My friend leaned in over the noisy din at “China World Buffet”…
“I love food! All kinds of food. All kinds of restaurants. I love eating out!”
We hadn’t seen each other in a long time and agreed to meet at her favorite food buffet. As I sat with her, I found myself increasingly repulsed, not just by what she was eating, but how she was eating, talking rapidly through the entire meal with her mouth full. She returned 3 times for additional portions. Well okay, so did I but for small bites not heaping platefuls.
“I’m looking for a new relationship. Do you know anyone you could introduce me to?”
I wondered what she was trying to fill up because, certainly, her stomach must have been plenty full by now.
As the conversation continued I asked what happened to her last one. After much complaining, she got quiet for a moment and connected to some real feeling.
“Even when I was in the relationship, I felt lonely. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been in a relationship where I haven’t felt lonely.” A small tear trickled out of one eye and then she quickly changed the subject.
I too, am guilty of using food for emotional comfort. I almost always feel uncomfortable after I do. But how do you know if you’re addicted to food as a substitute for emotional nurturance? Here’s a few questions from foodaddicts.org to help you explore:
- Do you think about food or your weight constantly?
- Do you eat differently in private than you do in front of other people?
- Do you eat to escape from your feelings?
There is momentary pleasure in eating food. So how do we reign it in when we’re enjoying a good meal without overindulging? Here’s a few tips to consider if you answered YES to any of the questions above:
1) If you think about your weight constantly, recognize the nature of the mind is to be active and busy. When the mind is absorbed in a focused activity, it relaxes.
- Find a productive project.
- Do something for someone else that is important to them.
- During quiet moments try out a few mantras, such as: “Have faith, everything is all right,” or “I inhale love, I exhale tension.”
2) If eating in private or with others;
- Eat slowly,
- Take deep breathes and sit back in your chair. You’ll enjoy your food more because you’ll taste it.
- Chew your food thoroughly before swallowing. You’ll feel more satiated.
3) Feelings are not facts. If you feel emotional before or during eating;
- Remind yourself that eating will not alter the emotional feeling, it simply serve as a momentary distraction
- Letting yourself connect deeply to the authentic feelings that live beneath the impulse to eat, will alter the feelings. Feelings are like waves, they well up and then they’re done. Let the wave move all the way through.
- If you are in the company of others, take a pause, excuse yourself to the restroom for a minute and do some deep breathing. Give yourself time and space to re-group and get centered, then return to the ritual of eating. Your friends will wait because you are worth it!
If you find you need more help, check out Overeaters Anonymous or FoodAddicts.com for additional support. If you need additional support in breaking the body/mind patterns necessary to manage emotional reactivity, remember this is part of a healing process. Lionheart Institute of Transpersonal Energy Healing teaches you how to heal yourself, facilitate healing for others and build a career as an Energy Healing Counselor. Lionheart offers a FREE introductory course each month. To sign up for the next one go to http://lionheartinstitute.com/energy-healing/.