Story #25: I eat my feelings. Because they are so delicious!
I wish that were the case. I am a long time feeling eater. I’ve gained and lost around 20 pounds a few times over the last 15 years. I am happy to say that I’ve learned a lot about myself and my body (and continue to do so). For example, I know that starving myself doesn’t work for me. Not even a little bit. The consequences are frightening, actually (think cookie monster with pizza). However, allowing myself to get hungry and really experiencing the sensation of hunger is very important. I get hangry, so I like eating on a regularly basis or at least when I feel real hunger. I won’t skip meals if I’m hungry. But if I’m feeling full or satisfied without appetite, why force it?
I have come to realize that if I am not allowing myself to get to the point of hunger and if I haven’t heard the growl of my belly in a few days, chances are I’m not feeling good about myself. This goes hand in hand with wanting to feel satisfied when I am done eating, but if I’ve over done it and feel stuffed then it’s no bueno.
I am a sensitive person who experiences a wide range of emotions fairly intensely. While I have people in my family who run the eating gamut (everything from anorexics to overeaters), I tend to fall more on the over-eating side. I really love food. I am susceptible to seasonal depression, so if it’s cold and cloudy, call me for tea and plenty of cookies.
Anyway, I’ve tried almost everything that most women have for weight loss. I have been gluten free, dairy free, paleo, starved myself in high school, I tried the 5:2 diet, work out more, work out less, tried to not eat sweets, etc. Here’s something else I have learned: not eating any sweets takes the joy out of my life. So that’s not a viable solution for me. Though these days I have a better grip on moderation.
While diet changes give you more information about your body and relationship to food, I personally have found that I have to figure out a better relationship to my feelings to sort out the diet part. One of the greatest contributors to understanding my body has been my mindfulness practice. Meditation has helped me identify my feelings versus physical sensations and how the two influence each other. This practice has also helped me flex my patience muscle, which in turn helps me slow down and relax around meals.
I can be very territorial around my food. I blame part of this on my birth order (third kid out of four, middle of the girls). Slowing down and chilling the f**k out is therefore a great practice for me. I tell myself: “Remember! There’s enough for everyone. Sharing is caring. And maybe if you share, they’ll be willing to give you some of their dessert!”
If you like reading self help-y stuff or are looking for a fresh angle on weight management that doesn’t involve dieting per se, I would recommend reading Danielle LaPort‘s Desire Map and Women, Food, and God by Geneen Roth. Those two spring to mind when I think about emotional eating. I spent a lot of time with both books while I read them. They helped me change my mind set around my emotional needs and around eating.
I’d also like to recommend following my friend and former co-worker, Kristen Newman (this is her on twitter). She is a master of fitness and strength, plus women’s empowerment in the funkiest of ways. She’s wicked smart and shares lots of good cat videos.
I have to say that I am currently quite satisfied with my weight and am enjoying my body. Life goals!!! Check. But I know that the only constant with my body is change. My weight rarely feels stable, while my appetite rages on. 😉
What’s the worst dieting experience you’ve ever had? Have you had any great dieting experiences? Share with me!
XOXO ❤ LB
P.S. I love pizza.