I’ve been an emotional eater for most of my life. I’ve had heavenly pockets of time where I haven’t used food emotionally, but they were always short lived. These past four years, I’ve worked hard on my relationship with food, looked it straight in the face, and asked it what it had to tell me.
The thing is, as emotional eaters, we use food for every reason other than what it’s really intended for. To nourish us, to give us energy, to move through the world, to express ourselves with poise and have an iron mind. We use it as a control mechanism. We eat too much, we don’t eat, we eat the smallest amount possible, we starve, we hide food, we lie to ourselves and others, we think a certain diet or meal plan will fix us, FINALLY, thank you God. We think food holds all the answers, that it’s our savior, our reason for living. It is, in a way. It also really isn’t.
But as emotional eaters, when we look to food to fix us, the problem exists underneath the physicality of our bodies. There’s a mystical problem, an emotional problem, sitting at the bottom of the wells of our hearts. And since food is a physical substance (okay, we know it might elicit some elated responses in our psyches for approximately thirty seconds, we’ve all eaten some shut-up-and-don’t-talk-to-me ice cream or chocolate cake here), it has no place in fixing our non-physical emotions, at least in the long run. There is no physical solution to an emotional problem. I need to hear it again. There is no physical solution to an emotional problem.
Once I realized this notion, and worked on my relationship with food every.single.moment., over and over again, not just when I was feeling it or when it was easy, it started to sink into my bones. A little more every day. A droplet at a time. Because I decided to stay in the muck. Because I committed. Because food is not and never was the problem (although it’s incessantly blamed), it’s merely the substance we use to act out our beliefs on.
Next time you’re doing whatever it is you do with food to feel better, just become aware. Don’t blame yourself, don’t tell yourself you’re a horrible, willpower-less person, just become aware. You’re simply using the coping mechanism that never lets you down, initially. The sustainable solution comes with moment-to-moment effort and awareness and coming back home to yourself, questioning everything you ever thought about who you are.
If you have a wonky relationship with food, it’s no accident. It’s for a reason. To discover WHY. It’s only through hardship or confusion that we can clearly see the strength that we’re made of; it’s just been tangled and covered up by our own stuff. We ALL have stuff. Don’t curse your relationship with food, let it show you what you’re made of and what you can overcome.