Imagine looking at a menu and instead of seeing dishes, you see only numbers. You order based on the lowest number, and you modify it to make it even lower. You aren’t trying to satisfy your cravings for steak, or try escargot for the first time, because your relationship with food has no connection with your body. It is a purely numerical translation. The goal of which is to consume the lowest number possible.

In saying goodbye to anorexia, I’ve learned that I really do love food. At first it was scary and hard to admit, did that make me gluttonous, overweight, out of control? It felt like betraying my best friend.

But slowly it became easier. A chocolate chip cookie wasn’t delicious based on the number of calories, but on the quality of the chips, the ratio of crunchy to soft. I began to connect to what looked good and slowly the numbers disappeared; replaced by fun names like “The Tonight Dough.” I ordered things as is, without asking for no cheese, dressing, and croutons; taste became more important than a number.


Photo by Cathy Ma

Even without an eating disorder, eating only green apples and plain yogurt would turn anyone into a food hater. It’s monotonous and unfun. Luckily for me? It turns out my eating disorder is a whole lot pickier than I actually am. Eel, it turns out, is delicious. Same for duck. And chocolate milk? Essentially the best thing ever.

My eating disorder is crying as I write this (and munch on Trader Joe’s chocolate chip cookies, which I highly recommend). But food is so much more than just a number. And to answer my fears, no that doesn’t make me gluttonous, overweight, or out of control. Enjoying food gives me the energy to enjoy life, it satisfies that post-exam craving, it’s a way to create connections and to celebrate culture.

My advice? Life is short, so eat dessert first.