Something I’ve noticed myself doing lately is trying to plan out my day in terms of food. I’ll be eating breakfast and make my food decisions based on what I *know* I’m going to eat later. Now, don’t get me wrong: in the early stages of recovery, this can be extremely important and helpful for people.
For me, however, a few years in…it seems kind of silly.
- I know (and try) to trust my body to make sense of what I feed it. If I eat a little more of one thing one day? Oh well. My body will figure out what to do with it. No matter *what* that means.
- That’s not mindful eating. And I’m not saying that every bite we eat needs to be ridiculously *mindful.* I mean, come on, we are hard-wired to multitask. In fact, I’m munching on a croissant right now while I’m writing this. What I mean by mindful eating is: eating what we want, when we want, with only a little bit of thought about getting enough of the varying food groups.
- I know that planning my current meal around past or present meals is an easy way to open the door to diet culture or disordered thoughts. Part of being mindful about our food choices is being more intuitive and in touch with our bodies.
And listen, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t pay attention to how we’re eating. And I’m not saying that we should eat brownies for three meals a day (at least not everyday….maybe only once in a while). What I’m saying is that we need to catch the subtle ways our eating disorders try to sneak out.
Like I always say: they are the sneakiest little devils. They will come out when we think we have everything under control and it can be easy to get washed away in diet culture. When I catch myself thinking “did I have too much (insert food group here) today?” I try to reframe it: “did I listen to my body today?” “did I eat what sounded yummy today?”
Most importantly, we need to listen to our bodies and *trust* them. Trusting your body can feel like handing your sanity over to satan, because eating disorders make trust seem like a foreign concept. In fact, eating disorders pretty much operate on the pretense that we “can’t” trust our bodies (but this is incredibly false!)
But trust me (trust!), it’s normal. It’s healthy.
I recently was scrolling on instagram (@feedmerecovery) and saw a post about whether or not your body is “working.”
Let me dissect that for a minute.
Not working? Or do you mean “not working the way your eating disorder wants it to?”
Sure, there are different medical issues that can cause certain functions in our bodies to work improperly, but this post was more aimed at the disordered ways in which we manipulate our bodies to see a change is size and shape.
Bodies don’t worry about where they are storing fat. They don’t worry about seeing the number on the scale drop. They perform their jobs to the best of their abilities to keep us functioning and to keep us alive.
Here’s how our bodies DO work:
- they fluctuate in weight.
- they go to the bathroom when they need to.
- some days they need more food.
- some days they need not as much food.
- some days you are so ravenous no food seems to be enough.
- they store our food how they know is necessary.
- they burn calories the way they need to.
- they look they way they need to for HEALTH.
I’m probably missing some, but that’s just a rough list.
My point is this: the only way we can make our bodies “work” properly is to feed them. The only way we can expect our bodies to do what they need to do is to let go of our obsessive desire to control them.
Maybe the only way our bodies will ever be *normal* (whatever that means) is when we leave them alone and trust them to do the exact job they were designed for.