Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Breaking Free From Bananas

I will admit it. I am addicted to bananas. I eat one banana per day for breakfast, alongside a whole-wheat english muffin and a ginormous cup of coffee with two tablespoons of soymilk. Always. For the last four years. Every. Single. Day. I purchase bananas each time I'm at the market, regardless of the quantity I have waiting for me at home. This never changes and I don't want it to. At least I didn't, until I realized this breakfast routine was the dirty work of my eating disorder.

I realized this today when I woke up and started making my usual breakfast. I scooped out the appropriate amount of coffee beans and filled the coffee maker with water. I opened the english muffins, popped them into the toaster, and reached for one of three bananas that were sitting in a wooden bowl on my kitchen counter. All of the bananas were a little overripe, which is how I like them. As I peeled the first banana, the entire thing was rotten inside. Like, brown mushy rotten. Like, no one on the planet would find this appetizing rotten. So I tossed it and opened the second banana-- same thing. Gooey mushy brownness. So I peeled the third banana, same thing. All three completely inedible and now staring up at me from inside the trash can. The coffee had finished brewing, the english muffin had finished toasting, and I had no banana. I commenced freaking out. I paced around my apartment mumbling. Stood there in disbelief. Sent a text message to my fiance, as if somehow he could fix the Bananaless Breakfast Disaster of 2012. Just as I was considering hopping in my car in my pajamas and house slippers to buy more bananas in order to complete the missing breakfast component, my fiance responded with a text of his own that read simply, "You're crazy."

He's totally right.

I am crazy.

This is not normal.

It's not about bananas at all.

I have an eating disorder.

It's about control.

It's about patterns and likeness and familiarity in a world that is constantly changing and overwhelming me.

It's about calories, or the lack thereof. I know a breakfast of a banana and an english muffin is not substantial enough to fuel my body throughout the morning. That's why I'm tired and hungry again not long after I've eaten.

It's about my eating disorder ruining my life. It is not normal to have a major meltdown when I have no bananas for breakfast, when there is a refrigerator and pantry full of perfectly suitable breakfast foods at my disposal. It is also not normal to panic when my banana supply, or my english muffin supply, is dipping dangerously low and run out to the store to buy more. I feel like a drug addict. That's how serious I get about this. And it scares me.

I know that bananas are good for you. They're full of potassium and fiber and even have a considerably high amount of iron for a fruit, which I need because I'm severely anemic. They can also help to regulate your digestive system, and some say reduce your risk of stroke. Plus, they're really tasty and I enjoy eating them. I'm not going to stop. But I know my dependence upon them are the work of my eating disorder, so I have to break free. No more bananas for me, at least not for breakfast, that is.

I am proud of myself for labeling this behavior as ED related, and furthermore, for shutting it down.

So, what did I eat instead of bananas this morning?

I had grapes instead. Tomorrow, who knows?

Do you have any foods that you are dependent upon?


  1. This is a beautifully written post and I hope one day I can write as elegantly as you. Your blog is incredibly inspiring! My 'safe' food is apples and I can very much relate to your dilemma. Congratulations on shutting down this ED-based behaviour and thank-you for bringing my attention to the fact that I need to do the same (no more apples). Best wishes in your recovery and banana free breakfasts in the future ;) xoxo

  2. How wonderful that you have been able to identify what is part of the eating disorder for you and that you've reached BEYOND the clutches/confines of what it can do.

    I definitely have foods I am dependent on. That whole idea of safety perplexes me at times and yet holds me in comfort simultaneously. However, a challenge is always great. And I am inspired by what you've shared.

    May this be a direction that will yield goodness in whatever means for you. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Foods that I depend on....why but yes. Many. <--understatement.

    Asparagus, for one.

    Oh and these particular beggie burgers that *cringe* I FEAR (literally FEAR #crazy) are being discontinued.

    Yup the disorder invades all aspects of life. The utensils we use. Having to match my underwear with my outfit. (Oh that's just me....) Seemingly innocuous things (routine, pattern, obsessions) though unrelated to food I always tie and link back to the ED. So YES for fighting your "way" I have been doing the same.

  4. I can completely relate to this post, but until I'd read it, I don't think I was aware how many things I consider normal(ish), are completely disordered behaviours.

    Apples are my 'safe' food, and I must have them in the house at all times. If I can't have one during the afternoon (between 4-5pm) I get extremely jittery. It isn't anything to do with hunger, I'll eat it whether I'm hungry or not, I could have eaten 10 minutes earlier but it's routine and I HAVE to have one.

    Also another shopping addict, I'm always stocked up on my safe bread, apples, cereal, god forbid if there's only 4 slices of bread or a couple of apples left!

    These are the exact uptight behaviours I need to, and will, change.

  5. wow @ JJ. "safe bread, apples" - the very words.

    stumbled upon your blog. good to have company on this journey. thanks very much.