Our Melbourne trip has come and gone (much too quickly), but we made the most of our time there and were able to tick off some of the things on my ED challenge list. Any trip that takes me away from my routine and out of my comfort zone always makes me super anxious in the lead up and throughout, but this time was actually a lot better than usual. So, here’s a little recap (complete with pics) of what went down on our weekend away.
We landed in Melbourne in the afternoon with enough time for a little walk around the city before lining up outside the highly recommended Chin Chin. Fifteen minutes later we reached the front of the queue. We put our names down with the maître d’ and were told a table would be ready in an hour. So we ducked up the street to Garden State, a new (absolutely humongous) bar that was packed with Melbournites socialising after work.
After a couple of drinks we got the text from Chin Chin and headed back to see for ourselves whether those recommendations were warranted (Spoiler: they were).
The ED was loud after dinner. Eating out during the week is not something I do very often and it caused a lot of anxiety and fear. This led to me doing whatever I could to avoid dessert. This really put a damper on the first night (and may have led to a little exhaustion-induced arguing), but before we went to sleep Matt and I planned out our next day a little more so we were ready for any ED fight back.
Friday started so well, with literally the best thing I have ever put in my mouth: the twice baked almond croissant from Lune Croissanterie in Fitzroy.
Fitzroy is an inner-city suburb a couple of kilometres from the CBD. It’s also the setting for our favourite Aussie drama, Offspring, and we spent the rest of the morning searching out the cafes, pubs and homes from the show—and of course, the famous St Francis Hospital (aka St Vincent’s Private).
Next, we caught up for coffee with the lovely Jodie from The Moderation Movement. Matt and I both left feeling inspired and encouraged to keep fighting the good fight. I always feel so uplifted and ready to face the world when I meet and chat with like-minded people. We could have spent the whole day chatting away, unfortunately Matt’s tummy had other ideas and we had to make our way to Belles for some Southern fried chicken (deceptively good, despite the less-than-impressive appearance in this photo).
We chose lunch on a whim, as time had gotten away from us and I could tell the ED was warming up, ready to unleash suggestions of avoiding lunch. I literally (for one of the few times since recovering) just chose a place off the street. I realise this is pretty normal behaviour, but to me was massive!
That night we headed to Lygon street for dinner. This is one of my favourite places ever, I love the vibe and culture of the street with all the buzzing restaurants and smells and—thanks to the authentic accents of the staff promoting their restaurants—sounds of Italy.
We ate some tasty homestyle Italian at Papa Gino’s before heading to Pidapipo for some gelato (honestly the best either of us have ever had).
We got up early and headed straight to Rustica Canteen for brekky. We went halves (we love sharing and trying more than one dish each) and left very satisfied. Feeling obliged to do at least some shopping, we spent the morning browsing stores and even managed to find a few items each (we’re typically very bad at actually buying anything).
I’d always wanted to try Hardware Societe since discovering their Instagram, but by the time we got there all the tables were full. They were lovely enough to offer to make me takeaway lunch and I couldn’t go past the porridge with figs…so good.
Matt had been craving a burger so he got one from 8Bit.
After a little more walking around our stomachs let us know it was time for afternoon tea and there was only one thing on our minds: dougnuts! We found a small place on Flinders St and grabbed a bag of warm cinnamon doughnuts. Even though the ED was pretty loud, trying to tell me I wasn’t hungry and shouldn’t be eating, I pushed those thoughts aside and embraced the moment—and boy am I glad I did!
For dinner, we returned to Lupino (which is fast becoming a tradition for us).
After dinner, we headed back to the room quite merrily and dug into some of the Haigh’s chocolate we’d picked up earlier that day.
Of course, waking up I knew there would be a lot of anxiety and fear around the trip, especially the last night which involved a fair bit of eating outside my normal patterns. I tried to combat this as best I could. As soon as I work up I immediately prayed and journaled to pre-empt any thoughts the ED would throw at me and it really helped. I can happily say I didn’t restrict or compensate, which previously would have been my default, and I was able to leave Melbourne without any type of breakdown (although I was wrestling internally with questions and fears around loss of control and weight gain).
Thankfully, I was able to fight back against the ED thoughts and stay on track, doing what I wanted to. I was able to draw on evidence (gathered from two years of consistently proving the ED wrong) and remember how normal it is to go out for dinner, have a few drinks and devour midnight snacks—without giving in to the urge to restrict or compensate afterwards.
This trip really made me want to keep on recovering, more than ever before. I want to get to a place where I’m able to do everything I did and more without a second thought. I want to trust my body and how it works enough to realise that eating and enjoying holidays will not impact me negatively at all. In fact, it will have the opposite effect, leading to a happier, healthier and, ultimately, free life.