Saturday, 23 May 2009

Body's Talkin'

Thank you so much for the comments on yesterday's post! It's always strange looking back over old entries, but it's also a great way to see how far you have come by reflecting on the past.

What I had originally wanted to talk about yesterday was 'hunger'. The past few days, my appetite has been completely non-existent (which was what I wanted to discuss)- I have mixed feelings about this- in some ways, it's easier for me to eat if I'm NOT hungry because it feels more in control. On the other hand, it's hard to justify eating if I'm NOT hungry- I figure that if my body isn't asking for food, it doesn't need it. (I eat according to my plan, regardless, just my feelings about it are different). Today has been the complete opposite. I find it hard to recognise 'hunger' and 'fullness' a lot of the time, but today have been painfully aware of my stomach screaming out for food. Being hungry is horrible. I can't stand the feeling of emptiness, of my stomach churning. Especially when it seems to come from nowhere- there was no reason why *today* should have been different from yesterday, but it was. I start to resent my body for betraying me- why now? Why today? How DARE it need food when I already ate?!.. I also hate the memories and associations that hunger gives me- it takes me back to the days where I was literally starving, and could not bring myself to eat. I am not in that place now, but the physical sensations of hunger remind me so painfully of that time.

I am a firm believer that if you are craving certain things, it's because your body needs it. I am trying to generalise this to 'being hungry = needing food'. It sounds so simple, but it''s easier said than done. I hate the sensation of hunger, but I also hate what it represents- needing, wanting, a lack of control over my own body ("I ate xxx for breakfast- I should NOT be hungry yet"). It's uncomfortable physically and mentally- I get irritable, shaky, tearful. It's REALLY hard for me to trust my body and let it tell me when it needs more food- but I really think that our bodies are better judges of what we need than our minds are. If my stomach is growling and it's been several hours since breakfast, chances are, I AM hungry. It's NOT a sign of weakness of greediness- it's a sign of being human. Our bodies require fuel even if we spend all day in bed. Our organs, muscles...the human body is performing zillions of tasks at any given moment, all requiring a decent amount of energy. Recognising hunger is one thing, honouring it is another. I eat according to the clock- it honestly doesn't occur to me on days like today to eat an extra snack or bring a meal forward... I panic about misreading what message my body is sending me and don't yet trust my body/mind to work together. On the other hand, our bodies have an amazing ability to adapt- I spend ludicrous amounts of time working out exact calories in meals, and hours figuring out a day's worth of food. I have lost count of the numbers of days I have spent with a calculator, working out weights, BMIs, etc. The thing is, it's pretty pointless. Some days our bodies need a bit more food or a bit less. Weight fluctuates, as does our intake requirements. Obsessing over a yogurt which has 10 calories more than my regular brand can throw me into a headspin for the entire day, but our bodies don't NOTICE a few calories/pounds here or there. It takes quite a significant amount of calories in either direction for my body to change much so it's futile for me to spend so much time stressing over 'perfect' meal plans.

Tuning in and listening to what your body says is HARD- but it's so important. Our bodies don't see numbers on scales, or graphs or charts. They see food as what it is: nutrients, energy. If they are asking for something, they deserve to be honoured. Bodies talk... I'm trying to listen.

So anyway, some of today's food... (NOT all inclusive BTW!)

Breakfast, again at 5am...(what is UP with my sleep patterns these days?!)

Oats, fromage frais, vanilla extract, blueberries and raw almonds. This is usually one of my more filling breakfasts- not today apparently!


Mini chocolate chip Clif bar with 1/2 tbsp white chocolate peanut butter. Love it. These bars are a month past their 'use by' date... I'm a daredevil, I know.

For lunch I had something new again! Excuse the messiness- presentation wasn't a priority (clearly :P )

Hummus, carrot, alfalfa sprouts and rocket (arugula?) on wholewheat bread. I forgot how much I LOVE hummus! I actually don't like raw carrots at all, except when they are shredded with hummus. This sandwich was delicious and satisfying (FINALLY!). I don't know why I don't have hummus more often- it's cheap, nutritious and delicious. Maybe I'll get round to trying an infamous 'crack wrap' one of these days...

I'd love to hear about people's experiences with becoming more of an 'intuitive eater' and starting to trust their bodies...

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend so far!


K from ksgoodeats said...

YAY hummus!! :) I just polished off a hummus sandwich myself! Glad you enjoyed it!

That mini Clif/PB combo sounds heavenly! Intuitive eating is hard for just about everyone, I try to be as intuitive as possible but at times I eat because I can - I just try to embrace it!

Anonymous said...

Ooo I agree, I love hummus on sandwiches and I love raw carrot on sandwich, but not keen on eating them on their own (unless maybe dipped in hummus)
Good for you trying to listen to your body's needs. It can be hard I know, but like you say, your stomach knows when it needs food. I've had days when my stomach has been rumbling away, but I didn't feel particularly hungry and wasn't sure if I should eat or not. It's all a learning experience and you'll get to know the signs.

Anonymous said...

Hey girl!! Right now, I'm not working on eating intuitively since I may or may not be hungry a few hours after lunch since I DO need that afternoon snack, so right now i'm just going with time frames.... BUT if I get hungry an hour earlier than usual for lunch, I'll let myself have it then! I think try and work on just being more flexible with your routine, change up the times a little more, and add that extra snack if you need it, see how you feel!!

And you are so right, wasting time figuring out all the extra cals and how 2 yogurts may differ by maybe 10 (or 20, 30 cals ...) makes NO difference! We need to eat A LOT more everyday for a week straight to make any changes in our weight! Our bodies know what they need, and we just gotta feed 'em!

And your sandwich looks great, not messy at all! :) Hummus is the bestttt!!

Anonymous said...

OMG! Love this post, you are so right about our blog ESP ;)

I've been struggling with EXACTLY these problems..I should just copy paste your post into mine lol! Right now I'm trying not to freak out when my body "betrays" me and feels hungry/ not hungry when I have planned things out and want to stick to them! It takes a lottttttt of trust to eat intuitively, and after years of damage we have a ton of work to do! I guess the important thing is to not sweat the small stuff, and don't let a few iffy days deter you! I do believe we'll eventually figure out our hunger/fullness cues, appetites, etc. and it'll be worth all the effort now! People who haven't had EDs just can't GET how hard it is to eat intuitively, it seems so simple on paper!

Anonymous said...

first off, thanks for the comment on my last post! So glad you liked all the pretty pics! :) Your sammy looks quite good and do does that pb and choc chip clif bar combo!

Look at you coming to such important realizations and realities! You are gaining such strength and listening to your body and not your mind, which can often be irrational. I know that it is hard to tell yourself to eat when you aren't hungry but the body can be a little tricky sometimes so you really just need to take the necessary steps for bringing health back into your life and regaining a normal relationship with your eating. That being said, sometimes you just have to force that meal even if you feel like a fully loaded piƱata! haha

Just remember your body wont betray you if you don't betray it. Listen closely and learn from every little thing. Intuitive behavior will come, it's just about building on it. You're getting there love and I KNOW you can do it!

dietlexy said...

Hummous is phenominal! it was my obsession last summer haha! I get addicted to certain foods for a long period and then I never eat them again! Im a weird one alright! well done it seems like u hav had some sort of epiphany but I guess every1 needs to have their own one! Ive read skinny bitch and gillian mckeith and they say what u say! listen to ur body eat when ur hungry if ur deficient in sumtin ur body will let u no! well done for havin da power to trust ur body xx

Anonymous said...

you're right. bodies def talk, and we ought to listen to our bodies, not our minds. our problem comes from thinking too much. mind over body. we THINK we should eat this way. we THINK we should eat at this time. we THINK we should eat this amount. all this thinking and churning of the brain and control of the body just confuses us and we lose the ability to eat intuitively.
I def struggle with this too. I still have this obsession with eating at a cERTAIN time and having a certain amount of snack every day, even when I am stuffed to the gills.
we've tuned out our bodies for too long. time to shut our minds for a while and listen.
thanks for this post, ellie. thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

i love your Clif bar with PB! so yum!!

and your hummus sammy looks sooo good!! im craving it, but since I am moving in a week, I'm trying to eat down my old foods!! gaa what I would do though! (for some hummus!)

Cacti Don't Cry said...


The whole hunger thing is weird to me... I have zero hunger/satiety cues at this point!! I might dimly recognize that I feel empty/full, but it's really just an annoyance to me more than anything else. Sometimes it occurs to me that "normal" people would eat if they felt that particular way, but clearly I am not a "normal" person! I'm not really sure what I'm trying to say here -- I guess that before learning to eat intuitively, it would be kind of important to actually be able to INTUIT accurately.

<3 <3

Anonymous said...

I have the same problem. Not being hungry makes me feel calmer about eating because I feel 'in control' like you said, but I also feel guilty about eating if I'm not hungry. But then, if I am hungry I get terrified. Can't win really! Actually, once I realised that I am going to have a problem with hunger whether it's present or not I found it much easier to cope with, because I just accept that at the moment, my body is a bit out of whack :p and it will be sending out all sorts of odd signals, but it will calm down eventually.
Houmous, carrot and alfalfa is such a good combination! Yum :) I love Sainsbury's cracked black pepper houmous best (but I'm not sure my stomach likes it as much as my mouth :p )
I hope you have a nice relaxing Sunday!

Anonymous said...

hi hun
im afraid i cant really give you any insight to the intuitive eating thing as im still wroking on that myself..i rarely ever feel hunger unless i havent eaten in hours and hours and thats not normal..if i ate according to that, id defo be undereating. so i eat by the clock and set mealtimes and snacks..right now im working on being more flexible with it. i think intuitive eating is such a hard and complex thing to master but it is possible,so hang in there hun,
lovin the yummy eats,
much love

HangryPants said...

I think it is really important and hard to listen to hunger. For me, I don't get mad when I am hungry. It's more of a problem when I'm not hungry and think I should be.