You can’t eat normally. Not yet. After ignoring hunger signals, refusing to hear “I’m full please please stop eating,” shocking your body with harmful amounts of saturated fats, simple sugars, and simple carbohydrates (stock binge foods), and otherwise wrecking your eating system, it’s no wonder you can’t tell when you’re hungry or when to stop eating.
The good news is, it’s possible to relearn healthy eating. Our bodies are resilient. We can adapt to new habits and rediscover natural body signals. But the only way to do that is to recondition our bodies to accept normal amounts of food.
Today’s homework is to eat once every three hours. That’s generally breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks. If you’re appalled at the amount of food or lack of it, remember you’re reprogramming both your body and your head. Neither change gracefully.
This is a normal amount of food. Don’t skip any meals, because you’re not in a position to know whether you are hungry or not. After five years of bulimia, I could fast for three days or longer before I experienced hunger pains. That doesn’t mean I didn’t need food, that meant I lost the ability to know I did. After a week or so of eating once every three hours, you’ll start to notice ordinary signals creeping back into your body.
Oh, and doughnuts do not count as snacks. Try baby carrots, toast with peanut butter, greek yogurt with granola, strawberries with a square of dark chocolate, or a handful of nuts and raisins.