Wednesday, December 10, 2008

#23 The Taming of the Chew

Have you been keeping up with the news? Oprah's gained all her weight back, plus some. Let me just say for the record that she has my sincerest sympathy and empathy. I can't count how many times I swore that having lost the weight, I would never gain it back. Ha! Oprah's a strong woman both physically and spiritually. She's had trainers, chefs, and all kinds of gurus to teach and assist her in her endeavor to lose and maintain her weight loss. I am sure that it was very hard for Oprah to openly admit that she is back to being heavy yet again. There's a saying that goes something like this: If you plan to wear your heart on your sleeve, have plenty of outfits in the closet. Well, Oprah has a vast closet.

Over the years she has shared her desire to be thin as well as her frustration with being heavy; her bad food choices; her weight gains and her weight losses; her thyroid condition; admitting that she felt like a fat pig while interviewing Cher and Tina Turner, and just recently admitting that the dress she had planned on wearing to Obama's inauguration will probably not fit and that she will need to start looking for something else. On this morning's news I heard a reporter say that Oprah's drug of choice is food. I once came across a postcard that said, "food is like aspirin, it dulls the pain without improving the spirit". Let me just say this for the record too, aspirin is not strong enough to heal the causes of emotional eating.

The injury that causes emotional eating can't be compared to a bruised hip or even a fractured arm. For a number of reasons, food is chosen to dull those emotions that can't be shown to others or felt too deeply or are frightening. Lets say a 30 year old man turns to food when he feels angry. Perhaps as a youngster he was punished severely for showing anger towards a parent and so he learned to squelch this feeling with food. Over the years he extended his use of food to suppress anger towards other people and other situations. Obviously, Oprah loves food, and comfort food at that. Perhaps she hasn't yet learned how to deal with her "anger" and so it continues to follow her.
Emotional boo boos aren't bandaidable nor do they respond well to analgesics. Our 30 year old man experiences his emotion [getting angry] in response to the injury [getting cut off during a presentation to his boss]. Rushing to a vending machine to 'chew' his anger won't make him feel better. To tame this chew, he needs to learn how to express or deal with his feelings instead of suppressing or hiding them. Easier said than done.

I know you were hoping this last paragraph would have the answer. Sorry. I'm still learning to tame my own chew. But what I have discovered over the years is that if you share your problem openly and honestly with the right people [friends, doctors, family, bloggers] and/or if you listen to people talk about their problems without judgement nor critique, you can learn many things that may help you with your own "chew". Don't be scared to wear your heart on your sleeve. I have found that there are many people out there with sizeable wardrobes... maybe even bigger than Oprah's.