I suffered from ED since the age of 13 till the age of 35 – with periods of a temporary recovery due to lack of knowledge what was causing it, trying all the tricks and starving, going through years of anorexia, having periods and overeating and even being bulimic, eating nothing to everything. I was always restricting as I thought it is the way of life and that it defines me. Until I said enough!
I have read and learned a lot to share here with you my knowledge and experiences. The brake even point in my life was a discovery that allowed me to be absolutely free and trust myself. The truth about calories, weight and balance.
If I ask you to run with a broken leg – you will suffer. But when you heal – you will be able to run without pain.
After years of starving our bodies need rest and calories. A lot of calories. Let it be even 7000 or 9000 or more kcal per day. It doesn’t matter. It won’t last forever. Because if you count all the calories you need to eat to function and live plus the calories to heal your bones, muscles, hair and all the damaged parts of the body – you can imagine that you need so much that it is not a surprise you are non stop hungry. And you will be hungry until you stop. You will not eat a lot forever. Your body will tell you.
The one thing about restrictive eating disorder is that you never binge. Binge eating disorder will never ever happen to you if you ever went on a diet. People who have Binge ED never diet. This blog is only focused around Restrictive Eating Disorder that affects so many people. I have no experience nor examples regarding BED and I cannot help. I have read though that the recovery is quite similar and it is as well about building new neural pathways. Here you may ask ”but I binge” – really???
Do you realize how long you were starving for? And by starving I mean not only experiencing Anorexia, but also Bulimia and any other form of dieting, restricting, exercising as a form of restricting. The food you eat is what your body needs and if you listen and trust your body – soon you will see – you will eat less and eventually – you will re-gain your balance. The reason why you think you overeat, binge, buy forbidden food and eat – is the effect after starvation. It is your body trying to survive and heal and you do not allow for it.
I am an athletic person, I run, bike, dance, climb the mountains, do yoga and swim. But when I was recovering – even 10 minutes of Yoga has been a trigger for me. In fact – everything was a trigger. I stopped any form of exercise for 1 year – apart from light walks to the forest. I also did Yoga stretching occasionally. I understand that everyone is different but – if exercising is a form of control and you do it to keep or loose weight – that is a main trigger and I am afraid – the best thing will be to stop for a while. It will be painful but it will help. How long? Until it will not trigger you any more.
Another big trigger is food – the ”bad food”. I included the bad food in my daily diet. Basically – I was eating something every day. Every day step by step I introduced the bad foods in my meals. For example: I ate soup and a sandwich with butter and cheese plus a chocolate as a snack later. At the beginning it was hard but I continued. Even when I was full I still had my dinner. The main point was to teach my body to stop stocking itself with food because there will be another meal soon. I was eating every 3 hours and on top of that my snack always included ”forbidden piece of a treat”. Eventually my meals become smaller and I stopped craving forbidden food as there was no forbidden food. By losing control I gained control over my life and stopped being obsessed about food!
I make my choices and build a healthy habits of eating regularly and healthy as my body wants me to. And do I still like cake ? Oh yes I do. But I will eat a slice and not 10 slices plus I don’t feel guilty. That is the balance you want isn’t it?
Your body regulates your weight
Eating disorder can be gained by the healthiest men! Here I want to go back to 1944 where a clinical study was performed at the University of Minnesota. Around 100 healthy men have been put into a starvation experiment. They were put on a restrictive diet for a prolonged period of time. Let me quote the results: “Among the conclusions from the study was the confirmation that prolonged semi-starvation produces significant increases in depression, hysteria and hypochondriasis as measured using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. Indeed, most of the subjects experienced periods of severe emotional distress and depression.There were extreme reactions to the psychological effects during the experiment including self-mutilation (one subject amputated three fingers of his hand with an axe, though the subject was unsure if he had done so intentionally or accidentally). Participants exhibited a preoccupation with food, both during the starvation period and the rehabilitation phase. Sexual interest was drastically reduced, and the volunteers showed signs of social withdrawal and isolation”.
You are a beautiful, healthy person – worth being pampered, loved and taking care of. No guilt is needed here. Whatever stage you are at right now – it is time to love yourself and being your best friend. Let go – let go of that guilt and control and fear. It is not welcomed in your life.
Restrictive dieting is personal for every person. But how do you know you restrict? I guess you feel it. You know you control your eating, you are hungry and you think why? But the truth is very simple – stop restricting and you will stop thinking about it.
If I tell you ”Don’t think about a blue tree” – what was the 1st thing you thought about? It is hard to dictate your body how many times you will go to the toilet as it is hard to keep your weight lower than you body feels is good for you. Go back to the stone age – can you imagine people there weighing themselves? I bet they were eating when they were hungry and stop when they were full. It is your brain that tells you you are full and you don’t need to overthink.
The path to recover is tough and all I write about I gained through all these years. But the beautiful part is that the knowledge and letting go of restrictions allowed me to be where I am today – happy, healthy and in balance with my life.