Food as a reward

I am not sure how universal this is, but it is a feeling that really struggle with. For me, one of the drivers of my anorexia is that I have associated food with reward. According to most people that I talk to, this is not a common association. Most people seem to consider food as a tool or a means.

On its own, linking food and reward might not be terrible. Coupled with a belief that I am unworthy of any sort of reward and/or a perverse love of pursuing the reward rather than the reward itself, it is a problem.

This all leads to very unpleasant emotions after any meal. Besides the discomfort I feel knowing that there is food in my body and mentally adjusting to the fact that I consumed calories, I get angry at myself for having a reward and I feel empty. The anger is because I have given myself a reward of which I am not deserving and the emptiness is because I now have nothing to look forward to.

Not only is it easier not to eat, it is actually fulfilling. It is easier because I avoid the discomfort and anger and it is fulfilling because I continue to have something to look forward to. When you have no sense of self-worth and generally nothing that excites and motivates you, these are powerful reasons not to eat.

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