I put the pizza back in the box. It was already on my plate. You may be thinking, so what? This is monumental in my eating disorder healing journey using Intuitive Eating principles and mindful eating. If you have ever been told, read, or just believe that certain foods are bad or if you struggle with body weight and body acceptance, this blog post is for you.
Last week, hubby and I ordered take-out from Polcari’s (Pizzaria Regina). If you are not from the Boston area you may not fully understand the beauty that is a Polcari’s pizza. It is the best. We had a pizza buffet at our wedding of Polcari’s pizza and let me tell you…open bar and pizza? We had 200 very happy guests.
Anyway, for dinner, we ordered 3 small pizzas as it can be fun to have some variety. We were happily eating our pizza while watching “Seinfeld,” when all of a sudden, I looked at the remaining slice of hot extra cheese pepperoni pizza on my plate and I realized that I was no longer hungry, and I PUT IT BACK. So I did not eat it. There was a time I would have eaten it (and more) because I was so deprived that everything became a binge or because I had to “clean” my plate or any number of other disordered reasons.
Why is this epic?
During the height of my eating disorder, when I was at my sickest, caught in the grips of exercise bulimia, disordered eating, and atypical anorexia, that I banned pizza. I was “shredding for the wedding,” and I flat out banned my FAVORITE food in the world. Why? Because I was led to believe that there was such a thing as “good foods” and “bad foods.” When you do this, you give the food power, and you know what happens…ALL YOU DO IS CRAVE WHAT YOU CANNOT HAVE!
I don’t recall how many months or years I went without. But, here’s the kicker, banning pizza did not make me healthier, happier, skinnier (maybe short term for a fleeting moment), more beautiful, nothing. It just made me miserable!
Shortly after the wedding, I began working with an Intuitive Eating/Eating disorder dietician. The process was nothing like I expected but was precisely what I needed. I don’t say this lightly; she likely saved my life. I was ready to stop the craziness. I was caught in a vicious cycle that had been escalating steadily for the better part of 16 years. I knew what I was doing was really bad for me (far worse than any slice of pizza), but I could not get out of it myself. I needed someone to tell me it was ok to let go of dis-ease and learn to trust my body. She held space for me. She let me cry. She let me mourn the loss of “being thin.” And she gave me the tools to begin again.
I did not appreciate it fully at the time, but I do now. She introduced me to the intuitive eating principles and mindful eating, which go hand in hand. The intuitive eating principles provide a framework that encompasses aspects of living beyond your plate, and it was life-changing for me to begin to heal with my newfound knowledge.
The basic gist is that you must reconnect with your body to honor your hunger and fullness cues. We are very disconnected from our bodies for a variety of reasons. We think we are smarter than them. We are not. The body knows what it needs to survive on a primal instinctive level.
Do you know why so many diets fail? And you often gain back MORE weight and end up heavier than you started? And yes, this is back by science, don’t make me start adding citations to blog posts! This happens because your body cannot tell the difference between starvation and a fad diet. Your body does not care that you still want to wear the pants your wore in high school. Your body fights back to SURVIVE. And it puts on a little extra, too, so the next time it is starving, it has more of a reserve. I experienced this first hand. My body was and is smarter than me.
Now back to the pizza. It has been about 6 years since those days, feeling broken in my dietician’s office. But, as I was eating my pizza last Friday night, I listened to my body. I was full. I was satisfied. And it was ok to put the pizza back. Do you know why? It was still there the next day to enjoy, and food no longer has power over me. I no longer eat something unsatisfying instead of allowing myself to have what I want. I no longer need to stuff myself beyond my satiety levels because I can trust and listen to my body.
Healing your relationship with food is a process, and it is a journey. It is not pretty, it is not glamorous, and it is not fun, but it is worth it!
I have written some other blog posts on this topic, be sure to check them out if you want to learn more. If you research this topic, BE SURE to follow actual experts. No celebs who think they know about Intuitive Eating (I am looking at you, Gwenyth), or other folks who use this terminology to sell you another diet that will fail.
Also, I am sharing tips on Instagram this week on Mindful Eating with new recipes via posts and reels, be sure to follow me so you don’t miss out.
If you need additional resources, be sure to check out the following books:
Did you know that episode 4 of the podcast is out! It is a great conversation with my friend Karina Beltre. Have you heard it? A new episode drops Wednesday, 8/18. And the giveaway is still going on. Be sure to enter. Check out this video for more details on the giveaway.