We’re back from our much anticipated weekend getaway in Melbourne. We’d been so looking forward to this trip and had really high hopes that it would be a nice break from the pressure of everyday life (especially life with an eating disorder).
In many ways it was. We had a great time exploring alleys and backstreets, eating heaps and soaking in the Melbourne culture. But the build up to this weekend and the overload on our senses—particularly taste—made an attractive target for the ED and Kate faced a few tough battles while we were there. She won most, but she gave in at times too.
It’s never nice to feel like you’re going backwards in your fight against ED, but the reality is there will always be good days and days when it’s a little (or a lot) harder. The important thing for us is that we learn from our stumbles, focus on the positives and move forward more determined than ever to live life without ED.
Day One: Thursday
We touched down in Melbourne just before 4pm. Dinner tonight was at Chinatown restaurant Seamstress.
The food at Seamstress is all about traditional asian ingredients combined with modern kitchen techniques. The meals are designed to be shared, which suits us perfectly!
We had an early booking so we had enough time to enjoy our food and make it to The Lion King at the Regent Theatre (if you haven’t seen this musical yet go see it, we both loved it).
After the show our stomachs were starting to rumble and we went in search of dessert. It was after 11pm and we couldn’t find anything to satisfy our cravings. The ED saw its first opportunity. The longer we walked around without any success the more anxious Kate became. Eventually we gave up and went back to the hotel.
You might think the fact we didn’t eat any dessert would make the ED happy (and usually it would). But Kate was trying to trust her body’s signals on this trip. She was hungry and prepared to eat, so when we couldn’t find dessert she felt confused and the ED pounced. That’s the thing about eating disorders, they’ll take any opportunity to mess with you—sometimes because you’re eating and sometimes because you’re not.
It was a hard night but we talked it out and went to sleep ready for a better day tomorrow.
Day Two: Friday
Today’s breakfast venue was Stagger Lee’s in Fitzroy.
The food and coffee were both amazing. We only wish we’d had more time to spend exploring the suburb.
At lunch time we made our way to the Queen Victoria Market.
We could have explored the stalls and shopfronts all day, but since taking most of the produce back to NSW was out of the question we moved on… eventually.
Dinner tonight was Italian restaurant Lupino, recommended by two of our favourite Victorians: dietitian Heidi Sze of Apples Under My Bed and Jodie Arnot, director of Healthy Balance Fitness (Jodie is also one half of The Moderation Movement).
The chefs at Lupino work their magic in the restaurant’s open kitchen. All the pasta is handmade and you really can taste the difference.
After last night’s dessert debacle, we were prepared. We’d been to Haigh’s Chocolates earlier in the day (conveniently located in the same building as our hotel), so after dinner we paid a quick visit to Max Brenner to pick up a hot chocolate and salted caramel milkshake and had a private chocolate feast in our room.
By this stage it was close to midnight. Thanks to the wine at dinner we still had the munchies. So we headed back into the cold Melbourne night and grabbed a giros from Greek eatery Stalactites. This left Kate feeling very full and of course the ED thoughts weren’t far behind.
Once again we found ourselves locked in an intense struggle with the eating disorder in the late hours of the night (we quickly realised this is a vulnerable time for Kate—luckily we’re usually tucked up by 9pm!). We went to sleep without fully resolving this, which would lead to a tough final day in Melbourne.
Day Three – Saturday
On a friend’s recommendation we were planning on visiting CUMULUS INC. for brekky this morning (Kate had decided on their homemade crumpets days ago). The ED had other ideas. With the memory of last night’s giros still fresh, Kate ruled out the crumpets and we went in search of something the ED would approve. Great plan, right?
After an hour of fruitless wandering Matt was getting really hangry. We argued in that hushed-voice-and-still-smiling style couples use when they’re disagreeing in public. As we realised we were taking our frustration out on each other instead of the real enemy we decided to shove it to the ED and get those damn crumpets. And boy are we glad we did!
As our holiday drew to a close, Kate’s resolve slipped and the ED scored a few points. We were tired and a little upset the trip was nearly over and Kate didn’t have the energy to fight it. Despite our win at breakfast Kate hadn’t fully dealt with the anxiety caused by last night. As the negative thoughts kept building she gave in and restricted for most of the day.
By the time we landed in Sydney, Kate was starving. We should have grabbed some takeaway on the way home but the ED told Kate this wasn’t okay and she obeyed. So instead we stopped at Woolies and bought some ED-approved ingredients. It took us over an hour to prepare dinner, which was the last thing we needed after such a long day and emotionally intense weekend.
So our getaway had its ups and downs. Mostly ups, and we’ve come away with some truly great memories of the time we spent together and the food we shared. A trip focused almost entirely on eating was always going to be tough, but we don’t regret doing it. We won’t forget the difficulties we faced, but we aren’t going to let them define us either.
It’s important for us to remember Kate actually did amazingly well this weekend. For the most part she ate what she felt like and pushed hard against the ED thoughts. But we really believe in being open and honest about the reality of recovering from an eating disorder. It’s hard. It takes time. And there’s going to be setbacks along the way. This all sounds super clichéd, but it’s true.
We share our experiences with you because knowing you’re not alone makes it easier to imagine a life free from ED. Our journey is still going but we know there’s a happy ending waiting for us. And every day that vision gets a little clearer.