What Should I Eat? How do you approach this question?
- Category: Coping Strategies
*pix You're hungry or your not hungry but you know it's time to eat. You're emotional and know it's not time to eat. Empty plates show you that many choices exist. But they don't tell you how to make your choice.
Guidelines in how to cope with food choices and eat well.
"What should I eat?"is a question that people ask through the day, whether they are in recovery or not. They ask this even if they don't have an eating disorder and even if they have been seeing a nutritionist and studying various food plans.
If you are dealing with an eating disorder, or the remnants of one, how do you approach this question?
When you are acting out your eating disorder, you eat whatever will knock out feelings you don't want to have or simply cannot bear. You know what binge foods do the job for you. You know the aftermath.
But looking to nourish your body, keep you fit, feed your brain and equip you to function in the world in an optimum way brings up very different options.
What should I eat? Answered by the Eating Disorder Symptoms
If you are not in recovery you ask, "What can I eat that will ease my feelings and not cause me problems?" You may know that sweets, creamy food, crunchy food, salty food all have different soothing effects for various uncomfortable emotional states. If you are bulimic you have learned that soft foods are the best binge foods because they don't hurt so much when they come back up.
Eventually you accept that you are doing damage to yourself when you act out your disorder.
If you are anorexic you know that you don't just starve. Periodically you will binge like a mad woman. That's because your primal life force turns against starvation and will cause you to devour almost anything and everything in sight to keep you alive.
So you develop methods to try to take care of yourself as best you can to compensate for damage you create during an eating disorder episode.
rules, control and nutritionist challenges
A common method is to make strict dietary rules. They don't work. You make these rules based on your control issues. You break those rules out of those same control issues. You are fighting against structure and wind up irresistibly drawn to saying no to whatever structure is established, even if you agreed to that structure.
This is why so many relationships with nutritionists break down. The nutritionist may have difficulty in being creatively flexible because she/he doesn't understand the depth of the unique and unpredictable eating disorder control issues as they relate to the specific individual she is working with. To work effectively with a nutritionist the nutritionist must be experienced and at ease in working with people in various phases of eating disorder recovery.
But, even if you struggle with issues of control, you can follow guidelines.
What should I eat? Answered by Self Caring and Knowledgeable You
The good news is that some guidelines, in my opinion, answer very well the question, "What should I eat?"
Please see the New Updated Mediterranean Diet Pyramid
This pyramid doesn't tell you what specific foods to eat at a meal or when or how to eat. So it avoids bumping into your eating disorder control issues. It does give you guidelines that make sense, are easy to remember and that are well founded in terms of health and science.
To help yourself I suggest you print out a picture of the pyramid and place it wherever you have a tendency to ask yourself, "What should I eat?"
You don't have to feel helpless or bewildered about making a good food choice. You can provide yourself with the guidelines you need so when you have that helpless feeling, you can look to the answer you gave yourself when you were in a more sturdy emotional state.
What should you eat? Look at the pyramid and make your wise choice.
Please write in and share your experiences with using the New Updated Mediterranean Diet Pyramid
Med diet pyramid updated to reflect new science (this site has many links on the topic)
Why Should I Eat? More on Mediterranean Diet and Eating Disorders
Joanna Poppink, MFT, Los Angeles eating disorder recovery psychotherapist
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