Through this experiment with not counting calories, I have really cemented in my brain just how stressed out I have been keeping my body and mind over the last year and a half. When your body does not trust that you will feed it enough and feed it regularly, it is in a state of constant stress. When I finished meals and knew I was still hungry, all I felt was panic. When I had reached my self-imposed limit for the day but was still hugnry (which rarely happened because I always saved a snack to eat before bed so I could convince myself I wasn’t starving) I felt incredibly stressed out. And now, I am having to turn things around. When I feel myself panicking at the end of a meal or snack, I try to ask myself some questions:
– Am I panicking because I’m still hungry?
– Am I panicking because I am used to having food limits for myself and it stresses me out even if I’m not hungry?
If the former is true, I am trying really hard to honor that and eat something else. If it’s the latter, I tell myself that I will be able to eat again when I’m hungry. I even try to say it out loud if it’s possible to help reinforce the idea even further. My body has been so used to physical starvation and mental restriction that it is not used to being fed regularly yet, and I have to help it trust me again. Similarly, my mind is used to being told ‘no’ when it comes to food. I have to help myself believe that I will always deserve food if I’m hungry, and I will always eat. Hopefully, after some time of following only the rule of feeding myself, my body and brain will fully heal and trust me once more.