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My anorexia & the Life Savers Candy

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This morning I went to my daily IOP where I had to fill out a daily report card for how I had done during the 24-hours since leaving IOP and it was not a pretty report card either. In the past 24-hours I have purged, cut, and anorexia is in control of my eating; let’s just say I wasn’t looking forward to having to turn in my report card especially since my therapist was running this morning’s IOP session.
Part of the IOP sessions are what they call mindfulness exercises; exercises designed to help you get back to center and slow your mind down so you can deal with whatever is going on around you. So far they have not been helpful as I have not yet been able to slow my mind down enough long enough to focus on the exercise. However, sometimes it takes something little like a Life Savers candy to make you realize how out of control things have gotten; or more appropriately just how out of control you eating disorder is.
For one of the mindfulness exercises a bag of Life Savers was passed around the table with everyone being instructed to take two Life Savers and to be sure they kept one for the exercise. When the bag came around to me, I took it and instinctively checked the nutritional information printed on the bag; serving size – 4 candies, calories per serving XX. This of course means each candy has XX/4 calories in it, which in the grand scheme of the universe is nothing, but…I found myself in an internal debate with myself about those XX calories (which represented the first calories I would have consumed today). I will admit the smell of the candy was enticing and for a moment, I considered eating the candy and my anorexia could go to hell. That was just one of many thoughts that went through my mind but it was not the thought that won out in the end.
When it came time for the exercise we were instructed to take the candy, hold it in our hands, feel the candy, the raised lettering on the candy, and then to put the candy in our mouth. That was where the exercise ended for me; the internal debate with myself resumed and in the end anorexia won when I tossed the candy into the trashcan. I’m not sure which I’m more upset with, myself, my anorexia, or the therapist for having a mindfulness exercise that involved food…guess I’m upset with all the above for various reasons.
Sometimes it only takes something as small as one piece of Life Savers candies with XX calories to make you realize how bad your eating disorder is. Since I could not bring myself to eat that piece of candy, it tells me my ED is the one currently in control…
I've been able to live with my anorexia in remission for a long time, so I know I can get back to that; it's just so f'ing hard sometimes and this only helped show how far I still have to go :(
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I'm sorry you're feeling that way. That is a difficult exercise. I'm a person that doesn't like sweets, I prefer salty, and I know it is a mindfulness exercise. Maybe next time you can work on doing something like that for longer. Set a goal, but not one that's too out of reach.


I'm glad you turned the report in. Honesty with treatment teams is great.


Remember, any step, just putting it into your mouth, is a step. One day at a time. 


Try some self soothing, some distraction methods for cutting. Thanks for posting this. 


Recovery is hard work, but you're on the right path. Congratulations.

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I also don't like the idea of the Life Saver exercise and think IMO it is a little inappropriate for a group of people with eating disorders.  Food is stressful to deal with enough, let alone in a therapy group.  I don't think having the group eat some candy was helpful.  Just my opinion though.  I would have probably reacted the same way you did.


I'm glad you can get back to being in remission.  EDs really do suck and are very hard to deal with. 

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