She is doing fabulously at her recovery, and I feel very connected to her on so many levels. As most with an ED will tell you, our thought processes are often carbon copies of one another, and I can definitely confirm that to be true of Tessa and I.
Anyway, as I read her post on how she is learning to trust her own body, I continued to evaluate my capabilities in this department.
I have already told you that media and other sources are a major contribution to my beliefs about food and exercise, as well as a signficant influence in other life decisions, but then I thought, as much as that admission saddened me to write, at this point, there are certain respects where I CAN’T and SHOULD’T trust myself.
Ultimately I want to be able to listen to my hunger cues and feel when my body needs to stop exercising, but right now a structure is pretty darn essential to me making progress.
In my ideal world I would not live on a prescribed meal plan forever, telling me how much fat, starch and protein I need to consume, but if I listened to my personal perception (an undeniably screwed up perception) I would only “feel” like my body craved safe foods. I would convince myself that my legs did not feel like lead weights and could easily workout intensely all the time.
My physical feelings have for too long been dictated by distorted thoughts, meaning conceptually, trust and I are not a good combination.
All that being said, even though I do have to rely on my dietician, therapist and support system to help me gauge what a more balanced lifestyle should look like, I can still make some progress as far as getting in touch with my needs and not completely sabatage my efforts.
…it is just the accepting if they are out of my comfort zone that is the hard part….
Lately my body has had intense cravings for fats; particularly in the form of nuts or nut butters.
HELLO SCARY FOODS!
Before, when I would pack my lunch, I would only ever put what I considered “appropriate” in my bag and that was all I could have.
The second half of my day was completely miserable and way less productive because I didn’t actually eat enough, or what I craved, but instead what my mind told me was ok.
In the past month of so I have created quite a stash of noon time backups.
Now my desk is stocked with two flavors of Emerald Sweet and Salty Nut Mixes, Barney Butter Packets, a few varieties of Clif Bars, etc.
I would say 3 out of the five days last week I opted for one of those selections rather than the more safe options I packed, which although does not sound super significant, really is a long way from where I was a few months ago.
At the same time I had to be mindful that my swap was calorically pretty equal. Although it is great that I am honoring my body’s needs for more fat, it wouldn’t benefit me to have fewer calories coming in since my nourishment was in the form of a fear food.
So here in lies the catch 22; although I am proud of the small steps I have made toward becoming more in-tune with my internal signals, I sometimes need to override them to ensure my energy balance is still tipping toward the recovery side.
i.e. even if I am not hungry but need more calories, I still have to eat.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that the path to gaining a healthy life-style is not always clearly defined.
The end goal is to eat intuitively, avoid a panic attack when entering a restaurant, be able to exercise how I want to without feeling obligated to any specific form or time, but in order to get there, sometimes a plan is best; and not a plan that ED, or my skewed mental perception forms.
So trust is absolutely essential in forming a healthy mind and body, but that does not just include trust in one’s self, but also believing in the lengthy process and those who are there to be supportive.
If letting people in, and becoming more open is another skill I can carry over into my healthier life, the list continues to grow as far as pro’s in recovery.