Recently I’ve started food journaling again, and I’ve joined a 21 day clean eating challenge group on Facebook sponsored by a family member. I thought it would be a good way to pay more attention to what I’m eating and make sure I’m consuming a well rounded diet (without too much sugar), which is an important thing to pay attention to when you’re vegan. What I wasn’t anticipating was how triggering this would be. It’s been almost two or three years since the last time my EDNOS really affected me, so I was surprised that every time I reported to the group I had a sugary or salty snack I felt like a failure. Being a perfectionist, I carried a lot of latent guilt every time I admitted that my diet wasn’t 100% perfectly health 24/7. Realistically, I know that it’s ok to treat yourself sometimes, and that treats and unhealthy foods can be part of a balanced diet as long as you’re not overdoing it. I think what really got to me was the fact that I had to admit to other people that I wasn’t perfect. My perfectionist tendencies play a large role in my eating disorder – even now, I get upset and cranky when I don’t eat on schedule. Not because of low blood sugar, but because I spent so long learning how to eat properly again that I feel like a failure when I’m not doing it exactly right. When I was first diagnosed with an EDNOS, it was largely due to restricting and purging food; later on, however, it sort of morphed into something more psychological – I started to equate my body and my self with food. I’ve been through periods where if food tasted bad I felt like it was my fault and it was a direct result of my goodness or badness as a person. So it’s no surprise to me that when I have to admit to less-than-perfect eating habits, it makes me feel as though I am less than perfect. And the thing is, this totally blindsided me. That’s the thing about triggers – you can go for years unaffected and then suddenly something puts you right back in the throes of it. Two steps forward and one step back, as they say.