There are so many things to think about: I suppose for most people drinking isn’t necessarily the first one. That’s the reason why many of them often underestimate their calorie intake. They simply don’t consider the sugar they put in their tea or the latte macciato they drank alongside that piece of cake. Well, for people with an eating disorder it’s often the other way round. It’s not only food that poses a problem, but liquids as well. Or should I rather say: „liquid calories“? Those who met Ana may order a green tea or an espresso at Starbucks instead of a frappucino. And in a bar water with a splash of white wine still seams the least evil compared to half a liter of beer.
When I thought about this topic personally, I recognized the disturbed relation I had with drinks and liquids so far. Here are some attitudes I developed in the course of my eating disorder:
a) before going to a restaurant, I would repeatedly check the menu – not only the food, but also the drink section and plan what to order in advance. The spaghetti and a water? Or the ceasar salad (with fewer calories) and a beer (to reach the same amount of calories in total)? Before going out with friends (drinking included) I would eat less for dinner to balance my calorie intake.
b) during the worst periods of my ED, I simply saw beverages as proper meals. I would use it as an excuse if somebody asked me if I had eaten. „Of course“, I would say confidently, cause this wasn’t even a lie, right? Truth was: I drank a latte macchiato or a glass of orange juice and called it a „breakfast“.
c) I would also use drinks to delay my proper meals. Right before lunch, when I was really hungry but anxious at the same time, I would for example drink a cappucino first, to calm down my hunger a little and not have to eat immediately. In the evening I would do the same, just probably with a beer or a glass of wine instead.
d) temporarily, I was somehow addicted to diet coke, diet soda etc., because I found that it would calm down my hunger for a short amount of time. I’m so glad that I managed to break that habit. Diet liquids have so many negative sideeffects. They make you feel bloated. They actually make you more hungry than before. They have so many chemical incredients. Of course, it won’t harm you seriously if you drink them from time to time. But I would personally advise you not to let it become a daily routine.
And now? It may sound boring, but I mostly drink water and tea and occassionally (currently actually nearly every day) alcohol, mostly beer or wine. Not because I want to get drunk or to escape reality (as it was the case during a certain time). Just because I enjoy it. I have to admit that, sometimes, I still catch myself out, checking the calories of a lemonade or something else that I never drunk before. So I know that, besides a healthy relation to food, I still have to work on my relation to beverages and liquids as well.
I actually appreciate several beverages as they helped me gaining weight without feeling uncomfortably full or bloated. So maybe you can try to work on your fear of liquids as well by setting small goals. Drink for example a glass of orange juice with breakfast. Order a cappuccino instead of a black coffee or take a sip from someone else’s cocktail. Remember that liquids are not your enemy, especially not in recovery!
Cheers to that!