I was driving my 12-year-old daughter to an after school activity today and we arrived about 15 minutes early. Since the lesson she was going to was in a private home, I told her that we should wait a few more minutes before going in. She was fine with that because she was busy texting her friends. I picked up a book that I was reading and started where I had left off. She looked over and asked what I was reading. I told her it's a book called, "Breaking Free from Emotional Eating". She looked at me with that sweet smile, said "you're crazy" and then went back to her phone play.
I closed my book and thought about what she said. Am I crazy? The author, Geneen Roth, doesn't sound crazy to me. She says that the fear of hunger is like the fear of loneliness and both are connected to feelings of emptiness, echoes, endless wanting. Hmm. That feels familiar. Along the way she talks about [learning to] using food to fill these feelings. Hmm. That sounds familiar too. What she also says in this book is that you can learn to distinguish between emotional hunger and real hunger. Hmm. She shares some of her experiences and although they are hers, they feel and sound familiar too.
Let me share one of my experiences with you. I was in graduate school and I remember waiting for my boyfriend [who is now my husband] to pick me up for a date. He said he would be over to pick me up at [lets say] 7:00 pm. I waited and waited and he finally showed up [probably 15-20 minutes late]. I laid into him with both barrels about how disrespectful it was to keep me waiting and that if he knew he was leaving his house late he should have called to tell me he was running late, and blah, blah, blah. I remember him looking at me like I was this crazy person he just let in his car. And when we got to the restaurant all I could think about was stuffing my face. When I look back on that incident, I wonder if being left waiting was really me feeling abandoned and not important?
I've done enough self analysis to know [well almost know] that this goes back to high school when my boyfriend went off to college and I still thought we were "boyfriend and girlfriend." I never heard from him again. It was around this time that I remember eating a ding dong [that's a chocolate cake with white cream inside] and actually feeling the texture in my mouth, sort of relishing the taste and the sensations, feeling really "loved". Weird, huh. However, from there I started experimenting with other foods, like mallomars, drakes coffee cakes and oreos. Now, all these foods had been in my family's pantry and in my repertoire for years, but now I enjoyed these in the privacy of my own bathroom [I was too young to drive or I'm sure it would have been in the car]. Why did I start to eat in the closet - so to speak? I still don't know because I haven't finished Ms. Roth's book, but I believe what she says. She says that, "if you only eat when you are hungry, you are removing your protection from those feelings".
Anyway, this babble could go on and on, but it won't. The reason I share this with you is that for many years I felt alone [in my bathroom] and didn't understand what I was feeling and why I was doing what I was doing to myself. I share this so that no one should feel alone or embarrassed by the measures they take to care for the "little girl" inside them. We are mature and intelligent enough to know that what we did or are still doing isn't physically or emotionally healthy for us. As long as we are aware of this and are [willing to be] open to discovery and recovery, then we are ahead of the game. I say when you are ready, ask the hard questions. It may take a while to find the answers, but they are there. Be kind to yourself. I truly believe time heals all.
13 hours ago