Listen To Your Body?

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Zahara's picture
Listen To Your Body?

I always try to follow, "Listen to your body." It has been a saying that I have heard since I started to try and recover and I feel as though it is a very important concept. There is one question I constantly wonder and I can't decide if its absurd or if it actually makes sense..

I binge, I purge, my stomach has to be at least double or triple it's normal size, how can I be sure if Iim eating the right amount of food for my body? I can't tell if it is just my mind thinking I have eaten too much when I have a meal, or if I really did eat a correct amount and am satisfied because I'm giving my body the right amount of food.

I hope this makes sense, for example, I just went out tonight with my fiancé. I was at a normal hunger state and avoided the breads and mashed. I had a large piece of salmon, assorted salads,sweet potato slices with tahini and eggplant, a shrimp and a muscle. Lastly, for desert, a raw date and coconut ball.

Now thats a whole awful lot of food. I can look at the positives and be happy at what I avoided and decided to crowd out picking better options but I can also look at it as it. was. so. much. food. Though, strangely enough, I'm not uncomfortably full and I'm pretty satisfied. My only desire to binge is coming from the fact that my mind is telling me I have over eaten. In this case made me come up with the questioning of my stomach size change, and maybe thats another obstacle and struggle I have to battle?

I don't know anymore :(

faye713's picture
Hi Zahara, I struggled with

Hi Zahara,

I struggled with this a ton during the beginning of serious recovery (when I was still b/p-ing but trying really hard not to)!

You said "Though, strangely enough, I'm not uncomfortably full and I'm pretty satisfied. My only desire to binge is coming from the fact that my mind is telling me I have over eaten." -- I can totally relate to this!!

Ultimately, there was a counterintuitive 'fix' that really helped me:

A calorie tracker!

The calorie tracker let me objectively observe and record how much I was eating. Despite all my previous restriction and calorie counting, once I was trying to recover, a tracker actually worked as an anti-trigger.

It allowed me to see -- objectively -- exactly how much I'd eaten during a given meal that felt extremely massive.

I'd often find that my own imagination would blow up my intake by about 30% - 50%, and that IS triggering.

My typical day in strong recovery (once I started not bp-ing at all) went like this:

-- At 10 am, I ate a meal that I perceived as "binge-sized."
-- I would go to my Tracking Spreadsheet and note what I ate
-- My tracking spreadsheet would show me the truth: that what I ate was less than I'd imagined (even though I felt very full)
-- My tracking spreadsheet would also give me a benchmark of how much 'wiggle room' I had left in the rest of the day.

During my recovery, I found it worked best for me to eat a VERY LARGE breakfast that had healthy carbs and protein -- basically unlimited until I was really full. I was committed to NEVER purge because every purge ends in a binge. This big first meal helped to stave off future snack attacks later in the day.

Also, because of all the restricting I had done during the bulimia, I believe that I needed a period of being very free and the feeling of eating 'as much as I wanted.' It was up to me to stay committed to not purging, and to always choose healthy things that I actually wanted to eat (ie, NOT junk food that I used to eat on binges when I knew I was going to purge after).

The abundance mindset was really important for me. It was also important for me to get accustomed to the stomach feeling of fullness -- and not to fear it or let that feeling trigger a purge.

The calorie tracker acted as objective reassurance that what I had eaten, though it felt like a LOT, was within normal range of what normal people should eat, (ie, not 10,000 calories), and it also allowed me to take a longer (week-long, month-long) view. You don't 'get fat' or 'get thin' from one meal, and our rational minds know this well. It's when the bulimia thinking takes over that we lose sight of the longer arc.

The calorie tracker didn't trigger me to restrict because I could objectively see that, although I had eaten a lot in one sitting, that big meal made me less likely to eat a lot throughout the day all day long. I could see that it was fine and 'safe', and that feeling of safety fought off both the urge to purge AND the urge to binge (which speaks to your point).

Ironically, when I stopped using the calorie tracker, that's when I felt the most triggered and even had some slips. I still track to this day, though now I use a site called Cronometer.

Angel333's picture
Your mind and your body are 2

Your mind and your body are 2 seperates. So ask yourself next time your eating - is your body full or is your mind full? I often found this helpful when I was at risk of binging. Was it my body that was hungry? Or my mind? And the majority of the time I found I was eating to satisfy my mind and not my body.

Learning to listen and be mindful of your body is a huge credit to recovery.

'We are each of us angels with only one wing, so we can only fly by embracing each other'

Zahara's picture
Fay713, thank you so much and

Fay713, thank you so much and I really appreciate the time you took! I am going to give it a try, I am always REALLY bad at remembering to count the calories but its something I really need to get into the habit of. Im going to try Cronometer, they have apps for both my phone and tablet which works out perfectly. It could very well start to answer my questions about what I'm eating and how much of it, which could save me a lot of stress and hassle. I find it the hardest to track foods when I'm out to eat, I guess I will assume to my best ability! Thank you thank you.

Angel333, I have begun to get better at listening to my body but for some reason I'm still stuck in the stage at not being able to consistently say no to my mind and urges. I know its me who has to fix it, I just have to figure out how to talk myself out of such terrible things! thank you as well xoxox

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