After months of being on a strict meal plan, a couple weeks ago I was finally put on intuitive eating. This is a big deal in recovery because intuitive eating is learning to completely trust your hunger and fullness cues as well as trusting that you will get all of your nutritional needs without having to have x amount of fats or x amount of grains at each meal. I am not going to lie, it’s very nice that every day I dont have to think of what each element of my meal equals to and I don’t have to eat past being extremely uncomfortably full.
Intuitive Eating is nice but it presents itself with a lot of challenges and when it comes to the food part of recovery, it has been the hardest part. Luckily, I was put on intuitive eating before I went to school so I have gotten used to eating when I am hungry and trusting my body to make up for the days when I don’t have enough of a food group. Learning what hungry feels like and what full feels like is what makes this difficult. My eating disorder completely warped my reality of those cues. My body became numb to hunger and adapted to starvation which allowed me to go days without eating and when I would eat, my fullness would be based on my anxiety level or any extreme emotion I might be having in that moment.
What makes hunger and fullness cues tricky with intuitive eating and recovery is having to make yourself eat or setting time out to eat even when you are not hungry. I remember arguing with my nutritionist in January about how “normal” people skip meals all the time and that it would be ok to never eat breakfast and lunch because most people don’t. She told me that yes, there are some people that don’t eat breakfast or skip a meal every now and then, but these people don’t look forward to not eating, they don’t feel pride when they can come home and say that they have skipped all their meals nor do they feel extreme guilt when they are hunger and they do eat. So even though the majority of the population eats intuitively, I can’t base their daily food intake on what mine is.
Because no matter how far I get in recovery, I will always have restricting in the back of my mind. I have learned to accept that no matter how far I get in recovery, I will always have the thoughts and urges. I get excited when I don’t get hungry around meal times and when I get full after eating a small meal. I can’t just skip a meal because I have Anorexia. As shitty as it is to accept, I am different than all of my colleagues because of my eating disorder and there are things that I have to do that most people don’t. Whenever I feel any intense emotion, good or bad, my mind goes to purging or starving to cope. Plus my body is so used to being in starvation mode that once I go a certain amount of hours without eating, my body thinks it’s December again and I no longer feel hungry so I don’t make food a priority. My eating disorder is trying to find the loop hole in telling me that if your not hungry than don’t eat and then boom, I find myself where I was three weeks ago where I hadn’t eaten in 4 days. Don’t want to live that day twice.
I ate today, I am not restricting or anything but it was just one of those weird days where I woke up and I wasn’t hungry and I haven’t been hungry all day. My meals or snacks were not first today and all my work was. I didnt think anything of it since I felt no hunger cues and I figured I’d eat when I felt like I needed to but it never came and when I did it, I couldn’t even taste the food because I was so numbed out from going hours without eating.
I guess that’s my goal this week is to try to get more on a schedule of eating. Because although I didnt restrict ‘on purpose’, I do know that if I have more and more days like today than I will relapse and I don’t want that.
Second goal would be to tell people when I am struggling and not use cigarette breaks to hide from people and cry
Third goal would join an eating disorder support group outside of snap chat and private Facebook groups.