I guess this comes as kind of a follow up to my post on Extreme Hunger, as having experienced it really intensely this last week, I have a few more thoughts on the matter that I thought I'd share with you all. I have realised over the last few days that despite what I believed, I have in fact been restricting my intake the day after honouring my extreme hunger. No, what I wrote previously was not me intentionally lying or deceiving you, it is more the case that my perception of restriction was distorted, and I want to take this opportunity now, to have a look at why this was, as well as how our ED's can trick us.
Before now, I believed that so long as I ate everything on my meal plan and stuck to my routine with no compensation then I was not restricting. Therefore, after I had eaten more than usual or binged in some cases, I would make sure I did so down to a tee. I was under the impression that this was a positive recovery choice as compared to previous occasions whereby I would starve myself entirely as a result of such eating, this seemed like a good thing. What I failed to see however, was that in my stringent mission to complete my given meals and snacks exactly as they should be, I was ignoring my body, which in many cases was asking for more food than this. I was so focused on getting it right that I failed to see that this mindset was also disordered.
Recovery is very strange in this sense, as you can be fooled into thinking you have beaten the ED voice all together, only to find that whilst you might have weakened it slightly, it is manifesting in a new, sneaky way. I am conscious that I need to be careful in how I say this, as we do not go straight from being disordered to being fully recovered, and the process is far from perfect as we know. More over, these stepping stones we take are something we should be proud of, and just because they are not completely unburdened by your ED, does not mean they should not be celebrated. I think my point really, is that we need to be able to recognise that they require further work, and so we can't allow ourselves to become complacent in recovery.
I think that upon reflection, I still held the disordered belief that I needed to get "back on track" after honouring my extreme hunger. This was the case for me, as due to the previous resistance I have exhibited, my meal plan works on gradual weekly increases meaning that at current, it is not necessarily as high in calorie content as it needs to be for me and my body. Despite this knowledge, my ED has prevented me from voicing the need with my treatment team to make a bigger changes, and so my meal plan is still deemed relatively safe by my disordered mind. Due to this, I have been able to deal with what I call "Extreme Hunger Hangovers" (you know - the groggy, bloated, meh you feel the next day) by falling back on this.
What I now realise, is that I cannot only honour my extreme hunger when I feel comfortable to do so, but every time, if I am ever going to be free of this. I need my body to trust me again and this is the only way. The reality of this isn't fun I'm not going to lie to you. I feel disgusting... my stomach is sore, my bad body image is through the roof, the night sweats are waking me up so I'm tired and agitated, and riddled with guilt. It's horrid. The part I'm struggling with the most though, is the feeling out of control, as I am pushing further and further forward with no comfort blanket. I do know however, that I'm doing the right thing, as if it isn't feeling like the hardest thing you've had to do, then it's probably not real recovery. Therefore, I am making the promise to myself that I will keep pushing all the way through without running back. I will take my own advice and get through this period using distractions, my mantras, and my reasons for recovery.
This post was challenging to write as I do feel slightly like a hypocrite for having previously shared tips on how to deal with extreme hunger, when I was not in fact challenging myself as much as I should have been. That said, recovery is all about growth and so I am glad it has given me the opportunity to discuss the importance of checking in on your own behaviours. Our ED's are sneaky, and they will try to conceal themselves from us as best they can. Consequently, we have to always be on the look out, and rather than just feeling pleased if we are dealing surprisingly well with a recovery scenario, we have to really examine why that is. This is definitely the tougher option as it can seem like we're never really winning and sometimes we just want to be proud of ourselves and leave it there. Unfortunately though, this is the only path to our recovered life, and so even if the road seems never ending now, it will be worth it in the end.
I hope everyone's well and keeping safe!
More from me soon,
Mais// The Recovery Bean <3