Back in 2013 my sister spent some time living in Paris, and my LUCKY ASS got to go visit. BUT of course, I was not doing too hot back then ED-wise so instead of *appreciating* the fact that my parents paid my way and scheduled fun things for us to all do, I spent my time worried about the food and my body.
WHAT A WASTE.
But I got to go again this year, and honestly, I knew this trip was going to be a bit of a redemption trip, if you will. I knew I had the chance to really challenge myself and make up for what I missed the last time around.
This time was definitely super fun because I went with (spoiler alert) my fiancé, and I knew that eating all the yummy food would make it forty thousand times better.
To make it easy to follow along, I’ll separate this post into a few main parts: the food, body image, our engagement, and travel anxiety overall!
I would be lying if I didn’t say there was a part of me that was a little worried about what I would eat because I am super lame and I just like American food. Like I seriously am more than satisfied with a good burger and fries or a nice steak.
I remember the first time I went to Paris constantly feeling like “there was nothing I could eat,” and I think that this was a combination of new foods that were unfamiliar and the fact that my eating disorder ruled my life.
So this time I went in with only slight hesitation, and really it was more of just “boy I hope there are some foods I like.” I wasn’t too worried though, because they serve bread with every meal and I could probably last a week on just that.
So in terms of what I did eat: Crêpes, burgers, steak, pasta, escargot, BREAD, and lots of wine.
I think the most interesting thing that happened while I was there was the sudden INTENSE craving I got for fruits and veggies. On Wednesday morning when we woke up at 11am (more on that later) and were slightly hungover (also more on that later) we walked over to the Champs-Élysées to grab some breakfast. Sometime after breakfast the though of a smoothie entered my mind and I was a goner. I just could NOT shake the thought.
So, fast forward throughout Wednesday (and yes I was keeping my eyes peeled for a smoothie somewhere,) and I am still smoothie-less come 9:30pm when I start to get that pre-bedtime hunger. So of course Logan is like “I just changed into my pajamas” and I’m like “too bad, nature calls, need food.”
So we head over to the same place where we ate breakfast and all they had that could satisfy me was some orange juice. I took it and drank it and honestly it was delicious.
The next morning I was able to get my hands on a fruit cup, thank the LORD, and then I even had some mango sorbet. So I was in pretty good shape.
It was really cool to see my body crave something so badly because I hadn’t had it. I was eating a lot of carbs and protein, and I was just missing the key nutrients from fruits and veggies. I had a few side salads, but they didn’t really do much for me.
My body image was pretty decent throughout the trip (which is pretty normal at this stage for me, and I’m lucky). My body image has improved so much even just in the past year that I’ve been working with my dietitian. Holla, Jessi.
There were some moments where I would feel less than ecstatic about my body, but, ya know, such is life.
The most interesting thing about the trip and my body image was the fact that we got our (another spoiler) engagement photos taken while we were there. I was kind of nervous leading up to it (looking at photos of myself pretty much is a sure fire way to get my ED to SCREAM AT THE TOP OF IT’S LUNGS, but in the moment I felt pretty good.
In fact, while were getting the photos taken, I wasn’t even thinking about my body AT ALL. I was just enjoying it!
Seeing the photos afterwards, however, was a different story. I don’t know if this is just me (I’m guessing it’s not) but looking at photos of myself initially is still hard. When I first see photos of myself, I can feel the urge to judge my body (working on it!!!). But then after a few days, I can look at the same photos and be like “oh…why didn’t I like this?” and Logan rolls his eyes because I am the most *annoying human ever.*
This exact thing happened. They day we got the photos back we looked for about 5 minutes. We scrolled through and as soon as I felt myself starting to over-analyze, we would simply move on to the next picture. I did pretty good, but what got me was then packing for another trip and trying on more CLOTHES.
Realizing some clothes don’t fit the way they used to is a part of recovery that is still tough, no matter how long I’ve been behavior-free.
I’m happy to say that this experience of getting LEGITIMATE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS TAKEN was decently successful. I think it’s important for me to keep practicing and I know that each time it will get a little better. Our engagement photos are FANTASTIC and I am so lucky to have had the chance to get such beautiful photos taken!
WE GOT ENGAGED. It was wild, it was crazy, I would have thought that Logan would cry and I would be fine, but the opposite is what happened. We were eating a baguette and drinking wine and when we headed out for dinner, he sneakily said he wanted to get his jacket out of his backpack, and instead he pulled out a BOX with a DIAMOND RING in it.
I was shocked. I mean, I knew it was gonna happen at some point, but I had no idea in that moment.
I was super super super glad that he did it at the beginning of the week, otherwise I would have been sitting around in Paris all week wondering if it was going to happen and that in and of itself would have stressed me TF out.
TRAVEL ANXIETY OVERALL
I like to joke that I am a terrible traveler because I’m a homebody. I seriously just really like being at home and hanging out with Logan. I can also be a control freak (also working on it!!!!) and I also really like routine, and traveling is basically the opposite of everything I just listed.
Normally when we go on vacation, it takes me the whole trip to unwind and relax and by the time I’m actually de-stressed and can start ~chilling~ it’s time to leave. THANK THE LORD that this time I was WAY more relaxed and prepared for a flexible trip.
We had planned out our week and basically put things on a week calendar of “maybe on this day at this time we will do this” but nothing really went as planned. We ended up hitting everything on our list, but we did it in a totally different order than we had planned, which is FINE.
I was really enjoying myself while we were there, and for some reason I just totally felt like I could go with the flow. The most important thing was that we had fun and I think what made this trip so much better than other trips we’ve taken is that I was much more aware of the fact that vacations aren’t perfect. I also was not gonna judge myself for needing a nap, being tired, needing a snack, not wanting to do something I though I would want to do, or wanting to do something I didn’t think I would want to do.
I think the best aspect of the trip is that we really wanted to enjoy ourselves. I mean, you only get engaged in Paris once.