Thursday, November 1st, 2012 was the first day of my current project to heal my relationship with food, to break free from my patterns of emotional eating, and to create a body in which I love living!
It was sometime in the late afternoon on this particular Thursday, when I ate the last gooey, sugary bite and realized I had managed to consume two, full-sized almond snickers bars in the short span of a couple of hours. The last time I ate even one snickers bar was probably over five years ago. Snickers bars were the candy of my youth. I was a vegetarian, and they were one of the few candy bars which didn’t contain either gelatin or egg whites. I’m not sayin’ they were healthy, but they didn’t break any of my family’s dietary rules (beside the sugar!), and I absolutely loved them. Somewhere along the way, though, I became so sensitive to sugar that they were way too sweet and I gave them up. I can’t say I never looked back…
After a whole bunch of experimentation with food and diet over the course of the last 15 years, I have finally figured out a way of eating that makes me feel good in my body and mind. Even so, I continue to re-test the validity of these specific dietary choices over and over and over again. And I keep getting the same result. Yes, I know, insanity. And yet I don’t think I am necessarily less sane than any other emotional, hormonal (ie; I have emotions. I have hormones.) 30 year-old woman. So what is going on?
I am not sure if I will ever find a definitive answer to that question, but for the duration of this month-long eating experiment, “Project Freedom”, and hopefully for the rest of my life, I am making a commitment to learn how to trust myself with food.
Here are a few of the tools I plan to use on this part of the journey:
- The Eating Guidelines. Geneen Roth has started referring to her eating guidelines, as “what love would say to you if love could speak”. “Honey”, love would say, “eat when you are hungry, eat what you want, and stop when you’ve had enough.” “Sweetie, take some time. Eat in a relaxed environment. Don’t feel like you need to sneak your food. And please, my darling, eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.” I was introduced to Geneen’s eating guidelines when I was in my late teens, struggling with learning how to listen to my body, and they have continued to make a tremendous difference in my life. In the beginning most of the guidelines seemed impossible to follow. And I still find myself “waking up” to find myself eating while driving, or walking, or eating more than I want, or eating something I think I should eat but don’t really want to eat. But, as I was reminded today, the guidelines are suggestions for traversing the journey called life. I am not going to get my eating taken care of, and then move onto the rest of my life. Instead, my success with the guidelines is an indicator. When I find myself unable to follow them, it is time for me to check in with myself and see what is going on. I am no longer attached to the belief that they are impossible. In fact, I am sure that following them will make possible what I want for my relationship with food and my life.
- Writing. Asking myself questions. Being curious about my experience. Whenever I am not sure if I am hungry, I will have a dialogue with myself until I get sure. I am excited to record all the parts of my journey including the yummy food I choose to eat (stay posted for photos and simple recipes), and the creative alternatives to emotional eating that I come up with. I will journal every day and do my best to post something here most days. I am also keeping a daily log of what I eat, what I feel, my intention for the day, what my body wants, etc.
- Participation in a weekly, group coaching call on “becoming irresistible” with Be More You. Homework for this call includes making goals and taking actions towards my dream of finding a life partner, as well as being in touch with other women for support and guidance, and offering the same in return. Not to mention becoming irresistible along the way.
I am committed to healing my relationship with food primarily for the freedom and self-love and trust it will provide. Although I am not thrilled with my current pooch of a buddha belly, the possibility of finding my natural weight is a fabulous bonus. I am excited to listen to my body as it tells me what it needs to be nourished and healthy and to find its “right” size.
For the next month, I plan to record my experiences and findings as I explore what it feels like to bring focus and commitment to this area of my life, and also be willing to share it with others. The reason I have decided to finally record and share a part of my journey is this: As my favorite life coach, Martha Beck, says, “my story is all I have to give, which is why I keep writing it down”. Although my experience with emotional eating is not necessarily the part of my story I feel most proud of, I offer it up with the intention that it will be useful to others who are facing similar challenges and are reaching for the same goal of healing their relationship with food.
Please feel free to leave comments if you are so moved (I would love it!), and if you have questions I will do my best to respond. Thank you for joining me on this journey!