Eating When Restricting (or Planning to Restrict)

So, my life restricting is a lot of, well, restricting. And my life when not restricting, is eating UNTIL I start restricting again. A lot of shame and guilt. Or a lot of OFF eating. Hardcore off. Making ALL of the choices that are just for today,  because tomorrow I should do better.

When I eat when restricting, I’m often not satisfied. I am TRYING to eat less and less. Then I decide I need to feel full and eat more. Whether it’s a little more at a meal, several snacks or a bigger lunch or dinner. I eat a few or several not satisfying meals full of “OK” foods, don’t feel satisfied, and eventually get overwhelmed, frustrated and hungry. And give up. So then I eat “off” until I’m back on and every meal is a dramatic over-exaggeration of all of the foods I CAN’T or SHOULDN’T eat. All the “bad” foods.

So what does the gray area look like? It means NOTHING is off limits. I eat what sounds satisfying, what I want to eat, but I don’t shove it all in. And that doesn’t mean I was binging on these foods. Because I was never over-stuffing. Sometimes, without meaning to, I might eat fast and then get over-full. Similar to what happens when I eat sushi rolls. It just sneaks up on you. But, mostly, I just eat until I’m satisfied. But almost EVERY meal in the “off” phase is the most dramatic option. A breakfast burrito for breakfast, candy throughout the day, burger and fries or chicken tenders or something similar for lunch, pizza for dinner, and ANY snacks in between. I’m often eating not to binge, but eating when I’m feeling a little hungry at all, chasing the foods I shouldn’t have.

If I allow everything, I’ll occasionally want vegetables (rather than trying to force them). I’ll eat salads a few times a week. Or I’ll have some roasted vegetables. But some days I won’t have any vegetables. If I’m not thinking about restricting again tomorrow, my choices today aren’t as dramatic. Just like if I AM restricting today, my choices aren’t as dramatic. How do I find my way firmly into the gray? A place where if I’m not hungry, I don’t have to eat just to get that last meal in before “being good” again. Or eat that ice cream today because I don’t want to tomorrow. Or choose the wildest item on the menu because I may as well.

What would it look like if I actually looked at the menu for the most intriguing item? Or the most satisfying sounding item? Or the most creative item on the menu? It doesn’t have to be all fried. Or covered in cheese. But if that’s what truly sounds good today, even if I can have it again tomorrow, then that’s OK, too.

Similar to not eating food because I took it, I have to learn to not eat food because it’s the last time I’ll have it in theory. Or because it’s a bad choice and I should make my last bad choice today. Everyday and every choice is OK, and average, and can be repeated tomorrow. I want to make choices like when I’m on vacation. On vacation, I know tomorrow I can have another interesting meal, or choose whatever I’d like to eat, and I’ll truly choose what sounds good, not the heaviest thing.

It’s a matter of realizing the dramatic choices are due to the diet rhetoric running through my head, or thinking I need to stop being this way or liking these foods. Rather, it’s OK I like a variety of foods and today, tomorrow or next week I can choose them. And it’s OK if I don’t today. Becaus they’ll be there tomorrow.

Stop trying to make today perfect. And likewise, stop being as rebellious to imperfect today because I’ll be perfect tomorrow.

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