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Lane, F. (2019). The Rehab Diet. Psychoanal. Perspect., 16(2):223-227.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 16(2):223-227

The Rehab Diet

Fiona Lane

The doors open at 8:05 a.m. and the girls slowly file in, shuffling sleepily across the linoleum in their slippers. My vintage leather heels click alongside them as I walk the runway into the dining hall. A few minutes ago, I chugged two menthol cigarettes out back with the smokers club and I’m still full from dinner last night. It’s breakfast time at the Renfrew Center for Eating Disorders, and I need a fucking Xanax. The cafeteria reminds me of someone’s mother’s house right after the divorce: the smell of denial and forgotten potato salad lingers, and once you get through those doors, there’s no telling what might happen. I search for my labeled place setting on the table. Once I find my name, I quickly check to see who is sitting next to me.

Please not Joyce please not Joyce please not Joyce, I think.

Last time Joyce and I sat next to each other, she stuck her peanut butter to the underside of the table like a suction cup, and when she got caught, she blamed me for giving her the idea. It was a smart plan. I was almost flattered, but she almost flipped the table trying to get it to stick, so the execution was poor. Thankfully, Joyce is sitting at a different table for breakfast this morning. We take our seats, armed with plenty of secret compartments to hide food, but this won’t be easy to do here.

“You know what to do, ladies. Sweatshirts inside out. Pockets too!” Liz yells.

She’s the meal supervisor, a job that requires extreme vigilance, which is something she should really work on. Her job is to make sure that we eat everything we are given in an orderly fashion. I flip out the pockets of my pants and let the fabric fall by my hips.

“Those are some deep pockets. You could probably fit a whole hoagie in those,” Joyce teases me from across the room.

But unlike Joyce, I don’t try to cheat the system. After all, I’m the one who put myself in this place. I call it a food prison; others call it Hell. Liz gives us the go-ahead to sit down, but we can’t start quite yet. I sit and stare at the stupid metal dome atop my yellow plastic tray, wishing I had X-ray vision.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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