Today the anonymous blogger from Confessions of a Compulsive Overeater is back to share about her foray into intuitive eating. We’ve talked about this philosophy at HealthyGirl.org before, and it’s one I ascribe to myself. Day before yesterday, she gave us a little taste of what her life was like before recovery. I’ll let her tell her own story, but I found it inspiring how she went from counting calories and being fairly rigid in recovery to eating with more freedom. Although my details are different, I very much relate to her journey of having to start out a little stiff…then slowly loosen into an easier way of being with food.
I can’t remember exactly how I heard about Intuitive Eating. More than likely it was through the blogosphere. I read Evelyn Tribole’s book, Intuitive Eating, A Revolutionary Program The Works, and I also really got a lot out of Goodbye Ed, Hello Me by Jenni Schaeffer. It’s amazing to me how reading certain books at certain times can be so impactful on our lives. I don’t think the books would have affected me as much if I had read them before I realized I had an eating disorder. I think everything happens, or people/things come into our lives, for a reason, and those books came to me at a time when my mind was open to accept what they were saying.
I had been toying with the idea of making the transition from daily calorie counting, and weighing/measuring food portions to intuitive eating for about a week or two in mid March. Due to a combination of therapy, blogging and reading books, I felt ready to trust myself and my body to try this totally new way of eating and thinking about food. I was trying to decide when the best day it would be to start based on some other events that were going on in my life. Do I wait until those events passed, what day would make the most sense to get started with this, how exactly do I begin?
In the middle of wavering about when and how to start, before going to bed one Friday night, I read in Jenni Schaeffer’s book about taking the leap off the mountain without a parachute. I had my answer. The next day, with little fanfare, I didn’t count my calories or weigh/measure my food portions. I took the huge leap of faith. I finally had the trust in myself that I could listen to my body and that my body would not do me wrong. I realized that food is just that, food; it is not something that has magical powers over me. I control it, it does not control me.
That was three months ago and though there are days here and there, especially in the beginning, when I still sometimes tally the calories in my head (long-time habits are hard to break!), I still did/do not write it down as I had done for decades. I still feel like a work in progress. I am now pretty good at reading my hunger cues, but am still working on my satiety cues. (My cues have been thrown off after 30+ years of compulsive overeating and bingeing, so I understand it’s normal that it will take some time for my body to send me the right messages and for me to interpret them properly.) I have however, maintained my weight, so I guess I’ve been making good
Right now things are a bit tricky because though I’ve always worked out 3-4 days a week, I’m training for my first triathlon, which is more intense than my normal workouts, and it has thrown off my hunger cues. My appetite, oddly enough, has been reduced greatly. I know eating less would not be good for my training or for maintaining my weight, so I have had to eat even when I’m not hungry in order to keep my body properly fueled for my training. I feel like I’m walking a fine line between eating more because I know my body needs the fuel, and eating “just because” I can, bordering on compulsive eating. I have decided to weigh myself twice a month instead of once a month to help keep a tab on my food intake in relation to my triathlon training. As I’m dedicated to doing this first triathlon, I am equally dedicated to not blow my 2+ years of binge-free hard work and more recently, IE, but it’s difficult at times to keep my old ways from overtaking me again.
Still, letting go of the calorie counting, weighing and measuring food portions and making no foods forbidden has been freeing and empowering. When you stop framing foods as “bad” it takes away its attraction. Everything in moderation actually has meaning in my life now. So do the terms “eating to live” instead of “living to eat.” I love and embrace the new mindset of no food is forbidden, although I do choose to still make healthy choices, for instance, not choosing a meal with a cream sauce or one that is fried. Although when it comes to dessert, the sky is the limit, just in moderation.
Hey, it’s Sunny again. In recovery I think we all take winding paths. I went slightly overboard on being rigid before I was able to even out into “normal.” How has the eating pendulum swung for you? xo…Sunny