Eating With Intent

June 01, 2010

I am working, minute by minute, and day by day to eat thoughtfully, really focusing and paying attention to the things I consume, and experiencing a bit of “eating sobriety.” When food is an addiction, it effects you like any other addiction – you crave it, you think about it all day long, you want more and more and more of it, and it exists outside of your rational thought process. W

hen I am in a food blackout, I am reaching out, with both hands, grabbing what is nearest and bringing it to my mouth, over and over, until there is nothing left. And when there is nothing left?

I still want more.

I want foods that are bad for me. I want comforting food – the type I wasn’t allowed to eat when I was a kid, the ice cream sundaes and Cheetos and wheat filled miracles. I want healthy foods too, but in epic amounts, consuming so much that I am left feeling full for days.

Sometimes, I would go weeks without ever really feeling hungry.

I got to a place where I literally could not eat another thing, which if I were to have had a plan would have been the plan.

When you are attempting to recover from a life of dieting, restricting, bullying, forcing, punishing, and torturing your body: there are a lot of things that you want to eat.

There is a period of time where you recklessly consume – anything and everything delicious that I had been denying myself. And I won’t lie to you – I did a lot of denying, but most importantly, torturing, my body over the course of my 25 years.

I got to the point where I’d had enough.

And now I’m recovering. I no longer want to shove cupcakes in my mouth two at a time.

I call this progress.

Instead, I’m learning to respect my body and feed it what it needs instead of what it wants on a moment to moment basis. This recovery process makes me feel a little like babysitting a two year old who is constantly lumbering around knocking into things clumsily and throwing tantrums when she doesn’t get her way. But hey, I’m learning, and in order to relearn the ability to trust your body and mind – an ability I would like to add, we are born with and would intrinsically carry with us if we weren’t taught to loathe our own bodies – you have to revamp from the ground up.

Here are some great tips for re-establishing a healthy relationship with food:

Think about what you’re really hungry for.

Really, truly, cravings aside – what do you want to eat for your next meal? [Hint: I like to add “if you could have anything in the WHOLE world” to the end of this question. It just feels more exciting.]

Be creative with your food choices.

Try out new recipes! Be adventurous, because you never know what you’re going to like. Sometimes, when we are in a rut with our eating choices, we rely on our old standby comfort foods, which, at least for me, are rarely healthy. Mix it up, and make a point to try new things. This can make your new eating regime feel more exciting, and less daunting.

Do not deny yourself anything.

This is really important so I will say it again. Do not deny yourself anything. Craving something that used to be on the eat-only-if-you-want-to-feel-majorly-guilty-after list will happen, and you need to find a way to cope with it. Eat an ice cream sundae if you truly want one. Honor your cravings, but be sane about consuming them. For example, eat a sundae, but maybe don’t eat three in one day. You know? Or maybe not three in one day for three days straight. You get the gist.

Stock your refrigerator.

Again – no foods are off limits. You need to become acquainted with having “dangerous” foods around. Part of trusting your body means trusting that you can learn to eat trigger foods without going overboard. You can do this, even if it seems terrifying at first. Buying those foods and allowing them in your house is first step towards learning how to eat in moderation.

Feed yourself the absolute best food that you can.

If this means local, organic, expensive, strange, custom, complicated, or hard to acquire – so be it. I believe in eating the best. And I absolutely guarantee that this can translate into your food choices being more satisfying, and ultimately, at least for me, increases my ability to eat moderately without bingeing.