Note: It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and I want to raise awareness about this problem that affects so many of us and the people we love. You probably heard of eating disorders like binge eating disorder, anorexia, and bulimia BUT you might not be aware that there are many more forms of DISORDERED EATING that touch the millions of us struggling with our relationship with food and our body.
I’ll be posting a short 5-min video every single day this week to help you see whether YOUR relationship with food and your body might need some healing. 🙂
Today, we’ll look at the Minnesota semi-starvation experiment and how it provides some insights about why so many of us can become with food, cookbooks, cooking shows, and recipes!
The bullet points of the Minnesota
- 36 men mentally and physically healthy
- Started in 1944
- First 3 months: ate 3,200 calories a day
- Next 6 months: starvation phase began
- 1,600 calories a day (2 meals a day)
- mostly carbs, low protein
- based on potatoes, cabbage, rutabaga, turnips, bread, and macaroni
- walked 22-mi a week
- The men started developing weird behaviors around food
- Diluted their meal in water to make it look like there was more
- Lingered over the food and took tiny bites
- Meals became the highlight of their day (even if the food was very bland)
- The beginning of food porn!
- The men started hoarding cookbooks, sharing recipes, and obsessively talking about food all the time (remember that these are men in the 1940s!)
- The researchers wrote “They would coddle [the food] like a baby or handle it and look over it as they would some gold. They played with it like kids making mud pies.”
- Some drank 15 cups of coffee a day, started smoking, or chewed 30 packs of gums a day to alleviate hunger (until these behaviors were banned by the lab)
- Food became the CENTRAL POINT of their life
- Men’s health declined, cold all the time, depressed, no motivation to do anything, lost their libido
- Rebound phase:
- After the study, men ate 5,000 calories a day on average (some as much as 11,500 calories a day) for many months
- The men reported that their hunger could NEVER be satisfied for MONTHS / YEARS
Now, back to YOU!
Many of the women I work with are under similar self-imposed semi-starvation conditions!
Many diet plans have only 1,200 calories a day and so many overexercise to try to change the way their body look.
Can you see how that can lead to overeating, binge eating, and obsessing over food?
As it did for the men in the Minnesota Semi-Starvation Experiment?
Here are some questions for you to think about to see whether your relationship with food and your body might need some healing. Please, be honest here! At least, be honest with yourself.
- Are you always thinking about food?
- Are your meals the highlight of your day?
- Are you always looking forward to your next meal?
- Are you obsessed with cookbooks, watching cooking shows, collecting recipes on Pinterest?
Personally, I know for a fact that trying to restrict my food caused me to have disordered eating. And even an eating disorder as I shared here.
Food was my EVERYTHING… I started re-typing family recipes (all desserts! 🙂 ) on the computer at the age of 12 (that was on a 386 and if you don’t know what that means, it’s like a prehistoric computer!).
I even decided to build my career around food! The only books I would ever read were about food and nutrition. I was constantly thinking about food and looking forward to my next meal. I would go to bed hoping the next day would come so I could eat again.
There wasn’t room for anything else in my life!
Now that I’ve done a lot of work to heal my relationship with food, I feel like my life really opened up. I have discovered so many interests and hobbies and the best of all is that I now have the TIME + MENTAL SPACE to pursue those other interests.
I still love food of course and always will, but there is now so much more to my life than food.
So how do you feel? And what do you think?
Let me know what food for thought these four questions are bringing for you (below in the comments).
If any part of what I wrote here resonates with you, I personally invite you to check out my FREE Whole Batch Syndrome Online Training. 🙂
It includes the 5 biggest mistakes I made when trying to heal my own relationship with food and my body and how to turn these 5 stumbling blocks into 5 stepping stones you can use for your own healing today.
And if you’re RIPE & READY to embark on your healing journey to improve your relationship with food and your body, I invite you to check out my Radicata SEED Protocol (private coaching or group classes).