ED mentalities are tricky little (actually, not-so little) monsters. If you struggle with an ED, oftentimes you either use a calorie counting app, or have nutrition facts memorized to the T, and can count your daily intake in your very own, busy head.
In recovery, you usually get a meal plan. It might be strict, or it might be a little more flexible. Somewhere after you’ve officially finished following the plan, you’ve begun to practice something similar to intuitive eating. Or, listening to your body. You eat when you’re hungry. You eat till you’re full. And because you do so, a lot of ED thoughts can swim up to the surface.
You think you eat a lot, because you eat until you’re full. You think you’re out of control, because you eat when you want. You assume you are, or will be, gaining weight because you eat “more than you probably should.” You don’t reach for calorie counting apps though, because you know that’s a dangerous game to play. You consciously put forth effort not to count all the calories you’ve consumed because yet again, you know that could lead you down a slippery slope.
This has been my story for about half a year now. I’ve used a dietary program several times to track my intake. EACH TIME that I have (on days I assumed I ate well), my intake was way lower than what it needed to be if I were planning to maintain my weight. Recently, I’ve felt like I’ve been eating a decent amount of food, just because I eat whatever I want. So, yesterday I was pretty surprised to see it around 1,000 calories less than what it needs to be. I also go to the gym 4-5 times a week and burn 400+ calories per visit. My diet has been lacking where I thought there could even be excess.
My sister CONSTANTLY tells me I don’t eat enough. I tell myself I do.Why? Because I eat “what I want,” “how much I want,” and I “listen to my body.” Listening to your body is great. It’s actually ideal. BUT not necessarily for those with an ED or an eating disordered past. Our version of providing our bodies what they need, can be similar to a non-ED person’s daily intake- who is on a weight loss diet.
(I DO NOT recommend turning to counting calories. Counting calories, weighing, or measuring yourself can be totally triggering. They are not my recommendations. )
However, if I could recommend something, it would be to pay attention to the words of our loved ones. Sometimes we need another reality check. They’ve wanted the best for us all along, even when ED’s lied to us that they don’t. They still want the best for us now. Sick, in recovery, or recovered.
Love doesn’t lie.