In efforts to distract myself from the discerning events of last night, I want to write about something I love. Something that has aroused my curiosity and led to a bit of research and analysis--
Yes, that something is chocolate-- dark chocolate to be precise.
that's what "normal" people do. I believe chocolate cravings are partly psychological. One study found women crave chocolate because they have turned it into a nutritional taboo. It tastes wonderful, but it's sinful because it's loaded with fat and calories. Women crave chocolate when they are feeling low or before their periods because they have told themselves it is something they cannot have; therefore, they feel better because they've treated themselves with something that is sinful. However many researchers argue that women crave chocolate prior to menstruation because it contains high levels of magnesium and women experience magnesium deficiency prior to menstruation. But it should be noted that many other non-craved foods also contain high levels of magnesium. So is the comfort found in chocolate physiological or psychological? Well, I certainly don't care. This past week I've had a dose of the bitter-sweet remedy every single day, and I've enjoyed each bite.
Does my indulgence in chocolate mean I am one step closer towards intuitive eating? Yesterday I had my evaluation and first night of the IOP at COPE. My nerves got the best of me when I stepped in the elevator and pressed the wrong floor button. I felt like I was in there forever. At floor 3, I worried the nutritionist would increase my meal plan. A stop at the 5th floor reminded me I would have to have my weight checked. When the door opened at the 6th floor, I had flashbacks to my worst memories at Princeton. 'What are they going to do to me? Why am I doing this? How long will I be stuck here and why is this elevator ride taking so long? I want to go home!' I thought as the 7th floor passed by. After what seemed like eternity, I finally arrived on the 8th floor, the Center for Overcoming Problem Eating floor. My voice cracked when I checked in with the lady at the front desk. I tried to speak softly and discretely to preserve my identity. I suppose I was embarrassed. I hate feeling like a target-- like "the girl with the eating disorder". Little did I know I'd leave the program 5 hours later dissatisfied, disappointed and confused.
To be brief, I was first disappointed when I found out I would be with 9 other high schoolers. I was really hoping to find and establish a community with other students who face similar stresses, have comparable struggles and can offer insight and support. I wanted to find someone who I could confide my concerns about apartment living and roommates. Instead, I helped a 15 year old overcome her despair after her best friend kicked her out of their lunch table. Don't get me wrong, I live for helping others, but I need help as well. The food exchange system was reintroduced to me for the third time and to the others for the first, talk about a torturous hour of hearing what's been preached and ingrained in your brain. Dinner was from 6-7pm. The first 20 minutes weren't terrible since I was able to enjoy a Mexican Salad I had prepared at home. But the next 40 minutes of sitting around were frustrating. I kept thinking of all the schoolwork I could have been doing and the daily life updates told by my roommates. Afterwards I met with my assigned counselor-- aka a social worker (I'm not knocking on social workers, I respect and admire their work). She started with, "Do you have any issues with body image?" I think to myself, 'Are you freaking kidding me?! I have an eating disorder, what do you think?!' but composed myself and managed to say, "Yes, but I know that when I look in the mirror and see a distorted image, there is some underlying issue bothering me. My eating disorder is a way to block out feelings and emotions and I've worked diligently the past semester exploring my past, altering thought patterns and retraining my brain to not engage in certain behaviors." Her face turned blank, she shuffled her papers and said, "Wow. That's...really... that's really good". 'Ha, I know. What now?' I thought. The final group of the evening was supposed to be led by another social worker (who is actually a graduate student at Pitt's School of Social Work). CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy is commonly used to help treat eating disorders. After I participated in led the group, the girls decided it would be more beneficial to play Apples to Apples. I know I am bias and left the program with doubt and anger, but I really want time towards recovery to be efficient and effective. I believe this program can be helpful for younger individuals who are at the peak of or have recently engaged in eating disorder behaviors. For most of them, they had never been in or exposed to food exchanges nor ED treatment. Furthermore what really bothered me was the fact that the nutritionist didn't seem to concerned with my weight, exercise habits or meal plan-- though I've lost considerable weight since I've been back at school. I honestly think I can maintain a healthier lifestyle if I wrote in and kept up with my food log as well as forming some sort of community for support. I have a phone session with my therapist from home tomorrow and I hope to discuss other possible treatment options, but in the mean time I can't critique and conclude an analysis of COPE based on one experience. I need to put a little trust and faith in the program and hope I will gain as much as I put into it.
And rather than over-analyze and critique certain foods and the psychological or physiological reasons why we eat them, I want to work on trusting my intuition and taste buds. If I want it, I can have it, eat it and enjoy it. I deserve it. WE deserve it. Because we're rock stars.
"I never met a chocolate I didn't like"-- Star Trek