Wednesday, 28 July 2010

hunger and confessions

Here we go, I'm going to try rewrite what got deleted yesterday.

So, what is hunger? How on earth do you deal with it properly??
If you've never struggled with food in any way, both of these questions should be pretty unnessecary. But if you have, like me, you probably can't really answer them.

Yesterday we talked a lot about what it means to be hungry. The reason it came up was because I described how at the moment, I get no joy whatsoever out of eating, out of not eating, out of overeating. Everything is blah. Just like the other day, when I went to the supermarket to buy junk to binge on, but then just stood staring at the food instead, and wound up going home with nothing. Because I get no joy out of it (which I guess is good). Anyway, the psychologist then asked me if maybe the reason was because I wasn't actually hungry. ZING! You've hit the jackpot. When was the last time I was hungry?

Basically, my problem is that for the last five to six years, I have not dealed with hunger properly. When I was anorexic, I wanted to be hungry, I needed to be hungry to feel like I was being successful, and I saw hunger as a measure of how well I'd done. Not only that, but I guess in a way the pain of being hungry was also a kind of punishment I enjoyed giving myself for treating my body so badly and being so 'inadequate'.
Then came recovery. Now I wasn't allowed to be hungry anymore. I had to eat and eat, most of the time until I was overly full, in order to get my stomach back to 'normal size'. And then often even if I wasn't hungry, I still had to eat an extra snack here and there, because after all the ultimate goal was weight gain.
While that is all fine, here are the two main, and most destructive, mindests I created while recovering: a) hunger is bad, I mustn't get hungry, hungry reminds me of anorexia which is horrible; and b) when I eat, I need to eat until I am uncomfortably full, because otherwise I will just be hungry again straight away.

So it seems that these exact mindests are what's haunting me now. I am scared of being hungry, because I think that if I get hungry, I will end up eating stacks of food in order to be extremely full, to go from one extreme to the other. So instead, I am just always eating. Like every hour. All the time. So I never get hungry. That's how I was saying that even though I'm not really binging at the moment, I am still constantly overeating.
And how on earth am I ever, ever going to be able to lose weight if I am scared of being a little hungry?
What we tried to establish yesterday is that hunger is an okay feeling to experience, and that it is also something healthy people experience (duh, but you know...). It's just that I have to learn what it means to actually respond to hunger, rather than ignoring it or bombarding myself with wayyy too much food.

That's why my 'homework' for the week is to listen to my body. To eat when I am hungry. To question whether I am hungry when I am eating, and to see when I am full, rather than overfull. What a bloody massive task!!!
But I am trying. I really am. I am making it more about eating what I want when I actually am hungry, as opposed to putting pressure on myself and forcing myself to eat certain things (ie. "I have to have a salad for lunch today when I am hungry") Because otherwise it would be too much at once. I'm finding it really hard to listen to my body like that, but I'm also enjoying it. The thing I'm having to accept is that if I eat a meal, and get hungry again a few hours later, it's okay to have a small snack, and it's okay if soon after that I get hungry again, too. I don't have to fill my body up with food 'just in case I get hungry', because after all, there is always a chance to eat if I really want it. So that's what I'm trying to do, and to be honest it is kinda nice to experience hunger before I reach for food, because then the food does satisfy me. (Lightbulb moment!!)

Anyway. That's basically what I still wanted to add about yesterday.

As for today, I went and told my Aussie mum about my problem. It was easier than I thought, and it felt good to have her know. The only thing is that I don't think she really understands. When I mentioned binging, she compared me to herself, eating one more cookie after dinner although she had planned not to... And I then tried to explain that binging is much more than that... But I think she got the general gist, and either way she was real supportive. She also urged me to tell Aussie sis as well, and I do want to. I probably will this weekend, seeing as we're all going away together.
The good thing, I guess, is that it won't be something she will always think about when she sees me now, because she doesn't really understand how 'bad' binging is... But she does know how much it is affecting me, and it is a real relief to be able to go to her for a hug.
I was also relief when she then said that we don't have to 'go crazy' with food when we go away this weekend (because we usually do... it's such a goddamn social thing isn't it?) So in a way it is nice to have someone 'watching' me like that.

I don't think I will have time for another post until I get back to town on Sunday night or Monday, so I hope all of you out there have a good weekend. I will come back with lots (hopefully positive things) to report!


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