I have a saying that I often say to clients or to people asking me what I do,
“When we stop overeating, that is when we really start to get to know ourselves.”
Because people who are overeating are masking a big part of themselves which stops them from truly experiencing all of who they are.
When we stop ‘eating’ our thoughts, emotions, boredom, anxiety, etc., we have to experience what we were using food to avoid. We get the chance to really say hello to who we really are – all of the good and the not so great bits.
This is just so perfect. It took me a long time to realize that there was a whole part of myself that I wasn’t allowing myself to really get to know.
That is tragic. Because I now realize that ALL of me is pretty amazing and allows me to really show up in the world in an unique and amazing way – like nobody else.
It allows me to share my abilities and talents and SHINE MY LIGHT in service to the world.
This is pretty amazing.
But until I stopped overeating, I was using food to AVOID feeling/doing/LIVING in a lot of ways. And I couldn’t really show up for myself or others.
When I stopped overeating, I really got to know what it was I was avoiding or missing in my life – and then I had to look at why.
The beautiful thing was, I realized I WANTED to really know myself. I WANTED to connect with to that core of WHO I AM. Because honestly – deep down I believed that I had a lot to give and I was pretty special and that if I continued to hide my light, it would be a huge disservice to myself as well as the rest of the world.
We are here to share our gifts and talents but if we continue to hide them (stuff them away with food) and play small) we don’t get to share them.
But how did I go from overeating and stuffing away those parts of myself to NOT using food and learning to love those parts?
I just stopped.
It wasn’t always easy. Believe me – I failed A LOT. And it didn’t happen overnight.
But over time the more I began to feel that urge to overeat and was able to just STOP and breathe, THAT’S when the journey began.
I would just sit. Literally.
And this was HARD. But I would sit and listen and squirm and struggle and debate and plead and ….. I would do everything I could to avoid stopping and listening but eventually I grew tired of this continued battle and I would. just. sit.
I think this was one of the hardest steps I have taken in this journey to stop the madness around food. We all know how strong that urge can be. But eventually the urge to NOT want to continue this struggle started to win.
I couldn’t go on like that any longer.
I would often fail. But eventually the days when I could just stop started to become more frequent than the days when I couldn’t.
I remember one day feeling that urge to pull over and purchase that favorite salty snack because I was feeling something that I wasn’t comfortable with.
In my heart I didn’t want to eat.
I didn’t want to have that feeling of eating too much salt in my body. Or the feeling of being out of control with my food. Or feeling like once again I had mistreated my body and myself by overeating and eating foods that really didn’t serve me.
I KNEW I didn’t want to do this but somehow autopilot took over and I found myself in the parking lot of this convenience store. I sat in the car and tried to drive away but couldn’t. I got out of the car and purchased the item, got back in my car and started to open the bag.
Something finally kicked in and I said STOP! I couldn’t do it yet again. I got out of the car and threw the bag in the trash. Then I sat and cried and just begged to be free of this.
So I just sat.
I asked myself what it was that I felt I needed to eat to mask or cover up.
And then I just sat and got quiet. I began asking myself what was driving me to want this so much.
What was I thinking? What was I feeling?
I began to realize that the irony was that I just wanted to feel some happiness.
HA! So crazy!
I wasn’t trying to mask anything this time, I was just trying to FEEL something – feel happiness.
Instead of doing something that truly brought some happiness into my life, I turned to food in an attempt to stimulate pleasure in the brain by releasing the hormone dopamine. This is a drug. And doesn’t bring any real happiness – it’s pleasure and fleeting.
AND in the end, I feel even worse because the ‘drug’ wears off and then I feel like crap because of the way I have cheated myself once again of truly living.
So – I tried something really different. When I realized that what I really wanted to feel was happiness, I asked myself, “what can I do right now that will bring me some happiness (besides eating)?”
- I could call my best friend for a chat. (Connection AND happiness = AWESOME!)
- I could have a dance party at home in my living room! (I love moving my body and I love music = double win!)
- I could practice the ukulele which I had been learning to play. (Dream realized of playing this instrument AND music AND feeling of accomplishment!)
I used this to start a list of things to have on hand the next time I was feeling this way. And it worked. 🙂
What was really beautiful about this was I began to get to KNOW ME and what I really wanted in my life and who I really was (am!).
I realized that I was (am!) pretty awesome and that I could create anything in my life that I wanted. I didn’t have to continue this struggle with food and my body.
I didn’t have to live a life of regrets wishing I had a body that I loved and that I could learn to eat only when I was hungry.
I could create that NOW. I could be the person I wanted to be.
So – when the urge to overeat would come, I would STOP and get still and say hello to myself.
I began to create the life I dreamed of.
And what I started to discover was that I liked who I was.