How do you move from a prescribed meal plan to intuitive eating? How do you know if you are ready to make that step after years of both disordered eating and professionally designed plans?
I never know what to eat or how much if it's not what I have planned in advance, and am scared I will never know when I am hungry/full and be able to eat "normally". The times I have tried to be a little more flexible with my meals, I end up overcompensating with my fear by revertine back to restrictive eating.
The trick to the progression you're talking about is to not be black and white/perfectionistic about it- to not try to do it all at once in an all or nothing kind of way. You have to be very patient with yourself about this process because it's a big change to go from an "externally" devised meal plan (one set up by someone else like a dietitian) to an "internally" devised way of eating (set up by what you really like and need nutritionally). I suggest sticking with your current meal plan and beginning to ask yourself questions as you are using that plan. For instance, you can try to begin to notice what foods in the plan you particularly like and which ones you're not so fond of. And if you pay attention to your body (which isn't always easy for people who suffer from eating disorders I realize:) as you use your current plan you'll start to notice hunger and fullness signals (those ones that actually come from your body, not those "hunger and fullness feelings" that are actually thoughts in your head about whether or not you "should" be full or not...) Go slow with this process. There's no time limit at all. When you go too fast there'll be a backlash (which you've already discovered) and that will only be discouraging for you and make you less willing to try to shift the eating to a more internally based system.
Thanks so much- that's really helpful. I tend to jump into things then wonder why it doesn't work out so well... I'll start paying more attention to how I feel before/during/after meals (maybe add some columns to my food diary!)
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