Do you notice what others around you are eating? Do you make note mentally of how much they are eating? Or how greasy the food is? Or how many calories are in their meal versus yours? I know that I used to notice what and how much my husband eats while out to dinner, I noticed the timing of my mom’s meals when we would spend the day together, and I always noticed how many chips or slices of bread my friends would eat when out at restaurants.
These things were never noticed in judgement of the other person. I paid attention to them because that is how controlling my ED was. ED had to know that my body was consuming the least of everyone else around, that I was the one restricting the most, showing the most “self control”. ED roots itself in the fact that you are the BEST at restriction – and in order to do that, you must always be acutely aware of everyone else’s eating habits around you.
The thing is, this is exhausting, and not only that, it is pointless! No two bodies, no two humans, are the same. We all need different nutrients, different caloric intakes, different amounts of energy on different days. Knowing the amount that my husband eats should not factor into how much or how little I eat, because we are two completely separate humans and bodies! You should never base what you eat or how you eat or how much you eat on another individuals habits. Your needs are YOURS, and that should be all that matters.
When we no longer pay attention to how others eat, it makes it that much easier to listen to our own bodies and what they need. Focusing in on your own hunger/fullness cues, separating your meal from anyone else’s, and relying on your body clock rather than the clock of someone else’s diet will hopefully lead you further into intuitive eating, and slowly the ED habit of constantly being aware of anyone else’s eating habits will fade.
A few steps you can take to help with this are below:
- Remind yourself while you are eating that this is serving YOU and YOUR needs, and has nothing to do with anyone else. We eat for ourselves, and not for others.
- If anyone brings up how much you are eating, or starts to discuss how much they are eating, kindly let them know that this topic isn’t something you wish to discuss, and bring up something else more interesting!
- Order first at the restaurant or build your plate first at a gathering so that you can’t base what you choose off of anyone else’s order or choices.
- really ask yourself what SOUNDS good and what will make your body feel it’s best – and go with it! Your body knows what it wants and what it needs better than your mind!