The question of knowing what to eat can be a hard one for many people. When there is 'forbidden' food a person can often crave those foods, just because they are forbidden. But there is also anxiety and guilt involved with certain foods, you have lists of foods you can and cant eat. Good food and bad food.... eventually you dont even know which foods you actually like or dont like because you just think in calories or protein, carbs and fat. You dont know what your body is signalling or craving because you have for so long avoided those signals. It can be strange to think that most normal people get cravings, they feel hunger at certain times during the day and then they eat.....
While i was sick, i could not understand that. I didnt feel hungry and i had repressed all cravings. The thought of feeling hungry, getting something to eat and eating it without having 100 thoughts before, during and after seemed impossible. But also knowing what to eat.... i would spend what felt like hours in the store looking at the calorie content of food, choosing out the lowest calorie option, making my mum buy them for me. But then when it came to eating it still felt like too many calories or i couldnt choose what to eat.
But it IS possible to listen to your body, to feel hungry and full and to listen to the cravings your body signals. When you have balance in your body and you can trust your body then its not hard to know what you want to eat or when you are hungry/full.
To explain.... when i am hungry i often know what it is i want to eat. There is so much delicious food, i could make a buffet each meal because i want to eat everything, but my body and mind knows that there is a certain thing i want to eat. Ex. some days i crave waffles for my snack, other days oatmeals, other days quark and somedays i even eat a mini lunch for my snack. Like the previous day when i ate eggs, tuna, quark and ketchup for breakfast. Sounds strange, but that was what my body was telling me i needed/was hungry for.
I am very intune with my body... if i am lacking a certain vitamin or mineral i get a craving for a food which contains that food. Such as when my body lacks magnesium i begin craving mackererl, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate like crazy, but once i begin taking magneisum supplements those cravings go away. The same with healthy fats... i get most of my healthy fats from nuts so if we dont have any at home... my cravings for nuts go crazy!! And its like all i can think about, haha. (Because of my CF my body doesnt absorb healthy fats so well so that means i needed an extra high intake of healthy fats.)
Because i listen to my body and my cravings - what my body tells me to eat, i find it comical when someone comments that i eat too much protein or too little carbs or too much. When in reality i am eating what my body needs and wants. And in all the tests which are done on me and the blood tests done every 2-3 months they always come back positive and with great results - apart from healthy fats, despite eating as many nuts and seeds which i do as well as trying to cook using oils as much as possible.
My tips to find this balance is to 1) Not have good or bad food. Not label food or have restrictions. But know that if you want that cookie its ok... there is no need to eat the whole package and there is no need to completely restrict it! When you dont have restrictions or have an all or nothing view on food its easier to find balance and be able to listen to your cravings.
2) Try to listen to your hugner and fullness feelings. You ate an hour ago but still feel unsatisfied? Eat some more.... you feel very full and cant finish the rest of the apple? Leave it. (though if your goal is weight gain, then its best to keep eating!)
3) Dont feel guilty for eating more - somedays that is what your body needs!
Try to listen to your body and your cravings - dont think all or nothing, but think everything in moderation and balance! It is easier to trust and listen to your body then when you dont feel deprived but know that you can eat what you want when you crave it.
These tips - not thinking black or white and actually listening to hunger and fullness - as well asnot having good or bad food can be helpful to those of you who binge as well, as binging has alot to do with mental thoughts and not so much physical. But a mental hunger and craving food often forbidden foods. Instead you need to take a step back and try to ask yourself are you actually hungry? And why do i want to eat all the food... it can often be related to stress, emotions etc which is the actual cause of the binges, not hunger or physical cravings.