July 9, 2013 at 1:50 pm #7900saisriceParticipant
BauerPower, I’m sorry you’re in a bad place now. It will pass I promise. I’ve been all over the place too and it would seem like some days I’d be okay and happy and then there’d be a bad few days. Now there are more good days than bad. What has helped me is never ever weighing myself, putting small clothes away, wearing comfy clothes like long dresses, buying a bigger pair of jean (they were baggy when I bought then almost a month ago and they still are so maybe my weight has stabalized who knows).
What is making you feel out of control with food? For me, I’d be hungry and then feel a bit like a crazy person when I would eat because it would feel like so much compared to how I used to eat and so “bad” compared to how I used to eat. Then I realized that that was my thinking and I could feel more in control if I just went with it and looked at it as a healing phase and exactly what I was supposed to do. Some days I’m so hungry that I have to eat standing up but I do feel best when I put stuff on a plate and eat sitting down. Say nice things to yourself when you are eating and make sure you eat food whenever you are hungry. The crazy out of control hunger will pass too as long as you are feeding yourself and listening to your body.
Is there a fun show you can start watching? Or a book? I know for me I can loose myself in a book and that’s a nice escape.July 9, 2013 at 2:07 pm #7904
I don’t weigh myself usually but a scale was around the other day… UGH. I think what bothers me most is I eat when not hungry, this really effs with my head. But I can’t get the thought of food out of my head! People say to honor this hunger. I think it is just habit eating in the middle of the night. I give myself more leeway at night with the types of foods I ‘let’ myself have but the past few days I have been pushing myself to stop limiting the types of food and I have been successful! I just want to be a normal flippin eater. I’m whining, so I should probably shut up and quit reviving this post haha. Thanks again for your support. I should find a book I like… the current book I am reading is on Student Retention theories for my thesis and I usually fall asleep reading it.
Your support is great and I appreciate it!July 9, 2013 at 5:41 pm #7974RobModerator
Here’s a link on YourEatopia talking about Night Eating Syndrome. I only skimmed it, but it may be of some value to you.
Also, one on Why Bingeing is not Bingeing when recovering: http://www.youreatopia.com/blog/2011/9/14/why-is-bingeing-not-bingeing-when-you-are-recovering-from-re.html
And the full site archives of a few dozen posts. All well recommended: http://www.youreatopia.com/archive/July 10, 2013 at 9:25 am #8102
Thanks! I have read these posts before, but I suffer from the it doesn’t apply to me because I look normal now and not like Skeletor!
I will re read though. Thanks againJuly 12, 2013 at 11:30 am #8544j-loParticipant
Reading your post inspired me to register so that I could reply. I developed anorexia when I was 11, and I continued to have some variation of rather extreme disordered eating for 20 years! I also developed severe OCD. I spent years as a walking skeleton searching for more pure and perfect diets and with unrelenting obsessions. I was anxious, depressed, angry, fatigued, moody, and completely exhausted…and yet I couldn’t stop the obsessions that fueled the negative cycle.
I certainly don’t have your answers. But I do have some insights into my own experiences and what has helped me to heal. First off, for me I know that the temptation was to declare myself recovered from disordered eating prematurely. Even though my weight stabilized many times throughout the years, the obsessions continued and eventually plunged me back into restrictive eating patterns. So it was important for me to recognize the connection between the disordered eating and the obsessions. For me I came to understand that I wasn’t recovered from disordered eating as long as the obsessions had control. And for me, continuing to eat more was a part of the puzzle in sorting out the obsessions. As I continued to eat more the obsessions subsided.
I’d also caution against thinking that that information Rob referenced doesn’t apply to you. As I’ve already said, my own experience was that I often decided that I was 100% recovered from disordered eating too soon. If you’re obsessing about food and exercise and worrying about weight gain, etc. then I suspect the information Rob referenced does apply.
My advice as far as the eating goes is to just eat. Finally give yourself permission to eat and not stress about it, even, and especially during the day. As someone who stressed chronically for 20+ years over food and my body I know that isn’t the easiest thing to do. But it was essential for me. You say that you want to be a “normal flippin’ eater”…so just do it. It seems impossible while you just stress about it, but it’s so much easier when you start doing it. Eat the foods you want during the day, not just at night. What is it that you really want? Do you want to be happy, free, and at peace or do you want to control your body? I would suggest that if you want to be happy, free, and at peace that the best way to do that is just start acting like it – “fake it until you make it.” Just let yourself off the hook. Schedule meals every hour if you have to. Eat what you want to eat. Eat what sounds appealing. My experience is that the more I would restrict the more I would obsess, and the more I would obsess, the more I would restrict. So just eat. Eat at night if you are hungry. Eat first thing in the morning. Eat all day as long as you have *any* appetite, and don’t get hung up on the idea that you’re eating when not hungry. Even after a year of recovering you can still have a very distorted sense of hunger. I believe that people with restricting eating patterns often program themselves to expect these restrict-binge cycles, and so it is important to reprogram with a steady stream of food. This will relieve the anxiety. Eat. Eat. Eat. It’s so important. It is the most important thing in recovering from a restrictive eating disorder. Get rid of the rules about what is allowed during the day. If you get rid of those rules you might find that you are able to sleep better because you won’t have to wake up to eat what you really want/need during the night because it won’t be the only time you allow yourself to eat those things.
For me, another major part of the puzzle was to simply stop giving attention to the obsessions. This practice combined with continuing to eat allowed me to heal. I had to recognize that the obsessions were not healthy and not worth giving my attention to. This sounds easier said than done, but actually, I found that it was easier done than I thought. It just required a commitment on my part rooted in the realization that the obsessions really were dysfunctional. I had compulsive behavior that included all sorts of rituals in response to the obsessions, and eventually I saw that disordered eating was yet another compulsive behavior. (Again, this is for me, and I don’t presume that this is true for you. But perhaps my insights from my own experience will be helpful for you.) So the first step for me in dealing with obsessions was to recognize that they were dysfunctional and not useful or productive in terms of creating a life worth living. And so I had to make a conscious choice to stop giving my attention to the obsessions.
Now, for me, early on I had such an established habit of giving attention to the obsessions that it was nearly impossible to simply stop giving attention to them. So I needed something to do instead – a practice of sorts. I did a LOT of research into this. I believe that there is a very good science behind what I will share with you, but I won’t bore you with too many details. Basically, the idea is that it is possible to establish new patterns or response by addressing the physiology rather than the mental activity. I believe that the mental activity (the obsessions) are secondary – the amygdala, which is the structure in the brain that plays a major role in emotional responses, triggers all the physiological/hormonal changes in the body that produce the physical sensations of anxiety before the rational brain is capable of raising a thought. So in my experience it is useless to try and address the mental activity directly. Instead, I found that what worked for me was to reprogram my body to meet situations with calm. The way I did this was to ignore the obsessions and instead focus on the physical experience.
Here are the key points to the practices that worked for me:
1. tune in to the physical experience. Notice what the physical sensations are. Don’t try to do anything about them at this point. Just notice them. It is important not to try to change the experience because the attempt to change it is part of the habit linked with the obsessions.
2. While continuing to notice the physical sensations, gently massage or gently tap on the forehead. I don’t know why this works, but I have some theories. I think that it brings some amount of awareness to other aspects of present physical experience that you wouldn’t otherwise be aware of, which has the effect of expanding awareness beyond the habitually narrow focus on certain thoughts or sensations. Also, it might help stimulate blood flow to the frontal lobes, which would physically alter the pattern of hyperarousal of the amygdala. Plus, it delays the habitual compulsive response, which in and of itself is therapeutic. However it works, it works. Continue to notice physical sensations (without trying to alter them) while massaging or tapping on your forehead for as long as necessary until you notice that things shift on their own. It’s important not to try to make things change. Just allow the physical sensations, paying attention to the physical sensations instead of the thoughts, and massage or tap on the forehead.
3. Follow it up with consciously relaxing the body – noticing any part of the body that may be tense and consciously relaxing that part. This third step isn’t strictly necessary, but it is a nice follow-up.
This practice may seem silly. Yet it worked miracles for me. I had such severe obsessions that I literally spent half my waking life performing rituals. And today I am happy and free. I respond to life with a habit of peace. And even when I feel anxious or stressed, I have a habit of trusting in the goodness of life rather than focusing on obsessions. This practice radically changed my life for the better. I’ve shared this with other people with obsessions, and they have reported similar results, so if you have any inclination to try it, it could be well worth it. It just takes commitment. In my experience, at least, it’s not going to solve all your problems in five minutes. But five minutes a day could make a huge difference over a few weeks or months. (Obviously, it’s important not to turn this practice into something to obsess over!)
I do hope that this helps. I know how horrible the obsessions can be, and after years and years of searching for answers this is the only thing that worked for me.July 12, 2013 at 11:48 am #8548
WOW! Thank you. You really hit on everything. I should print this post out. I have been stuck in obsessions for 20 years, having childhood onset OCD and it turning to adult OCD :). Then came the drugs (5 years clean), then came the ED. I am stuck once again. I obsess probably 80% of my waking day… and I sleep or nap whenever I can to quite my mind and body. I strongly believe this is probably why I am always fatigued.. I never mentally turn off.
Anyways, thanks so much! I will practice your suggestions. I know I am not mentally recovered I just figure I am physically recovered and my body should be normal now!
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