Those of us with binge eating issues spend an awful lot of time in our heads – even someone like me who’s been in recovery for years.
The combination of our inherent nature and our experiences means we’re inclined to rumination.
We’re also often disconnected from our bodies.
Abuse, trauma, body shaming – they all leave us afraid to inhabit our bodies. We struggle to find a sense of safety within. For respite, we detach and seek comfort in food.
An essential element of recovery from overeating disorders is taking time to heal from our experiences and to connect with our bodies, perhaps for the first time. It’s one of the ways we begin to develop trust in ourselves.
To do that, we need to get out of heads and into our bodies, which is not easy to do after years of dysfunction. Countless attempts at following someone else’s instructions about how to eat have made our relationship with food confusing and our relationship with our bodies complicated.
We need to stop any outside interference, learn to listen to ourselves and keep it simple.
That’s why the UK’s Government’s introduction of calorie labelling on restaurant menus is so unhelpful.
It’s yet another thing that risks disrupting that bond with our bodies and propelling us back into our heads.
But it doesn’t have to.
We can choose to ignore calorie labelling.
Just as we choose to ignore all the other diet culture rules and regulations that are so very, very unhelpful.
Because anything that takes us away from listening to our bodies isn’t beneficial. When we lose that connection, we can’t hear the information they’re trying to give us and we need that information to find our personal autonomy with food. How else do we genuinely know when we’re hungry, what would satisfy us and when we’ve had enough?
So when it comes to calorie labelling on menus…
- Don’t look. Ignore.
- Maintain your boundary and protect your process.
- Reject anything that isn’t useful to your recovery.
- Remember – you’re in charge of your eating, no one else.
- Trust in yourself and your body.
“To connect with our bodies is to learn to trust ourselves, and from that comes power”. – Mirka Knaster
If it’s difficult for you to feel and understand what’s going on inside your body (if you have issues with the interoceptive sense) then this way of eating may not be right for you. It may be useful to explore putting structure into your eating, based on your preferences, rather than eating “intuitively”.
For a longer post on the hazards of calorie labelling, read “What Calorie Labelling does to People with Binge Eating Disorder”.
©️ Julie de Rohan 2022.
I’m back from sabbatical and would love to report that the writing project I’ve been working on is all done and dusted. But I can’t (things rarely work out the way we plan, do they?). It’s still ongoing but as least it continues to move forward, and for that I’m grateful.
I hope you’re all doing OK. These are difficult times for sure.
I hope you’re finding a way to be gentle and caring with yourselves now more than ever – you’re worth looking after.