'I'm full'. I think I've said this phrase more than a gazillion times since I got into treatment. And it's not because I'm trying to be annoying or drive the staff crazy. It's because it is the truth: I'm stuffed by the end of every meal and snack.
My first week here landed with the 'base' meal plan - the smallest amount of food that the hospital would give ED patients. This week, however (and even though I gained five pounds), they decided to give me even MORE food. So, now I'm on three meals and two snacks...and the meals are BIG. Lunch, for example, is not simply a sandwich. It's a sandwich and a dessert (and a generous portion of both, may I add). Dinner is a starch, a veggie, and a protein, plus a dessert. Breakfast can be a combination of things, just like snacks can be. But, regardless of what meal or snack it is, it is A LOT of food.
By the middle of each meal, my stomach begins to tell me that I'm full. Try as I might, the feeling of heaviness in my stomach makes me realize that I simply cannot eat anymore. But I know that I have to. And so, I take a deep breath, say a quick prayer, and I keep eating. They call it 'mechanical' eating because you are basically like a robot - put fork into food, lift fork, put fork into mouth, chew, repeat. And then repeat as many times as needed until your plate is sparkling clean.
This all sounds so easy, but the feeling of fullness is horrid, especially to me with my anorexia. Feeling full means that I feel heavy. It means my stomach is no longer empty like it used to be when I was restricting. It means that I have eaten more than what I need. It means that my body will hold onto the food. It means that I will gain weight.
Pushing myself through meals gets very challenging and uncomfortable. I feel awful when I must eat even though I simply cannot eat anymore. But I have no choice. The anxiety before eating (because I'm scared of the food) becomes anxiety after a meal (because I know that I will gain weight from what I just ate). Then, anxiety follows through for the rest of the day because I'm still full from breakfast by the time lunch comes, still full from lunch by the time snack arrives, etc. It is so frustrating, sitting there and eating mechanically because you have to. Not because you enjoy it. Sure, sometimes I enjoy some of my meals. But once I get full, all happiness and comfort comes to a halt.
But, it is something that I have to do right now. What bothers me the most is knowing that each time I am full, I'm likely gaining weight because of the extra food in my system. And that makes me anxious, scared, and uncomfortable. I wish I could just eat until I'm full so that I do not have to feel this way.
I can't wait until that day comes.