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Choosing Not to Overeat

I want to tell you about something that happened yesterday that blew my mind.

First, I’ll mention that this week alone, I have seen and heard 7 different friends and clients talk about how their relationship with food is causing problems in their lives. Some have mentioned overeating, some have mentioned feeling out of control over how often and how much they’re eating, some have mentioned years-old patterns of disordered eating resurfacing unexpectedly, and some have mentioned feeling unaware of when they feel hungry and full.

Overeating, binging, depriving, controlling, and purging: parts of a painful cycle that too many, myself included, are too familiar with.

Last night, when I sat down to have dinner, my stomach was empty. I had given my stomach 24 hours to rest because it was feeling weird and I wanted a reset—just lots of water for 24 hours. After these 24 hours, I wasn’t starving, I wasn’t ravenously hungry, but I had given my stomach enough time to digest the food from my last meal (dinner the night before) and I hadn’t answered the many urges I felt throughout the day to fill it up again with snacks. So the thing that blew my mind about all of this was that after a certain point during the meal, between bites, I literally felt in my body when it told me that the last bite I took was the last bite it wanted and needed.

I have struggled with daily overeating (and occasional binging, and extreme restriction) my whole life, and therefore have experienced a lot of feelings of disconnection to my body’s signals of hunger and fullness, so this crystal clear “we’re finished now, thank you“ from my body took my breath away.

Over the past few years, I have been exploring and improving my relationship with my body and with food. Moments like this are amazing reminders of why this work is so important. The peace and safety in my own body that I felt in that moment was incredible. I was feeding my body good food, I was eating slowly enough to hear when it was satisfied, and I stopped when it told me to. I didn’t eat against my will or against my body’s wishes. I didn’t white-knuckle the desire to overeat—I simply didn’t WANT to eat anymore. For someone with a disordered eating history like mine, it was magical.

Have you ever had a moment like this? Do you find yourself overeating often, or during certain times, like around your period? Do you struggle to determine when you’re hungry and when you’re full? Do you sometimes have a nice, big meal but then feel unusually hungry soon after? I want to hear what your experience with food and eating is…and if you have any questions or any struggles that you want me to address in a blog post, let me know. If you want to hear about it, I’ll write about it.

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