Now that I’m “all grown up” in my nutrition and cravings knowledge, I thought it’d be interesting to look back at my old food journal entries to point out “what went wrong” during those binges and intense cravings (for all the raw food journal entries posted on the website, go here). Why did I feel so out of control? What was I missing?
A whole lot, some of you say. You shrug. “Raw food. Not enough nutrition.”
Sure, to an extent. Raw food provides great nutrition from all the fruits and veggies, but I was definitely missing out on important parts of the raw food diet because of my restrictive tendencies (well, eating disorder); I was still too scared of calories (“I shouldn’t eat too much fruit!”), and my fear of fat prevailed (“limit the nuts, seeds, and especially the oils!”).
I believe the “binges” (was it really bingeing? My body was just desperate for calories and nutrients) were a mixture of emotional and physical problems. I see much of this as a physical cry for the right food. Every time I thought I was “emotionally eating” in the journal entries, I now realize I was just missing “this this and this.” Let me explain as we dive into the past, summer to fall 2011:
“I had a delicious spinach and butternut squash salad with hummus for dinner, but still felt like I was tearing down the kitchen in search for food. (Really? I wonder why. A measly salad isn’t going to keep you full, especially with all the running you did). So instead of bingeing like crazy again (I could feel it coming on) I tried to just stick with an avocado and ate it until satisfied.” (Looks like you were starting to see what your body needed)
“I think I’m figuring out this bingeing problem. I don’t think I’m getting in enough fats (BINGO!) so my body tries to look for anything at night and I finally fill up when I just eat the fat!” (And why didn’t you keep this in mind for later?)
“I’ve been eating oatmeal lately. I don’t know why it’s been calling to me so much, but I’ve been giving in (Need . . . more. . . carbs. . .). I ate so much bread (CARBS) the other night.”
“I looked up the nutritional profile of oatmeal and saw that it is rich in manganese, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. Maybe I’m lacking some of those minerals?” (Or did you just need carbs? Your body was hungry).
“My next obstacle are the larabars. They are much healthier and pretty “raw,” but they still have a lot of calories and they are addicting for me. I need to limit how many I eat.” (My body was desperate for more calories and it knew these bars were loaded with both fats and carbs–the macronutrients I tried to get my body away from. I honestly thought I could train myself to just eat vegetables for the most part to keep my calories low and feel full).
“That night my friends made pear pie. I didn’t really want it but I didn’t care. I ate second and third helpings of it, and ate even more of it this morning. I ate three more Larabars and bananas in secrecy. My friends whipped up pancakes and I couldn’t resist any longer. I didn’t even care that they didn’t sound good; I would force them in my body, make myself eat them because I wouldn’t allow myself to have them in the past.” (Now THIS was emotional eating. I know this because I had restricted these “forbidden” foods for so long and at this point I figured what the heck, force them in even if you’re not hungry because then you can finally taste these lovely foods again before you have to restrict. You’re drowning in your own misery, anyway).
After all the years of experimenting with food, I feel like I finally know what goes on with my body now and why. This helps me to feel less in a “panic” when I do happen to crave certain foods. I think, what macronutrient is this?
Maybe if I would have tried the raw food diet “one more time” knowing these things, it might have turned out differently. However, high protein sources are much more satiating. Chewing through pounds of raw leafy greens and a few handfuls of nuts throughout the day isn’t quite what I want to do to get in my protein when it’s now as easy as opening a can of tuna or eating some meat. Believe me when I say I am very happy where I am now and don’t plan on changing much.
For more details and insight into this experience, order your copy of Running in Silence: My Drive for Perfection and the Eating Disorder That Fed It here.