Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Meal Plan B

HoneyCrisp Apples!!

I think I promised this post awhile ago, and then other posts came up and I’m going to bring it back to the forefront after my Meal Plan A entry: the idea of intuitive eating.

The meal plan was necessary for me.  In the beginning, I had no idea of what was normal, and I could not trust myself to “get the gist” of the meal plan on a regular basis.  But at the same time, I did not want to be stuck on a meal plan forever.  I wanted the same freedom my friends had when they went out to eat–they chose what they wanted at that particular moment in time, with no thought to exchanges or food groups.  You go to an Italian restaurant and you’ll get your grain serving in, but maybe not your dairy and fruit and even the protein.  I wanted to return to my high school years when I would eat whatever I could get my hands one–be it fruit or a couple of cookies–before practice.  I wanted to be able to say, “I want . . .” or “I feel like eating  . . .” and have it be around where I needed to be.  I wanted to loosen up the rules of the mealplan.

Which terrified me.  Because I was afraid both of not eating enough and unconsciously allowing myself to restrict and of eating too much and gaining more weight.  My nutritionist also had the goal of intuitive eating, so we spend less time talking about exchanges and whether or not I filled each group, and more time on how I felt before and after I ate and what my hunger cues were and how strong they were, and when.

We found out that my body seems to need food late at night.  I get hungry then.  And I don’t sleep if I don’t meet that need.  But anything other than a “healthy snack” was not on my meal plan sheet.  So that was the first area I crossed off my mealplan.  My evening snacks were up to me.  And then, depending on how much I ate, I could adjust the rest of the following day’s breakfast.

Learning to honor my hunger cues meant listening to my body, something I had tried not to do for a very long time.  I had lost all sense of hunger.  Or, rather, I stopped listening to it.  But once I started paying attention, those hunger cues “came back.”  It was terrifying to eat in response to one of those hunger cues when it wasn’t “time to eat” according to my meal plan.  But gradually, it got easier.  Or felt more natural.

This was a slow process.  My nutritionist and I worked on this for a year (we had worked on the meal plan part of things for a year, too).  And this has helped me so much.  I can go to potluck dinners and not worry about what I “need” to eat at that meal.  Chances are I’ll make up for it someplace else; I’ll crave more fruit later in the day.  Or I’ll eat more vegetables as a snack.

In the end, it all works out to be about the same each day.  But I am no longer held to the rules of a meal plan.  I am held to the rules of what I need and want. It’s all part of honoring yourself and your needs, giving them the respect they deserve.

Go for the ice cream!


September 27, 2010 - Posted by | Eating Disorders, recovery | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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