I remember when I first began healing from years of crazy dieting/binging, I wanted to know what/how normal people ate. I simply couldn't believe anyone who actually ate real food (i.e., wasn't on a diet) could lose/maintain a "normal" size.
I had been practicing the "less is more" habit for years and tried to eat as little as possible to be as thin as possible.
And when I first started getting help, I was terrified to begin eating three meals a day with some snacks in between. Would I gain 5 million pounds?! Would I spiral out of control? (These were the thoughts that kept me awake at night.)
Because I spent years in the diet/binge cycle, I thought the way to weight loss was to eat as little as possible. Of course, as soon as you try to eat as little as possible, you binge, and I would end up eating thousands of calories a day.
On top of that, I was absolutely scared out of my mind if I wasn't restricting.
When I first started to eat (meaning: I wasn't living my life either dieting or binging), I remember asking the woman who helped me, "well, what do YOU eat?" She was on the thin side and very petite. When she told me what she ate, I was fascinated. I couldn't believe she could eat that much and still maintain her size!
(Boy did I have a lot to learn! I had a loooong way to go before I remotely began to trust my body.)
It was so helpful to me to have someone who could reassure me that it was OKAY (good, in fact!) to get out of the diet cycle and actually eat "normal" meals.
And so that is what I want to do for you. When you've spent years dieting, it can be terrifying to begin to trust yourself and eat portions that aren't restrictive. I get it. So I want to give you some hope that you CAN get out of the cycle and eat more normally.
I want you to see how I eat (well a few days anyway) so it can show you that you CAN actually eat food, multiple times per day, and not gain weight (and not spiral out of control, either).
Here are a few days of a food journal:
5:30 am zone bar
7:45 steak, salad, English muffin with butter (random I know, I ran out of eggs)
11:45 carrots, hummus and an orange while I made lunch
12:30 grilled chicken, grilled onions and red peppers, salad
3:00 granola + oats mixed together with kefir and almonds on top, banana (2 extra handfuls of granola after and a fig newton)
6:00 chicken with rice, beans, corn, 2 dove chocolates
6:15 zone bar
8:30 Ezekiel bread (love this bread because it has lots of protein) with turkey, cheese, mustard
11:00 handful of almonds
12:30 salad with chicken, quinoa and an apple
3:45 celery with peanut butter and raisins, slice of Ezekiel bread with apple butter
6:15 rice, beans, corn, and chicken with salsa and sour cream
8:00 dove dark chocolate square
7:30 zone bar
9:15 granola + oats mixed together with kefir, almonds and a banana
12:30 pasta with meatballs and parm cheese
4:30 piece of toast with peanut butter and apple butter
7:30 homemade turkey and cheese panini, some pretzels and hummus, a Dove chocolate
6:30 zone bar
8:30 pasta with meatballs and parm cheese (I was craving some meat for breakfast!)
11:45 granola + oats mixed together with kefir, almonds and a banana
3:30 two Kashi whole grain waffles with peanut butter and syrup, some blueberries
4:30 (waffles didn't fill me up) a little bit of pasta, chicken, broccoli, corn and feta medley
7:30 rice, chicken, corn, black beans, salsa, sour cream, onions, avocado bowl
Do I eat "perfectly"? Nope. Do I cut out carbs? Hell no. Do I refuse to eat after 7 pm? Not if I feel hungry. I don't adhere to any food rules. Sometimes I think that I eat quite a bit of food. (And I used to FREAK OUT because I had been used to years of dieting, so this was quite a change from the "less is more" mindset.)
Keep in mind that these are weekdays.
Weekends may look a little different. I may eat pizza, have some wine, or have a dessert. I eat "healthy" (healthy is in quotes because there are so many different versions of what's healthy and what's not. What is healthy for you may not work for someone else. So this is sort of a general idea of what's healthy) about 80-85 percent of the time.
Could I strive for more health foods? Probably, but I don't want to. I spent years dieting and this is where I'm at right now. I have no desire to cut anything out.
It's also worth noting that sometimes I do crave foods. I'll have random days where I'll want a muffin or chocolate or frozen yogurt. Do I have them? Sometimes. It depends on if the craving is physical (i.e. my blood sugar is low and I'm actually hungry) or emotional (i.e. I feel down and want something as a pick-me-up).
Remember that this is a journey. Your food choices will continue to evolve (as mine will, too) as you get to know yourself better and what/how foods affect you in different ways.
I hope this helps you see a different perspective on what eating more "normally" can look like. You CAN get out of the diet cycle, eat food multiple times a day, and not be binging on the weekends. It takes a little bit of experience (one day at a time!) and a whole lot of trust :)
Tired of starting over every Monday? Grab your FREE "Must Have Guide To End The Diet Cycle Today." To learn how to let go of obsessing over your body/eating 24/7, c'mon over and visit www.jennhand.com.
If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.