I feel about 99% recovered from the eating disorder and eating issues that plagued me for about 12 years of my life. I’m never going to be completely neutral about food but thankfully, it’s more of a normal human being’s concern about trying to eat healthy and not overdo it, than some kind of disordered thought process.
That being said, I still notice (bad habit from the old days I guess) what other people eat sometimes. And it bothers me when I see women not eating — even women I know don’t have eating disorders — but that I know are purposely restricting to calories.
I spent some time with a friend who recently lost a good chunk of weight. I wondered — how did you do it? It didn’t take me long to figure out. From what I saw, it seemed like she just really wasn’t eating during daytime hours. Dinner seemed fairly normal but extreme calorie restriction during the day. So I ate about 4 meals alone since I don’t skip breakfast, lunch or snacks.
I can’t pinpoint why it bothers me. Why do I care what someone else is eating? Is it an old habit dying hard? Am I truly concerned with someone else’s health or just plain old annoyed that they don’t “get it”?
I have another friend who regularly eats next to nothing all day long. I’m well aware it’s a control mechanism (once you start, you can’t stop — supposedly) and it drives me bananas. She’ll eat a normal dinner and probably even keep it fairly normal on the weekends — but the daytime restriction is real.
I have a feeling more women than we realize employ this mechanism of “dieting” and I’d just urge anyone who does this to rethink it. You do know your brain and your body work better with fuel?
It’s a familiar concept to me because when I was in the thick of my binge eating disorder, I would constantly be eating nothing all day and gorging myself at night. Often, I’d be trying to eat NOTHING all day to make up for the binge from the night before. It was a sad, sick, debilitating cycle.
When I went to a therapist and a nutritionist, they asked me about meals — what do you eat for breakfast and lunch? I suddenly realized — I don’t eat breakfast and lunch. Somehow, it had never even occurred to me.
I realize this little blog post isn’t going to convince anyone of anything — and there are already a million things out there trying to help women make peace with dieting and their bodies.
But trust me, life is better when food is not attached to deprivation, guilt or even pounds. When we were born, we needed to eat every 2 hours — that’s what our bodies required to function properly and grow correctly. Not much has changed. We may not be growing but we’re still functioning — and not at our best if our daytime “food” consists of coffee and a carton of Chobani. There’s a reason you get hungry every few hours.
So…I notice when you don’t eat. It bothers me. Maybe it shouldn’t. But it still inspired me to write this message. You don’t have to skip meals to be thin or in control. Trust me, it feels much better to embrace your hunger pangs, rather than deny them. I actually look forward to them because it means it’s time for more of my favorite thing — eating 🙂