Pay attention to me, my body says. But do I listen?
October 18, 2013 3:05 PM   Subscribe

In the years since I've been working on being an emotional eater (i.e. stuffing myself with a whole pizza in order to avoid feeling sorry for myself), I've come to a better, more mindful relationship with food. However...

I'm realizing that I don't really have a great relationship with some of the body triggers that others are able to pick up on and act on. I often don't notice when I'm hungry, I wont necessarily stop eating when I'm full, and I'll look up and realize that I've had to pee for the past three hours even though I'm mere feet from the bathroom.

As you can imagine this is not great for my health, but I'm not actually sure what to do to be more mindful of these triggers.

Do "normal" people just go pee when they have a full bladder? How can I be more like that?
posted by softlord to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The bladder thing is a really good one to look at since there aren't many complicated factors involved. Drink a certain amount of fluid, and after a certain time, you're going to have to pee.

I would recommend drinking the same amount of fluid at the same time of day (for example, a 6 oz glass of water when you first wake up, it doesn't have to be that, though). Then, set a few timers for yourself on your phone (maybe 45 mins, hour, hour and 15 minutes) to see how long it takes to hit you, and notice how you feel at those particular points. You can get into the habit of noticing how you feel at different times after food or fluid intake.
posted by cairdeas at 3:19 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

That isn't really how urine output works, unfortunately, but I would take a similar tack and suggest setting a timer to "check in with yourself." It seems like the common suggestion is that you should take a break from seated work every hour, so you could set a timer to take a break and see if you're hungry/thirsty/uncomfortable/need to pee every hour. Over time this could become routine, or maybe you'll just continue to enjoy having that hourly reminder.

I can confirm that it is normal to sometimes be so lost in thought or concentration that you don't realize your bladder is full (not to the point of incontinence, but to the point of needing to go pretty bad).
posted by telegraph at 3:22 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

The way I try to practice mindfulness is to regularly ask myself three questions:
-how am I breathing?
-how is my posture?
-what am I doing?
to bring my attention back into my body and the present moment.

You could add in two more:
-am I hungry (or full, if eating)?
-do I need to go to the bathroom?
You need to learn what your own triggers are, so by regularly bringing your attention to your stomach or your bladder you will gradually learn the different sensations you feel when you're peckish/hungry/starving or bladder empty/might need to pee soon/bursting.

As you say you've been working on your emotional eating I'm assuming you've been working with a therapist around the emotional triggers. If not it might be worth considering if it would be viable for you. Holding on for a long time when you need to pee, for example, can represent underlying emotions which may be worth exploring. Take care.
posted by billiebee at 3:39 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Do you take ADD medication by chance? I ask this because I'm a recovering food addict that uses Concerta to treat ADD and compulsive overeating. Like you I find myself not going to the bathroom when I should except, and this is embarrassing, I often end up being so focused on what I'm working on that I don't leave my desk until its beyond too late. It's very similar to the "not full" filling when I used to overeat in that, physically, I should know I need to do something but I just can't for some reason.

One thing my doctor told me to do is to go to the bathroom an hour after I drink a liter of water. I drink 4-6L of water a day so that works out pretty well, for the most part, and helps me set a pattern to avoid accidents.
posted by playertobenamedlater at 5:28 PM on October 18, 2013

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