Can I Survive Baking as a Disordered Eater?

Can I survive baking, peanut butter cookies for a friend, as a disordered eater?


I need to write this post, because I love to bake, but I have come to realise that I love to bake because it gives me an excuse to eat ‘naughty’ things. It almost always induces binging, the ‘start over’ tape in my mind and heaps of guilt. It is part of my old cycle of disordered eating that has caused me so much grief and an excuse to un-wind.

Baking is BY far the hardest thing for me to think about in my journey to over-come my disordered eating…second to potlucks.

In my attempt to ‘overcome’ the disordered voices in my head, I have tied a towel around my face, chewed gum, cut up carrots, made a cup of tea, made sure I had eaten.

But when you have disordered eating patterns and strong voices in your head it doesn’t matter you do. It’s a subconscious slippery slop that is hard to overcome.

But I am committed damn it!

I have promised my friend in Timor for six months that I’d make him something and you know what..I am going to do it. If it takes me five hours to get through mixing the butter and sugar and another five hours to get through baking them and putting them into ziplock baggies..then so be it.

But I will not be defeated. I will not be taken down my internal voices that say I am not strong enough.

I know that for some of you, perhaps, this blog sounds crazy. But let me assure you that it’s so real for me. It’s so honestly real that I have been preparing myself since yesterday. Some of your are going to say ‘Mish, then why are you putting yourself in this situation? Just buy him some packed cookies and move on.” I have thought about that. but I can’t keep running from the things which scare me. I have to deal with them. I have ran for so long, and I am ready to take my life on.

This is my reality.

~Mish

Please visit # 58 of the Exposed Movement “This is me. The cellulite on my thighs, the stretchmarks on my hips”. I am always BLOWN away when people join this movement. It’s open to anyone and I would LOVE and encourage you to get involved in your own way if you’d like!

29 thoughts on “Can I Survive Baking as a Disordered Eater?

  1. sui says:

    I totally know what you mean… when I’ve made any food, but usually with sweet food/baking/desserts in the past… I’ve always ended up eating half of it before I even give the food to the intended recipient! I always say I want to taste it, to make sure it came out alright.. it’s hard! But, you / we can do it.. 🙂

    • Mish says:

      I totally know the whole 1/2 eating thing. Then I have also had many MANY times when I just shove them into the garbage and/or drown it down w/ water. Amazing what we put ourselves through sometimes.

  2. missyrayn says:

    I’m glad you are doing this even if it takes awhile. You are learning your limits. And that is so hard. I’m still trying including your ninja baking technique.

  3. Lara (Thinspired) says:

    I know you can do it. I know what you mean with baking, but it’s a million times easier when you’re baking for someone else. Just think, ever lick, bite, or crumb you eat is not only potentially contaminating (hehe), but also a cookie that they don’t get to eat.

    Melissa of Tales of a Recovering Disordered Eater has a GREAT post somewhere in her archives that I always remember called “No choice.” The idea being, if you passionately make up your mind about how you will handle a situation ahead of time, you just leave yourself “no choice.” Period. When I am REALLY serious about saying this to myself, it has never failed me. If only I would say it more often though 😉

    You will do just fine…no choice!!

    • Mish says:

      LOVE the ‘no choice’ mentality. I need to think abt that more. What’s stopping me from totally owning that…that is the question.

  4. Megan @ Healthy Hoggin says:

    You can do it!!!!

    Oh my gosh, I am the EXACT same way! Baking was always my “excuse” to be naughty– and almost always led to a binge for me, too. However, I know it can be done and NOT lead to that behavior!

    Snacking on baby carrots, and sipping minty herbal tea helps me! And having a “safe” treat– like dark chocolate– can help, too. Give yourself something sweet and indulgent, and you’ll be less likely to give in!

  5. Beth says:

    You are right to tackle this thing head on. Even if you end up eating more than you’d like, you can think about and notice your feelings and thought patterns and learn from them. This is the work it takes to go through this thing and conquer it. You will succeed.

    • Mish says:

      Thansk for writing that. I realise that there will be set-backs and getting through them RIGHT THEN is what I have to be aware of. It’s amazing how much those entrenched feelings affect outward movements and mental thought patterns.

  6. Angela @ A Healthy Fit says:

    I totally feel you on this. Right now I am almost on the same exact journey as yourself. Baking is the exact same way for me! I’ve been scared to do it for a while because of the temptation. What I did the last time I baked was to chew gum, drink water, and not allow myself one taste. The cookies were for me and my hubs, but I only made 12 cookies and then put the dough in the freezer. I actually just ended up throwing away the dough because the hubs was going out of town and I knew I couldn’t be trusted. Face it head on. I’m learning that the things I try to not face only cause me anxiety and actually make those evil voices worse. YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!

  7. KCLAnderson (Karen) says:

    One thing I have just realized is that this whole intuitive eating thing takes time, patience and trust. And it IS possible. It’s just a longer-term solution than dieting and restricting…

  8. JD says:

    Mish – I cried as I was reading this post from you today. The exact same thing is happening with me…baking and eating disorder are a very lethal, challenging combination. I wish I could stand tall and proud right now, and say that, like you, I am committed to defeating this ‘thing’ and have defeated it. That I can bake and not go down the binge road. Up until today, I was able to do just that. But today…for some reason I cannot explain or understand…I baked and a binge session started up, almost immediately. I heard the ‘little voices’ saying, ‘Ahhh go on…just the one muffin. It won’t do any harm. It won’t undo all the work you’ve done. And you can always start over again tomorrow, can’t you?’

    Well…I fell for all those lies, hook line and sinker, and just went maniacal for about 10 minutes straight…first sweet, then savoury, then sweet to counterbalance the savoury, then back to sweet again. It was only physical discomfort that stopped me from eating even one more bite, and by that time, the damage was done, and I was feeling guilty and ashamed (the usual vicious cycle).

    I went out for a long walk, and came back to my PC, and found this blog entry from you. That’s when it truly hit me – that today, I’ve been challenged and I have been defeated. And so I cried. I wept. Bitter, frustrated tears. I’m so angry with myself. I know better, yet…something just gets a stranglehold on my common sense and my better judgement, and I just go into binge overdrive.

    The only thing I can do now is to start over…not tomorrow, but right this moment. No self-flagellation, no more guilt and self-loathing. This experience has taught me that, although I’ve come very very far with self-control, I still have a bit further of a journey to get through, before reaching the other side. I have to be kinder to myself, and more patient.

    I know I can do this. I have done it successfully, up until today for some reason I still don’t understand…yet. I can get past this, just like you have. Well done, Mish, for meeting the challenge and overpowering it, and taking back your power over the binge. Your post today, although it made me cry, it also gave me encouragement, motivation and inspiration. Thanks

    • Mish says:

      Oh hon..I HAVE SO BEEN THERE. SO been there. God, I don’t know what to say..but don’t punish your todays for your yesterdays. Harness that fire in you to keep going and NEVER EVER give up. Sending my love and thank you for being so open.

  9. Liz N says:

    gosh, I’m the same – I just have no control around baking at all – better than I was, but better off without doing it I’m afraid.

  10. JD says:

    Hi Mish – Just wanted to say that I feel a lot better today. More in control. More like the self I believe myself to have become – more focused, less afraid, more self-empowered, more in control.

    After my long meditative walk, and after I cried, and after I read your very evocative blog entry, I went to the beach, walked some more, took out my journal and began to process all the feelings and emotions associated with that binge yesterday.

    While I’m not much closer into understanding what exactly kicked it off (the binge, I mean), I think I’ve purged whatever it was that took hold of me, and I feel I can start afresh. More importantly, I can once again look at myself in the mirror, and not feel ashamed or guilt-ridden. Like the U2 song, ‘New Year’s Day,’ ‘….I will begin again.’

    Thanks again for this blog, Mish. It’s helping so many of us. Have a brilliant day, yourself.

  11. hunter says:

    I understand your struggle definitely, as well as the desire to power through — after all, it’s such a ‘normal’ task, that for most people evokes only pleasant things!

    It was only later on in the process of dealing with own disordered eating issues that I actually took a look at my baking habit. I enjoy the process of it so much I was loathe to look directly at it and recognize it as a personal binge trigger. I was too caught up in the pleasures of it – not just the eating (“sampling!”), but the whole domestic aesthetic too. It was one of the few things in my off-kilter, busy schedule where I felt a connection to tradition…y’know, sort of industrious and kitchen-y! Not to mention the whole preparing food=demonstrating love aspect.

    Nooo! Take everything, Recovery, just not my home-made (and therefore ‘wholesome’) cookies/muffins/breads!!

    On a personal note I have recently started an experiment. I deliberately make a point of baking about twice a month (only for others – my work mates in this case). I get to indulge my fondness for it, plus I think it is mentally helpful for me to share food. A big part of my problem was the need to hoard food, or panic and fret about it. So putting in this effort for others’ enjoyment has proven beneficial in my recovery from eating oddness. Weirdly, I’m less likely to eat what I make if I set out to make it for someone else specifically.

    • Mish says:

      I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of having designated days for baking and for a purpose. I am going to try this..thanks for writing this.

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