Fat or Thin, Hungry or Not, Eat at Least Every Four Hours
- Category: Healing Resources
Like It, Love It or Not You Must Eat
If you have an eating disorder and you are overweight, you still have to eat. If you are anorexic and want recovery you have to eat. If you binge or eat compulsively, you have to eat.
In the early stages of treatment the fact that the human body must be nourished to live and must be nourished well to be healthy dismays people. Human beings need to eat. I remember one person, many years ago, jumping up and down in my office shouting, "I don't want to be human." She was in a rage that she could not change her species. Of course, even if she could, she would still have to eat. All species on the planet require nourishment to live. Her frustration at the unalterable fact of her being a living organism is an example of just how far thought disotrtion can go when the brain is starving.
Judy Mayer wrote a simple and sound post in "Simply Health: The what-to-eat list to end all lists" answering the forever asked question, "what should I eat?" She offers some excellent suggestions about food, and she goes on to say:
Keep fueling throughout the day – let your body know you care and feed it at least every four hours – or your metabolism is in trouble.
This is a statement I would like to see in billboards and flashed in neon across America. When I say this statement to my patients they are often shocked.
Reality of Needing Nourishment Can be Shocking
If you have an eating disorder (and even if you don't) you may believe that you are giving yourself freedom and wiggle room if you skip meals. You think it's great if you are not hungry or if you forget to eat. If you don't eat for hours (or days) you believe you will be okay if you need to binge later.
And no one seems to recognize until they are well into recovery that not eating starves brain cells and causes thinking and perception distortions. The bizarre rationalizations continue because the starving brain doesn't have the ability to modulate the mind so the person can think clearly and realistically.
Yes, fat or thin, hungry or not, eat at least every four hours. Think of food as medicine or think of it as fuel to keep your vehicle going. Recovery involves eating well and eating appropriate amounts. But at any stage in recovery, we must eat at least every four hours.
Mini Billboards as Part of Recovery Support
If creating billboards is impractical, you could put signs up on the wall of your kitchen, bathroom and bedroom that remind you to "Eat At Least Every Four Hours, Hungry or Not."
This could be a powerful aspect of your eating disorder recovery work. If you are committed to eating every four hours - and holding the food in you so it can digest and nourish your body - you will start to think differently and be open to more opportunities to help yourself be well.