I’ve morphed the food section of the original 100 Days from “healthy diet” to “food habits.” There are a couple of reasons for this.
One is that I have very healthy eating habits. I cook nearly all the food I eat from scratch (including making the whole wheat bread I eat), I eat a variety of foods, I regularly eat fruits and vegetables and I’m working on increasing my consumption of beans and other vegetarian sources of protein.
The other reason is that I have an eating disorder and focusing too much on food triggers it.
I don’t have the acceptable kind of eating disorder, a.k.a. anorexia. Even though we as a society have decided anorexia is something to avoid, we as a society champion a lot of anorexic things namely: very low body weight (models, most actresses), tracking food, weighing yourself daily, exercising to excess, avoiding certain “bad” foods, restricting food intake.
The eating disorder I’ve developed is binge eating disorder, which is a newly classified disorder characterized by eating large quantities of food (often very quickly and to the point of discomfort); a feeling of a loss of control during the binge; experiencing shame, distress or guilt afterwards; and not regularly using unhealthy compensatory measures (e.g., purging) to counter the binge eating. It is the most common eating disorder in the United States.*
Binge eating disorder is something that we’re just starting to talk about, but I’ve been binging for decades. My first memory of a binge was when I was younger than five (Bisquick lumps) and I developed all sorts of binging rituals over the years. I was relieved when there was finally a name for what I did. I never purged, so I wasn’t bulimic, but what I was doing clearly wasn’t something that was good for me.
In looking for ways to treat this, I took an e-course through Be Nourished. They call their method Body Trust Wellness and which draws from the principles of Heath at Every Size and Intuitive Eating practices. I’ve also done some reading. Here’s what I have learned and how it applies to my situation.
- Diets don’t work. The success rate for a diet’s maintaining weight loss for five years is in the single-digit percentages.
- Diets do a lot of harm. They mess up your metabolism in ways it’s almost impossible to recover from. They promote disordered eating. They result in diminished self-esteem when they don’t work, which is always interpreted as a failure on the part of the person who undertook the diet.
- People have different body sizes for reasons we don’t understand. Due to the fact that we equate “healthy” with a very narrow weight range, there are almost no studies about health and different body types.
- The BMI is total bunk. The BMI has made me angry for years. This article validated all my non-scientific suspicions.
The bad news is that I have probably ruined my metabolism by dieting. My first diet was when I was 15. Every time I have gone on a diet I have lost weight, then gained it back with an additional 10-20 pounds. Also, one of the ways I deal with anxiety is to eat, which also results in weight gain. I may never again be in the (again, very narrow) acceptable weight range for my height.
The good news is that by stopping all restrictive eating and giving myself what I need or want, food-wise, I have decreased my binge-eating episodes dramatically. I’ve also started regularly shopping for clothing that I enjoy wearing and, as reported in the exercise post, spend a lot of time doing exercise that I love.
I still have some food habits that aren’t so great for me. One is that when I cook, I snack. I don’t like how it makes me feels and I would like to stop. I’ve also recently figured out that when I get over-committed my form of “relaxing” involves laying on the bed, reading, and also eating to the point of discomfort.
I also haven’t fully read Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating. So I would like to spend my 100 days taking in the information in those books, as well.
And I’m still not there with the Body Trust Wellness Core Competencies.
My plan during the pre-month is to purchase the above books, as well as notice some eating habits that leave me with feelings of shame. Then, I can craft a plan to execute during the My 100 Days.