Stomach Virus Gave Me Glimpse of Intuitive Eating

The one silver lining of this stomach virus that is working it’s way through my system is that it gave me insight into the world I’m teetering on the edge of – intuitive eating.

I’ve had to listen to my body’s signals (even though my body is sick and it wasn’t “the real world” for me) to tell me when I was hungry and when I was full, in order to not feel worse. This is the first time I’ve ever sort of sat back, observed and had that awareness. Hunger and fullness cues from your body, guiding you when you should eat and not eat – what a concept! That awareness in and of itself is huge for me.

This is what “normal” eaters do, every day, and they don’t have to have a stomach virus to do it. They do it without a thought, they take it for granted. Damn them! I’m so envious!

I hope I can keep this new awareness with me. I would love to be able to parlay these hunger cues and how I’ve been reacting to them for the past five days into how I eat for the rest of my life. I wish that I could undo over 30 years of compulsive eating from the awareness I’ve obtained by this stomach virus experience. I am hopeful this will happen and will try to keep these positive vibes going, but I need to be realistic and keep my expectations at a reasonable level. It would be so incredibly easy to slip back into my normal ways, but I will try to fight it off.

On a silly note… as Murphy’s Law would have it, my husband has been away this whole time I’ve been sick so I’ve been trying to take care of myself and my two kids sans the love of my life. So that means all this time, (though I have showered), I haven’t put a brush to my hair, put on an ounce of make-up, made one pluck or worn anything other than sweats. I’ve hardly even looked in the mirror. Lord knows what exciting things are happening on my face and how scary I look in general!

Psssttt… don’t tell my husband or he may not come back home! 🙂

One day at a time. Nurture myself. Awareness. Letting Go.

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Comments

17 Responses, Leave a Reply
  1. Lisa
    24 January 2010, 3:35 pm

    Glad you’re feeling better! Kudos for being able to take care of your two children while being sick! Also, as far as the intuitive eating thing…I’m trying to implement this in my life too-only, it’s happening half hours at a time and not whole days-if that makes sense. Soon, though, I’ll be able to stretch out the time I am able to really key into my real hunger. With all the marathon and triathlon training I do, my sense of when I’m hungry is really out of whack…oh, well, one day at a time…Lisa

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    hi lisa,
    i totally get your implementing the intuitive eating half-hours at a time instead of whole days. i think it has to start somewhere and from past experience i would guess with all your training you feel pretty hungry most of the time. you are probably burning tons of calories and need to refuel. the key is to stopping at the right time, which i think is harder than knowing when you are hungry.
    hey, how is it going wrapping your brain around this whole compulsive eating thing?

    [Reply]

  2. Lisa
    24 January 2010, 5:25 pm

    I think I am beginning to understand it a bit more each day-I am a recovered anorexic/laxative taking-bulimic/spitter/chewer-okay, I’ve confessed all sins of 20 years ago…Now, I’m a middle-aged, peri-menopausal athlete struggling with keeping the weight at “normal” like others my age…I told my husband about my revelation that I had last week when I found your blog and he thinks I’m “nuts.” Don’t get me wrong, he’s been there every step of the way with me…

    [Reply]

  3. Lisa
    24 January 2010, 5:27 pm

    through all of it…he just looks at me, I guess like others would, and thinks that my going to an OA meeting is absurd…he doesn’t get it, but that’ s okay, I don’t need him to…he is supportive of me in that he doesn’t bring the trigger foods into the house (I already told you about the junk food in the back of his trunk-LOL!), so I will have to pursue this journey mostly solo…with the exception of you! thanks for being there and again, feel better!!!! Lisa

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    it is definitely a lot to, pardon the pun, digest. “normal” eaters can never understand what it’s like to have this obsession/addiction/compulsion, whatever you want to call it, to food. i’m sure that your husband, and everyone else, sees you are in great shape and that you have conquered your past issues. he probably feels you are fine, but he can’t see inside your head no matter how much you try to explain it to him. i’m so glad that he is supportive even though he doesn’t understand per se. my husband is the same way. i feel grateful for his support because there are so many spouses of eating disordered people who sabotage them. and hey, you are not alone, there is a whole community of us out here waiting to take your hand, support you, and help pull you through.

    thanks for get well wishes. it is incredibly bizarre to not be hungry and to feel bloated after eating a little bit of food!!!

    [Reply]

  4. jackie callahan
    24 January 2010, 6:03 pm

    I really hear you on that one! There is nothing like a stomach flu to make us get in touch with our bodies, and in so doing realizing how very out of touch we usually are. That makes sense, because most people would never dream of eating some of the things (or amounts) we are capable of, because for some reason, the synapses that carry the message to the brain are humming along just as they should, ours on the other hand, got short-circuited along the way somewhere.
    So getting sick helps us to rebuild those connections from the ground up. I find that it feels really good to be in touch, be really in tune to when I am genuinely hungry, and when I’ve had enough! Sometimes, I get caught up in emotions and I forget what I learned, and have to start all over again. So, thanks for the reminder, and take care of yourself!

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    very well said, jackie! i very rarely have stomach issues, but everything happens for a reason right? maybe this is my message from the universe that i really need to get in touch with my body and listen to it’s messages.

    [Reply]

  5. Shelby
    25 January 2010, 4:21 pm

    From one compulsive eater to another, I am tickled PINK to have found your site! Thanks for your transparency about all this. And I hope you’re feeling better soon!

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    hi shelby, thanks for stopping by and for your get well wishes!
    how are you doing with your struggles?

    [Reply]

  6. Jill
    25 January 2010, 8:14 pm

    This is a great blog! I’m glad you are feeling better too. 🙂 I’ve signed up for alerts as to when there is something new published on the blog but I definitely want to read it from the first entry on.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks so much, on all counts! i look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    [Reply]

  7. Holly
    26 January 2010, 9:08 am

    This is SO true. I have to admit….I look at “normal” eaters and am truly envious of them. I can’t even imagine eating intuitively 100% of the time. The last time I did I was a child! And even then, I binged on too many sweets when I was young.

    I’m so glad I found your blog….I can relate in so many ways!

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    that is exactly what i learned reading about intuitive eating, holly! that we all eat intuitively as young children, then some “thing” comes along (in my case it was my parents lack of nurturing) that affects us and we become disordered eaters, looking to food to fill our void and find out comfort. thanks for stopping by!

    [Reply]

  8. Mary Kate
    26 January 2010, 11:49 am

    Hi! just found your website and have struggled with the same issue. Love what your therapist said in the latter post-mine said something similiar to me as well. For me I was TRYING SO HARD to be NORMAL that i was missing all the times that I was actually eating like a normal person. ANd what is normal anyway? Recently I read (maybe it was here??) someone say “this will be a daily struggle”…and i use to feel like that. I even accepted that this would be something I struggled with forever….but it wasn’t. It is no longer a daily struggle for me. I know when i am eating emotionally(when I am just eating mindlessly or at odd hours) and i can stop myself and make a mental check of my past for emotional triggers. WHen i acknowledge my feelings then I don’t eat them away….it does get easier thankfully!
    I also read and researched and practiced the intuitive eating principles. Geneen Roth’s books are what started pulling me out of my binge-eating hell. My daughter eats intuitively and I do not make her clean her plate ever! I want her to always eat this way!! hope you continue to feel better!

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks so much for writing, mary kate. it is so good to hear from someone who has come out on “the other side” of an eating disorder and no longer struggles daily. kudos for getting to the point where you can stop yourself and make a mental check before eating emotionally! that is so huge! thanks for the uplifting comments!!!

    [Reply]

  9. Mary Kate
    26 January 2010, 4:31 pm

    whenever i share my struggles with food I always wonder if i said too much or not enough…..but i just wanted to make sure i didn’t come across as being someone who eats intuitively all day/everyday. I still eat past satisfied….but if i listen i know when to stop…so why don’t i stop?? The little devil on my shoulder telling me to eat is now a faint whisper whereas it was a roaring lion before. It is there… but I can stop myself. Recently I have wanted to keep a food journal just to see how much food i am consuming everyday to know where i can cut back…but i am afraid it will trigger emotions from the past(food journals were such a negative activity before)…but i am a different person now….i just need to try and see what happens. good luck to everyone on this journey!

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    i love the way you phrased that, mary kate – the little devil on your shoulder is now a faint whisper instead of a roaring lion!!! that is exactly what it’s like for me! as for the food journal, give it shot, you can always stop if it isn’t working for you. though taking that step can be scary, you will never know until you try.

    [Reply]

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