Often when we are going through something, we just can’t see a way out and often accept the inevitable, that this is how it will always be. It was certainly like that for me when I had bulimia for approximately 6 years. I knew it wasn’t normal and I knew I didn’t want to be binging uncontrollably, but the harder I tried to stop, the worse it got. I was stuck in the negative roller coaster of binging, excessive exercise, guilt and self-hatred. When we are in this situation we certainly don’t want to ask anyone for help, as we perceive they will judge us as lacking in control and will power and see us as weak. This is why we often remain trapped in these negative cycles for so long.
Eventually however, something deep inside of me asked for help and to cut a long story short I was introduced to “Natural Eating”. I was told to simply listen to my body, eat when I was hungry, eat what I wanted and stop when I was satisfied. Sounds simple enough and looks like common sense when you see it like that doesn’t it? However, for someone who’d had a life of dieting, excessive exercising, constantly watching what I ate and worrying about my weight it was very difficult to simply eat what I wanted when I wanted. Surely I would just eat chocolate non-stop for the rest of my life!
However a strange thing happens when you allow yourself to eat what you really want. Because you are allowed literally anything whenever you want it, you don’t actually want those so-called “unhealthy” foods all the time. Your body naturally wants to be fit, healthy and active and craves energy and strength most of the time. But sometimes when you really feel like a treat and you know it is OK to have it, then funnily enough you are satisfied with just a small portion of it. For example I love chocolate and now I am satisfied with one or two pieces because it is delicious and makes me feel good. However I know I definitely don’t feel good if I eat a big bar or half a box of chocolates like I used to, so I just don’t do it. I also know that they are there whenever I want them, so I don’t have to over-indulge now. By giving myself the permission to eat again later, it also gives me the permission to stop now!
Similarly, it is essential that we do actually eat when we are starting to feel hungry. How many times do we ignore the early signs of hunger because we are too busy or it is not convenient to stop and eat at that time? However, if you continue to ignore it you will eventually become “starving” or ravenous which leads to hasty choices usually of whatever is available to eat at the time. Unfortunately, often this means you are not eating what you actually want and therefore you will not be satisfied, which will lead to over-indulgence or binging on what you really wanted later.
Natural Eating works because it is so simple, it just takes awareness, trust and belief that you are the only one who can make the appropriate choices for you and your body. So it is not too late. If you are in the depths of binge eating and can’t see a way out, trust yourself, listen to your body and begin to eat naturally. You will eventually be eating what you want, when you want and stopping when you are satisfied.