Part of having autism, OCD, and pica is that your relationship with food is going to be compromised in some way. I’m trying to do my very best to eat healthy, and find a balance between my urges to binge-eat in order to comfort myself when I’m undergoing a stressful situation, and my wish to obsessively categorize everything I eat and obsess over it in my brain. The reason I knew so much about calorie essentialism mentalities in my last post on food? Because I myself enter that stage a few times, cataloguing each calorie.
But the equally harmful side to my struggle to healthful body image and treating myself is figuring out how to curb my lack of impulse control and the emotional roller coaster. Pica means that I don’t just reach into the fridge and grab Ben & Jerry’s, I usually end up eating a stick of butter, or a cup of brown sugar, or something else that’s a raw foodstuff. I’m just glad I don’t eat nonedibles, or my stomach would be in really bad shape by now. As it is, I’m worried about my heart health, my bodily health, and about aggravating the genetic Type II diabetes in my family tree. I can’t help it when I go into a “food spell”, but it still ends up compromising my health, usually ending in a blood sugar crash or a painful stomach-ache.
Sometimes, it’s gotten so bad, I’ve considered talking to a doctor about taking mood stabilizers or an appetite suppressant. But that would open a whole new hornet’s nest of problems, and wouldn’t get to the root of disordered eating’s swing spells on me. It’s more than just pica. It’s stress and not being able to cope with my emotions in a more healthy, feasible fashion. But that is a long ways off. So, my roommate, who has experience working with disabled children, took me on a trip to the bulk health food store the other day to help figure out what alternatives could be brought into my diet when I feel a food spell coming on. Instead of shoyu (soy sauce, you mainlanders!) we picked out Bragg Liquid Aminos, which is lower in sodium and has more protein. Instead of diet soda, milk and kefir will satisfy my need for a liquid that’s thicker and sweeter than water. I’m also attempting to build up to solid foods I can prepare quickly during a food smell so I don’t eat raw foodstuffs.
My hope is that, by the time I am ready to get pregnant (Alas, there’s no way yet for a trans woman to get pregnant, Jaime would rather do that than I would) I will have enough of a control on my eating habits that I don’t compromise the health of the foetus within me by going on a binge food spell or fastidious calorie-counting.