I have a confession to make in regards to my eating…
When I entered into recovery, I was handed the eating guidelines and told about Intuitive Eating (not the first time I had heard of this concept) and encouraged that this was the way to a healthy, happy life. And I couldn’t agree more. I believe in intuitive eating more than any diet, lifestyle change, or variation of weight watchers. I actually call it ‘Intuitive Living’ because I feel it is more a way of life.
In case you have not heard of it, the basic foundation of intuitive eating is: eat when you are hungry, eat what you want (not what you think you should want), stop when you are satisfied (full not stuffed).
It’s so simple, it makes you wonder why we didn’t think of this all along – well here’s the thing, we kind of did. As a child (before the world got to you, that is, and before your mother told you to ‘finish what’s on your plate’) do you remember having struggles with bingeing, restricting, or purging? I’m guessing the answer is no. You knew when you were hungry, you ate, you were satisfied, and you stopped.
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That is natural – not dieting, not restricting, not emotional eating – using food to satisfy physical hunger and allowing your body to tell you what it wants is natural.
That is why, when I first met with my therapist, she told me that entering into recovery from my E.D. was not about going against what was natural to me, it was actually going back to what was natural. She told me that I wasn’t born with an eating disorder, that I didn’t always have problems with food, so don’t think about recovery as going against your nature, think of it as going back to it.
It all seemed much less impossible after that.
Here is my confession, in the past few months I have been returning to unhealthy eating patterns. Let me clarify, I have not been returning to ED behaviours (I have not restricted, binged, or purged), but I have eaten compulsively and for various reasons (or should I say ‘manipulative excuses’).
These have included:
1. I will get back to eating healthy when this paper is done.
2. I am just really busy; once I launch this new website it will be easy.
3. It’s because my parents are here – I will eat healthy again when they are gone.
4. I will start fresh tomorrow.
5. I will start fresh tomorrow (for real this time).
6. No excuses, it starts tomorrow…
Sometimes I was emotional. Sometimes I was too exhausted to think about it. And, I’ll be honest; sometimes I was just downright too lazy to bother. And yet with every meal that I overate, and every snack I wasn’t physically hungry for, I knew what I was doing. Geneen Roth (author of “Women, Food, and God” – a must read, might I add) says that it may be as small as one cookie, but she knows when it’s a binge. So maybe I was bingeing.
(let me clarify, this does NOT mean you need to feel guilty if you eat a cookie after dinner even though you are not hungry – what Geneen Roth meant was she knew she was eating the cookie to satisfy an inner longing that had nothing to do with physical hunger – that is what made it an emotional binge).
All that being said, I decided I wanted to come clean here because I realized that I am probably not the only one with this struggle. Dealing with the spiritual and psychological issues that are causing your eating disorder is the most important step to recovery; however, that is not the only step. We must learn how to eat. And I realized that learning how to eat can drag out even past your recovery. I consider myself recovered, but I am still learning to eat.
And so I wanted to tell you that this is something I have been struggling with and that if you are struggling with it too, you are not alone and you are NOT a failure. You are just learning how to breathe (see my video on this here: Video: Learning to Breathe ).
It’s time to start trusting nature and giving ourselves the freedom to eat the way we were intended.
I am committing to this lifestyle – it’s time I really start practicing what I preach! And no, I do not expect perfection from myself (and you shouldn’t of yourself either) but I am going to give it my best shot!
Enjoy the freedom!
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