Let me start by saying that people don’t just decide to have an eating disorder. I think this is a common misconception: that people sit around planning to be sick in that way. Regardless of how the disorder comes about, the process of healing and the road of recovery is long and often torturous, to be brutally honest. But it is SO worth it, my beautiful friends. It’s worth it in the long run, even if the road is dark, there are no street lights, and there is no map or GPS. The destination is worth the travel. So having said that, a common question that I hear from those in recovery and from those who are intuitively eating is: How do I know if I’m eating healthy and listening to my body or being obsessive and putting myself on a diet?
1.) First and foremost, where is the desire coming from? Are you choosing to have a chicken salad with fruit cup and smoothie because it feels good and it’s what you are actually craving? Or have you been listening to outside sources that have been influencing your choices lately? Has your Facebook timeline been flooded with “healthy” ideals? Have you randomly been finding yourself seeking out nutritional information before or after consuming something? Has your friend been ranting on about her clean eating ways that have helped her lose X pounds? What social media messages have you been receiving as of lately?
2.) What have your primary emotions been? Over the past week/month, have you been mostly optimistic and feeling great in your skin and life? Or have you been going through a daunting time, feeling somewhat down or depressed? Have you been struggling with getting through your days in general?
3.) What do you actually feel like eating? If calories, fat, sugar, carbs, and whatever else didn’t matter, what would you want to eat right now? If you did really know and believe that a donut was equivalent to a fruit smoothie, which would you choose? Close your eyes…check in with all of your senses. What do you truly want to enjoy for your next meal/snack?
During those time where you notice yourself desiring only healthful or clean foods, ask yourself the above questions. WHERE IS THE DESIRE COMING FROM? And are your food choices still in balance? It’s perfectly okay to have a salad for an entrée. But if you have a salad all the time without variety in your eating or you’re choosing a salad to make up for having eaten something else, then there’s an issue to be addressed.
And keep in mind that your friends may talk, partake in, and post about all their “healthy” eating habits or specific diets, whatever that may be (clean eating, vegan, Whole30, etc.), but that doesn’t mean that those eating habits are actually healthy or balanced. It doesn’t mean that those are the right choices for your body. If it were up to me, there wouldn’t be diets of any kind. We’d all listen to our bodies and choose the foods we feel are best for us in each moment.
All that to say, keep your head up, girl! (Or boy!) You got this! Recovery ain’t easy, so don’t let anyone tell you that it is. But you got it, I totally believe in you!
X0X0 wishing you whole and happy living ~ Kate, RD, LD/N