Today’s post is all about regular eating and how it can really help you restore normal hunger cues.
For most people who start eating disorder recovery their eating patterns are all over the place – they have been restricting, skipping meals, trying to eat less during the daytime only to binge out at nighttime, they haven’t provided their body with consistent fuel throughout the day – all of this has messed up their hunger cues and stressed out their bodies.
So many people just don’t know how to eat when they start recovery – what could be some of the first steps?
And something like regular eating may seem such a basic concept… but time and time again it’s what I end up talking about with most of my new clients. Typically it’s one of the first steps we start implementing to restore their normal hunger cues.
I never prescribe any meals plans and most people don’t need to count calories (to eat enough) in their recovery. But regular eating provides a basic form of structure that I see is helpful for so many people.
I don’t recommend you to be obsessive with meal timing or anything. I know so many people have rules around meal timing, they only allow themselves to eat at a certain time, in very precise time frames, but this is not what this video is about.
When I talk about regular eating I just mean feeding your body regularly, eating adequate food throughout the day, being consistent with your eating, not leaving too long gaps between meals, not letting yourself get overly hungry.
Regular eating is really helpful when it comes to getting your body out of the famine mode and into really trusting that food is no longer restricted or deprived but it is coming in now in regular intervals all throughout the day.
I believe for full recovery your body really needs to feel safe around foods, believing that food is no longer scarce and trusting that it is abundant, so your body never has to wonder or fear when or if the next meal is coming.
And regular eating really helps to give your body the safety and security to finally be able to relax around food. And that is such an important aspect of restoring normal hunger cues.
How to eat regularly
So very generally, to follow regular eating what you can do is to make sure you eat at least 3 meals per day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Breakfast in the morning (not pushing it out to later in the day). Then lunch during lunch hours. Then dinner in the evening.
And also to have at least 2-3 snacks in between meals. A snack before lunch, before dinner, and after dinner.
So in this schedule, it would mean you will be eating something every 2-3 hours.
And again, this is doesn’t need to be another rule to obsess around. I know especially at the beginning recovery feels very messy, you may feel like you are eating all day long because you are constantly feeling hungry, whether physically or mentally. And if the extreme hunger hits you maybe you feel very full for many hours.
The bottom line is that regular eating should make you feel like you are eating more consistently, providing your body with more consistent fuel. It shouldn’t feel restrictive in any way.
Things to keep in mind
Another important aspect of regular eating is that you must really see how much food you need to eat so it keeps you satisfied for longer. If you feel too hungry an hour later it’s likely you didn’t eat enough at your mealtime, so you must increase your meal portions.
Also, when it comes to regular eating, if you find yourself overly hungry before your next meal you might want to increase your meals and snacks. Add calorie density. Try to prevent getting overly hungry before meals.
And besides just regular eating it is super important to eat enough calories throughout the day. Because I know you can technically be “eating regularly” but still not getting enough calories.
And another thing is that you should keep challenging your fear foods. Because I know you can also “eat regularly” or “eat enough calories” and feel you are recovering but if you don’t also challenge your fears foods, don’t eat enough calorie-dense foods then just eating regularly won’t recover you. There are more aspects to physical recovery. Regular eating is just ONE important aspect.
See more about this on my post about “Regular Eating + Challenging Fear Foods + Eating Enough!”
If you want to learn more about recovery and how to do it step by step then please read my book “BrainwashED”
You can check out my recovery online courses HERE.
Or you can book a one-off coaching call with me HERE.