In January I had a little relapse of disordered eating. I won’t go into detail but it wasn’t pretty. I was really scared and really caught off guard by the intensity of it after spending a lot of time without restricting or consciously calorie counting.
After that, something happened.
I read the most incredible book- Intuitive Eating. Big time recommend it.
I unfollowed the accounts that made me feel self-conscious.
I dissolved real-life friendships that made me sad.
And I ordered the most wildly delicious Starbucks breakfast sandwich that I to this day I have ever had. Honestly, I can tell you what I was wearing that day. It was THAT big of a deal.
I’m not kidding. I had been ordering the “reduced fat” breakfast sandwich from Starbucks for YEARS. But one day I just let myself order the full fat, gouda and bacon breakfast sandwich with all the extra bread and it was glorious. And then I ordered it again every single day for a whole month.
I then went through this weird phase where I wanted Zoe’s kitchen every single night. So, I did that. And then I was sick of the breakfast sandwich so I started ordering coffee cake and MAN it was incredible. Now, I’ve discovered Cookout Milkshakes and I’m really obsessed.
I’ve always been pretty habitual with foods. I’m fairly picky and honestly don’t like to think much about what I’m going to eat. But, this has been an interesting phase. I’ve never craved things for DAYS over and over. I wasn’t sure what was happening or why I was so habitually eating these foods that I never let myself eat before.
A few days ago I was listening to a recent podcast discovery- Food Psych- and the host talked about a similar experience she had during recovery. She talked about three weeks where she literally had ice cream every day. It freaked her out and when she talked to her doctor about it she realized what was happening. Her brain was triggering these cravings because it was so used to restricting and didn’t know when she would let herself have ice cream (or any certain food), again. So she let herself have that pint of ice cream when she craved it, and when she didn’t want it anymore, she didn’t eat it.
Sounds like common sense right?! When you want something, have it. But thats the literal opposite of what an eating disorder is. You restrict and hold back and sometimes spend every. waking. minute thinking about food. Mostly the food you can’t have.
So part of recovery is allowing your body to have those foods, sometimes for days in a row, in an attempt to signal to yourself that there is no more restriction.
Attempting to enjoy food for the first time ever is literally healing my brain and body.
Now, I’m not saying I eat coffee cake three times a day. I definitely am aware that I have to nourish my body. I’m just actively retraining this part of my brain that goes on high alert when I see something I previously labeled as a “bad food”, because I legitimately had a list.
Intuitive eating is just that. Seeing zero foods as bad food and allowing yourself access to all of it. Doesn’t that sound freeing?!
It’s also terrifying, I won’t lie. I’ve been worried about clothes not fitting. I wouldn’t put on several things in my closet because I just knew they’d be too small. But here is the funny thing- I had zero reason to think that. Last weekend I cleaned out my closet and tried on every piece of clothing I own, and every single thing still fits. Despite coffee cake. Despite a few milkshakes. Despite a few less workouts.
Since that, I’m finally realizing that maybe my body and brain are a bit more in harmony. There is less restriction, so there is less of a reason for my body to hold onto every single thing I eat.
I knew I’d find a set weight eventually, but I just was always terrified that it would be bigger than what I was willing to accept.
Now to clarify: It’s not a perfectly executed plan yet. I still don’t eat certain things. French fries will put me in a puddle on the floor. But it is better. Better than I can remember anything ever being for me regarding food.
I was just so very tired of telling people I was in recovery and doing just fine- but still being the girl at the party refusing to eat birthday cake.