“I brought snacks today!” Most students cheer or at least perk up in their seats when the professor announces this. However, sweat begins to drip down my face as I struggle to breathe. Suddenly tempting foods are waved right under my nose. Cookies, candy, pizza, chips – scents waft up to my nose and into my thoughts.
Part of me screams no while another watches enviously as students unthinkingly snatch a treat to chomp on. Is it only me who fears this lifeless clump of ingredients baked miles away? Everyone else simply seems eager for free snack.
This situation happened again yesterday morning. My marketing professor, chipper and wide awake, greeted our early class with fun activities. Then, he pulled out huge, glorious muffins of all types. Starting with me, the baked goods were passed around the room.
“Maybe you should join them,” a small voice stammers. “Just try it. Maybe no one will even notice you take it. Besides, you don’t even need to write it down in your meal plan sheets. Just count it toward all of the tallies that you skimp on to make up the difference. No one needs to know – not your mom or dietitian. That way it isn’t real, right?”
As I continue to listen to this reasoning, it morphs into the misery-loving, gloomy voice that used to tempt me into overeating. “They do not like you anyway. So take it. You deserve it. This is the only pleasure you will get all day. Don’t let anyone else eat it. That treat should be yours!”
Sickening churning in my stomach causes the thoughts to switch. “How dare you even think about eating that? Do you honestly think that you need food? People are starving all over the world, and all you do is stuff your face every day. You have an eating disorder? Please, you are way too fat and greedy! Everyone will mock you or at least scorn you silently if you so much as look too long at those muffins. Pass them back to the students who deserve the treat. Someone as bad as you certainly does not deserve even a crumb that falls on the floor.”
All of these words came at me in a manner of seconds. Overwhelmed and frightened, I passed the muffins to those behind me as quickly as possible. Disappointment filled me as I watched an apple one pass. Maybe I could have one and count it as dessert? No! That might result in overeating or a binge. Instead, I indulged myself by watching others lick their sticky fingers and grab a second flavor.
The remainder of the class was spent attempting to pay attention to the professor. However, the muffins sat in the center of the room, calling to me silently. Many times my eyes drifted over to count the remaining ones and analyze their appearance. If I did bring one home, it would be a blueberry one or maybe the apple. . .if I did bring one home. . .
Finally, the class ended. Suddenly, courage (or perhaps gluttony, my head screamed) kicked in, and I strode over to the table. After making sure no one was watching, I snatched up an apple muffin and put it into my backpack. My book clunk forward to hide it as I zipped up the bag and slipped out of the room.
That evening at home, I pulled out the treat. Crumbled and smooshed, it hardly looked like the perfect vision of baked delight as it had twelve hours earlier. However, I felt slightly victorious. Despite the voices in my head, a healthy balance had been struck. Neither over-eating or anorexia had overtaken me. Sure, eating it in class would have been ideal. The step of recovery, however, challenged me greatly, and yet I conquered it. The looks of pride on my mother’s and dietitian’s faces were only rivaled in sweetness to the muffin itself. And let me tell you, the trip throughout the day might have damaged its exterior but not the dessert’s taste!