It's been 3 weeks now doing this no diet thing. I almost felt like giving up because all my attempts at incorporating previously banned foods have not gone the way I had wanted. I overate them. not full on binge but overeating for sure. I guess I had hoped recovery would suddenly mean not wanting these foods. The toughest part is not "not bingeing". The toughest part is by far far far letting go of the restriction. It's one thing to tell yourself you will not restrict and a completely different thing to actually not restrict. It's like I tell myself I can have everything, but with the small print or hidden clause that says "but you will not want those things". When I asked in this forum before on advice on incorporating things, bingefree gave me 2 options; 1 would be to just face fear and eat them; or 2 that if I didn't really want to eat them in my everyday life that I didn't need to eat them. Well obviously, I chose 2 because it allowed me a way out, to convince myself I didn't really want things. And I kept having opportunities to include something restricted and not going for it. I had really convinced myself I didn't want these things and was then confused why I still felt anxious around them. I was LIEING to myself so I could keep restricting without admitting it. Well I finally said, I have to go with choice 1 now, face my fears and eat these things when given a chance. So I've been doing that. and overeating. and feeling discouraged and gross. and today, suddenly, I just didn't want anymore. I had allowed myself to have all the donuts I wanted at work today. Had one first break. another huge one second break that was as big as 3 regular donuts, and then I told myself I could have another one on the way home, and you know what happened? I actually DIDN't want one. Like the thought of it made me sick. And you know what else? I actually FELT like a healthy dinner of a chicken stir fry. The old me would have decided on something else forbidden for dinner like pizza due to binge mentality and feeling like a failure for having the donuts, but no, this time I just felt like something healthy. Today, for the first time, the guilt is truly gone. I can see the donuts as a success not a failure. I can feel a shift taking place in my brain. Food really is starting to seem just like food, not good or bad. apples do look equal to donuts. I honestly feel like I could have binge food in my house tonight and it would make no difference to me whatsoever. It wouldn't tempt me. It would actually be just harmles food. All the stuff bingefree said, I wanted to believe it all but just couldn't ever imagine it would be possible, at least not for me. But today I am seeing a glimpse of it. I called my sister to tell her. She said she remembers feeling that shift too but that it is really impossible to convey to someone else because it just isn't something you can explain. you have to experience it to understand. Food has ruled over me everyday since about age 14. That was 18 years ago. and it just suddenly feels lifted. I also realize that I have always focussed on bingeing as being the problem. and viewed days I binged as "bad days" and days I ate so strictly as "good days". I see now though that the addiction (for me at least) isn't the bingeing, it's the restriction. The "bad days" are actually the restriction days, and the bingeing is just the symptom not the problem (not saying this is everyone but probably anyone in a binge/restrict cycle). I by no means feel I am cured at all. I hope I can keep feeling this way, but I think it will only be possible if my focus stays on not bingeing as being the most important thing, and my obsession (perfect health for me, weight for others) has to take a back seat and may never be realized. The minute I want my obsession more than I want to quit bingeing, I think that is when it will start up again. So honestly I'm very skeptical anyone who is more concerned with losing weight than recovery from an eating disorder will actually recover. I think it takes hitting rock bottom. Knowing you are at the bottom of a hole you will never climb out of unless you give up the obsession. I could never do that in my twenties. being perfect was just too important. i wanted it too bad. I wanted to not have my eating disorder, but I wanted perfection more. but my twenties are gone now. wasted by my eating disorder. Now that I am in my early thirties, I don't want this decade gone too.
Surfergirl - I think it's awsome you are venturing into the non diet thing. I have to say though, I think you will give up maybe if you keep weighing yourself and counting calories. It means you are trying to hold onto the control, and I only know this because I wanted to rationalize doing these things while "quitting dieting". I said the same things that the number didn't matter I just wanted to observe. The truth is, if the numbers didn't matter you wouldn't need to observe. Honestly, I really struggled with this. I wanted to keep doing it. But I KNOW if I had I would have given up the first week. Transition into non dieting is not smooth. it feels uncomfortable. it is trial and error. it takes patience and persistance even though you feel completely gross. I don't even know how long i can keep it up. I can see that although I may stop struggling with bingeing, I will definitely struggle with not getting pulled back into the restriction (my true addiction). Also, the trade off of not bingeing will mean accepting not being perfect and for some people it will mean possibly not being as thin as you want. If I decide perfection is more important, I guess I will have to let go of how wonderful it feels to be free of an eating disorder. My point is, I don't think you can have both.