The other day I baked some incredibly delicious “breakfast cookies” (but let’s be real, I had one with my coffee for arvo tea that same day I baked them – defs a snack, m’iright or) and the recipe called for half a cup of peanut butter. I used this scrumptious dark chocolate PB from Fix & Fogg (and I 110% support you going and purchasing some bc #delicious). After scraping it out of the measuring cup and grabbing another spoon to mix all the ingredients together, I did this thing which I wouldn’t usually do when baking – in fact, that I downright just wouldn’t do because it scares the heck out of me – I licked the rest of the peanut butter off of the spoon. And then I scraped the last of the jar and ate that. And then I used my finger and scraped the rest of it off of the measuring cup before dumping all of the dirty dishes into the sink. It was just like, the most natural thing. It was probably one of the most normal behaviours I’ve done around food in a long time, actually. And to someone who doesn’t know much about eating disorders or anything at all really, or who doesn’t know me and who wouldn’t understand why I was inwardly freaking the heck out just a wee bit, it wouldn’t make any sense at all. Truth be told I can’t even tell you it makes complete sense to me either.
So many thoughts crossed through my mind in a matter of a mere minute or two – was it OK that I did that, do I have to restrict somewhere else in my day if it wasn’t OK, is that (barely) a teaspoon of PB going to affect my weight in some way (1 – irrational, 2 – magical thinking)?
The non-eating disordered part of my head can sit here, look back and tell you that those thoughts were irrational, they were untrue and there was no need to take any action about licking that spoon, but in that moment when every single morsel of food that goes into my mouth is kind of really a hell of a lot frightening, those thoughts were real. They mattered, but what mattered more was what I chose to do with those thoughts and if I decided to take action against them.
I chose to try and justify it to my brain and reason with myself but then eventually moved on to ignoring them, despite the anxiety that was sitting in the pit of my stomach (along that sweet, sweet peanut butter). I sat with that, and I sat with it for a few hours and eventually the anxiety eased and I moved on with my day. And then that afternoon I ate one of those cookies and it was pretty dang good, if I do say so myself.
Licking the spoon: such a minor thing, but somehow a major thing as well. There’s a lot of symbolism in that – it’s a bit of an up yours to the eating disorder, actually. There are so many things that my head prevents me from doing on a daily basis because of these exact reasons that licking that spoon brought up – but just for this one day and in this one moment I was able to just let that go and have this one moment of normality and nostalgia (come on, who doesn’t lick the rest of that cake batter from the bowl before they put that cake in the oven? I can tell you I certainly used to prior to 2009 without fear or shame).
Lick that spoon. Eat those crumbs. Eat that last piece of chocolate just because it’s entirely delicious and you deserve to enjoy that and experience that and eat yummy things. There’s symbolism in the small things, and there’s freedom buried in that symbolism.
Go right ahead; I dare you.