I have been having my own little raw revelation these past few months. I think you know that I have long suffered from an eating disorder. When I first started eating 811 I felt such a renewed connection with my food and very empowered by feeding my body such healing foods. I still had a lot of emotional healing to deal with though, so when things got tough I still restricted my calories.
Until very recently (march this year), I never understood, or believed, the Freelee/Harley approach of eating high-calories from fruit. But the past year (about 6 months in to my last restriction cycle) my digestion, and therefore many other elements of my health, have suffered greatly. At times I truly felt immobilized by intestinal backup, and the retained toxicity and constant discomfort made me lethargic, depressed, and angry. I watched one video by Tara (forty below fruity) last fall, where she talked about her digestion improving with highcalories, which piqued my interest, and I knew that if I were honest with myself, I was really still restricting. I played with it a little (after having tried EVERYTHING else I could devise), but didn't fully commit. There were, however a few days where I was mono-ing on ooey-gooey persimmons (up to 40 per day), and my digestion was PERFECT and I had an insane amount of energy and just felt absurdly happy. Those three days I had made an absolute commitment to listen to my body, and every decision I made based off what my body told me (not convenience--thankfully I was in between class ending and finals) made me feel more and more amazing.
This kept going until one day I decided to force my body to run when it really wanted to eat (out of convenience). Then the spell was broken and my digestion went back to being horrible, and I stopped committing to high calorie. When I was deciding between eating and running, I knew I should eat and then run later, but I was watching myself make an illogical decision, and at that moment thought that maybe I just wasn't ready to fully feel great again, to fully love myself again. The last time I had felt great (that summer) was when I was in an incredibly relationship that had abruptly ended badly (which was when my digestion truly started to get horrible), and when that came to an abrupt halt, I was afraid to have everything again, and have it all to lose.
So over winter break my digestion only continued to get worse. There were moments when I would eat high calorie and it would get my bowels working, but I wasn't convicted enough to make the effort to always have enough ripe fruit to get in the number of calories that truly made me feel good. Plus, I could tell that if I really stuck to it, I was going to gain weight, which terrified me. Through January I drank a lot of orange juice, which was great, but never quite got me enough calories, and thus never made me feel top notch. By March, I at the end of my rope. I really understood how people with terminal illnesses and chronic pain might want to end their lives--it was just unbearable.
I noticed that melon tasted and felt delicious, and went on melon for a week, which really got everything kickstarted, but was hard to keep up in february, and was hard to get enough calories on. I kept struggling as soon as i stopped. Then I found out one of my friends, who I was close with but hadn't seen in a while, had died in a car accident. I went to her memorial service and that look at a life cut short shook me, and also gave me a chance to cry like crazy. It was the last straw in realizing that in order to engage in and experience life, I had to commit to my health, and that I knew in my heart and my gut that that meant eating highcalorie. That night when i got home from the funeral I was hungry and had a few bunches of ripe bananas. I realized that I felt the best I had in a very long time, and that I had eaten over 3000 calories that day. My belly was not bloated, felt very calm and digested. It all just clicked, and since then, I have been eating about 3000 or more, 2500 at the bare minimum.
I have committed to eating as much I care for, no matter what happens with my weight. Calorie restriction just doesn't make since to me anymore. Why would my body ask for food when it doesn't need it? (provided we are eating what our bodies are designed for). My digestion has been healing slowly but very surely, and the only set backs have come from not enough of water, sugar, sleep, or movement (or an absurd amount of stress, which is usually kept at bay by addressing all of the other factors). In tandem with that, my passion and joy in life has soared. I was truly feeling helpless, and now I feel so elated and excited for life after college, and after restricting calories. I just can't even describe, it is a constant practice, but when i am consistent I just feel like a completely different person.
The biggest test has been that I have gained weight...probably close to 15 or 20 pounds. There have been moments when it has been a difficult adjustment, but i haven't doubted what I am doing, because there is nothing else I could do at this point. I believe that my body just hit a wall with calorie restriction and simply couldn't live that way any longer. As protest, it stopped my digestion, and suspended privilege of having any energy. Now I think it makes perfect sense that I would gain weight after 8 years of starving myself, even if I am eating a perfectly composed 811 diet. Freelee makes a really great analogy, i think, comparing our bodies to a girlfriend or boyfriend who has been cheated on: they aren't going to be trusting again right away, it will take a long time to gain their trust back. I think my body is slowly beginning to trust me again, but first showing it through renewed digestion and energy, and later down the line will release any weight it doesn't need. For now I am embracing my newly enlarged breasts and belly as a sign of healing and a new era of self-love. It is quite liberating.
There is still a long road ahead. But I finally love myself enough to be on the path, and there is nothing more feeing.