The other night I went out with my family for a nice dinner to celebrate my Dad’s birthday. We went to a lovely Italian restaurant which has truly excellent food, and probably the best chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten! I had such a lovely time, I ordered a cocktail, had the yummy starter bread, ate delicious pizza, then finished off my meal with the worlds yummiest chocolate cake. I thoroughly enjoyed myself to my core, we had great conversation over the meal, laughing and smiling, and for the first time in a long time it felt natural to me.
Almost three years ago I went to a treatment center in Miami, Florida and my first week there they took us on a meal outing to Chili’s. I couldn’t remember the last time I had eaten food out in public or from a restaurant, and it was one of the most horrible things my eating disorder could imagine me doing, and I was terrified. I remember sitting at the table with a recovery coach and a couple other girls from my treatment center, and I felt the farthest thing from comfortable.
I refused to eat the starter, and when the main meals came and the taco bowl I ordered was placed in front of me I had to step aside with the recovery coach because I didn’t think I could do it. I was terrified of the food that had been set in front of me and when I stepped aside with the recovery coach I cried, I cried because I was scared but also because I didn’t know how or when food became the most feared thing in my whole life. I cried and then eventually went back to the table, in our view from our table at Chili’s was a family of four smiling and laughing over their meals and really having a great time with each other. “I want that again” I thought, I couldn’t remember the last time I had gone out and enjoyed a meal with my family, it had probably been a year since we had all been out to eat together because I refused to go out, and before then my meals out were all calorie counted and not enjoyed. I saw that family, and, in that moment, I knew I wanted to get healthy again in order to be able to go out with my own family and enjoy each other’s company over a meal like that. That family I saw at Chili’s that night inspired me to gain the courage and push past the fears the eating disorder had instilled in me, and as challenging as it was, I ate the meal at Chili’s.
Almost three years later I reflect back to that night at Chill’s and think to myself “I have that now”. A couple of days ago when I went out with my family to celebrate my Dads birthday and ate that Italian meal, I had fun, I loved the time we all spent together, and not only that, but I enjoyed my food, every single bite of all the yummy courses I had, especially the chocolate cake because I have a major sweet tooth.
Today I am able to go out and have a lovely enjoyable time around food with my family, and I feel so incredible proud. My journey towards this goal started that night at Chili’s, that family inspired me and made me realize what I was missing out on. I don’t know who that family was, but wherever they are I want to thank them for being there that night, they don’t know how much they inspired me to fight my eating disorder in order to be able to enjoy a meal with my own family.
So, thank you random family for inspiring me to want recovery so I could go out and have fun with my own family again, and also for helping me face my eating disorder and eat that damn taco bowl that night at Chili’s.