• jess

Restrictive eating and this MF trauma brain

Updated: Jun 12

This wasn’t supposed to be another post originally… but too damn bad, my blog my rules. Bonus article in the Exercise for Wellness Series!


To check out the full string of posts, click away here:

(No link? Not released yet! Stay tuned or subscribe.)

OVER-exercising for appearance? You're sprinting towards a trauma response

Restrictive eating and your trauma brain

MASTER POST: The key to complex trauma management: Exercising for mental wellness

The difference between exercising for appearance vs mental wellness

Guest post: Wisdom and Photos from Fred

How to make yourself DO IT

Guest Blogger Danny Urbana "Get up and get down and get outside"

Coming up next:

Impromptu LIVE reporting from my childhood home

(plans change.)

THEN:

The Endless Trauma Loops Series.





While I was penning the last article on the dangers of exercising for perfectionism, I got a bit off-center from exercise and started discussing the fucked up calorie-restrictive mindset that contributes to my certain body failure. I cut it out to keep shit tight, but I think the points are still relevant.


In the context of my current exercise-for-wellness-not-hotness-or-else-your-trauma-gonna-erupt series, here are some words on physical appearance obsession and starvation.


This is written from the perspective of a youngish lady, but you know if it applies to you.





This is a bonus post in the Exercise for Trauma Recovery Series.

To check out the full string of posts, click away here:

(no link? not released yet! Stay tuned.)

OVER-exercising for appearance? You're sprinting towards a trauma response

Restrictive eating and your trauma brain

The difference between exercising for appearance vs mental wellness

MASTER POST: The key to complex trauma management: Exercising for mental wellness

How to make yourself DO IT

Guest Blogger Danny Urbana "Get up and get down and get outside"



“There are other ways” besides exercise fallacy


Has anyone else been convinced that they personally don’t have to follow some sort of activity standard? If you regulate your diet strictly enough. If you meditate and journal all the time. If you take fat burning supplements and connect battery-powered pulsating electrodes to your abs, your body will figure it out?


I thought that for about 27 years of my life, too. (minus that last part, because, science.)

I was completely fucking wrong.


And truthfully, I was being an idiot. I was just avoiding discomfort by telling myself I could find a better way. Taking the easy way out (in the moment). Trying to delude myself into being okay with sloth, laziness, and shallow band aids.


I was fine pretending ALL the literature didn’t talk about the benefits of exercise for mental health. I continued using my depression and anxiety as crutches, found out they supported regimented eating quite well, and let that set the pace of my life.


All the while, I was fucking myself so hard.


Maybe I could drop 5 pounds in a week without doing much of anything, but it wasn’t helping me in the long run. Restrictive eating encouraged anxious obsession, creating a lifelong complex, and brought about physical breakdowns that would ignite my depression.

In short, making it that much more difficult to get my health on track with every moment I starved instead of moving my ass.


Even if you’ve been graced with fit genes, if you’re skilled at highly restrictive dieting, if you’ve always been considered thin and relatively attractive, if you know how to dress your face and body to hide the problem areas… I have bad news, motherfucker.


You’re still going to have to get over the self-idealizing fallacy of being a biological anomaly; if you want a livable life, you’re going to have to exercise for your body, and more importantly your brain.


Like, every day.



Restrictive eating perpetuates your trauma brain


Starvation and restrictive eating deserves its own post.


Based on everyone I know, there’s a lot to say about eating disorders and trauma survivors. (You aren’t alone!) But here’s a little tough love to knock those fucked up core beliefs out of your noggin so we can talk about the real issue at hand.


Note to self, starvation dieting is going to fuck you up, physically and emotionally. Accept it and save yourself some trouble.


Your ego might try to tell you that you’re more capable of strong will than others and controlling every calorie can be a good thing. Even if you think “you’ve got it this time,” or “you’re just uniquely skilled at not eating,” or “you’ve done enough reading to cheat the system,” or “you decrease your anxiety by calorie restriction.”


You’re wrong.


It’s dangerous, whether you’re combining it with long bouts of sweatin’ or not. For those of us who have perfectionist eating habits that lend themselves to slimming down… you gotta stop.


Your genes aren’t mutated to make you physically superior to the rest of the population. You can’t fool biochemistry or 40,000 years of human evolution. Exclusively eating vegetables, non-fat Greek yogurt, and Tito’s vodka isn’t the magic bullet to wellness.


Lazing around paralyzed with depression and anxiety for a year or three cannot be fixed by eliminating calories. It will, undoubtedly, indisputably, without fail, cause everything to get worse.


Lazing around paralyzed with depression and anxiety for a year or three cannot be fixed by eliminating calories. It will, undoubtedly, indisputably, without fail, cause everything to get worse.

First, you’re actively hurting your body. Racing heart, shakes, exhaustion, irregular heartbeat, migraines… sound familiar? Mhmm.


Secondly, you aren’t getting the mental health and physical stress-reducing benefits of exercise that are being discussed here. So, your starting point every day is (at best) brimming with unprocessed thoughts, fears, and lingering frustrations… just zipping around and bouncing off each other in that trauma brain.


Thirdly, when you’re obsessed with your diet and exercising for appearance only, you’re fighting a losing battle against the voice in your head. And for trauma recoverees, that might be the most dangerous part.


You constantly focus on your food and your physical condition. You’re filled with self-shame and guilt over every calorie. You’re never happy with the results (starvation leads to fat-skinny, which still isn’t a good look), so your growing preoccupation turns into a toxic obsession. You punish every misstep with harsher restrictions. It’s all you can think about.

You start having immense anxiety about your perceived physical appearance which might even lend itself to increased agoraphobic tendencies and isolation. Your hormones are all jacked up, so you can’t sleep at night. Burning the candle at both ends, you look and feel worse than ever. You learn to hate yourself, inside and out. And in doing so, you create a life worth quitting.


What’s more miserable than feeling unattractive, tired, digestively upset, anxious, depressed, and disgusted by yourself?


Being hungry, weak, and physically ill at the same time. Creating NEW mental disorders. Doing irreparable physical damage to the body you hate and sparking more mental health challenges, all the while.


Being hungry, weak, and physically ill at the same time. Creating NEW mental disorders. Doing irreparable physical damage to the body you hate and sparking more mental health challenges, all the while.

SO, if you weren’t mentally ill before, you’re going to drive yourself closer to insanity following a strictly dietary health strategy.


I think we can all agree, we don’t need more shit to be anxious and angry about. We have enough physical symptoms of trauma to deal with.


I’m sure you didn’t choose the difficulties that you’ve experienced in your past… Let’s agree that there’s no point in slowly degrading your mental and physical fitness when this is one area you can actually control.


Don’t be like me; figure out a middle-ground diet that works for you and stick with it.


Then, get outside and move.




That's it! Just a quick bonus post instead of deleting all my words and writing them again later. Hope it helps. If you relate, hit me up and tell me so. Keep this momentum moving MF.


Catch up with Part I - Exercising for Perfectionism is Gonna Fuck Yer Trauma Brain (or, that's the gist, at least).


Next up, tune into the coming posts on Why it works for me and How to fucking make yourself do it. Then I'm thrilling ya with a guest post from my man Danny Urbana, "Get Up, Get Down, and Get Outside."


I'm going to go find a snack.

Traumatized Motherfxckers

Not doomed. Not damaged.

Not dead yet.

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