Picture yourself binging. I know, it’s not a pretty sight. At least not at first. We have been programmed to see such behavior as embarassing, vile, shameful. But what if we step back and see the humanness, the tenderness of the situation?
Step back and see yourself as if you were a mother looking at her child.
See the sweetness and vulnerability of a person who is in their “moment of weakness.”
Recognize and appreciate, if you can, that this person needs a little crutch right now, that there’s nothing wrong with that. Life throws us situations that are really, truly tough to handle at times. Childhood trauma, divorce, dealing with parents, even boredom at work is not easy. Sometimes we need something delightful and simple to keep us going.
You might say, “binge eating isn’t exactly simple and delightful.” It’s true ~ there is more to it. For now, though, see if you can see binge eating, and that sweet child (yourself) that is doing it, as a simple pleasure to keep her feeling deserving of the good things in this world, despite messages that may have told her otherwise.
*See if you can love that girl fully.
Love and Hunger
When I was a senior in college, my friend Laura introduced me to M.F.K Fisher. A food writer, Fisher spent her life eating and writing about food.
She also wrote about Love. Love and food.
I was always fascinated by how simple her relationship with food seemed to be. She plainly enjoyed it, seemed to think it was an exquisite gift from the heavens, and sang its praises.
She never seemed to limit her consumption of food, though I don’t think she was a binge eater either.
She simply enjoyed her food too much to be a binge eater.
I know from my own experience that when we binge, we aren’t really seeing the food as divine, as life-giving, as nourishment.
Here was a woman who didn’t believe for a second that in order to be a real woman you had to eat like a bird. Yet her relationship with food was clearly emotional.
Healing is a Journey
If there is one thing I believe, that I can tell you as a sister with full confidence, it is that everything is a journey.
Starting with life. You are born, you begin a journey that will take you places you never dreamed. The journeys within the journey are also this way. You sign up for a job, a marriage, a friendship, and though you know and you hold dearly the essence of what you want from that experience (excelling at your job, making a living, creating a beautiful marriage, etc.) you are signing up for a journey that will take you places you never expected along the way.
Healing is the same way.
Every injury is a gift. Why?
Because from each injury, we must heal, and the healing process itself is rife with gifts, gifts we would never have received if things had gone on, business as usual.
Healing from binge eating is no different.
It’s a journey that we can embark on with haste, impatience, trying to get to the finish line as quickly as possible.
Or we can savor every moment, the moments of bliss when we are balanced and not binging, the sheer, raw and animalistic ravenousness of a binge.
We can savor each moment, because we know there is no alternative but to one day make it to the finish line.
There is no alternative. We are sick so that we can heal. Period.
Separating Love and Food, And Then Joining Them Back Again
Your post-binge eating self, that glittering, radiant being who is the real you, who you have been all along, are right now and will always be (you have no choice, it is your destiny), does not want you to stop enjoying your food.
But as I learned in other areas of life, sometimes we must uncouple two things before we can create a true and nourishing union between them.
For instance, we must separate ourselves from others and create our own identity and become strong in it before we can truly live in a secure stable partnership or in community.
Same goes with our relationship with food. It benefits us to first uncouple this emotional component to our eating ~ where we go to our food for comfort, love, to fill a hole that seems so deep to who we are ~ and give ourselves space to heal before we can start truly enjoying it for what it is in a healthy a pure way.
Uncoupling Food and Emotions
My daughter has this quirk where she will usually whine about having to eat vegetables (that’s not the quirk), unless they come from the farmers market or straight from the farm and she was there when we bought them. It’s like when the food seems dead to her, when she isn’t connected with its source, her relationship with it becomes skewed.
It’s a good practice to start seeing food for what it really is. Whether it comes from the farmers market or the supermarket, originally, it came from the earth, the soil, the sunshine. Even a process food is made up of ingredients that had to absorb and grow as a result of these natural resources, these blessings.
Food is really a gift. When we use it emotionally, we aren’t really seeing the gift part. Instead, we are kind of abusing it.
That isn’t to put a guilt trip on anyone. I have done so much of this in my life, and what helps me to maintain an increasingly healthier relationship with food is this subtle and profound shift in the way I regard it, and to also forgive myself ~ to toggle between the two towards real, permanent healing.
Use Food to Fuel What You Love
I have observed from my 1-on-1 clients what when we are eating emotionally, we are usually not fully living what we would ideally love to be doing in this world. We are usually living some kind of substitute, or if we are on our way to living our dream, we are still thwarted and stuck in some part of it.
The real function of food is to fuel you to be your best, most radiant self in this world. How do you become that? By doing what you love most.
If you are hiding yourself under layers of food addiction, it’s possible you’ve gotten too far away from what you love to even know what it is, to be able to name it.
Ask yourself this one question, “What do I live for?” And write for 5 minutes. Let yourself write freely, letting your soul pour out ideas, and if they don’t make sense, well, that’s the way the soul can be sometimes.
Once you find what it is you love, you will use food to give you the energy to do it, every day, for as long as you can. You will wake up in the morning to do that thing you love, that thing that gives you a sense of purpose in this world and connects you as a living, pulsating part of the global community.
And then you will enjoy food again.
Go Out and Enjoy The Journey
That’s right. I am giving you permission to go out right now and enjoy whatever part of the journey it is you are on.
Most importantly, love that human (yourself) through the eyes of a mother. Let their humanness, their vulnerability, their struggle touch you.