I felt things were going okay with Intuitive Eating and I thought I was making progress, especially in the “respect your body” arena, however, my latest adventures proved me otherwise, well, at least, I went in unprepared, so it got the better of me, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
I attended a Social Work conference at the local university—the once from which I graduated almost 2 years ago—and instead of just a conference where I would alternative between bouts of inexcusable inattention and moments of soaking in knowledge, it also turned out to an unofficial class reunion of my 2012 MSW cohort. Some of them I hadn’t even seen in nearly 2 years since our graduation. After the initial euphoria of meeting and chatting wore off, I immediately retreated into the woman I had been when I had last been around them, particularly around those whom I admired.
I was hyper vigilante of my appearance, especially my body size because since seeing these people, I had given birth to my second child, an event that significantly changed my body shape and size. Even though I left that morning extremely comfortable in my body and in my clothes choices, all I wanted to do during the conference was keep my coat and scarf on despite the heat of 800 plus packed bodies in one room because I was too worried about how my fat rolls might show in the top I was wearing. When I was not absorbed by the presenters’ words, all that occupied my thoughts were constant comparisons of the other bodies in the room and plans on how I could skip eating lunch in hopes that the ravenous empty feeling in my stomach would help me feel better about my body. And, I was unable to pull myself out of the situation emotionally—so I followed through with my plans and ate little for lunch, reveling in the empty feeling in my stomach. By the time the conference was over however, I felt nauseous, light-headed, and dizzy. My body was unused to this brutality of restricted foods and water for breakfast and lunch.
By the end of the day, I felt as if I had been through the washer on the extra-spin cycle. I knew that I could not do that again (the conference was two days). So, I resolved to do better the next day and I purposely left my coat home so that I could not use that to hide (like that was going to help my thoughts and emotions, right?) Anyway, the moment I stepped back into the room, I immediately felt the same as the previous day—disgusted with my body, inferior to all the others, and with an overwhelming urge to run and hide in the bathroom. I did not prepare and arm myself with combative thoughts, positive mantras, or rational beliefs. I did not do anything different for this second day and then I was surprised when I still felt worthless and disgusted.
GETTING BACK ON THE HORSE
Looking back on this experience, I am beginning to realize that I need a serious reimmersion into Intuitive Eating. I kind of felt like I was doing “well enough” that I stopped recognizing each victory, stopped listening to my hunger and fullness cues, and stopped recording my experiences. I was an autopilot, not even realizing that instead of flying straight, I was consistently loosing altitude. This distance from Intuitive Eating, however small or short, was too much for me. I am not yet ready to ride without training wheels and when I do come to a situation as huge as meeting old friends, I need to emotionally and mentally prepare myself with all the lessons, thoughts, mantras, and positive experiences I have learned since beginning Intuitive Eating. This was a good experience for me—it felt like a relapse, but it was so profound, that I feel thoroughly chastened and excited to be back on the horse.