Thursday, April 5, 2012

Intuitive Eating Hiccup

This post may be a bit muddled, as my thoughts feel pretty scattered.  I'm try to make this as cohesive as possible, but I ain't promisin you much.

I mentioned briefly in my last post that I did not have a good appointment with my dietician yesterday.  And it wasn't.  It wasn't okay at all.  I think a month or two ago I wrote about how I was beginning the journey of intuitive eating, and that I was going to try to really figure out what it meant for me, and if I was happy and healthy and non-eating disordered using that approach.  And I've been on that journey ever since, and for the most part, it has been going well.  I have more or less maintained my weight, but when I say that, I do have to admit that I have lost some - but my team wasn't worried, because they could see how hard and honestly I was working to figure this all out.

So I've been doing it.  I'm reading the book and applying it to my life and really trying to get the hang of it.  And it is HARD.  Harder than I ever thought, really.  Having an eating disorder for 10+ years and then trying to switch to intuitive eating's not easy.  But I was proud of myself because I thought that for the first time ever, it was clicking.

Until yesterday.  Yesterday it felt like everything fell apart.

I saw my dietician, and she told me that I had lost weight.  And, according to her, not just a "little," but "a significant amount."  I have no idea if to her, "significant" means half a pound or five.  I really don't know.  And it doesn't really matter.  But that is all she told me.  And I was frustrated, and stymied, because I could look her honestly square in the eyes and tell her that I wasn't restricting or engaging in my eating disorder, at least not intentionally.  I feel like I have been trying incredibly hard to honor my hunger, and I try to listen to my fullness and stop when I feel ready, etc.  I have worried less about my weight and my body than I have in a long time.  I have felt liberated and happy, thinking I was letting go of the eating disorder.

Until I found out that I lost weight.  This really upset me.  REALLY upset me.  Because I feel like intuitive eating must be yet just ONE more thing that I suck at and can't do.  I don't know why I lost weight.  I don't know if it's because I sometimes still err on the side of undereating when I'm sitting at a meal and in doubt; I just don't know.  And that's the thing!  If there was some easy, concrete answer as to why I lost weight, then it would be easy to fix.  I felt like my dietician wanted me to just admit that I had been restricting, but I hadn't.  I swear on my life I hadn't.

So for this week, she said that a big part of intuitive eating that I haven't yet really embraced, is the idea that I need to take risks.  I need to risk eating too much, or eating a scary food, or risk even gaining weight.  And I agree - I probably do need to be more willing to take risks during this whole process, but I get confused with that, because yesterday I ate a piece of pie, 2 oreos, and a chocolate chip cookie!  IN ONE DAY.  A year ago, that would never ever in a billion jillion years happened - EVER.  So I see myself letting go and taking risks, so I just wonder, what else does she want from me?  To binge?  And, logically I know she is not trying to get me to swing so extreme on the other side of the spectrum, but I do feel really confused about what to do and how to proceed with this whole intuitive eating thing.  How do I risk more than I am?

She said that what she and my team are worried about, is that I won't gain the weight back that I lost.  She said that a "normal", non-eating disordered person, if they lost some weight due to illness or stress or anxiety or whatever, over a period of a few weeks, would naturally gain the weight back that they had lost.  But she said they're not so sure if I'll do that.  And I don't know if I will.  I don't know what the hell my body is doing.  I feel like I don't trust it because I lost weight when I am eating quite a large amount of food.  I JUST DON'T GET IT.

So that's where things are right now.  I feel a little down and unmotivated about this whole intuitive eating thing.  And yet, I don't want to have to follow a mealplan for the rest of my life either, because that would get so tedious and boring.  But I don't know what to do, because obviously I can't keep losing weight, otherwise pretty soon here I'd be in hot water and unhealthy and need to gain again.  And I absolutely don't want to go there, either.

So how should I do this?  What do you think happened?  Anyone else have any similar experiences when going through this intuitive eating thing?  I'm feeling pretty down and confused, so if anyone has any input, I'd love to hear it.  Thanks friends.


Laura said...

Hey! I've totally been where you are. completely. exactly. I totally relate to the confusion you're feeling and the frustration and the eagerness to just... BE MORE AHEAD! We're all different... but, you know... I was really surprised to learn you've even been trying intuitie eating. After being weight restored, I followed a very specified meal plan for 2 years (yes, really that long) before I even began to play with intuitive eating. In that process, I tried it a few times but it didn't work (re: I lost weight). So, now I've been intuitively eating for 2 months - and for the first time it's "working." I guess I just wanted to say that 10 plus years of an ED and being relatively recently weight restored and having recently given birth and all of that... well, for me at least, like, if I were you, I just wouldn't be able to intuitively eat yet (re: I wouldn't be able to maintain my weiht without a meal plan). There's a couple reasons to this: 1) our bodies act weirdly when we've had an ED. Like, they just seem to randomly lose weight it seems. And it takes some time for them to settle down. 2) I think we can consciously be not restricting, but we lose weight b/c our "fullness" meter is a little more sensitive than other people's and, thus, we're not getting completely full. That's what happens to me anyways. I'm not sure what hte point of this comment is.... maybe just to tell you that you certainly aren't bad at intuitive eating (b/c it's hecka crazy for you to be trying intuitive eating this early on in my opinion anyway!) and also... be patient. You have a TON of motivation and determination... adn it'll come... the intuitive eating will come. IF you end up goign back on a meal plan, know that htat is nOT sign of failure - that would be totally normal. That's what I would have ended up doing in your shoes, I'm sure... Meal plans seem like they'll last forever - but they don't. really.

Heather Lindquist said...

I just wanted to let you know I'm cheering for you. Recovery has loads of ups and just have to roll with the punches and keep trusting yourself and your team. I love IE, but I haven't always. It tooks months, if not a whole year, for me to be truly comfortable with it. I remember, back in the day, struggling with losing weight, then gaining, then losing...blah, blah, blah when I was trying out IE, and then over time it just began to "stick." I started maintaining and loving it. Yes, you stated you are taking risks, and that's awesome! However, i think she might be encouraging you to continue to stretch yourself and increase the challenge of your risks. Perhaps today you ate pie, 2oreos, and a cookie.....but maybe tomorrow stretch yourself even more, and try eating a bag if chips, lol. You choose the risk, obviously, but continue to "up the ante" for yourself. You most likely are undereating, unconsciously, if you're losing weight, so perhaps be more mindful of that....even when you think you're full, try eating a few more bites. Eventually, you'll get the hang of it and wonder how and when it finally clicked. But it will. Be patient with yourself and continue to up the challenge.

Åsa said...

I think that "how willing" you would be to eat more is a huge factor. Say if they suggested you drink x number of ensures/boosts or whatever in a day, would you be willing to do it? Are you willing to do WHATEVER it takes to stay healthy?
If you say "yes" then I think you're good. If you say "no" and you want to do things "your way" then I think you might be in trouble. For someone who has had an ed for so long, knowing what a good amount of food is is very hard. Hang in there, you have come a long way!!!

Lindsay said...

I don't exactly have any great advice or experience to talk about, but maybe it'd be good to remember that like a huge amount of people (including me I'd say) have a hard time "intuitively eating." It's not just hard for someone with ED or something. We all struggle with it... eating too much and feeling sick, eating something you know you shouldn't, not listening to your body when it just really wants healthy stuff, etc. So, I don't have any answers or whatever, but just don't forget you're not alone in this. :) A "setback" isn't a failure. :) You can do it!

CH said...

I wish I had words of wisdom or advice to help, but I honestly don't really - I so wish I did, because I feel so sad and MAD for you, because I feel like, from your blog posts, you seem to be doing really, really well and working hard on recovery, and it's not fair when the results don't match the effort. It's really frustrating and I feel your pain.

I can totally understand why your team is concerned about losing weight, and while obviously you don't want it to become a pattern, allow yourself the GRACE to try even harder this week. Just think about the accomplishment you said you had this week with the treats all in one day, and how far you've come. Maybe you haven't come as far as you need to be at the END of this intuitive eating journey, but it has been a relatively short amount of time, given the history of your ED. 10 years of certain patterns of not only actions but THOUGHTS... they don't go away with a few months of IE.

I don't want to minimize the weight loss issue, because it obviously shouldn't be ignored, but I dunno... I just feel like, you have been working so hard, and you seem like you have come SO FAR... I just don't want you to beat yourself up and let yourself believe that intuitive eating is something you suck at. It seems like if you get in that frame of mind, ED wins again, because he loves beating us up and tearing us down.

Sorry to be so long-winded. I actually sat here for a few minutes trying to form a response. Because I care. I don't want you to feel like a failure, because you ARE NOT a failure.

You can do this, and in the grand scheme of things/your ED history, you haven't been doing the intuitive eating for THAT long - you will get better at it.

Allow yourself the grace to feel like it's a hiccup, but that you can keep trying.

Keep your head up, pretty girl :)

PS - my thingy SHOULD display my first name now... not sure why it wasn't displaying it before, but I changed some settings around and I think it should be normal now :)

brie said...

Thanks, all, for your comments. I was initially nervous to post about this bc I didn't want ppl thinking I was lying or still in my Ed, etc. anyway, I appreciate the concern and hope you all gave me. I really am trying so hard and I guess I just have to keep fighting!

Anonymous said...

Intuitive eating completely baffles me. Being in and out of treatment for 10+ years, I've heard so many versions of "intuitive" or "mindful" eating and it still seems so impossible =|

That wasn't particularly helpful, sorry, haha.

I relate a lot to doing things right and still not getting the outcome you're expecting, especially when people can't/don't necessarily trust that you're doing the right thing. All I can say is keep your chin up. Intuitive eating is hard. I mean, eating and following a meal plan is hard in and of itself, but really listening to your body is challenging for people who don't have a history of messing with their hunger cues/metabolism.

Your fight is admirable. A lot of this process sucks, despite the obvious reward. Hang in there.

alriggells said...

Intuitive eating is hard as hell. Not the easiest thing I have ever done. I have been working on it for like 5 years and still struggle. I do think it is normal to at times over eat and at times under eat. But they do not effect your day and you do not mentally compensate for it. You just be. I know easier said then done. I get it.