More thoughts on normal eating

October 24, 2008 at 12:42 pm Leave a comment

This is an issue that needs attention. Just recently I got into a discussion with a work colleague. She is slim, but confessed that she has been dieting on and off the past couple of years, and has made acquaintance with the yo-yo effect. I would say that her natural tendency is toward slim, but having passed 40, her body is changing and she needs less fuel to achieve the same results. That requires a slight adjustment.

So I see that even only slightly eating-disordered people sometimes need assurance and sharing. I suggested she give it some thought regarding what her goal is. If she wants to stay the same or lose just a few pounds, she needs to eat regularly. She mentioned having gained 5 pounds and feeling tempted to skip dinner the previous night. That is not the way to do it!

I suggested she give her body time to adapt. If she has been dieting and going up and down — ever so slightly — for the past few years, then her body isn’t quite sure what the deal is. It will need time to adjust. I urged her to not weigh herself, not think about it, but just eat regularly, get some exercise, and give her body a few to six months to get used to regular maintenance.

She complained: “Six months seems so long! I’ll go crazy!” I told her I don’t really remember how long it took, and maybe she shouldn’t think about the six months, but just be willing to give her body the time it needs to adjust. Up until now she hasn’t gotten regular exercise, so I assured her that by stepping up activity, her metabolism will change and burn things up better. It just takes time.

The main thing to remember is: This is not a short-term exercise in self-control. To eat regularly and normally and maintain one’s weight, “all” you have to do is have some kind of REALISTIC schedule and stick to it. And there’s nothing like long-term practice to get used to it. After a while, you won’t even think about it anymore. Or maybe like me, just around Christmas time you might notice that your pants are a bit tighter from the Christmas goodies, and consciously cut back just a bit. Not cut OUT just BACK. There’s nothing like deprivation to set off a binge, so don’t do it! Eating is about life, and that means no deprivation — unless you happen to be among the one billion people on this planet who have no choice about it.

I cannot emphasize it enough. Food is fuel. It is a delightful, sensuous way to keep us alive and functioning. It is not an enemy. It gives us the energy to live, work, be creative, love, have children, play, and do whatever we do. Our bodies are also not the enemy. The body is a sacred vessel, a temple, and it carries us along and allows us to live our lives. That is quite a wonderful thing. If you can really get that, you’re one step closer to recovery. But believe me, I know it doesn’t happen over night. To change one’s attitude takes a long time and lots of practice. However, it does eventually become a habit, an integral part of your life. Trust me!

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Entry filed under: About Recovery, eating habits and food. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

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