Find peace with food and overcome disordered eating.
Eating Disorder Therapist
Overcome disordered eating and find peace with food
How much should I be eating?
by Harriet Frew on June 17th, 2014

 Eating too little
When you have been on a diet or a dietary regime (ie: cutting out food groups) for a period, you are exemplary at following rules. If the diet says 2 slices of bread, even if you fancy 3 you eat 2. If you fancied 1, you’d still eat 2 because then you have earned your tick in the box. You have been ‘good’ and behaved well, so earned your Brownie points. You’ve followed the rule.  A little boost to your self-esteem and you are sure you are looking a bit slimmer already.
 On another day you might be starving hungry and ready to eat your lunch at 11am, but because you’re not allowed to eat before 12, you have to busy yourself with distracting activities(which don’t require concentration, as being hungry and thinking straight are not very compatible). You spend the hour obsessing about what it is you are going to eat at lunchtime.
You go for dinner and everything on the menu has at least a teaspoon of sugar in, plus is carbohydrate heavy. You order a salad which is palatable, but you feel deprived and cross as your friends tuck into their delicious, creamy pasta.
You are not allowed carbs, but you dream of them. Hunks of soft bread; tender pasta; chip shop chips with salt and vinegar. You wake up with a jolt when you think you have actually eaten them. How tasty, but also how terrible you feel to have succumbed to your hunger.
When you eat too much
You have been ‘good’ all day with food. You come in the door exhausted. You trip over the dog, stub your toe, break up an argument with your children and before you know it you have devoured 6 biscuits and 2 slices of toast and you are meant to be having dinner in half an hour. You eat another 4 biscuits as what’s the point of trying anymore.
You eat the box of chocolates given to you by Auntie Vera because you feel unsettled with them being in the cupboard. They are calling you. You think ‘I’ll just eat one and then the ‘I’ve blown it effect’ kicks in big time.  You eat the whole top layer. You then go back 10 minutes later and eat the bottom layer too.  You don’t taste the chocolate anymore. You eat until you are uncomfortably full and feel quite sick. Your thighs suddenly feel enormous and you are sure you are developing a double chin.
A cake comes out at work, you don’t even like the cake but you eat 2 slices and feel furious with yourself. Why? Why? Why?
Sound familiar? As long as you follow rule bound eating, you are going to end up in one of these camps or possibly spend quite a bit of time in each. You are going to swing between feeling like a smug angel full of self-control (albeit a very hungry one) to self-loathing, disgust and feeling like a failure.
But where is the escape route I hear you cry?
The escape route is right inside of you. Scary but true. Dare to listen to your body. Take away the rules. At some point in your life, your body was telling you how much you needed to eat and the kinds of foods it wanted. Your body can still give you this information today, even if you are feeling out of tune with it.
8 tips to get on track with eating enough, but not too much

  1. Chuck out the rule book (ie: diets; banning food groups; restrictive eating; whatever you want to call it).
  2. Absolute complete freedom with food to start with can be scary. Aim for regular eating with 3 meals and 3 snacks throughout the day. This will avoid over-hunger and help keep blood sugar stable. If you choose foods with a low Glycaemic Index and eat enough protein you will reduce cravings and not get over-hungry.
  3. Banning foods leads to cravings; feelings of deprivation and acts of rebellion. It is imperative that you allow yourself to eat EVERYTHING. Paradoxically, when everything is allowed, you will probably eat less of it in the long-term.
  4. Before you eat, PAUSE. Tune into your body. Are you hungry? Are you craving? Are you bored? Are you feeling something? Warning – this will be very hard to start with as you are not used to doing this. Hang on in there.
  5. If you are hungry, what do you fancy eating? Something hot or cold? Crunchy or soft? Something filling? Something light? Think about what it is you are hungry for.
  6. Sit down, eat slowly and savour your food. Get distractions away.
  7. Stop when you are full. Again, it might take time to recognise feelings of fullness.
  8. If you are worried about over-eating, once you have finished get away from food. Distract yourself. Support yourself. Trust that your body will let you know when you need to eat again.
Do post below if you have any thoughts to share on this blog post. I would love to hear from you.

If you would like to get in touch about working with me to explore some of these issues further, I would love to hear from you. I am passionate about helping you to eat all the foods you love; and feel great about your body without disordered eating or dieting.
Best wishes

Posted in Bingeing, Eating, Giving up dieting, Hunger, Overeating    Tagged with no tags


Bev Allen - June 17th, 2014 at 6:17 AM
I can so relate to all of this, definitely a work in progress for me x
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Find peace with food and overcome disordered eating.