EDIE: ED+Intuitive Eating
If you read my blog about me bingeing frequently due to stress and anxiety and trying to work on intuitive eating… I am still working on it. I have not had a serious binge in over a week and am bringing my focus to eating not only what I desire, but to also my hunger and fullness cues. Here are a common thoughts people with ED or disordered thinking will have and stand by regardless of how they are actually feeling:
- I just had lunch so I shouldn’t eat for at least 3 hours
- I had bread at breakfast so I should order tacos at dinner with no tortillas
- I can’t eat after 7pm
- If I am going to lose weight I must cleanse my body of alcohol, dairy, gluten and refined sugar
- There are only 10 crackers left in the box, I might as well eat them so I can throw the box away.
These 4 statements are coming from someone who has no concept of intuitive eating i.e. someone with ED or recovering from ED. Let’s break it down.
- I just had lunch so I shouldn’t eat for at least 3 hours.
Why not? If you are hungry, then you should eat! First off, ask yourself was your lunch sufficient? Did you eat a salad with lots of protein and perhaps a carb? Or did you eat a small salad that contained mostly lettuce? This one I struggled with for quite some time because I was so used to following an eating schedule (meal plans) during recovery. However, I have learned that if I do not eat something between lunch and dinner, then I either become an 80 year old woman and eat dinner at 4pm OR I will binge later on in the evening. Like today is a good example. I ate a tuna sandwich at 1:30pm and I had a Zing bar at 3pm because I was still hungry. I knew that since I won’t be home till much later today, that I needed to bring a snack with me to work. No one likes a hangry person! If you are hungry, then eat- regardless if you had a meal a couple hours prior. You will notice that your sugar level will stay more even which will lead to less binges.
2. I had bread at breakfast so I should order tacos at dinner with no tortillas
To be honest, this one is a hard one for me still to this day. I personally do not eat carbs at every meal for the simple fact that my metabolism is not as fast as it used to be. But I am working on this one in the sense that I do not need to ban carbs from all of my meals in order to lose weight. This morning I had a brown rice tortilla with eggs and had a tuna sandwich on 2 pieces of GF bread for lunch. So yes, for dinner I plan on only having veggies and chicken. However, the key word here is “can’t”. Do not restrict yourself with the word “can’t”. If you are carb conscious, then that is ok. But did you take a long run today or take a spin class? Perhaps your body really could use the tortillas at dinner. Perhaps if you ate the tortillas with your meal, you would find that you eat less tortilla chips beforehand…And as always, if you really crave the tortillas you should eat them because you will end going home and keep eating since you are not truly satisfied.
3. I can’t eat after 7pm.
This is some strange myth created by Oprah or Dr. Oz. If you are hungry, eat.
4. If I am going to lose weight I must cleanse my body of alcohol, dairy, gluten and refined sugar
This is another one that I am learning to throw out the window. The obsession with cleansing the body only intensifies black or white mentality. If you want to lose weight, eat less. This does not mean you have to ban yogurt from your diet till you lose weight or that you have to refuse a piece of cake at your 5 year old’s birthday party. I will say I am down for getting rid of alcohol every once in awhile. Like if I am going on vacation and know that I will be drinking margs by the pool for 7 days straight, then I will not drink alcohol for a few weeks prior to going so my liver can detox. But when it comes to food, the restriction only heightens the want or need to binge. It also heightens the sense that restriction is a good thing and for someone with anorexia, this is not something you want to get caught up in. So if you want to lose weight, eat less but again get rid of the word “cannot” from your vocabulary.
5. There are only 10 crackers left in the box, I might as well eat them so I can throw the box away.
This one plays into “are you actually hungry?”. Are you eating the 10 crackers because crackers are in your mind a “bad food” and so if you finish the box, you can “start over” tomorrow? Are you eating the 10 crackers because you are truly hungry and want more? Out of all 5, this one I struggle with the most. I can go through a whole bag of potato chips in one day if my mentality is all or nothing. So before you finish off another row of Oreos, ask yourself, are you really hungry? If you are unsure if you really are full or not, then give yourself 10-15 minutes away from the cookies to decide if you really are. Go take the dog for a quick walk or go take a bath. The cookies will be there when you get back. If you still truly desire one or are still hungry later on, then go for it.
It is easy for me to realize when I am hungry, but harder for me to listen to my fullness cues, mainly because I am such an emotional eater. So this week I am going to work on my fullness cues and recognize when I am eating from hunger or a feeling (frustration, stress, worry, boredom). I am literally going to say before each meal “I am eating because…”. And if my answer does not end with hungry, then I am going to take a look at why I want to eat.