Friday, October 31, 2008

Emotional Eating

If you haven’t read the book, “Life is Hard, Food is Easy” by Linda Spangle you must. It puts it all out there in black and white. Life. It makes sense and doesn’t sugar coat it. The way I love to hear things. So, when I started my life changing at MRC this book was coming up in classes, and conversation often enough that I felt I needed to read it. When I opened it up this was the first chapter…. Emotional Eating. I thought… “Nope…. not me, might just skip it”. “I don’t get mad, or sad, or discouraged, or depressed, only to find myself at the fridge…. But, what the heck. Let’s give it a quick once over….” Boy, was it an eye opener. She defines emotional eating as “using food for emotional or phychological reasons instead of for satisfying the body’s physical requirement for food”. Hmmm. I read on. Here’s what I started to understand. It didn’t have to be obvious. I wasn’t “hunting” down food. She talked about M&M’s… and Girl Scout Cookies…. how you start with just a couple, and next thing you know you’ve lost track of how many you’ve eaten or in my case, the cookies and M&M’s disappeared (and no, there were no magicians in my home). I looked down the page, and suddenly my picture appeared, with arrows and blinking signs “emotional eater” all pointing directly at me! It was frightening how she was talking not to me anymore, but about me. Then she continues; there are the celebrations. You have a birthday…. have a cake! You get a promotion…. well then, dinner and drinks! You meet up with a long lost friend…. dinner, dessert, and drinks! Hmmmm…. this is looking a little too familiar. Oh gosh, what happens when you lose 10 lbs? Dinner, Dessert, Drinks…… then back to the beginning? How does one celebrate without food? It’s been in our lives for so long. It’s how we show we love each other, right? I love you, eat a cookie. I adore you, I made you a steak. I’m proud of you, here’s some ice cream. And sometimes, I would just find myself munching away for no reason; just because. Then, the box, or bag, or bowl would be empty. It was not serving me physically. I never realized that this was emotional eating. I just thought it was “bored” eating! “Just because” eating! But! It was serving a purpose, just not the purpose that food is meant to serve. And so, that companionship had to be evaluated. Linda Spangle, at the end of that very first chapter has a wonderful poem. Food is wonderful! In fact, food in my best friend. But lately, I’m aware that my friend is hurting me. Making me uncomfortable. Sabotaging my goals. Causing me Grief and Guilt. Possibly destroying my life. Today I made the decision - it’s time to get a new friend. Linda Spangle I understood completely what she meant, and it’s not about comforting yourself with food as she says. It’s about allowing the emotions to come in and embrace them. It’s to feel, and be felt. It’s to love and celebrate and embrace it all. I have found wonderful new ways to celebrate success, show love, be creative when bored, and cry when I need to cry. I experience life as it comes. It’s exciting, and sometimes scary, but always geniune. It’s me.

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