Like most people suffering from an eating disorder, when I was fighting for recovery, one of the fears that wouldn’t allow me to feed myself properly again was the fear of losing control, and then falling into binge eating.
When searching for information, I read that such binge eating was inevitable for people recovering from anorexia nervosa because their body had been deprived for too long, and thus it reacted by falling into the opposite excessive when it could feed itself.
No need to say that it didn’t reassured me.
However, I am the proof that this believe is misguided.
Yes, such cases do exist, but it is not inevitable. Thus, I want to talk to those who are afraid of letting go – just like I was a year ago.
The way towards recovery is long, I am back to my original weight for a year, and I believe I got my feelings of hunger and satiety back only for a few weeks.
However, my weight is still the same since August 2017.
But I feel more serene today.
Because I’m not afraid of cracking up, of not being able to stop myself.
Now, I face this fear by eating all the fear foods that made me fantasize during my anorexia.
This word may seem exaggerated, but it’s totally suitable. I was fantasizing of food items, because I couldn’t remember their taste.
So I decided to try them again.
Last June, I decided to buy a cake in a bakery for dessert.
With hindsight, it’s crazy how I made it a real event in my head: find the best one not to be disappointed, and make this moment sacred, by eating very slowly.
And so what? It was good… Like a cake. That’s it.
No explosion of sensations like I imagined. I did the same one or two weeks later with a Nutella crepe, once again outside, because I was scared of binge eating. And once again, it was good. Like a Nutella crepe bought in Paris.
These two “achievements” cleared my head.
Fantasy was not due to the fact that those foods were good, but only to the fact that I idealized them.
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Thanks to this raising of awareness, I was able to work on the second most crucial point in recovery: getting my feelings of hunger and satiety back.
Until that day, I idealized dessert so much that was spending my lunch asking myself if I would be able to put muesli on top of my yogurt or not. I wasn’t focusing on my body.
Since I understood that everything is good, but not amazing, I listen to myself better.
At the beginning of the refeeding process, we eat because we have to eat, gain weight, so we follow our 3 meals, sometimes we take snacks, because we have to.
Then came the moment where I did not HAVE to gain weight anymore, but I continued eating my 3 meals per day, still nourishing – because I was now living with my boyfriend, and men do eat.
While I wasn’t used to eating meat for dinner, it quickly became a daily habit, with big portions of carbs (and vegetables, fortunately!).
I was a little lost because I couldn’t feel satiety: I ate as much as he did, a little bit less, and that’s it. But I wasn,’t feeling that good. I had the feeling I was eating too much compared to my needs. It must be said that he is afraid of running out. So when I consider a normal portion of pasta to be 80 or 100 grams, for him it’s at least 150 grams.
After a few months of groping, I found my balance.
Sometimes, I’m hungry and I eat more, sometimes I’m less hungry and I eat less.
And my body regulates itself: the meal after, I’m more hungry.
I eat more slowly than at the end of my refeeding process and I can feel satiety again. Indeed, I never binge ate – because at that time, when I indulged myself a piece of chocolate at the end of the meal, and finally took 3 or 4, I thought it was binge eating – but I ate very quickly because I was scared of running out.
Today however, I enjoy the present moment, the pleasure of cooking a good meal or going to the restaurant.
I eat according to my hunger, enjoy every bite without making a big deal about it. If I’m hungry, I take more, but not always. I don’t stop myself if I want a dessert, but I don’t consider that my entire meal is ruined if I don’t have my sweet touch (which I thought was the most enjoyable ingredient of any meal before).
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