Reframing Reactivity

Lately I feel like a bottomless pit. Even with eating more whole foods, fats, and a balance of nutrients, my body is still not often satisfied. Sometimes I even feel like I could eat all day long.

Obviously I can’t do this because I have a job and am with my kids the majority of my time, but it makes me scared for the weekend or other down moments like at night when I am home alone.

I’m meeting my meal plan so I don’t quite understand WHY my body is still begging some days for more?

Well, not to get too detailed, but it is a certain time of the month where I guess this could be considered relatively “normal” for a female, but I also did a bit of research and found that often, in periods of recovery, those who once restricted might experience reactive eating.

What the heck is reactive eating??

From my understanding, this is our body’s way of saying “I still need more!” which makes sense because as I have told you many times this week, I was kind of desperate for a little shove forward to actually stay on the track toward health. This was me, telling me, I just might have to increase my meal plan, even though I haven’t yet started to jog.

I haven’t been missing exchanges, or eliminating fats, but I have been ignoring some of the stomach cries that are saying, “I want additional nutrients!!!”

Why haven’t I listened? What holds me back from actually doing the hardest thing in recovery and that is being flexible and letting go of all the control?


Fear holds me back.

The fear that reactive eating and incessant hunger will never stop.

The fear that I will blow up like a balloon and everyone will stare at me or make comments that I won’t be able to handle.

I have written about this a hundred times and combated these crazy thoughts before, so why is it that my brain keeps reverting back to the same worries?

I have put a lot of thought into it because I am really tired of my mind resembling a fast-spinning hamster wheel, 99.9% of the time; especially when its propeller is a whole bunch of negative self-talk, and what I have determined is really simple. These fears continue to occur because they are Ed’s only mechanism of restraint.

Although one might think recovery gets easier with time, occasionally I feel it’s the opposite. I have many more good days now, but when a bad day hits, it hits with full force and can threaten a lot of the progress I have made. But someone reminded me yesterday when they left me a comment that although not all of recovery is about a meal plan, (its about feelings, emotions, control, you know all that important stuff) but nutrition is kind of the backbone.

My reactive eating, or desire for more, is probably the biological way of my body saying, “ok, stop being lackadaisical with your recovery, and push it because you still have a ton of work to do.”

It’s a reminder, and maybe that’s what I need. My body craves more physical activity and wants so badly to be free from the destructive thoughts and all the negatives that come along with being unhealthy, but I don’t do any extra credit to get there.

All week long I feel like a broken record…I need to do this, I need to do that, I need motivation…but the thing is, I HAVE to be that way. It is a CONSTANT battle for me to stay on a path toward health.

Anytime I let my guard down, old habits start to creep back into my life. So forgive me if you are totally bored reading similar stories and the same old woes of recovery, but I think like with all hardships in life, you have to attempt in any way you can, to remain positive. Attitude is half the battle and reframing my negative perceptions (like my anger about reactive eating) is the only way to win the war.

I hope you can carry that message with you, because I promise it helps.

Sometimes looking at the bright side, giving yourself a different perspective, can help turn even the worst of situations toward the better.

I would love to hear your thoughts…

Are you a glass half-full or half-empty kind of person???

Do you ever feel like you could eat endlessly without being super full??

Happy Thursday everyone! One more day until the weekend!


11 thoughts on “Reframing Reactivity

  1. I think I’m a glass full kind of person. While of course there are days when I feel down or unsure of my path in life, most of the time I feel thankful for my wonderful friends and family, and all of the adventures I’ve had.

  2. I can go back and forth between half full and half empty. seems like when I am around negative people, I become half full, but when left to my own life, become half empty. Strange.
    Thank you again for another post that speaks directly to me at the moment. I am also battling the never feeling full feeling and the fear of being out of control that comes with it. Nice to know I’m not the only one with these intense thoughts!

    • Trust me you are not alone!!! It can b so frustrating! But I keep hearing it gets better with the more well nourished our bodies get. Keeping my fingers crossed!

  3. Once again, your post, spoken from my brain!!!
    It is so easy – and actually exciting and inspiring – to talk about recovery, to make a plan, to get excited. But actually doing it and facing the feelings and emotions that come with it….a whole different story!! Intuitive eating is very tricky for us. Listening to our bodies is HARD. Very hard. I am struggling with the same thing as you – as I increase my plan, I am HUNGRIER! I just thank the Lord I HAVE an appetitie, rather than having to force feed myself and feel gross and bloated and disgusting.
    Please continue to press on, and enjoy the hunger and fulfilling it.

  4. I feel like I can eat all day long when I’ve restricted recently or throughout that day OR when I had some weight to gain still to reach that “healthy bare minimum.” Judging from where you’re at in your recovery process, you probably still have a ways to go till you reach a healthy weight, so you’re definitely awakening your entire body by introducing more food… it’s completely normal. And while it will probably feel foreign throughout the entire process, you just have to keep reminding yourself that there simply is no turning back now — you can’t go back to being an unhealthy person, because ED’s way of life is a boring, repetitive, restrictive, and depressing way of life and you are now ready to be free of the physical, mental, and emotional torment. It’ll take time for your appetite to level off, but just know that you’ll FOR SURE be having days where you feel like nothing you eat satisfies your body… because you know, if your body could gain 10 pounds over night, it probably would in order to get back to its “normal” point as soon as possible! But luckily, these changes don’t have to be so drastic so quickly to give you and your body the time to adjust…

    But it’s a reality: you have to gain weight to recover. You can’t just introduce some more food into your life but cross your fingers hoping you don’t gain a pound from it… you’re going to have to gain because that in turn will also help heal your mind from unhealthy, irrational thoughts as well! And being hungry all the time is the crucial part here — it’s your body saying “KEEP feeding me! I want to gain some supportive cushion from all this exhaustion you put me through!”

    I hope that made sense and I hope it helps a little… it’s these “logical” thoughts that have at least helped me through the times where I feel like this is all hopeless.

      • I keep waking up at 3 am after stuffing myself all day and night — and i’m hungry. I dn’t even exercise. gosh cj, i just want this over with…i feel like going big and just having it freaking done but afraid to “swing the other way”.

      • i understand completely. i dont know how long you have been reading but i went through many phases of night eating where i would wake up STARVING. usually it was because i hadnt eaten enough that week. maybe not even that day, but my body was playing catch up from all the restriction. do you follow a meal plan? do you see a nutritionist? i would advise getting on some sort of structure and seeing if that helps. e-mail me if you need anything.

      • I’m really bad with things. cause then I binge in 3 am….and I wake up at 7 am onlly to eat breakfast immediaely again. Only 2 minutes after I finished a gross and big breakfast (with wAY too much food…should have known better) I went to the bathroom and just had a stream for a bowel movement…that is not health – it shouldnt be that liquidy (nd therers no bulk). And i had a buttload of yogurt, fruit, chocolate, cereal, etc late late llast night and early early morning.
        But I’m not even exercising CJ – true and honest.
        I’ve never really restricted in terms of calories. Never went below 1600 ever and no exercise. I don’t know why I’m so messed up. I really hate nutritionists (sorry). Wow, a structured meal plan would be terrific….after eating that gross and big sugary breakfast only 4 hours after binging and after that uncomfortable bathroom experience….my whole day is ruined and I’m bloated and hurt and feel like crap 😦

      • perhaps you arent getting the right nutrients. i know you hate nutritionists but maybe one or two meetings would be helpful to get on some sort of structure that would make you feel a little better??? i am not crazy about a dietician either just because i dont like people telling me what to do. but it does help!

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