Consuming feelings with food – a few lessons from my health coaching journey.

Let’s start from the beginning. With what seemed like my reason for feeling so lost.

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Binge eating.

Defined as, according to NEDA:

  • Recurring episodes of eating significantly more food in a short period of time than most people would eat under similar circumstances, with episodes marked by feelings of lack of control
  • Marked distress, including feelings of guilt, embarrassment or disgust
  • Occurs on average once per week over three months
  • May binge alone to hide behaviors
  • Key features: secretive eating, excessive intake of food and rapid eating

Long story short: I stuffed my face to numb it all out. Sometimes I would have outer body experiences where I knew I should stop but I couldn’t. My body would scream “You don’t need ANY MORE – I AM FULL.” But my brain was like no way dude – “I’m not ready to feel the sadness quite yet.”

I was disgusted with myself but powerless to stop dipping oreos in peanut butter.

The peanut butter gave me such relief. It was a moment of separation from the pain. I would close my eyes to focus on the taste and imagine that the emotions I wanted to avoid would melt away. Obviously, it was fleeting. It lasted 30 seconds if I swallowed slow.

What came next was worse because it held it’s grip on me longer. The guilt, disgust and anxiety about gaining weight. This was my standard – a feeling I was familiar with, the thing I could obsess over instead of dealing with the real shit. So I would restrict and over-exercise. My second best strategy to numb and ignore what I should really be working on – loving myself and being a better human, and what that actually means to me.

The cycle for me looked like this: eat to nourish -> eat to numb -> numb more -> want to stop -> can’t stop -> won’t stop -> extreme fullness -> finally stop -> guilt over lack of control -> disgust for my body -> anxiety about gaining weight -> stress & plan a week worth of workouts -> workout to excess -> restrict food with moments of binging -> drain myself physically & emotionally -> get triggered -> eat to numb -> numb more -> repeat.

DUDE EFF THIS CYCLE I WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

I am HUNGRY. FOR. HAPPINESS. Bad joke but had to insert it.

Hungry for Happiness has taught me we all have our own version of self sabotaging behavior. They are the responses and routines to our painful thoughts, negative beliefs and choices we are conditioned to repeat in our moments of pain.

The first two months of Hungry for Happiness has been pure embodiment. I am using the tools I will eventually teach and guide others through. But for the purpose of this post – I want to share something that really landed since starting this program. It’s so simple and powerful.

Awareness.

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I believed awareness was the ability to recognize and analyze.

Sound familiar to any high-achievers out there? It was my perfectionist tendency to think my stress and sadness came from not doing something perfectly. I rationalized all the feels, attached them to an external source, and tried to suppress them the only way I knew how: food.

I was afraid of digging deeper. I was terrified to feel because I thought it would weaken or throw me off my game. I didn’t want to remember my past because it was painful.

HFH has taught me that awareness helps you be the observer: of your beliefs, thoughts, feelings, actions and results. (BTFAR) It’s having the self love and compassion to allow pain and stress to teach you lessons just as much as joy and connection can.

Awareness helps you notice when you’re operating from fear, love, scarcity or abundance. Awareness lets you tap into your intuition rather than operate from the “shoulds” of society. It helps you find your flow. Awareness makes space. Space for the people and things you love.

There is so much more I can ramble on about but I’ll end here. This post is heavy and if it’s triggering or lands with you, please reach out if you feel comfortable.

Awareness didn’t happen with the flip of a switch or using my sweet problem solving skills. It came from feeling. It came from the support and guidance of the group. I wouldn’t be here without them.

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I’ve written a few other posts about my Hungry for Happiness journey.

Read them here.

Feel free to explore the blog, ask me more questions, or engage with me on social.

If you think you might be interested in working with me personally – give me a heads up. I’ll be searching for clients to grow my skills with – so it would be a pro bono or reduced rate in the beginning. Please let me know if you’d like to be a part of my first round.

XO + OM

LIZ

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