embracing our hunger
I will apologize ahead of time in saying this post may be a bit wordy. I love to fill my blog with positive thoughts, pretty pictures of food and a light hearted attitude, but sometimes I think there are certain things that need to be said and need to be talked about.
This is one of those things.
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I recently left a comment on an Instagram picture of a post that stated “I am always more hungry on my rest day’s than my active days” This individual was actually honoring their body and eating more (as you should), and I left a comment commending them and stated that I believed this happens because exercise suppresses our hunger, so on our off days, we of course are more hungry because our body is “catching up”. So many others were commenting saying that they felt bad for eating more and being more hungry on their rest days and hated the feeling. Which got me to thinking.
Why would we ever feel bad for eating? For listening to our bodies? Honoring it and giving it what it needs, what it wants? Then I posed the question. “Do you feel bad when you don’t eat when you are hungry?” I can guarantee almost everyone would say no. Some could probably even say they are proud for “resisting” eating when they feel like they shouldn’t be hungry. But when is there ever a situation when we should or should not be hungry? Why are there ever right times or wrong times to eat? Why does there have to be a time limit in between the meals that we eat? The answer, in my opinion, is there shouldn’t be.
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I don’t think I will ever understand why there are so many rules around eating. Our bodies know what they want, what they need, so why can’t we just listen? Where did all these rules come from anyways? This is one reason why I hate social media so much. One person does something, says something and it spreads like wild fire. There is so much judgement, envy, comparison.
I will admit I fell in this trap. I thought I should be eating “X” amount of calories because someone who I deemed as fit and healthy was eating that many calories. I should work out for “X” amount of time, doing this or that exercise because it burns the most calories. I thought I had to earn my meals. And if I didn’t work out as hard as I could have or did the day before, I couldn’t eat as much.Typing that out, it seems so ridiculous, and guess what, it is ridiculous.
I was listening to an old episode of Balanced Bites and there was a guest speaker stating this exact point. He stated that we need to listen to our bodies and do what works best for us as individuals. Choose foods that our bodies respond well to, whether that follows a specific diet or not, eat as many meals as we need whether that be 2, 4, or even 6. And on days when we are more hungry than others, embrace them, honor them.
We should never be ashamed of our hunger.
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I had a perfect example of this on my weekend trip to Los Angeles.
The friends we visited are very aware of my situation. They actually had visited us when I first started recovery and was in a very bad place. I was still at a place where I would not even eat my meals with them because 1. I was so embarrassed at how much and how often I had to eat and 2. I still was not eating normal foods and was avoiding almost all social situations.
On this visit however, I am obviously in a much better place. I honor my recovery process, know that I need to do what is best for me, and know that I need to push myself and that I am in a different place than others when it comes to food and how much I should eat.
And let me tell you. This girl can eat. And I know I need to and I know sometimes I need to eat past full.
So when it came to my meals on this weekend visit I was probably the only one who cleaned my plate at every meal.
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(at all these meals i ate every last bite on my plate)
I was actually ok with how much I was eating, because I know it was what I needed to do.
But then my friend made a joking comment of “wow you really can eat, that’s impressive”
Seems innocent enough, but to someone who is still very sensitive around food and use to restrict to minimal amounts, it made me very aware of how much I was eating.
Immediate thoughts of “am I eating too much?” “should I be this hungry?” and even “maybe I shouldn’t eat as much at my next meal” raced into my head.
But since I am in a better place, I knew better. I knew this is what I need to do to get healthy. I knew that it was ok for me to eat that much and to be that hungry. And I defiantly knew better than to restrict at my next meal.
Then again at dinner when we went out for sushi and I basically ate everyone under the table another comment was made.
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After again licking my plate clean, and others barely finishing theirs, it was stated at how much I could eat.
On the six hour drive home was when it really hit me and I started thinking and becoming aware of how much I had eaten over the course of the weekend. But again, I knew I was doing the right thing for me. I reminded myself I am not them, they are not me, and we do not have the same needs. I also consoled with Matt and he reminded me that the last time these friends had seen me, I was still in a very bad place and was barely eating, so to actually see me eat and enjoy food again, they were more than likely very happy and excited for me.
But this is just another reminder to not compare ourselves to others. That our needs are not the same as anyone else. That we are individuals and need to honor and accept that.
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I know I got on a bit of a vent and rampage, but I really hate hearing and seeing all the comparison and all the restriction that goes on. I hate seeing people complain that they are hungry, I hate seeing all the calorie corner cutting that is deemed as “healthy cooking and healthy eating”. Filling our bodies with low calorie/low nutrient foods, when we should be filling them with real, whole foods that yes may be higher in calories and fat, but are nutrient dense. We are so obsessed with numbers: calories, fat grams, carbs, macros. What we need to do is just listen to our bodies. Eat when we are hungry. Stop when we are full. Eat a wide variety of foods and find what works best for our specific bodies. Accept some days we will be hungrier than others, and trust our bodies to balance it out. Seems so simple when said, but is one of the hardest things to do. Especially in today’s society where we are constantly flooded with pictures of unrealistic six packs, skinny models and a false image of beauty.
So I ask you all to accept and love yourself for who you are, as you are. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t think that number on the scale or the size of your jeans defines you. It doesn’t. You are beautiful as you are. Always.
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