My Truth with Feeling Full

Posted: May 6, 2010 at 6:17 pm

I am so happy that all of you are enjoying the Intuitive Eating posts. I really love writing them. If you want more in depth information, be sure to check out the book I get my inspiration and ideas from – Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.

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From yesterday’s post in the series, it definitely sounds like many of us struggle with recognizing our fullness and taking the time to be aware of it when eating. I will be the first to admit that is one of my biggest challenges with intuitive eating as well. I have always been a fast eater and grew up with the “clean your plate” mentality ingrained into me. I vividly remember a dinner during a family vacation when I was 12. My cousin and I wanted to order off the adult menu because they had coconut shrimp. We were told if we ordered them, we must eat the entire thing. We both got full only about halfway into the meal and were forced to finish with our parents and aunt looming over us. It came as no surprise when we both ended up in the bathroom a short time later throwing up our too packed tummies.

I remember eating intuitively my late years of high school and my first two years of college. Then, all of that changed when I got on a diet plan. I ate by the clock and would not pay attention to how hungry I was. I completely lost sight of what satisfied felt like. I knew “hungry” or “too full”. I had such a rigid eating schedule and was always so hungry at meal times that I would eat so fast out of the pure excitement to finally get to eat. There was no room for recognizing hunger because I had to eat my particular meals no matter what my body was telling me. I was out of touch with my body’s natural signals because my diet rules controlled my life.

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In an attempt to rebel against the rules and say they had no control over me, I swung to the opposite end of the spectrum. I began binging. When I binged, it was all about the out of control feeling and eating as much as I could as fast as I could.

I remember there were times I would stop by the grocery store on my way home from work to buy a box of cookies, candy, a dozen doughnuts, whatever…and would devour the entire thing in the 30 minutes it took me to get home.

Or even before that, when I was still living at home with my parents, I would have to sneak to the kitchen and eat as much as I could in the few minutes I knew I had before somebody came downstairs. I probably didn’t even chew some of the food in an effort to pack it in.

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I would hide out in my bedroom when I lived with a roommate and get extremely anxious when I heard her come home because my mouth was so full and I would worry I didn’t have time to swallow my food before she came in my room to say hi.

I would buy a tray of brownies, bags of candy, and some ice cream sandwiches and make up an elaborate story about throwing a birthday party for someone so they wouldn’t know it was all for me. I would even throw a card in with my purchase to make it look more real.

I remember one time after a particularly grueling fight with my dad going to a local pizza shop to buy a $5 large cheese carryout pizza and sitting in a remote corner of a parking lot eating it in my car.

That is the ugly truth of where I have come from. That is just how out of touch I was with my hunger and my body’s needs. What changed that and shaped that was recognizing what truly matters. God, my husband, and my growing baby. I didn’t start feeling more in control of those actions until trying to get pregnant with Makenzie. I didn’t fully stop them until I actually was pregnant with her. Seeing all the wonders that go into God creating a human being through me left me with more respect for myself and more aware of the most important blessings in life. My faith grew beyond a basic “I believe God is out there” and along with my faith came an intense desire to honor God, part of which included loving me because He loved me. It took a LOT of prayer, even more encouragement from my husband, and a little miracle of a child to show me the importance of respecting myself and listening to my body. As Quinn from Glee says, “don’t wait to get pregnant to feel at home in your body and to respect it”. Or something along those lines.

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It also took time and effort to truly pay attention to my body. I know recognizing fullness and being aware of your eating is a very difficult practice to adopt, but very worth it. I still have to really pay attention and recognize my hunger. I have to consciously make myself slow down and pause during every meal. It is hard, like so many things in life, but taking the time to decide if you are satisfied, hungry, or full brings many rewards…like rarely going hungry or uncomfortable from food again. I do say rarely, because lets be real...I can still eat too much at times. Typically a social gathering where I am distracted from my eating and there are too many goodies to try. I don't feel guilty for it though because I am still in control and aware. It takes practice, but it does become a little more natural as time goes on.

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19 Comments to “My Truth with Feeling Full”
  1. inmytummy says:

    I really need to read this book. I have a problem where I freak out if I get just a little bit hungry. Like if I’m going to dinner at 7 and I feel a little rumble at 6, I have to eat immediately and end up overeating. Not sure how to fix that.

  2. Keri says:

    Wow, thank you for sharing. I also want to check out this book :)

  3. When I was recovering from my eating disorder, I had trouble recognizing when I was hungry or not. My body’s signal for hunger was totally gone due to years of anorexia. During these times I had to force myself to eat during meal times and snack times, and eventually that feeling of hunger came back.

    I can completely relate to your story, and I’m so glad you are in a good place with your body now!

  4. Heather says:

    i can relate to this post in a REALLY scary way…but i’m thankful to know that you’ve been able to work through it! it means there’s hope for me :)

  5. cardiopizza says:

    Tina, thank you for sharing such a personal thing. I believe our trials and what we go through not only help us grow, but can help others. So I applaud you for being so open and honest. I can also relate, so you are not alone!

    I can also relate to how AMAZING it is to be free from the dieting mentality. My life is filled with so much more JOY since I don’t speculate every morsel of food in my body. It’s just so peaceful, really :)

  6. Beautiful post Tina!!! Really amazing. And I know that so many of us can relate! I grew up the same way. And I grew to hate meal times because I’d be forced to eat every single bite on my plate because “kids are starving in China” and all that. I don’t want to raise my child like that!

  7. Gosh, I hear so much of myself in this post, Tina! It’s comforting to know you feel so much more in control of your eating. And thank you for being honest about how sometimes it is still a struggle for you. Sometimes I read these articles or books and people make it seem like once you’ve “recovered” or regained that control, it’s easy, breezy! But for me (at least at this point) it’s still a battle at times.

  8. jen says:

    Thank You for this, I struggle with binge eating, in fact I have binged all day today. :( . Your description of buying a bunch of junk on the way home from work and eating it in your car or within 30 minutes of when you get home, is so familiar to me. Seeing that you and others have overcome it is very comforting. I’m definitely getting that book.

  9. eatspinlive says:

    Wow girl, thank you so much for being so open and honest! You are very inspirational for sure! I am so glad that you are on a wonderful path now and have overcome so very much. You definitely are a wonderful person and I am so glad that I was able to read your story :)

  10. homecookedem says:

    You are so brave and honest!! I’ve definitely struggled with binge eating off and on before. I don’t do it as often now, but what scares me is that sometimes I do have a desire to just say screw it all and eat up a bunch of crap. But I know that won’t solve my problems, it will only add to them. Anyway, I find lots of strength and inspiration in your story. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us, I’m so glad you’re in a much better place today!! :)

  11. jsutera654 says:

    Wow, Tina. I’m totally inspired by you! You are so strong for putting those words down, I know it had to be hard to rehash all of that here on your blog – truly inspiring stuff. Thank you so much for sharing it here.

  12. lisaou11 says:

    You know I can relate. Thanks for posting YOUR story.

  13. The things you wrote in red are so ME it’s SCARY!! In high school I actually faked sick some days to stay home and binge when no one else was there. Ugh, it makes me sick to think about.

    By the grace of God we are stronger people now :-)

  14. Jenn says:

    Thanks for sharing something so personal. I have struggled with food binges in the past too. xoxo

  15. i love the intuitive eating posts!! it is revolutionary in my life! after a year of counting calories, i am so over it!!!! i just want to learn to give up the control and listen to my body. thanks for all your inspiration and advice!! glad to know i’m not alone.

  16. Tina, thank you. I am at a stage in my life and my relationship with food in which I really NEED to learn this intuitive eating stuff. I love every single one of your posts and your honesty and openness. I am learning so much. Thank you for sharing and being a resource to so many of us. I am hoping that I can finally succeed in this with God beside me, restoring a healthy relationship with food and eating.

  17. Sarah says:

    I’m glad you posted about commenting and publishing issues. I was able to read your post in my Reader, but then couldn’t comment- I thought you deleted it. I just got back from a weekend work retreat with some of our youth group, so I won’t be on long. But I’m really glad you kept this up AND your story sounds SO MUCH like mine. Thanks for posting. It really is a gift to know that there are other people fighting the same battle I am.

  18. carma says:

    I read this book and then promptly ignored half of what I read. The key is def meaningful eating, not binging while watching DWTS. (not that I do that ;-)

  19. Ashley says:

    Thank you soo much for sharing your story!! It sounds just like my life right now. Im trying so hard to break the cycle but as you know its really hard. Ive been reading your tips to overcome binge eating and will definately keep reading along on your blog!!

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