovered freedom.

A New Way of Living

No longer did I have to worry about having “healthier” food to eat when going out with friends. No longer did I fear weight gain from a food I used to deem “unacceptable.” No longer did I spend time thinking about how the food might affect my running.

I laughed with my boyfriend at a baseball game. I screamed with exhilaration through a game of volleyball at an outdoor gathering. I said “yes” to coleslaw without needing to look up the calories. I sat on my blanket next to a campfire and relished the taste of a s’more I had just eaten.

I looked forward to meals rather than dreading them. I stopped worrying about if I should feel hungry at a certain time, or that I needed to go to bed early before getting too hungry. I stopped anxiously anticipating the possible dessert to come and even passed it on by if I simply don’t feel like having any, because I could eat it whenever I did want it.

Most of the time, I did want it. And ate it.

Recovery and Relaxation

I allowed my stomach to relax. It felt like a “salute” to other women—like, we can do this! I grabbed my thighs with joy, because they felt strong, and larger is okay with me now. To think I am at a weight I used to despise, and now I barely think another moment about, amazes me.

I still know the calorie counts of most food. But I find I’m starting to forget some of them—something I never imagined would happen. Even knowing the calories of other foods doesn’t phase me.

All of this may seem simple to someone who hasn’t struggled with an eating disorder, but it’s a story I never thought could be played out in my own life. It’s something you may think isn’t possible for your life.

With recovery, it is.

The summer of 2016 I ate a burger and chips, and it set the precedent for more blissful summers of food and company to come.