Are you Eating Enough? (Ali has a rant)
Think you’re eating enough? Find out the amount of food your body requires, you might be suprised! Calories matter, they have the very basic yet hugely important job of helping you stay alive. “Calories fuel the tissues of your body like your brain, heart, liver, and kidneys,” Rachele Pojednic, Ph.D., a research fellow at Harvard Medical School and professor at the Harvard Extension School, tells SELF. Consuming just enough won’t cut it, as your body and mind can suffer in plenty of ways without the proper nourishment.
Please find below one of the brilliant posts from Heal ED by its founder Ali Kerr. This post answers many of your questions on satiety, extreme hunger and bingeing. I found this extremely helpful. I hope you’ll find it beneficial in your journey to healing and recovery.
Are you Eating Enough? (Ali has a rant)
So what’s this all about?
Well, put simply, it is impossible to stop bingeing if you don’t eat enough food. A great deal of research exists to prove that food cravings are in part biologically driven as a result of under-eating/under-nutrition. Binges can occur from even gradual, minor under-eating over a period of a few days.
If the idea of eating more calories per day fills you with anxiety, dread and fear, that is ok. That is a very normal reaction for someone in your situation. Really, it’s understandable you feel that way. I was exactly the same. Food terrified me and the idea of wilfully allowing myself to eat more food throughout the day sounded like madness. It went against all my ingrained beliefs. It felt impossible.
But when I thought about it more, I realized that this all just boiled down to one thing … fear. A deep seated fear that if I ate more food I would get fat. The problem was, that fear was based on a lie.
The science, the research and the knowledge I had gained all told me otherwise. As long as I ate the required amount of food for my body I would not get fat. This was what my body needed for optimal performance. I would naturally settle at my set point weight.
That’s when it dawned on me that I was allowing my life, my happiness, my wellbeing, my future to be destroyed by a lie. And the big question that hit me was simply, why?
Why was I allowing this lie to control my life?
Why was I still afraid to stand up to it?
Did I perhaps imagine that I was different from everybody else? That I didn’t need that much food? That I was some sort of special unicorn? That the fundamental rules of human biology didn’t apply to me?
Maybe, but as I continued to binge on food I realised that it was obvious that the rules did apply to me. I was not different from everybody else. I was miserable, suffering and obsessively craving food.
I had to confront this ridiculous, destructive fear head on and expose it for the lie that it was. I had to allow my logic and my common sense to override my irrational fears. There are no sharks in the water. The plane isn’t going to crash. That tiny spider isn’t going to kill me. And eating enough food for my body isn’t going to make me fat.
It’s like when you’re a kid and you imagine that there’s a bogyman under the bed. You may lie in bed terrified, but if you plucked up enough courage to actually look under the bed you would expose the truth. There is no bogyman. I needed to do the same with recovery and take a look underneath the fear to realise the truth.
Besides, the way I figured it, I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. The worst outcome was gaining a few unwanted pounds but the best outcome was living the rest of my life free from the suffering and misery of bingeing. It sounded like it was worth the risk. Besides if it didn’t work out I knew I could always go back to my old habits.
I knew the worst thing I could do was take no action at all and allow the rest of my life to wither away in despair and misery. I could just imagine myself in the future, lying on my deathbed, perhaps having one last pathetic, miserable binge and deeply regretting the fact I never took that chance all those years ago. The chance to be free.
At the very least I had to find out for myself, as an experiment, to discover what would really happen.
So I began to eat more. To begin with I cautiously increased the amount of food I allowed myself on a daily basis. Yes, I was anxious and concerned, but I was also excited that I was finally doing something. I felt like I was taking my first few tentative steps into a brave new world.
Within a week I began to notice a dramatic reduction in binge urges. It was working! It was really, really working! I felt euphoric. This gave me the confidence boost I needed to really push on.
My weight did fluctuate a little, especially with all the bloating, but I knew that was mostly just water retention and that it would pass. Which it did. And my weight did eventually settle at it’s natural set point. Which I am very comfortable and happy with today.
Eating enough food for my energy needs, was definitely one of the biggest steps I took towards freedom. I cannot emphasis that enough. The hardest part of that challenge was overcoming my irrational fear. But it all came down to trust. I had to trust that my body could handle the food.
Its like abseiling down a cliff edge, you have to put all your trust in a rope, in the hope that it will hold your weight. Of course it can be terrifying taking that first step off the edge of the cliff. Trust that this process will be your rope.
If I can do this, trust me, you can do this. The key is to only increase the amount you eat at a pace that is right for you. Give yourself as much time as you need to expose this fear for the lie that it is.
This is a big part of what we do when we are coaching people to recovery. We help people to override their irrational fears that hold them back from a life free from ED. And the results are usually remarkable.
Don’t let fear hold you back from your recovery.
In health a love,
P.S Would you like personal one-to-one support to overcome bulimia or binge eating? Click here to learn more about HealED Coaching
“In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.”
– Tony Robbins