This article is based on a podcast episode I did on The Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Podcast. If you’d like to listen to the episode OR learn more about myself and my services, as well as The HA Society, a membership that I run for women with HA, click here.
Ok – Q&A time. I chose this question from my direct messages. If you want to submit questions or podcast topic requests, follow me at @hapodcast and shoot me a message!
How to convince myself to eat? I understand that I MUST eat way more, but I fall into restrictions from time to time.
We all fall into restrictive patterns from time to time so that’s why I chose this question.
There you are: you’ve had a massive dinner and dessert. You’re so full and feeling a little proud because, well, HA. But also a little anxious because, well, fear of weight gain or bloating or whatever.
The next day you wake up and the first thing you do is assess your food-performance from the day before, and therefore how you rate yourself today on a scale of fit and fab to fat and flab.
Depending on the answer, you weigh up how you should approach your restriction. “Do I skip breakfast or just have two smaller meals? Maybe I should take an extra walk today. I know I’m meant to be reducing exercise but I ate so much yesterday that I probably have the calories in my system to handle a HIIT workout or a long run.”
I’m going out on a limb with that and assuming I’m not alone with that thought process. If I am, that’s fucking hilarious.
Ok so there you are – in the shame spiral and on operation rectify the situation.
For me, This. Was. An. Opportunity.
I started to frame this as an opportunity immediately. When this exact line of thinking happens, I worked to train myself to take action against it.
Let’s get back into analogies. When you train a dog, an infant human, a new skill or just a new habit, you train using association.
When you want to train a puppy to sit, you reward them with a treat each time they successfully sit on command. Now, in adulthood, the dog just associates sitting with being a good thing regardless of whether or not they get a treat.
When you want a human to learn to use the toilet…umm…actually I don’t have a kid and so I have no idea how you do this but I’m willing to bet that at some stage they are associating going to the toilet with great success. I’m sure there is cheering and excitement for all parties involved.
When you learn a new skill, for example the backflip and your body is starting to turn in the air, you learn to associate the moment you actually see the ground as the time when you snap your legs around and land right where you’re looking. Eventually, you don’t even think about it. Flip, find the floor, react.
It’s all association. So, can you find it inside of yourself to try and associate the moment you’re negotiating with yourself to restrict food, with also the moment when you flip that thought off and take a bite.
I also take plenty of time for reflection on this and personally have a therapist. I mostly answer my own questions with her – there is a lot of “and how does that make you feel?” happening.
I journal my thoughts on it. “Dear diary, today I really want to restrict”. But then I follow it with the sane logic that I know is true. “I know that I shouldn’t though, because I’m trying to recover”.
The reality is that our brains are psycho ex girlfriends that will stalk their ex and their new wife and see’s literally no issue with it whatsoever. Our brains will go full Alanis Morissette and then some (I love Alanis).
But when you write stuff down, it’s a lot harder to be a weirdo. You are faced to look at your own words and see them for what they are. I mean, really, how mortified would you be if someone could actually read your mind? No one should ever see what’s in there because it makes no sense.
Go and talk it out, write it out and start retraining your thought habits. Cos you’re crazy.