The 15 minutes [my brain on disordered eating]

Disordered eating is really disordered thinking-about-eating, and it is an awful thing for those who have it, but for me personally it is far from my biggest struggle; poverty has made most of my food choices for me, and my other mental health problems vastly out-shadow it.

Still, it is a struggle, and I notice it particularly keenly in my 15 minutes or so while I’m waiting to see if I’m still hungry. The waiting is a mindful practice I’m trying to build up as a habit which is all about trying to get used to feeling the signals your body is giving you about food. A thing I desperately need because I wrestle with myself to really feel fullness and hunger.
Why the 15 minutes? There are studies that say 10-15 minutes is about how long it takes for food to raise your blood sugar, so that you will feel full or know that you’re still hungry.
The science also gives me the reason I should attempt the wait, because spiking the blood sugar a lot by not eating when you need to is not good, and of course overstuffing yourself is obviously also not good. When I made a commitment to myself to work on my disordered eating I went and learned as much on the science of food consumption as I could; I want to make my decisions based on as many facts and as few distortions as possible.
My habits are something I can work on, but I don’t know how to cope with the thoughts.

The problem is, devoting 15 minutes entirely to my troll brain while it’s focusing on food.
Which is everything you imagine it is if you know about disordered eating. My body image is, to put it indelicately: Crap. NotGoodNope.
Usually I’d distract myself from trollbrain, do something else, but if what I’m doing is specifically waiting 15 minutes to check in with how I feel, I can’t just forget or I won’t check. Even if I’m doing something else the only way to forget is to not actually be checking in with my body, inattention. Which would defeat part of the purpose.
That just how my brain works, on: attention + trollbrain, off: no focus on thing, ignoring trollbrain.

I’ve got in my head, all the cultural assumptions about food and weight, and even though I’ve read the studies and know that a lot of it is based on lies, my brain emotionally doesn’t believe me.
Practicing body acceptance is very hard, and I wish I could wave a wand at it and not hate my body or weight, and all the things that go with that.
I’m also stuck with the fear that I will damage my health by not eating often enough, because I know already that I can.
These fears overlap rather than conflict because they are both fears based in not being “healthy enough”.

My desire is to do better, self-love, self-care, and focus on health in a non-obsessive or positive way. I logically know how to do that, and I try to infuse my habits with that.
Trying to build up this habit is based on those ostensibly good principals to better myself.
But everything I need to change isn’t based on logic and knowledge. My seemingly default setting of taking an all or nothing approach, has created ingrained patterns of eating far too much, or little to nothing. I have to fight those bad habits really hard.
Which is really difficult when struggling to even feel the signals my body is trying to send me about food.
Instead I have all these in-my-head emotions on food, and me eating or not eating. Most of which are [understatement:] not good.
And this is what I’m ending up sitting with, flurrying around my brain for those things for 15 minutes.
Expectations meeting with trollbrain-reality. Why again did I expect any different? Oh right, hope.

But speaking of hope, I still have some. Perhaps it will just take time.
I’m trying to be patient with myself. I haven’t built up up the waiting as a habit yet, and I know many times it’s easier to deal with my thoughts once I don’t have to focus so hard and something is routine. Alternately maybe I’ll just have to find another way to deal with this, and I’m not sure what that will look like yet, but I know I have options.
Internal tumults can calm; we’ll see.


7 thoughts on “The 15 minutes [my brain on disordered eating]

  1. I understand where you are coming from. I’m an over eater and have broken my hunger signals. I will have to get into the mindful habit of waiting fifteen minutes but like you I’m not sure my brain will let me. Sigh

    • *Solidarity* ❤
      Mindfulness is difficult to build up, but it's been very worthwhile in other parts of my life, so I know if I can just get my brain to stop being such a troll it'll be better for me.
      I hope for you that your brain will let you, brains don't like to cooperate so that's always a struggle, but we can persevere.
      I'm determined, brain intrusive thought troll-lo-lo-ing is not going to deter me.

  2. My wife, in addition to being bi-polar, also suffers from an eating disorder. It took my wife a month long hospitalization, seeing a secondary therapist that specializes with eating disorders AND a nutritionist to finally begin to to get some “normalcy” with her eating.

    First and foremost, if you can – I would highly recommend working with a nutritionist. It is not about “dieting” or “counting calories” but about making healthy choices. Educating yourself on what your body needs while taking into account your desires. Couple this with sensible portions and moderate exercise, you can be extremely successful.

    Oh BTW, we do not have any scales in the house at all. Weighing yourself can and frequently is a self destructive behavior.

    • Glad things are improved for her now. If you would, tell her for me that she’s not alone. I mean, I’m sure she *knows* but I want her to feel validated, it is a struggle and she’s not alone in it.

      Unfortunately the cost of seeing a nutritionist is prohibitive. 😦
      But! When it comes to info please trust I’m already well aware. 😉 When I said “science of food consumption” I meant exactly that: The science. I ignored popular-cultures talking points on food and learned from a biology perspective.
      Fad-diets can’t sway me, and only poverty’s restrictions would see me malnourished.
      Edit: I will say mostly I just wish I were less poor and could eat as much fresh fruit and vege as I want. (I love fruits, if I could I’d eat 2 oranges every day), but what can I do? Can’t wish poverty away.
      I might try to join a local farmers-market program, they sometimes have a per-month fee for local vege, and that would be worthwhile. But the cost could also rule it out, we’ll see.

      • Isn’t that absolutely disgusting that it is more expensive to eat healthy!?!

        I totally understand living within your means, so I am glad to hear that you are up to the challenge!

    • Wanted to add I think it’s a good thing about not having scales.
      For someone like me it’s too easy to get drawn in and it’s not healthy to let that be my focus.
      Sometimes need to weigh my cats for medications so I still own it, but other than kitty weights it lives in the back of a closet, and I let my doctor weigh me instead.

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