I’m currently sitting at a McDonalds having an early morning breakfast and (decaf) coffee. I have an appointment with a dietician across the street, so I’m just having some sit down time before going in.
This dietician. I saw her for the first time about a month ago.
It wasn’t really something out of my choosing, but rather a request from the nurse I’ve been seeing.
To be honest I hadn’t had any plans to start seeing a dietician again. I’d become very complacent with my eating. No gains, no losses, no urge for change.
But when the nurse requested I see the dietician that works in the same network, I just didn’t have the desire – or energy – to fight it. Kind of apathetically I just said, “sure.”
I was a bit wary of going because I didn’t have anything specific I wanted to say. So I had no idea how the meeting was going to go.
Like I had guessed, it was pretty awkward. Her and I both knew there wasn’t anything she could tell me that I didn’t already know. She was stumped.
It was kind of sad, I guess. It’s clear that I am a puzzle. A lot of what I struggle with is very confusing. I don’t know how anyone can really help me. Which is… a pretty hopeless feeling.
She did bring up this one notion.
Its what you and I and anyone who even remotely enters the healthy living blog world has now read about, time and time again.
She talked about intuitive eating.
Now believe me. I know about intuitive eating. I could probably tell you about it like it was my thesis. But for some reason, for SOME reason, having her talk about it…. which then lead me to list off all the rules and routines and rigidities that I still live under…. ignited some weird new spark in me.
Well not really a spark. More like a sad, heavy cloud of realization.
But still, a thought that maybe… maybe this was time for change.
Speaking your routines and rules out loud really makes you see them in clear light. When they’ve become so engrained in you, you hardly notice them anymore. They’ve just become subconscious. They are how you stay safe. But all the while I’ve known that these rules drive me crazy and that I so badly wish I could live without them. So badly.
Though I’ve known about intuitive eating for years, I don’t think I’ve ever fully given it a shot.
She talks the talk but does she walk the walk…
The dietician and I talked about how I don’t really feel hunger. Or if I do I’ve become programmed to ignoring it in lieu of concepts. We discovered that I live off concepts. I eat off concepts. Times, amounts and types of food are more actualized by cognitive rules and diligences rather than intuitive or physical desires.
So having become more aware of this, I’ve been working really hard to beat it.
Over the past month I’ve been working hard to listen to my body… not my mind. When my mind is feeling guilty for eating x at x time, I’ve been literally stopping and asking, “yeah, but how do I FEEL?”
If my mind feels guilty for eating something, but I’m able to notice that my body feels satisfied and stable, and that – outside my mind – my demeanor is actually really pleasant and I’m treating people with kindness and compassion, then I know my choice was the right one.
Or the opposite. If I’ve eaten what I thought should have been a meal and my stomach feels full, but I notice that something in my mind is not yet satisfied or that something in my body is still hungry, then I eat something else. (This actually has been happening a lot and its very frustrating and confusing. This article about fullness vs satisfaction came at a very good time).
As a result? Yeah. I’ve been eating more. I’ve been eating at new times. I’ve been breaking my “rules.” I’ve been eating a lot of cake. I feel pretty soft around the middle and though I get blind weighed, I know I’ve gained weight. I could care less about the body image though. Honestly. I don’t care. What I care about is how all of it makes me feel.
It makes me feel very sad.
Feeling a little broken
I put out posts like yesterday, and a part of me feels like a fraud. I love food photography and celebrating food helps me appreciate the good things we put into our bodies, but behind the bright pictures and seeming celebration of delicious eats, I’ve actually been having a really hard time.
Since beginning this little “change,” I’ve noticed a huge rise in depression. I’m used to high and low swings, but it’s been a while since I’ve had such a constant overlying sadness last for so long. Its a heavy cloud that’s been enveloping me every day.
I don’t know yet know why – though my years of therapy have been getting me closer to understanding it – but the letting go of the rules and routines means letting go of all the ways I numb out the feelings that are lying underneath everything. Whenever I “let go,” this is what I’m always left with. These “rules” are the ways I keep it away. I make myself anxious – literally – by focusing on numbers and plans and routines, so as to keep myself in a distracted state. I’m more used to anxiety, as a matter of fact, because it is part of the numbing to deal with what’s hiding underneath.
So when I let all my rules go, it’s like I’m left without my shell, and instead, I’m left with the real work.
The real work is that I have a depression that exists for reasons far unrelated from food and body image. Those have simply just become the ways I make it go away.
Intuitive eating is often spoken about in relation to happiness and new found freedom. I wish I could feel that, too. I wish the letting go and delicious acts of self care actually made me feel happy.
But they don’t. They make me feel very sad.How letting go of rules leaves you with the real work. #depression #eatingdisorder #recovery Click To Tweet
…even my most favorite of things
The positive is, by working to eat more intuitively, I am a lot more stable. I’m not anxious. I’ve been deeply empathetic and caring toward others. All the things I think I am at my core, but which sometimes get robbed when eating disorder anxieties take over.
Found on my coffeeshop bulletin board.
But I’m sad.
I’m seeing a new therapist. Today, actually. My other therapist is so wonderful but it is too hard for me to get ongoing sessions with her because of where she is located. So I am working on this and hoping to get help. Its funny. I’ve tried meal plans and other models before, but maybe it is learning how to live intuitively that is actually going to be the work that needs to be done. Which isn’t surprising considering how hard it is feeling. As they say, the things that are hardest and probably what are most important… right?
I have more I’d like to say on intuitive eating and my current experience, but for now, thank you for listening.The surprising struggles of Intuitive Eating. #depression #recovery Click To Tweet
Has intuitive eating ever felt difficult to you? I kind of wanted to put this out there so that people know the “freedom” of IE is not always a “freeing” thing for some people. If you feel like this letting go and treating your body with kindness – by trying to listen to what it actually wants – makes you feel raw or sad, please know that you aren’t alone.