Thursday, October 25, 2012

Half physical, half mental

The distinction we make between the physical and the mental is problematic on several levels, but I'm going to go ahead and talk as though it's a straightforward matter.

When I'm eating regular, nutritious, satisfying meals made from real food (i.e. when I'm cooking for myself regularly), my desire to binge goes way way down.  My cravings for desserts are manageable instead of monstrous.

This won't surprise many people, but it surprises me.

And the only reason it surprises me is that I spent so many years focused on my mental-emotional problems as they pertained to binge eating disorder that I no longer thought of the disorder as having much of a physiological aspect.  In a weird way, I acted as though I didn't have a body at all--just a mind that was abnormal.  Just emotional problems.  Just a problematic psychological history.  Just easily triggered because of neural wiring.

While all that stuff plays a big role, I think I'd be better off to conceive of my food/eating problems as half physical, half mental.  Of course this is an abstraction, but it's a helpful one!  Feeding my body adequate amounts of good food on a regular basis takes care of half of it.  Dealing with my brain crazies takes care of the other half of it.

I really disliked Overeaters Anonymous, but I do recall my sponsor telling me on different occasions that I wasn't eating nearly enough for my meals.  She was right, and I can see now why she thought it was an important point.


  1. That's an excellent point really and very easy to overlook. We do not 100% control our bodies with our thoughts no matter what we'd like to believe. The body reacts as it has evolved to react and so we have to figure out how to make that work for us. This is going to sound crazy, but when things are going well it's almost as if I see my body as something that I need to take care of, feed appropriately, I'd take care of say a horse - an animal I depend on, that can hurt me if I don't keep it in control, and one that works best when it is being treated correctly, not too much food but not too little either, right amount of rest etc.

  2. That doesn't sound crazy at all! Seeing the body as an animal that we depend on makes so much sense that I'm going to try to cultivate that perspective myself. Thanks for the fantastic insight!