I have been struggling with my eating disorder quite a bit recently. Not really behaviors, more thoughts and obsessions. I know you are probably thinking—um duh, it's Thanksgiving. Who wouldn't struggle with their ED on Thanksgiving? But hear me out. I am just feeling so darn confused and frustrated and demoralized. I already wrote about this once recently, but I DO NOT understand my appetite or my hunger cues or how I should know when to eat. I have eaten by a schedule for so many years, I don't know how to do it any other way, even when I want to.
Last week my team at work went out to a Thai restaurant for lunch. No, I was not told until that morning and yes, I then spent the entire morning freaking out about it. The lunch actually turned out to be fine (Thai is a relatively "safe" cuisine for me) and I had no problem cleaning my plate of mostly veggies and shrimp in some delicious spicy sauce. I had a pretty solid ballpark estimate of the calorie content in my head of how much I'd eaten; it was a number bigger than my normal lunch, but one that was okay with me and that could be worked into the rest of my day pretty easily. I was just polishing off the last couple of bites and feeling relatively good about it when the woman sitting next to me finished of her last bite, pushed the plate away, and kind of moaned and rubbed her stomach and said something like "Wow, I'm SO full, I don't think I'll have to eat ANYTHING ELSE for the rest of the day!" And I was like uhhhh are you kidding??? Pretty sure I'll be hungry again in three hours.
So then I started obsessing about whether maybe I'd underestimated the calories? Maybe I shouldn't eat the rest of the day either? Or maybe what I've been assuming are hunger pains are actually not true hunger? Or maybe eating lots of small meals and snacks throughout the day is revving up my hunger and I should cut back?
And I realized yet again that I have no concept of "eating according to hunger," and that my appetite and metabolism are still utter mysteries to me. But honestly, there is no possible way I'm eating "too much" for my hunger; when I don't eat every 3-4 hours, I get dizzy, sick, weak, and gnawing stomach pains. Yesterday my schedule was off since I was on an early flight to Home City, ate breakfast on the plane, ate lunch on the drive home with my mom, and then skipped my usual afternoon snack because (1) I forgot; (2) I knew we were going out to dinner and wanted to restrict a little. The last two hours before dinner, I was a wreck. My stomach was growling like crazy, I was light-headed, cranky, and bone-tired. By the time we got to the restaurant, I could barely think straight I was so hungry. I ate a tuna sandwich and even some of the french fries that came with it, and felt better. But my calories for the day were still lowish from what I usually eat, and I started feeling hungry again a few hours later, so I ate some trail mix right before bed. Which made me feel like a pig.
And today, I ate breakfast around 9:30 and then we didn't have our big holiday meal until about 3:30. I was starving by noon, but refused to eat anything because I didn't want to "spoil" the meal. Instead, I spoiled the entire day because my stomach was churning and growling like a monster. I didn't even end up enjoying Thanksgiving dinner because my stomach just hurt at that point. Now I'm bloated, sick feeling, and still low on calories for the day, and can't decide if I need to eat more or not.
This wouldn't be so mentally hard if I weren't at my highest weight ever. It's really really hard to want to eat when you know the calories-in calories-out thing isn't exactly working the way everyone promised. I'm also PMSing, and thus feeling particularly fat and emotional.
Another random thing that isn't helping: my brother had always been an athlete and in great shape until he went to college, when he quit organized sports, joined a fraternity, and gained bunch of weight. He was never fat, just bulky and had a beer belly. He stayed that way until about a year or so ago when he discovered biking. He started doing signing up for endurance races and did long rides before work. He slimmed down a ton and looked great. But, I guess he's kind of backed off on the biking for a while because things got so crazy at work, and I just saw him this weekend for the first time since last Christmas—and he's gained quite a bit of weight back. As far as I can tell, he has no real qualms about it, and eats liberally without food restrictions. But my mom mentioned his weight to me privately (I hadn't noticed yet because he'd been sitting down all night), and it just messed with my head more.
I kind of want to talk this out with my mom, and get her opinion on how I'm eating and how I look....but I also don't really know how to bring it up, and don't trust that she won't say something inadvertently triggering. I definitely don't trust myself to handle a triggering comment well. I am kinda sorta considering going back to a dietitian, but I also kind of hate dietitians and don't want to. I am just confused and frustrated and sad that this is still taking up so much space in my life.