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.