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. apparently, eating is old school .

August 2, 2011

It pains me to see smart people do stupid things.

Actually, it pains me to see anyone do stupid things, especially when they’re under the misguided impression that these stupid things are actually smart things.

Err. I hope that made sense to someone other than me… If not, allow me to elaborate a bit further. I may end up going off on one of my long winded rants, though, so you might wanna grab a little something to munch on before we get down to business…

[Greek yogurt buried under trail mix, Kashi Honey Sunshine, and Puffins]

We good? We good. *steps on soapbox*

I’m pretty sure that almost everyone has been unfortunate enough to have been subjected to those “wonderful” pearls of wisdom that teach you how to curb your hunger without actually eating – “innocent” ploys meant to disguise hunger in an attempt to eat less and lose weight. Drink lots of water. Load up on fiber. Chew lots of gum. And my personal favorite – sniff some vanilla. Yes, friends, vanilla is supposed to trick you into thinking that you’re not hungry by… I don’t even know.

Wow. Would you look at that… I feel more satisfied already. Or, you know, not.

In any case, I’m also pretty sure that 99.9% of us have employed these “tips” at some point in our lives. Guilty as charged, right here. What can I say? I was young. I was stupid. I suffered from an eating disorder. Masking my hunger became my sole purpose in life, and I was darn proud of it, too – proud of how I could get by on barely anything at all, while everyone else needed to eat. Ha!ย Suckers.

Uhm, yeah. Twisted, I know.

I won’t go into any specific detail, because that kind of information isn’t useful to anyone, but I will say this – you are not doing yourself any favors by trying to trick your body – even if you win the battle, you’ll end up losing the war. And truth be told, most of the time you don’t even end up winning the battle. No. You like to believeย that you do, because your hunger seems to go away, but your body is smarter than you think. It sees past your tricks, and punishes you accordingly. Enter bloat. Enter discomfort. Enter fullness without satisfaction. Does that sound like winning to you? Yeah, me neither.

[Pumpkin Hummus Tortilla Pizza with avocado instead of cheese]

But we do it anyways. And don’t be ashamed to admit it, because I’ve been there too. I remember choosing only low-calorie, high-volume foods to make up my meals, and then stuffing myself to the point of physical discomfort. The most ironic thing? I felt overly full yet unsatisfied. But I was terrified of my hunger – I feared it worse than the Devil – and in my mind, eating more of one thing, for the same amount of calories, was better than eating less of another. Thus, I would always choose a huge plate of broccoli over a spoonful of almond butter… it made more sense to my disordered way of thinking.

It also meant that I was constantly suffering from digestive complaints ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

But perhaps even more harmful than the physical discomfort is the effect that such trickery has on our ability to eat intuitively. Think about it. Your body tells you that it’s hungry. Feed me, feed me! Your response? Drinking half of the recommended daily intake of water in one sitting. Errr wha?ย Your body is confused. It asked for food, not water. It also begins to believe that you might not be as smart as it originally gave you credit for. It tries again. And again. Eventually, it stops wasting it’s time trying to talk to you – you never listened anyways. You’re now on your own, trying to figure out whether you’re hungry or not, whether you need to eat more or not.

You see? You lose the war.

You also screw up your metabolism, open yourself up to the possibility of developing an eating disorder, and suck all the fun out of life. And nevermind the fact that all of your efforts usually come back to bite you in theย ass. The body can only handle so much deprivation, and when it reaches its breaking point? Don’t be surprised if urges to binge hit you like a truck. A big one. With a pair of cow horns on the grill.

[When in doubt, throw a bunch of leftovers into a pan, coat them with soy sauce and roasted sesame oil, and call it a meal]

So don’t try to be smart by being stupid. Save yourself the trouble of having to relearn how to eat intuitively, and just eat when you’re hungry. I know the concept seems old school in today’s “survive on nothing but air” mentality, but it’s a tried and true approach that will get you the farthest in the long run.

Trust me.

And if you already ignored your body long enough for it to start giving you the silent treatment, don’t fret – it’s pretty forgiving, it’ll start talking to you again. But you have to be willing to listen and do as you’re told. I know it’s scary to give up the control and fear that you might end up going out of control, but I guarantee that if you give it enough time without freaking out, everything will right itself naturally. Trust your body. It’s not trying to screw you over.

*steps off soapbox*

. – . – . – .

Thoughts? Experiences? I leave the floor open to you ๐Ÿ˜€

88 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2011 5:15 pm

    Preach it Sister! It’s so true, I used to chew at least 2 packs of gum a day. Now, I don’t chew any! And diet-coke, was also consumed daily and not in small quantities. Like you this only left me uncomfortable and unsatisfied! So not worth it! I’m still working on eating intuitively. I’ve trained my intuition to believe I don’t need food when I actually do. That’s the wrong training though, so now I’m re-training to it’s natural state!

    Great post again girly ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. August 2, 2011 5:19 pm

    Make sure your soap box is always turned on. Because you always hit the nail on the head. Seriously, this whole post is soo true! I honestly wish I would have listened or learned about better eating habits earlier in life. This would have saved me so much trouble and anxiety. haha how about downing cans and cans of diet coke, going for runs on an empty stomach because you “burn more fat”, chewing your food a certain amount of times because it makes you less hungry. Sadly I’ve done so many stupid things but I’m glad I’m learning from it now ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. August 2, 2011 5:20 pm

    Nice. I like your soapbox. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I don’t think I’ve ever admitted this on my blog before [and maybe I will, though I’ve sort of alluded to it], but when I was a vegan in college I tried to eat as little fat as possible. While I should have been adding nuts, nut butters, avocadoes, and olives to my meals, I stuck to no-fat and low-fat foods.

    In the end, I felt really lousy [got lots of colds and flus, felt sluggish], and gained a lot of weight because I was never full, and just kept eating. It was a pretty blah time, though I loved being in school. I was just silly, and had no idea that the body NEEDS a decent amount of fat to be eaten to stay healthy.

    Now I stick to my mostly vegetarian foods, eat lots of fatty foods, and feel healthier than ever. I’m glad I’ve learned.

    • August 3, 2011 5:45 am

      The same thing happened to me regarding fat. My definition of going vegan was pretty much “eat nothing but vegetables”, and for a while there, that was basically all I was eating. I was always full to the point of discomfort, but never actually satisfied. Not good times…

  4. August 2, 2011 5:28 pm

    Yup eating to satiety is much more worth it. The amount of gum I used to chew was UNREAL (over 2 packs a day…and the side effects of that much gum is less than pleasant) and I second on you on the vegetables! My sophomore year of college, I would load up on 3 huge plates of veggies from the salad bar and feel uncomfortably full afterwards (yet still weirdly hungry aka NOT satisfied).
    Ugh and all the diet sodas/drinks I used to drink. gross. all those artificial sweeteners are no good and i avoid all of em like the plague now

  5. August 2, 2011 5:28 pm

    I avoided fat like the plague and denied myself so many nutritionally awesome foods. Now no food is restricted and I am much happier and healthier:)

  6. August 2, 2011 5:31 pm

    My ED has royally screwed my metabolism and hunger. I don’t get hungry. Most people know when they are hungry, I don’t. Instead I have to wait till I am dizzy or feel like I could faint or get really irritable for me to know that I need to eat. Instead I have to eat at normal times, hungry or not. It sucks, but I screwed it up. I hope it just fixes it.

    • August 3, 2011 5:49 am

      It will get better. I went through the same thing, and it takes a while of consistent eating, but your body will begin to normalize itself again. Your appetite might shoot through the roof when your metabolism starts to heal, though, so don’t freak out and restrict, or you’ll just keep going in one big circle.

      • August 3, 2011 5:55 am

        Ya, my last break from my blog was caused by that.
        Now I have to start over again. It sucks knowing all that pain and tears were useless, that I just have to start over because of one stupid relapse and the body just goes back to its old, not good, ways.

  7. August 2, 2011 5:32 pm

    Once again, an awesome post :). I’ve definitely tried the whole drink more water thing- that definitely doesn’t work and it just leaves me running to the bathroom every half hour. That’s no fun at all. I didn’t really try to “trick” my body when I went through my disordered eating phase, I just kind of thrived on my hunger (that’s sick, I know). And since then, I swear I feel hungry all the time. And I eat all the time too haha.

  8. August 2, 2011 5:35 pm

    I just posted on the importance of intuitive eating today. It’s hard, but it’s important. you hit the nail on the head!

  9. August 2, 2011 5:38 pm

    I don’t really talk about my history with disordered eating on my blog, but I want to say something here. I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder, but I definitely had one, because I was severely underweight due to obvious calorie deprivation. I wasn’t exactly trying to starve myself, but I was trying very hard (too hard) to be overly healthy. I didn’t even realize that my “healthy” lifestyle was turning me into the unhealthiest girl I had ever been in my life. A doctor told me I looked like a vampire. Anyway, to relate to this post, I did a fabulous job confusing my body. My hunger signals were totally messed up, and I actually lost the ability to “feel” hunger. I ate when it was time, not when my body told me I was hungry. Why? Because my body stopped telling me, since I never listened anyway. If I had never stopped listening to my body in the first place, I would never have ended up hurting it so badly. Listening to our bodies is the best gift we have the power to give ourselves. Now that I’m healthy, you better believe my body tells me when it needs something! And what do I do now? I f*cking EAT! I’m also able to work out like a maniac, and keep a smile on my face. Two things that are hard to do when our bodies are emaciated.

    • August 3, 2011 5:54 am

      My ED started out as a desire to be “healthy” too, and my obsession led to me being the unhealthiest I’ve ever been. I would never want to go back there, though… nothing is worse than having no energy and not being able to smile…

  10. August 2, 2011 5:42 pm

    You are so right on! I think sooooo many people deal with this, even those without eating disorders. Mine started with “helpful tips” like these and trying to eat overly healthy and it just spiraled from there. I still struggle a little with accepting hunger, but for the most part, when I feel that monster in my stomach I try to tame it haha ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. August 2, 2011 5:44 pm

    Round of applause!
    Very well said. Thanks for the reminder to Start listening to my body and giving it what it wants! Fat is the hardest one for me to overcome, but Im working on it.

    • August 3, 2011 5:56 am

      Fat was one of the hardest things for me to overcome as well, but I promise you that eating fat will not make you fat. Actually, I found the opposite to be true… The more fat I started eating, the leaner I got. True story ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. VanessaG permalink
    August 2, 2011 5:47 pm

    A on this post!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. August 2, 2011 5:50 pm

    Loved this ( of course haha) I used to drink soo much water, even when I was hungry…I agree with all of these comments! A plus and rounds and rounds of applause ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. August 2, 2011 5:59 pm

    Im speechless! Ths post said it all! I love your last sentence to trust your body it wont screw you over! I think ths s so true – trusting can be hard after suffering from an rating disorder but in the end recovery iis so worth the fight!

  15. August 2, 2011 5:59 pm

    You can preach this kind of message any time you want, as far as I’m concerned!!!

  16. August 2, 2011 6:02 pm

    Amanda sometimes, well all the time you amaze me! You’re post not only are straight forward and to the point but they make sense. Honestly! I have been sitting here doing my daily blog “check up” and I was a little hungry but kept thinking nahhh, I’ll have some water and wait until Im starving and have dinner. BLAH to that! You encouraged me to have some grapes in greek yogurt. It was delicious. ๐Ÿ™‚ It crazy how the most simple things are the hardest to follow! Seriously though my whole motto is “How can we except our body to listen to us if we won’t listen to it?”

  17. sarah permalink
    August 2, 2011 6:04 pm

    This is such a clever , witty, intelligent(much like yourself I’m sure!) post- really well written and a great message.
    I actually just flipped by a page in the โ€œwonderful healthyโ€ magazine Shape, advertising a spray for your food to make you want to eat less of it- genius huh(enter sarcasm). This was interspersed with pages of starve yourself diet plans and advice on how to exercise more & eat less & I know how you feel about that.
    I totally understand that whole feeling full yet unsatisfied thing- I still find it hard not to stuff myself with bulky veggies, but I’m definitely working on eating more nutrient dense foods as well.
    Mmmm, I LOVE noodles! Especially with sesame oil- its the bomb.

  18. August 2, 2011 6:04 pm

    So, when you said vanilla kills off hunger signals, I momentarily had to suppress an urge to run upstairs and sniff vanilla like crazy. And I’m not even hungry!

    I think that those little tips will always spark my interest, but the thing is that now I don’t follow through. Everyone else can do the whole fad-diet vanilla sniffing thing, but I’ll stick to my food, thanks :p.

  19. August 2, 2011 6:08 pm

    It’s important to keep an open mind and I try to do that. Something bothering me this week is my supervisor is going on a juice diet for 30 days…yes just a juice diet and he can have nuts also. It’s just crazy. He thinks he will lose 40lbs in 30 days….not safe at all!

    • August 3, 2011 6:09 am

      Eee I can’t handle hearing about people going on those juice fasts and cleanses either. It makes me just want to shake them and tell them that they’re playing with fire ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  20. August 2, 2011 6:10 pm

    sniffing vanilla to trick your body into not feeling hungry? Never heard that one before. Geez, people these days.

  21. August 2, 2011 6:11 pm

    What a meaningful post, Amanda. I could not agree more with everything that you said.

    I too have been a victim of trying to fool my body. Of being set to such a rigid eat schedule .. I would ignore and try to deflect pangs of hunger… until it was exactly time to eat.

    In reality – I was damaging my body – setting myself up for a binging episode – my body never feeling full – never satisfied.. and my disordered thoughts and controlled mind would just binge – and binge. Never to the point of satisfaction. Only to feelings of guilt – of not feeling worthy – of self-hatred.

    No war … or even battle .. was ever won with that way of thinking. Now I say.. bring me the almond butter… ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. August 2, 2011 6:11 pm

    I can attest to this. My newfound lactose intolerance messed me up- I ate less than I needed because I felt sick, bloated, uncomfortable. A week or so of unexplained discomfort and BAM! My body stopped asking for as much as it needed. Then I lost weight. I’m pretty darn sure my metabolism slowed down. I never really felt… hungry.

    Fast-forward to my new diet plan to gain weight- I’m hungry ALL. THE. TIME. My metabolism is crazy, and I feel loads better. I kept wondering why I felt so gosh darn tired all the time. It’s a vicious cycle: eat lactose, feel sick, not eat enough, body doesn’t get enough, not enough energy, take a nap, sleep through a meal on accident… blech. Not fun. At all.

    And now that I’ve lost weight unintentionally I have to deal with MORE discomfort to GAIN weight. Urrghghghghhh. It’s not worth it, people! I know my experience is a bit different than someone purposely trying to suppress their appetite and trick their body, but oh boy is it a hassle to get your body back on track. I feel like my cues are all out’a whack and what not.

    That vanilla thing is a little messed up… though I can relate. My appetite tends to go away when I smell food in general- which has always weirded me out. Shouldn’t I be hungrier once I smell a potential meal? Hah. That first bite of deliciousness always wakes the grumbles up, though. Phew!

    On a lighter note- girlie, I just finished a bowl of oats and you still have me drooling! I picked up some cinna-Puffins the other day and EEEEE! So good. I think I love them equally to the other flavors. Oh, Barbara. You can do no wrong. I saw Kashi sunshine on sale and was -this- close to buying it, but I remembered the boxes upon boxes of Puffins still in my pantry. Erp. And I’m all for tossing leftovers in the wok and going to town. Soy sauce is my savory savior. Catchy, eh? That’s what oatmeal does to you. A satisfied tummy makes for a quick mind… or something.

    Ok, I’ll stop before I write a novel over here.


  23. August 2, 2011 6:23 pm

    Dang straight.

    One thing I can add for those unfortunate souls who are trapped in this mentality *meincludedbecauseittakesacraptonoftimetoerase* is this:

    Your body WILL get what it wants. First it eats the fat, then the muscles…then your brain gets weak and your body steps in and you will be driven to eat and it is NOT pretty. It’s borderline savage and uncomfortable and since you are trapped in a diet mentality you see it as a binge and not a survival mechanism and there enters guilt.

    Like what you said: “even if you win the battle, youโ€™ll end up losing the war. And truth be told, most of the time you donโ€™t even end up winning the battle”

    Starvation induced eating is CRAZY. I could recount some of the crazy crap I have been driven to eat on auto-pilot. Mainly – whatever is available. Then you are stuffed, so you don’t eat well the next few days and the cycle continues.

    Excellent and insightful post Amanda. You are so golden.

    Full and still hungry but working on it.

  24. August 2, 2011 6:24 pm

    you belong on that soap box, girl! everything you said was on-point. i seriously can not handle when my tummy growls anymore–i used to chug water and/or ignore it but can’t do that anymore, no sir!

  25. August 2, 2011 6:25 pm

    this is a great post, as always.
    I sent you an email – I forgot to say who I was ๐Ÿ˜›

  26. August 2, 2011 6:37 pm

    I totally agree with you — I used to be the gum chewer for sure — that or mints. All I ended up with was a tummy ache (like you mentioned!) Instead I could have had something satisfying and moved on with my day, but instead I spent time being uncomfortable.

  27. August 2, 2011 6:42 pm

    Amen! Recovering from an eating disorder that totally hits home and is 100% correct. It is so refreshing to be outside that box now and realize that your body knows what it’s doing and you should probably listen to it.

    cinnamon puffins -drools- my cereal crack.

  28. August 2, 2011 6:46 pm

    Amen sister! “even if you win the battle, youโ€™ll end up losing the war” <– so true.
    Our bodies are smart so all these crazy things people try to come up with to curb hunger are silly.

  29. August 2, 2011 7:02 pm

    I love how you tell it like it is. We are fooling no one and only hurting ourselves. We have to nourish our bodies and give it what it needs. Love all your yummy eats and keep having that spoonful of almond butter ๐Ÿ˜‰

  30. Laura permalink
    August 2, 2011 7:02 pm

    I agree with everything you said right here. I’m tired of hearing about how people think it’s “healthy” to trick their hunger and/or eat less and ignore their body’s signals. I’ve been thinking about my disorder and my recovery and I also have a few questions for you, if you don’t mind answering. Since you probably didn’t have hunger signals when you started recovery, did you start off with a meal plan/eating a normal amount, or did you start your recovery by gradually increasing your intake and/or attempting to listen to your body?

    • August 3, 2011 7:15 am

      I started out by making a meal plan. I made sure that I was eating 3 meals and 3 snacks every day, and gradually upped the calorie content of each one. I wouldn’t recommend trying to eat intuitively in recovery, because the body’s signals are too messed up and you would end up not eating enough. As your body gets healthier, and all of its signals begin to normalize, then you can start working on responding to them.

      • Laura permalink
        August 3, 2011 3:59 pm

        Thanks so much!

  31. August 2, 2011 7:10 pm

    I’m up on that soapbox with ya girl, I couldn’t agree more! I used to supress my cravings with gum during my ED, thanks to that, I had issues with realizing when I was actually hungry during recovery. UGGHH SO ANNOYING! I’m so glad you wrote this, it really made me thankful for my recovery ๐Ÿ™‚ You’re the best Amanda!

  32. Rachel T permalink
    August 2, 2011 7:37 pm

    i see this all over the web and it sickens me. hunger is NATURAL, not something to be “mastered.” i went on a huge diatribe about this to my best friend today, because it’s really disturbing how the eating disordered mindset is glamorized and “admirable.” i’d much rather have my pita pizza and be satisfied, than being full without satisfaction- the absolute worst! and people forget- or maybe just totally fail to realize- that the second you start to eat again, your water weight you “tricked” off is gonna come right back, not to mention you’ll have messed up your metabolism. better to eat- who’d have thought?!

  33. beckafly permalink
    August 2, 2011 7:37 pm

    Vanilla has the opposite effect on me-it makes me hungry; I love vanilla! I couldn’t agree more. The body has the desire to live and as you said, you may win the battle but not the war. I know when I reached a critically low weight, my body fought me and won. During recovery I was hungry constantly, but learned if you’re actually hungry you’re lacking/need the extra fuel.

    I’ve learned how to nourish my body correctly and give it what it needs. It’s good to have veggies, but you need proteins and fats. I really enjoy reading all your posts, they’re all heartfelt, honest and really hit home =)

  34. August 2, 2011 7:46 pm

    Someone just wrote about my mistake the other day ๐Ÿ™‚ You explain things so clearly Amanda and I love you for it! You can express things that I can only feel or stubble over in an attempt to make people understand.

    Satiety is actually a relatively new concept to me. I have been under the misconception that you should eat what is “healthiest”, the most “fiber packed”, and that you should drink 2 glass of water before each meal in order to suppress you “beastly” hunger. Oh, how my view point has changed since discovering the blog world. I have been taught that my hunger is not something I need to fear. It is something I need to respect. Although I still have a hard time reading my hunger. I hope I will understand it more with some practice ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. August 2, 2011 8:16 pm

    I struggled again today ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  36. August 2, 2011 8:18 pm


    that was the first thing that came to mind. I’m so guilty of trying to make myself not eat with stupid tricks, but I just end up miserable and when I finally eat, I don’t enjoy the food nearly as much. Nowadays I know that food tastes best when just a little bit hungry.. not stuffed, but not listening to my stomach scream in agony. I absolutely hate blowing through a meal and not even remembering how delicious it was because I just wanted it in my stomach. I like to remember the taste, the texture, the smells, and everything that I can savor when I’m not focused on avoiding eating!

  37. Kaila @ healthyhelperblog! permalink
    August 2, 2011 8:22 pm

    I AGREE 100%!!! You can get on that soapbox anytime girl! Cause you are so godo with words and putting things in a way that everyone can (and SHOULD) listen you! Yay for honoring our bodies!

  38. August 2, 2011 8:31 pm

    Oh wow! This sounds all too familiar to me…I’m a former gum-chewer, selzer water drinker (ok well I still drink selzer water…but usually WITH food nowadays haha), volume-eater…and you know what, while it may have made me thin in the short term, it gave me stomach problems like none other…and messed with my metabolism a bit. My nutritionist put it pretty nicely: “if you don’t give your body what it needs, it starts to freak out!” – bloating, pain, even weight GAIN eventually….and having come out on the other side of all that its definitely easier to see that there aren’t, in fact, benefits in ignoring your body!

    I’m so glad I found your blog! I can identify with every single one of your posts! ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. buttonss - Cherie permalink
    August 2, 2011 9:53 pm

    Everytime I read one of your posts I get new views on everything.
    Ever since finding your blog I have honestly changed my way of thinking. If it wernt for you I would still have my stupid book, planning daily eats days ahead, depriving myself.
    Oh god, you deserve great big hugs from me *hugs*

  40. August 2, 2011 10:10 pm

    I absolutely LOVE the way you have articulated this. I had NO idea that vanilla was something that could suppress your appetite…that’s just odd…if anything it makes me want to eat everything vanilla flavoured!

    I have definitely had experiences with this. I am guilty of drinking tea when I was hungry or gulping down a 1.5 litre bottle of water because I wanted to avoid putting food in my mouth. What is really sick is, like you, I felt so empowered by doing this. I thought I was above everyone else around me because I was able to ignore my natural body signs but in reality, they were the ones that were stronger because they were able to listen to their bodies and live healthy(er) lives. Never again am I going to subject myself to that. I pretty much lived on the toilet peeing. What a lovely thought.


  41. August 2, 2011 10:32 pm

    Amanda, you are so incredible! You hit the nail STRAIGHT on the head girl! You are so articulate and indubitably AMAZING! We need to be able to listen to our bodys, not trick it. If it is trying to tell us something, we should listen to it!

  42. Lilly permalink
    August 2, 2011 10:34 pm

    I wish this could be a public announcement, seriously EVERYONE needs to read this! You should write for health magazines because you preach the truth, your words need to be in place of those “eat less, exercise more, loose 10 lbs in 10 days” stupid “tips” that people believe are health, when they are def not! You totally rock girl, and you are going to go way far in life with you smarts and I am sure you will help tons of tons of people with posts like this. Genius ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. Lenna (veganlenna) permalink
    August 2, 2011 11:13 pm

    I agree with you, totally!! Sniffing on some vanilla, really?!? I almost canยดt believ people do this…but actually I know people who do this. And a lot of even worse things as well. It is so sad how far can someone go in an attempt to be “pretty”, “sexy”, “popular” etc. Really, fainting and sticking bones are not pretty, sexy, healthy, they wonยดt give you energy for life!

  44. August 3, 2011 12:19 am

    Oh my gosh, yes. Amanda, how do you always say it so right, and so well?
    Surprisingly, during the most intense parts of my eating disorder, and at my lowest weight, I ate tiny portions of moderately calorie-dense foods, plus fruit. I was so afraid of calories, I didn’t care if it came from a carrot stick or cereal.
    When I went to college, The salad bar world was revealed to me, and a light went off in my head. I can just have a huge plate of salad for a meal! I thought. Low calorie and filling! Great! Err… Not. I would finish that salad feeling bloated yet unsatisfied. It became a way for me to justify having extremely extravagant desserts (read: big piece of brownie covered in ice cream) and feeling absolutely awful afterwards.
    During treatment, I started eating balanced, denser meals, containing proteins, veggies, starches, and fats, and I felt so much more satisfied after and not guilty for having ‘binged’ on a ‘sinful’ dessert. Don’t get me wrong – I still have desserts, twice a day, usually, but I have more moderate, comfortable amounts.
    Lately, after a certain very triggering friend stayed at our house, I started eating salads for meals again, and my desserts began growing to compensate. It’s so true – all those tricks to lose weight, like chewing gum, eating volume, applying lipstick when you’re tempted to eat, drinking lots of water, buy non-fat this and low-calorie that… they don’t work! If your body isn’t satisfied and fulled properly, it will keep searching for food, thus forcing you to think about food rather than the things you love in life, and causing you to ‘binge’ on high calorie foods to get in the calories it was missing from when you starved it.

  45. August 3, 2011 12:37 am

    How is it that every one of your posts hit the nail on the head. I was the stupid person u described and part of me thinks i am still kinda stupid! It’s a hard habit to break but I know you are right and I know I’m heading in the direction. More than physical discomfort, eating a whole plate of brocolli is quite smelly too if u catch my drift ;)!

  46. August 3, 2011 1:05 am

    This was THE post I need the most today! I teared up while reading it! Seriously, I tear up for everything these days!

    Im so sick of never feeling satisfyed. Im so sick of knowing that I am the one who breaks down my body!

    Yesterday I tryed to eat 3 MEALS again. Like with grains and veggis and fats- all mixed up :O As I was walking home from work, I knew that I was supposed to eat when I came home. I really didnt want to get home. I just wanted to cry.

    What I ended up doing, was to have a conversation with my body. Not with ED, because he will be there for a long time, and he will not allow me to eat anyways, He wants me to feel tired, unhappy,hungry, bloated. And he want me to binge, because he knows how much I hate it!

    Anyways, I tried to talk with my body. I was like "If I give you oatmeal, will you please please please not make me bloated? Will you make me fat? Will you let me run?".
    The weird thing is that my bodys voice is so calm and gentle and.. nice! While EDs voice is mean, stressed and just pure poison to listen to. I cant believe I tend to always go with EDs voice..

    Anyways, I ended up eating oatmeal last night ๐Ÿ˜€ I wont lie, I cried all night afterward. And when I woke up today I felt so ashamed. But guess what- I have eaten oatmeal for breakfast today ๐Ÿ˜€ It was so hard, I started to cry (again) while I was preparing it, and now that my bowl is empty I feel like shit. But i know its only because ED isnt in control, and he hates it! I have to fight through!

    Sorry for this long long commet ๐Ÿ˜› it just really helped me sorting out my feelings!

    Again- thank you for spreding your word ๐Ÿ˜€ I love it, and I love you โค

    • August 3, 2011 9:01 am

      I know how hard it is, hun. I can’t even tell you how many tears I cried while cooking and eating. But I promise you that it is 100% worth it. The tears mean that you’re going in the right direction, so stay strong. Remember that you deserve to feel happy and satisfied, NOT hungry and deprived. You deserve it, hun, because you’re amazing โค

  47. August 3, 2011 3:20 am

    Can I just say… Amen!

  48. August 3, 2011 4:17 am

    I think your bang on with so many points in this, however as someone who has been extremely overweight and successfully lost it, ‘tactics’ like filling up on fibre rich foods has really helped me. I know that most of it is rubbish – especially the vanilla thing – but for some people little tips and tricks like eating more fibre are really important in trying to help them get to a healthier weight, then start to tackle the intuitive eating thing. If I had ate when I was hungry a couple of years ago I would have been morbidly obese, and I know that wasn’t ‘true’ hunger, more a mental thing but I would have still struggled. Very though provoking post.

  49. August 3, 2011 4:19 am

    Please can someone invent a microphone that enables the whole world to hear this amazing girl talk?!
    Seriously, just everything you say is just perfect. Every word. And I wish SO much that everyone could hear this because it’s so true. I spent way too much of my life tricking my poor body, depriving it when it was desperate for nutrients, slowing wasting away inside, all my organs shutting down, my bones wasting away and becoming weak – simply because I tricked it so much that it gave up asking for food. I would drink diet coke all day long until sometimes I felt physically sick from the amount I had in my body from all the gas. My metabolism was SO messed up. Whilst I still like my diet drinks, I do because of the taste and in no way do they get in the way of my hunger! Now that I eat regularly and my metabolism has quickened, man I am hungry all the time and I can’t NOT avoid it! I get so moody and I am not pleasant to be around when I need food!!
    I have to say though, I’ve never heard of the vanilla trick!

  50. August 3, 2011 4:52 am

    I think I like you up there on that soapbox.

  51. August 3, 2011 5:21 am

    Fantastic post, amen girl. I wish I had read this a few years ago before completely messing up my body’s understanding of hunger and when to eat and when not to. I don’t understand why I fought against food for so long, when it is something that is NECESSARY FOR LIVING. Helllooo! I am finally getting it at this point and now the learning process begins of how to eat intuitively. Great.
    Thank you for this post Amanda ๐Ÿ™‚

  52. August 3, 2011 5:53 am

    You tell it, girl! I’m so glad I now know that when my body tells me its hungry, it’s not just trying to fool me – it actually needs nourishment! It’s so stupid how magazines and the media try to convince us to listen to our head instead of our stomach. Our bodies are smarter than we are. Period. So I always make sure to listen to it. ๐Ÿ˜€

  53. Christina permalink
    August 3, 2011 6:13 am

    So my boss’ husband came in to work one day and – because I knew he’d been working out and whatnot – I told him he looked really good and he’s like, “Oh, well the key to losing weight is to not eat. I don’t eat breakfast and lunch any more. I just drink coffee all day until dinner. Oh, and drink fiber…that stuff that dissolves in water. And I go to the gym and run and lift. Just do that and you’ll drop weight like *that*” And he snapped his fingers and everything.

    I was in s.h.o.c.k. I wanted to say, “And, uh, what would you do if your daughters decided to do that…?”

    Even at the worst point in my ED I would NEVER give someone advice like that…

  54. Teniesha @ Vegan on the Go-Go permalink
    August 3, 2011 6:35 am

    Oh, yes, been there, done that. I relied on all those “tricks” and screwed up my intuitive eating patterns to the point when I still have problems discerning hunger. I chewed multiple packs of gum a day; I chugged water; I stuffed myself to the brim with raw veggies, yet never felt satisfied, even if I did feel slightly overstuffed. Those were frustrating days.

    Now, I’ve figured out, if I’m craving a dense food, just eat it, don’t eat “around” it, per se, or else you’ll never feel mentally satisfied–in the end, even if you’ve eaten low-calorie foods in an attempt to squelch your craving, you’re probably *still* going to want that denser treat, so just indulge the first time! ๐Ÿ˜€

  55. August 3, 2011 6:46 am

    Amanda, this post nearly made me tear up – you are so, so right. I especially love this part: “And if you already ignored your body long enough for it to start giving you the silent treatment, donโ€™t fret โ€“ itโ€™s pretty forgiving, itโ€™ll start talking to you again. But you have to be willing to listen and do as youโ€™re told.”

    I equate this with losing my period at sixteen and its lingering absence today from the damage I did as a young, stupid teenager. I know that by listening to and trusting my body, one day, it’ll return. You are so, so wise beyond your years, and reading about your perspective is truly a gift! ๐Ÿ™‚

  56. Courtney permalink
    August 3, 2011 7:07 am

    Thanks so much for this post!! I recently discovered your blog and love it. I have struggled with disordered eating in the past, and while I am past that now (my mantra: strong + healthy = beautiful) women like you and posts like this are a great inspiration. I think that I (and all of your other readers) really benefit from posts like this one. It helps to be reminded of what it means to really take care of yourself, the importance of honoring your hunger, and so on. You are truly an inspiration.

  57. August 3, 2011 7:58 am

    Vanilla smells good. Good smells stimulate appetite. I fail to see how sniffing vanilla will curb one’s appetite… but okay, that’s just me.

    What’s really silly about such “tricks” is that when your body wants something badly enough, eventually it’s going to make sure it gets it, no matter what… so then you’ll end up eating whatever it is you were trying to avoid, PLUS you’ll feel like crap for having done all these weird things to avoid whatever it was you were trying to avoid. Doesn’t sound too pleasant to me…

    โค โค

    • August 3, 2011 10:30 am

      Yeah I don’t really understand the vanilla thing either. I was always under the impression that smelling something delicious will make you want to eat something delicious, but apparently, logic doesn’t apply when it comes to this sort of thing…

  58. Leah permalink
    August 3, 2011 8:00 am

    Amanda, how long did it take after you stopped restricting for your hunger cues to come back? I am still waiting for mine ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    • August 3, 2011 10:33 am

      A long time. I’d say probably a good 6 months or so, and they’re still not perfect even now. Just do the best you can and try to pay attention to all the symptoms of hunger that aren’t necessarily a growling stomach… irritability, fatigue, stomach complaints, not sleeping well… all of those things usually mean that you’re not eating enough.

  59. August 3, 2011 8:14 am

    Honor and trust, just like you do in a relationship ; ) always have a healthy relationship with your body and with your mate! its how I look at it : )

    Love you!

    p.s. I would totally be down to send you some sprinkle coffee grinder yum i got from trader joes! Im actually doing a giveaway tomorrow with it and some other goodies!!!!

  60. August 3, 2011 8:55 am

    Like you said it’s so simple, yet it’s so hard to actually apply to your life when those thoughts are still so prevalent. I started eating more intuitively the past few weeks, and I’ve felt better than I have in a longggggg time. So obviously I know it works, yet there’s still a part of my mind that tries to convince me eating only every 3 hours is okay, whether I’m hungry in between or not. There’s still a part of me that says eating 8 cups of salad is necessary to prevent weight gain instead of eating carbs in any form, even though it will leave me unsatisfied. I do completely agree though that listening to our bodies and giving it what it wants, even if it doesn’t “make sense” to our minds, is the best road to health.

  61. runningonapples permalink
    August 3, 2011 8:58 am

    I agree with everything you said! An ED doesn’t necessarily mean you eat nothing at all, but for me it meant that I always tricked my body.
    By the way I made your banana bread and it was great! Thanks =]

  62. August 3, 2011 10:41 am

    I wish Yahoo would publish this post instead of articles containing those dumb tricks on their front page. You rock, Amanda! Who needs to trick their body, when eating is just as easy and wayyyy more beneficial to your body.

  63. sunshinevegan permalink
    August 3, 2011 11:03 am

    Wow I lovee this! I would take that awesome pumpkin tortilla pizza over the gallon of water and half stalk of celery that I used to call a meal any dayy ๐Ÿ™‚ I used to have so many of those awful little tricks that I played on my body. I chewed gum 24/7, chugged diet soda, and stuffed myself silly with bulky veggies to avoid listening to my body. Eventually, I lost all touch eith my hunger cues and it was a long and difficult journey to get them back again, but it was worth every step ๐Ÿ™‚

  64. August 3, 2011 12:41 pm

    Best post ever.
    It hit home with me.

    “Youโ€™re now on your own, trying to figure out whether youโ€™re hungry or not, whether you need to eat more or not.”

    I still deal with that! I screwed up my body. I can never tell when I’m hungry now.

  65. August 3, 2011 1:04 pm

    Very well said!! Have you ever considered giving out actual speeches? I mean that would be amazing considering how well you put everything together. I don’t think anyone else would’ve been able to say it better! Don’t get me started on those “tricks.” Especially the water one. I can get sick just thinking about how many water glasses I used to chug down. I’d freak out when I didn’t have gum with me! I’ve never heard of the vanilla one before though ๐Ÿ˜€ My metabolism was definitely messed up. Now I eat a ton more and I’m hungrier than what I used to be. I notice I get extremely moody and lightheaded when I’m hungry. I can’t imagine not having my snacks throughout the day. No wonder I was irritable all the time. Now I eat well and I’m energized and happy :] No more digestive complaints. Except for yesterday. I ate something my tummy apparently didn’t agree with and those came back. They reminded me of the not so happy times.

  66. August 3, 2011 1:54 pm

    Great post! I think it’s so important to listen to our bodies, they are a much more reliable source for eating healthfully than we give them credit for. Sniffing vanilla to curb hungry? What? I’ve never heard of that, but it sounds pretty wacky.
    Your tortilla pizza looks scrumptios. Avocado is better than cheese, I say.

  67. August 3, 2011 2:38 pm

    i had a different kind or eating disorder… a HEALTHY eating disorder. I denied my body nothing- It got EXACTLY what it needed- physically I was in perfect health…but mentally i was a mess. I weighed and measured it all… ate EXACTLY on the dot every 3 hours…i left a comment about this on your last post. check out ortherexia…taking healthy eating to the extreme. to the point of where it becomes an unhealthy obsession. Not a fun place to be!!!

  68. August 3, 2011 5:30 pm

    Oh man I can totally relate to everything!

    Isn’t food so much better WHEN WE EAT WHAT WE WANT?

  69. August 3, 2011 7:47 pm

    i like your soap box. feel free to get on any time! thank you friend.

  70. August 4, 2011 7:11 am

    Wow – nicely said!…er I mean, written! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I used to have this thing where I would buy fat free snacks and I’m pretty sure those snacks weren’t meant to be fat free. Its really is just better to listen to our bodies ๐Ÿ™‚

  71. Cassie permalink
    August 8, 2011 3:39 pm

    Not to regurgitate what every other commenter on your blog has to say about their ED experience, but this post turned on my metaphorical lightbulb. Even now, in recovery and six months completely out of any sort of treatment, I still choose to make my meals up of the “light” versions of things and, of course, piles of low-cal vegetables. But, just like you said, this means I just end up overstuffed, uncomfortable, and somehow…empty. I was thinking, what gives? but you might just be right. Stay awesome, and thank you.


  1. Recipe for an exhausting day « Beautiful Busy Bee

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