Last month, I posted about how ignoring the natural body signals (IE, being hungry) can be detrimental. I said that I usually don’t feel hungry because I got so used to ignoring it.
Today I’m having an opposite problem. Last night, I started having a “body memory” about being ravenous. The trigger to this doesn’t matter, but it’s here now. I associate it with “phantom pain” in that, while it’s not a missing limb (or whatever), it’s still something that has no basis in physical reality. In other words, I’m not starving.
However, I’m finding myself going back to old coping mechanisms. I’m doing my best to ignore it. To think about other things. To wait one half hour before eating (and then waiting another half hour). I’m sure that some of the feeling of being hungry is physical. I’ve only had a banana for breakfast today (instead of my usual yogurt/banana/nuts/frozen fruit ‘soup’). And I only had the banana because I needed to eat something before taking my medicine.
Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night ravenous. Like I used to do when I was a child. Instead of being an adult and getting up and getting a snack, I did what I could to negate the hunger without feeding it. I drank a huge glass of water. A half hour later when I was still ravenous, I drank another.
One thing about learning dysfunctional coping mechanisms, is that, even when one works hard to get rid of them, it’s so easy to fall into old behavior patterns.
The good news (for me) is that I’m recognizing what’s happening. There’s been times in the past where I’ve not even recognized what was going on. The bad news, is that I don’t know what to do about it. With body memories, I usually just have to ride them out. If I can manage to do that without falling back into old coping patterns, it’ll be a good thing.
This, what’s going on right now, just underscores for me how dangerous this whole obesity epipanic is. I’ve done enough psychological work on myself to realize what’s happening, and why I need to resist it. And I still fall into the old coping behaviors so easily. While you can’t teach eating disorders, you can teach, and ingrain, dysfunctional coping mechanisms.
We have a whole culture that’s doing this to people. Telling them that if they are hungry they should just do this and that and the other thing. That there’s no way they can be hungry because they just ate four hours ago (or however long it was). And people are listening and trying to starve themselves, eventually ending up with real health concerns because they are starving themselves.
I’m one of the luckier ones, in that I am recognizing what’s happening. I’m still trying to figure out what to do (and yes, I know I need to start by eating more than one banana), but at least I know what’s happening. There’s a lot of people out there who have swallowed the obesity epipanic and don’t know what’s happening. And worse, think they are a failure when they do, finally, give in to what their body is saying and feed themselves.
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