Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Balance--Eat When You're Hungry, Stop When You're Full

I love the internet. One of the sites I visited was the official homepage of a 12-step group called Eating Disorders Anonymous. I've copied some of their guidelines here because some of the 12-step programs and church programs for compulsive eaters have turned into highly restrictive, food plan obsessed, weight obsessed, rule obsessed places. I've made the comment that they have not freed themselves from food obsession at all. Having read more about anorexia and bulimia, I believe they've merely traded labels for their disorder. Even after lapband its still easy to stay stuck in that mentality. I see it in a lot of posts.

Now, this program (EDA's)makes more sense to me.

Our primary purpose is to recover from our eating disorders and to carry this message of recovery to others with eating disorders. In EDA, we try to focus on the solution, not the problem. Solutions have to do with recognizing life choices and making them responsibly. Diets and weight management techniques do not solve our thinking problems. EDA endorses sound nutrition and discourages any form of rigidity around food.
** Balance – not abstinence -- is our goal. **
In EDA, recovery means living without obsessing on food, weight and body image. In our eating disorders, we sometimes felt like helpless victims. Recovery means gaining or regaining the power to see our options, to make careful choices in our lives. Recovery means rebuilding trust with ourselves, a gradual process that requires much motivation and support. As we learn and practice careful self-honesty, self-care and self-expression, we gain authenticity, perspective, peace and empowerment.

There are no EDA meetings near me but I would go if there were. Instead of abstinance (which you can't do anyway since we have to eat), the focus is balance. For anorexics and bulemics, diets and weight management techniques, rigidity around food, including rigid restrictions and food plans, are recognized as part of the disease, not a cure for them.

For those of us with compulsive eating disorders who do not purge (except when in our dieting phase--the diet being the purge) lap band surgery is a tool we use to achieve balance. Once I get to my lap band fill I won't be restricted from any food, I'll just have to be careful with some that don't work well with the new tummy. The lap band will do the weighing and measuring for me leaving me free to not obsess over food. I would like to be able to occassionally have a treat without it triggering old unhealthy thinking (like guilt) and cravings that will lead me back into the food.

I don't want my time being spent on food plans and obsessing over my next meal. In fact, with my ADHD, I'm pretty incapable of that anyway. Tonight I looked in the cabinet and decided I wanted salmon. There was no low-fat mayo which I'm not that fond of, but I saw some spinach dip, not low-fat but good fats. I mixed that in, put in some tomato and basil pesto, and chopped some green olives into it. I couldn't eat a whole lot of it because it was so filling, but it tasted great. My husband polished off what I couldn't eat, which was most of it. So, no food plan, no obsessing about supper, just look and see what's there that puts protein first and make it taste good. I'm doing so well, I actually have to force myself to eat more between meals in order to get enough dairy, fruit, and veggies and even enough protein. I'm just not hungry.

I have developed a bit of an internet obsession for exploring websites related to the disease, but that's because its summer and I'm not working. It's also related to my ADHD. I'll get passionately interested in a subject and fill my mind with all kinds of info about it, relay that info to people to whom it would solve a problem or be helpful, and then, eventually, my active interest fades. But this is a life-long problem, so I'll probably always keep abreast of the latest thinking on the subject-especially if its helpful to me.

It's about balance and allowing the pendulum to swing back. Eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full.

All things in moderation was what Paul said in the New Testament. Eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full.