A month ago, I talked about how I could trust my body, about how my body is good at self-regulation. This is true. However, I cannot trust my brain.
Simple solution, right? Go with body instincts and ignore the brain. Except, it’s not the logical brain that I can’t trust. The logical brain is mostly fine. It knows I need to be healthier, and what steps will take me that direction. The problem is with the “lower” brain, the part where instinct lives, and where logic does not penetrate. This is the part of the brain stuck chewing on trauma and fear and anxiety and depression, and the part of the brain that bypasses the body’s instincts, turning the usually trustworthy body into a weapon.
Body vs Brain, the ultimate epic battle!
I can tell myself until I’m blue in the face and I’ve lost my voice that I can trust my body, that I used to rely on that trust, that I should be able to rely on it still. But it’s not my body that’s the trouble. It’s my brain, mired in a thousand disordered bits, and the brain-trouble is going to take a Very Long Time to untangle. In the meantime, telling myself to trust my (brain-hijacked) body is tantamount to ignoring the physical crisis taking me over.
I only made it two weeks into No Number November before I looked at the scale. It wasn’t fear that drove me to look. It was the need for confirmation. Some of my new jeans stopped fitting, and a new symptoms I haven’t seen in years cropped up. I started waking up with random numb limbs and joints. This was common when I was very obese, but went away completely when I lost enough weight. Now it’s back, and sure enough, when I looked, the scale had continued to climb.
Tracking food (without calories or measurements) wasn’t helping. Eating mindfully wasn’t helping. Making daily food plans wasn’t helping. Eating by hunger cues wasn’t helping. I was, pretty much, ignoring everything and eating whatever the hell my body-brain asked for. And I can’t keep doing this! Yes, in the past, I’ve lost weight without needing to track calories or restrict certain triggery foods. However, just because something worked when I was in a much better brain-state doesn’t mean I can rely on it now. I need all new techniques for an all new situation.
So, Jason and I came up with plans for the second half of November (and beyond). I will discuss these plans more fully in future posts, but generally, they created a (hopefully sustainable) path toward better nutrition and physical health.
Dear younger Manda,
Learn to adapt!! Things change, and so old methods that worked so well aren’t going to keep working. Remember that, and be flexible. It’ll serve you well in the future, I promise.
Love, modern-day Manda