20months in, can't tell if I'm eating intuitively

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katzcurrent's picture
20months in, can't tell if I'm eating intuitively

I feel so blessed by my recovery experience. I don't binge, don't restrict quantities of food, my relationships and self-esteem and productivity have improved, and I've lost weight. I wound up halfway between my anorexic and bulimic weight.

But when I re-read the e-book, I identify more with stage 2 than stage 3. I eat what I want, but I plan the timing of my my meals each day and keep a general calorie count. Should I try for stage 3? Are better things waiting for me if I do intuitive eating? I'd love to hear from anyone, but especially those with 2+ years of recovery. My life is so great. My biggest food complaint relates to socializing. I eat 6 times per day, which means I eat smaller dinners than my friends. It frustrates me. Also, I wonder if my careful food monitoring might be impeding my joy or creativity. What do you think??? Should I go for it??

Mouli's picture
I guess this is your next

I guess this is your next test, if you like. sorry I can't answer it for you but I wish you good luck with it and I'm sure there's more freedom to be had for you, sometimes I play around and eat intuitively. It's quite exciting which I know is a bit tragic but when I do i feel a bit proud of myself. Look forward seeing the replies you get, mx

rebeccabot's picture
Hi Katz! I don't think there

Hi Katz!
I don't think there is any problem with eating a roughly structured diet for the rest of your life! However, I moved out of the 3 hour SE thing about a month ago and into IE and it's great for exactly the things you talk about - socialising etc. Also I don't get anxious if I miss a snack or a meal and to be honest I don't need or miss SE.
BUT. I would say, I naturally follow a breakfast/lunch/dinner pattern with 3 snacks! So my days could be seen as SE days.
The difference is that sometimes I don't feel like a morning snack. Or a meeting runs late and I need to grab lunch on the run. Or I have a huge dinner and breakfast is small and late etc...
I haven't had a binge urge in a month. My last one was early December (I have a blog I think).
The only changes I have made to my diet is that I've upped the protein since Christmas. It's really made a huge difference to stabilising my blood sugars and balanced my hunger. Also I've added more vege as during early recovery I didn't have a lot of either.
I guess it's all about seeing what works for you. You seem ready! Why not do as the ebook says and start playing with your 3 hour snack windows and seeing how it feels.
Good luck! You're such an inspiration on here - honestly! Those of us who are a few months into recovery feel a bit lost sometimes.

katzcurrent's picture
Hi Rebecca! Thanks, those

Hi Rebecca! Thanks, those are all great things to keep in mind! I appreciate your thoughts on upping protein. Lately, the protein has fallen out of my snacks, and I've been experiencing mild cravings for sweets - mostly sweet beverages - when I first wake up and then again in the afternoon. I guess my recovery goals these days are to work up to larger dinners with more variety. One thing I've learned about recovery is that whenever things get tricky, I can bump down to a simpler stage. So, if I get overwhelmed, I can just go back to my 2 standard quick-fix dinners, which are salmon and squash or turkey burgers.

I'm glad you feel inspired by my recovery, thanks for saying that! When I think of how long I suffered and how far I've come, my recovery is that much stronger. I value it more and am more proactive about maintaining it.

lindsay6's picture
Have you thought about

Have you thought about sending a PM to Catherine? She is the person on this site who is on staff and has years of recovery so she may have some ideas. I have 6 months and I found some of my SE just sort of slipped away. I still do SE I suppose but loosely. I don't eat every three hours anymore. I have a large breakfast and eat lunch when I am ready to. My dangerous time for BP was always early evening so I am still careful with the 3pm snack and don't wait too long for dinner after that. I feel like now if something isn't right and I get triggered I can get through it and then in retrospect I know it was a bad idea. I was triggered at Christmas and it made me realize I am not as far along as I think I am but I still got through it. If I were to do total IE and eat what I want when I want then I would graze and that is not good so I am still careful to make sure I don't do that. I sort of feel like I need to keep a third eye on myself. By that I mean I need to be vigilant and really pay attention to what is going on still. I do wonder if I will ever just be able to eat whatever whenever and not pay any attention to it. I have a feeling no is the answer to that. I am willing to try things though because what is the worst that can happen? A relapse would give me a ton of information and tell me exactly where I am. I work like crazy for that not to happen but if it does then what does that mean? It certainly doesn't mean i am a failure and have to start again. Just mean I need to pick up the pieces and start again. Sometimes people say they have a relapse after years of recovery and I think it is because they have not moved their recovery up to the next level by trying things and working those problems out. Who am I to say though I have not had years of recovery to know really.

When you are going through hell, keep going.

katzcurrent's picture
Hi Lindsay, Thanks, your

Hi Lindsay,

Thanks, your insights and suggestions are great. I'm with you in that I don't really think I'll get to the stage where I don't pay attention to what I'm eating, but it doesn't bother me at all. Most of my friends - none of whom have had eating disorders that I know of - are very conscious about what they eat, and I think it can be a great way to live, even though it takes more time and attention. I like the point you make about people relapsing because they don't take their recovery up a notch. I hadn't thought about that, but it makes sense.

When I look at my eating behaviors objectively, I can tell that I'm usually doing intuitive eating. I eat approximately 3 meals and 1-4 snacks per day. My portion sizes are consistent at breakfast and dinner, but the size of my lunch varies a whole lot, depending on my hunger. My area for growth is compulsive snacking when I write from home. It's so hard for me. Really tedious. I only write 4 mornings per week for 3 hours at a time, but I find myself chomping something every hour on those days. It doesn't seem to be harming my recovery, but I'd love to be free of that anxiety. If I gave myself time to sit through the anxiety, I could probably make some good progress, but I usually feel under the gun with deadlines and it's easier and quicker to quell my anxiety with hourly snacks.

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