Relationship With Food
My relationship with food has had its ups and down. Over the years, I’ve been obsessed with eating AND obsessed with not eating.
I’ve felt guilty about eating the things I really love while also being bored with most of the things I know I should eat.
And for some reason, I’ve worried about going hungry more than is reasonable for a person who has literally only gone hungry by choice. Even as a poor college student, I was never so poor that I couldn’t figure out a way to eat.
I know I can only speak for myself, but I am pretty sure I am not alone in this thinking.
My experience is that if you asked most women to describe their relationship with food in one word, they would say exhausting. It’s good, its bad, and it can be ugly.
I think a lot of my love for endurance sports roots in my love of eating. If I run more or bike more, well then surely I can eat more.
Until I can’t. Like right now.
I’ve been sidelined for a few weeks with abductor tendonitis. Basically my hip joint is inflamed and the only way for it to heal properly is to stop using it. So no running, biking, spin or really any form of cardio. I can only do light yoga and walking.
I’m scheduled to do the California International Marathon in two weeks. I might be able to run, I might not. That’s up to God, and I can honestly say I’m totally cool with that.
But what I am struggling with is a nagging worry about gaining weight.
After I got sober, food became the thing I looked forward to. It became my new happy hour. I also happened to really love physical actively, so the extra calories could be negated by some extra cardio.
But as I sit here today, unsure of when my next calorie-torching sweat session will be, I realize that my lesson from this little injury is to take a real look at my relationship with food.
I’ve quickly realized that I look to food to give me something I didn’t think I could give myself.
I’ve looked to it when I was stressed and when I was happy. I’d eat when I was uncomfortable and when I was bored. To sum it up, I pretty much used it to distract from feelings I didn’t like.
And that all takes me away from just being present.
When I’m mindlessly or compulsively eating I’m not connecting with my higher power. I’m not watching all the wonderful things going in my life.
And after I was done mindlessly eating, I was down to business of punishing myself, feeling guilting, and wondering what the hell is wrong with me.
And when you’re feeling guilt and shame, there is no space for connection with your higher power.
The ego shouts and the universe whispers. Both voices are present. But when you are in the shame spiral, that whisper is almost impossible to hear.
But I’ve noticed the less I looked to food to make me happy, the more I felt free.
My day doesn’t center around when I get to eat again. I don’t have emotions connected to whether I get to pig out on a Friday night or if I have to cut back on Monday because of a crazy weekend of eating.
And ironically over the past two weeks of eating less because I’m not working out, I’ve actually lost weight. I’m eating healthier than normal and feeling so much better.
There are no setbacks in life. There is our belief of the way things should go, and then there is the way they actually end up going.
If you asked me a few weeks ago, I would tell you I was so happy because my marathon training for the CIM was on track.
Today, I’ll tell you that I’m even more happy because I’m finally feeling like my emotional eating is in check.
My happiness doesn’t have to come from a plate full of food. It comes from the experience of being present in my life.