Thank you, Anorexia

You, ED, owe me. From now until the day I die, you are going to start working for me. Even when I have kicked you out; when you’re nothing but a distant memory, a story to tell; your time spent sharing my life path will be put to good use. To directly benefit me.

I deserve it.

So let’s look at how we can turn into a positive the fact that you chose me to invade. Here is what you have given me:

Steely determination. Not that I’m accrediting you solely with this; it existed in me before, but you manipulated it to your own benefit and made them stronger.

Belief in myself. Again, you manipulated this; you made me believe that starving and running myself into the ground was the right thing to do, that I was right and everyone else was wrong. But all that time, it wasn’t really me, was it? That weird mindset was technically me, because it existed in my head, but was entirely controlled by you. So the lines here are blurred. But still, if I can believe that this profoundly deluded version of myself is ‘right’, imagine how much self-belief and confidence I can have when I’ve got rid of you entirely and I’m more of a rational human being!

Commitment. No matter how bitterly cold, or early in the morning, or dark it was, I was out running. No matter how physically pained I was with hunger, how amazingly wonderful those baguettes looked, how nutritious and comforting that soup smelt, I declined and sat there gazing enviously over my glass of water. If I ‘want’ to do something, hell knows I will do it, no matter how much I have to suffer. Again, we have to note the blurred lines; I didn’t want to ‘do’ anorexic behaviour, I just wanted to please you because you were so firmly embedded in my brain that upsetting you would have lead to an even more miserable existence.

The most bizarre ability to combine ingredients and textures to make creative, inspired food. Ta-dah! Here is where we potentially find my niche; this is where you could really translate into something of a remotely positive influence on my life. And I don’t do this through taste; oh no no no, I am fully trained in cooking entire meals based purely on sniffing – never tasting the sauce before I serve; never nibbling on the veg to check if it’s cooked; this would have meant food passing my lips too early, before the allotted time you had arbitrarily scheduled! So instead, I developed into the human form of Remi the rat from the Ratatouille movie; scampering around my kitchen, opening bottles and tubs and sniff-sniff-sniffing until landing upon the perfect ingredient combination.

And I can make salad taste like fish ‘n’ chips, chip-shop curry and roast lamb. I can make grated courgette taste like banoffee pie. No, sadly I am not exaggerating. Heston Blumenthal, I can pack a serious punch to rival your experimental approach to food. And I’m a scientist by background, so start getting nervous.

But I am not about to unleash my ‘secrets’ to the world – the type of disordered eating I perfected over the years should never, and will never, be encouraged. I am determined to take it all to the grave and know that no-one else will ever sample my nutritionally deranged ‘techniques’.

So – how to strike a delicate balance between utilising my creativity, acute sense of taste and damningly critical approach to food (I will not eat anything I do not feel is ‘worth it’) and the obvious danger of promoting unhealthy habits? This is what I have to figure out. Work in progress.

But one thing is for sure; your days of simply ruining my life are numbered, ED. You’re about to prove yourself as the perfect example of how the grass always grows greener where it rains.