I’d like to start off by sharing a post I wrote about feeling full as I think it may be very relevant to some of you:
“Getting comfortable with feeling full is a requirement for recovery from disordered eating.
If you’ve been dieting for a long time (+ most likely binge eating), you’ll know what it feels like when you feel that hunger rumble in your tummy. Depending on the day you’ll either feel it & think:
“yes! I’m hungry, this is an achievement!”
“Argh I’m SO hungry but I’m not allowed to eat yet! This sucks but it’s still an achievement…”
We create this love-hate relationship with hunger. And then when the binges happen, we feel AWFUL about ourselves because of the obvious AND so we associate bingeing with fullness.
So many times during my recovery, I would eat past fullness and then feel shame. Even if it was just a “normal – healthy” meal. Because I associated fullness with past binge eating behaviour.
And so what would usually happen when I “overate” would be for me to “binge” because it felt like I had already “failed” so may as well fail big time (I would literally over-achieve at failure because I was an overachiever in general…) can you relate?
So even though I was no longer restricting certain foods, I was still NOT OK with having a belly full of food.
It’s emotionally uncomfortable to feel full for chronic dieters. But it’s a requirement for recovery from disordered eating.
I recommend my clients eat at LEAST 3 satisfying nourishing meals every day plus snacks whether they so choose. It’s not a rule – food rules backfire -but it’s an extremely helpful guide to ensure that they’re working on their emotional discomfort to feeling full and eating 3 hearty meals a day – most dieters are so used to having a bar, a yoghurt, some fruit etc and calling it a meal…
Because when you get emotionally comfortable with being full from eating a hearty meal, that’s when you can start to really relax around food AND nourish yourself with what your body needs.”
If you haven’t already started to eat regularly after listening to the “meal hunger” audio in the Intuitive Eating section, you are going to begin making changes to your eating by learning how to implement a pattern of regular, flexible eating. It is important to eat regularly (or at least offer yourself the opportunity to do so) at the beginning of your recovery journey. This is for a few reasons:
- It creates a feeling of “safety” in the body and mind that removes any worry of any impending restrictions. This alone will help remove the physical need to binge eat.
- It will regulate blood sugar and give you a constant feeling of satiety and steady energy.
let’s dive into this in a little more detail. 🙋♀️
If we follow this definition, a day of regular and flexible eating would look something like this.
Why is Regular Eating Important?
Establishing regular eating habits forms a fundamental part of overcoming disordered eating patterns.
For people who have a long history of binge eating, regular eating reliably results in a rapid decrease in the frequency of binge eating.
This rapid reduction in binge eating is highly encouraging and is generally accompanied by improvements in mood, quality of life, and social functioning. 💃🏼
The first step required in this session is to simply get used to eating regularly.
You may have got used to skipping meals. You may even feel like you’re “succeeding” when you feel hunger and you may experience extreme emotional discomfort when having a full belly. So eating every 3 to 4 hours might seem difficult at first.
However, regular eating will provide some much-needed structure, and once it becomes part of your daily routine, it will require little effort or conscious thought to keep in place.
When you have got used to regular eating over a period of time, the content of your meals and snacks can be adjusted to fit your needs and health goals – from a place of love ❤️ and care.
If you are to start regular eating, then it is important to understand how this pattern of eating can prevent episodes of binge eating.
Just to remind you – binge eating is not “bad”. Just because it’s not serving you now, let’s always come back to the truth that it has actually been keeping you alive and stopping you from starving yourself! It’s similar to when you get stung by a bee 🐝 … your body will send histamine and swelling to the bee sting. This is to protect the area of the sting and to heal the wound. The swelling and histamine may not feel pleasant, but it is serving a purpose. When you restrict yourself to the point where you can’t help but binge, this is your body’s way of protecting you from potential starvation and nutrient deficiency. Thank God for binges…!
Regular eating establishes habits that combat delayed or infrequent eating and unstructured eating, like grazing.
When you are eating regularly, you avoid the extreme hunger and deprivation that can cause you to binge eat.
Recall that the “when” diet rules are a key set of extreme rules many people find themselves adhering to.
For example, some people might follow a rule of not eating anything before dinner time.
Others might follow a rule of only eating once per day.
It is these types of diet rules that lead to feelings of extreme hunger, preoccupations with food, and feelings of deprivation, all of which result in episodes of overeating or binge eating.
To break out of the diet cycle, you need to eliminate these extreme diet rules and stop these behaviours.
Regular eating will help you with this. 🙌🏼
It will help you change your diet rules about when to eat and replace them with a healthy regimen. This will help you remove the influence of dietary restriction and hunger on your eating habits, and help you resolve your episodes of binge eating – because you will no longer be restricting.
And, importantly, regular eating will make you feel more in charge of yourself around food – something you might feel like you have been lacking in ever since you started to diet.
If you are keen to follow my recommendation and start eating regularly but you are genuinely not hungry when you check in with yourself, of course, it is completely fine (and suggested) that you wait until you are actually hungry before eating. The only downside with this can be that if you are so used to ignoring your hunger, you may not even recognize hunger until it becomes extreme. So keep practising checking in with yourself, use the hunger scale for guidance, and notice what hunger feels like for you.
A Summary of the Benefits of Regular Eating
Regular eating not only results in rapid reductions in disordered eating behaviours, but it is also associated with many other health improvements, as listed below.
I appreciate that you may have some concerns or worries about eating regularly as I have presented in the graphic below. Practice everything you have learned so far and have trust in yourself that you can do this! I believe in you! If it feels more comfortable for you, promise yourself that you will offer yourself the opportunity to eat regularly every single day. Set alarms on your phone to remind you to check-in with yourself and offer yourself food. If you are not hungry, no problem, you can check in with yourself again soon. AS LONG AS YOU DO… 😉 Re-read the benefits of regular eating and trust the process. 🙏🏼 It’s time to take care of that miraculous body of yours!
It’s ok to binge! Journal exercise:
If you’re finding yourself binging these key points will help you and I encourage you to get your journal out and answer the questions:
- Accept that it happened. Don’t be angry with yourself. Binging is NOT ‘bad’ or something to be ashamed of.
2. Become mindful of your thoughts. Your brain and old thought patterns will try to make you feel guilty.
3. Become aware of your thoughts and decide to think of other compassionate and self-loving thoughts.
4. Get your journal out. Write down how you feel. Investigate what triggered your binge (HINT there will be dieting mentality there somewhere, or and judging your food choices! so the question you can ask yourself is WHERE HAVE I BEEN RESTRICTING?) and remind yourself that you love yourself unconditionally.
Binging is not bad! You are working towards changing behaviours that you have had for years, so accept that it will take time and that it won’t happen overnight.
5. Acknowledge yourself for taking action to release binge eating from your life. You are amazing!
6. After a binge, try taking a walk with a podcast or audiobook. Get out of your own head and move your body.
Emotions are energy in motion. Motion changes emotion.
7. Reframe the binge as an opportunity – not a failure. Instead of being angry with yourself, see it as an opportunity to give yourself compassion and learn why it happened or ask yourself the question “Where have I been restricting?” (A binge is a reaction to mental or physical restriction)
Strongly suggested advice around “restricting by mistake”
Intuitive eating alone won’t heal your relationship with food
My fave binge eating tips
How do people who lose weight and keep it off, do it? – I have a feeling that this will be helpful to you at this stage.
Embrace – The Documentary
A little taster into what’s to come in the body image modules and an inspirational documentary to help you to start accepting and embracing the body you have NOW!
If you want to treat yourself to the full paid version, here it is (totally worth it!)
Reminder to yourself
‘Reaffirm that every decision is yours to make. No food is off-limits. You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want. All food is abundant. You are NOT going to diet or restrict again.’