This weekend was SO full for us. For the past three years, aka like our entire marriage, Jared has had to work every other weekend. So at least my normal is two very, very calm relaxed weekends every month. He will be start CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist) school this January, so we are in this season of trying to a) pack all this life in before school takes over and b) take care of things in our household and family that need tending to while we still have financial, emotional, and scheduling space.
And obviously attending The Chicks and Zach Bryan are *high* on the priority list 😉 This weekend was full of sleeping in, early dinners, late snacks – I’m pretty sure I didn’t eat one meal at my ‘normal’ time. And thank the sweet Lord for my recovery because I could live this weekend without any guilt, fear, worry, or angst that my food wasn’t ‘normal’ or what I’d prefer in an ideal world. Got me thinking of all my precious clients and followers that may not be there yet, so this is for y’all.
Kudos for you getting that rest!!! I’d start by 1) having enough options around for snacks / breakfast or 2) being emotionally and financially flexible to give yourself permission for breakfast out. Figuring out what to eat is a huge part of the battle, so having a loose idea of your options can be helpful. From there aim to eat within 30-60 min of waking.
What ‘anchors’ do you have the rest of that day? Here’s my literal day from Saturday lol. In the blue are all the things that were ‘anchors’ and the pink is what I added in to make sure my needs could be met. In this season of life, I generally feel my best with 3 meals and 2 snacks a day.
Knowing roughly what breakfast options were available to me (Saturday it was a TJ’s Hashbrowns, chicken sausage, and an apple) *and* the boundary of eating soon after waking was protective of meeting my nutritional needs that day. You also don’t have to start with breakfast, you can start with a snack first (ex: awake at 11, brunch at 12:30 –> eat a snack at 11:30, so by the time food arrives at 1ish you’re set!!).
Again, in an ideal world, I’d eat every 3-5 hours. That’s what feels best in my body on most days. But this weekend wasn’t like most days AND THAT IS OKAY. Half of our distress in disordered eating comes from these arbitrary rules that either don’t have a ton of scientific backing or they allow for zeroooooo nuance and flexibility. Sometimes a client will say one of their food rules to me in our conversation and I look puzzled and just reflect “really…!??!?!” It usually offers us both an opportunity to laugh or sit in the uncomfy of the uncertainty. Example:
Client: “Yeah, it’s bad for people to eat after 8pm.”
Me: “What!??!? Really????”
Client: *hopefully starts to discover that maybe that isn’t 100% true or maybe that statement does sound so rigid*
But truly, my biggest piece of advice is to start challenging those rigid beliefs the ED holds so tightly to. Those rules will be the biggest barrier to you eating enough. Which will lead to you not eating enough……..and there are repercussions for that. In my underfed body, I get so irritable, less flexible, more exhausted, my sleep suffers, I am distracted and not present at all. It’s not worth it. The value of grouping my meals more closely is far far far more than the ‘cost’ of it not being the most satisfying, ideal digestively, or what not.
Uuugggghhh. Y’all my heart like aches to type that heading. It really is so hard in the midst of exiting diet culture to eat enough when others around you aren’t. I just want to validate that for you.
I think it’s mostly so painful because eating when others aren’t seems to threaten your security or safety with others. For example, has there been a time where a joke/commentary has been made in front of others about how much you eat, when you eat, what you eat? What experiences do you have hearing others around you talk judgmentally about others’ food? My guess is there’s a lot there. So that makes sense why eating when others aren’t feels difficult. I do not have a ‘quick fix’ for you with this one, but what I do want to offer you is the recognition that there is legitimate and real fear & grief here that deserves to be seen and held. It will take time to process it.
It will also take time finding community where you are safe and secure to meet your needs with. And use opportunities within that circle to challenge old core beliefs that keep you stuck in your restrictive patterns. Until you can start believing that…
It’s tough, right – you have to eat enough for energy, but it takes energy to make sure you eat enough. Predicting our needs is really important. Part of my work as an ED dietitian is providing education to clients about how much they need!! Insert their opportunity to ask me, “What?!!!!???? Really???!!” Like, YES!!!! Adult bodies need a lot of energy, like as in minimum 3 meals and a couple snacks kinda energy. Diet culture or ED disconnects us not just from our bodies, but ourselves as a whole – including knowing what we need. Once you know what you need and you have gotten more practice at meeting those needs, it will feel more like muscle memory rather than pure force of will to take care of yourself.
One way I did that this weekend, was I packed a cooler for J & I earlier in the day when I was energized, nourished, and excited. It was so much easier for me to preemptively meet my hydration and nutrition needs at 12pm than at 11pm when I’d be thirsty, crabby, and impatient lol. And not only were my basic needs met making it all the more pleasant (y’all I get hangry lol), but I felt so cared for and taken care of by myself. Which is a really wholesome, sweet feeling. IYKYK, try it for yourself!!!!!