I think one of the most significant steps I've made during my second recovery is learning to trust my body. This is something that IP could not, did not teach me in the slightest. When I left IP I was still scared of my hunger, scared of my cravings. Basically I was scared of my body. I felt that if I just let myself eat whatever I wanted I would never stop, my weight would balloon up and I'd be left fat and unhappy. So I restricted, then started purging because my body FORCED me to eat something I wasn't comfortable with, then restricted some more. This continued till I was all the way back to where I started.
I'm happy to say that now things are so much different. Starting this recovery journey I still controlled my body very carefully with set portions and carefully counted calories. I would NEVER allow myself to eat any more then I had "planned" for the day. No changes or substitutes were acceptable either. On the reverse side I would sometimes force myself to eat, even though I knew that a certain food would make me ill. I know in re-feeding feeling overfull is "par for the course", but occasionally I would take this to the extreme.
Then came the day I discovered the idea of intuitive eating. It came about as a post on someones recovery blog. Slowly, tentatively I stopped planning set amount and portions and listening to my hunger. I still messed up sometimes, because I would panic at my bodies reactions to food and limit my intake, or I would let myself get so busy I'd forget to eat. But as I let go of my fears one by one I discovered something wonderful. For one, my body won't overeat if I feed it properly every day and don't let myself get too hungry. I used to have a problem with this because I would eat too little throughout the day and then eat a BIG meal, which resulted in a lot of pain and guilt. I'm no longer in constant fear of that happening and it hasn't in a long time. For two, I will not gain massive amounts of weight from moderate portions of "forbidden foods". Actually I am eating a lot of previously "forbidden foods" and actually have to struggle to gain weight. Another thing I learned is that I won't "binge" on a forbidden food if I choose to eat it. It used to be a major fear of mine that once I started eating, let's say cheese, I would eat the whole block as opposed to one slice.
I'm slowly learning to trust my body to take what it needs. It's not some "evil machine" that needs to be kept under control. It's the vehicle that enables me to accomplish what I want to in life, and it's my job to take care of it properly and give it fuel. Usually what I crave is what I need, and when I suppress those cravings is when things get out of whack. The other day I ate normally, but ended up eating a larger then usual, higher fat dinner (think avocados, cheese and hummus). I was almost tempted to feel guilty, but I pushed my thoughts to the side and figured that if I had really been craving that, I must have needed it for some reason. Thinking back on the days intake I realized i had an extra small snack and had been out in the cold for a long time prior to eating. No wonder my body needed fuel! And here I was attempting to tell myself that it was unnecessary.
I guess what I'm saying here is be nice to yourself and treat your body well. Think of it as a really expensive car. You wouldn't let your car run on empty because "you don't have time to fill it up". It would stop running after a while if you did that. You wouldn't try to pour water instead of gas into it either, just because it's "cheaper". You'd totally ruin your engine that way. No, if you had an expensive car you'd treat it the best way you possibly could and keep it in pristine condition. Well your body is more priceless then any car, and more importantly it's the only one you've got. You can't just "buy a new one" if this one breaks down. So treat it well, give it what it needs; and it won't let you down.
There should be no difference in the way you treat this:
and the way you treat this: