Updated: Mar 3
Bonjour, Beauty. Sooo, how many times have you uttered those words before? Feeling desperate to understand why you can’t put the food down? What’s my damage? Why can't I stop thinking about food? I have no self control. I’m weak. I‘m an emotional eater. Ouf, I know. I know these harsh words all too well.
Is this resonating with you? I kind of hope so, otherwise, I’m feeling really exposed and alone right now. Seriously, though - what if we took away the harshness, the judgments and the labels and started looking at WHY you don’t stop eating. Why is it soothing? Why do you continue to turn to food even though you are not hungry?
What’s the payoff for you - for continually eating? What’s the benefit for constantly thinking about food?
For me, my payoff was the pleasure I felt whilst eating. Once I was able to honestly see that I didn’t have anything in my life that called to me louder than food, I knew I had to shift my focus. (obvi, there are many things we can use to distract ourselves from our lives and ourselves; however, for these writings, I will focus on food and out of order eating).
I wouldn't stop eating because there was nothing I enjoyed better, nothing I’d rather be doing. Food was the joy in my day. When I ate, I felt something, I thought I felt a connection to me. NEWS FLASH - food is not an authentic connection to ourselves!
It took me a moment to wrap my head around this. I also just thought that I liked food - Well, doesn’t everyone? Of course, liking food isn’t the problem, the problem is when we use it outside of it’s natural purpose.
Food's natural purpose is to fuel us; to keep us alive, Not to replace joy.
So what’s your payoff, Sis? What keeps you eating outside of hunger?
Oh la la, No Vacancy…
I live part of the year in France where the French are known for taking their enjoyment of food very seriously. So, like them, I’m totally normal to looove food, right? Nooot exactly. I’ve come to learn that there is a difference between diving deep into food and diving deep into my life. One can enjoy the food that the eating occasions brings, and one can use food as an excuse to numb, to stuff, and to avoid. Enjoying food is not the same as enjoying life.
For example, the French slow down, sit down, and focus on the eating occasion. They are present. Food is the fuel; life is the pleasure. When they are satisfied they move back into living life. So many of us turn to food as our enjoyment. This was me - I didn’t have anything I’d rather be doing, so eating was the pleasure in my day and, of course, it was hard to pull away.
I was basically eating alll daaay looong; it was all just way too much for my body.
I would feel full, crowded, uncomfortable, and then feeling crappy became my focus. I wasn’t available for much else. In general, I knew I was feeling disconnected from a life that I was proud of and that lit me up - disconnected from a life I desired. I didn’t realize that using food like this was getting in the way of the clarity I was seeking.
How could I design a life I wanted when I couldn’t hear the ideas? How could I even recognize my gut wisdom? There was no space for any of it - My thoughts and my body were literally consumed by food. I was keeping my gut full and busy with so much food it didn’t have the space to accept the clarity and wisdom it was designed for. There was no vacancy.
All the times I was eating when I wasn’t hungry were the times I was needing something else emotionally. All the times I spent thinking of and obsessing about food were the times I was distracting myself, keeping myself busy, staying in motion, keeping myself in my head and out of my body. Disconnected. Dissatisfied.
It became time for me to get honest and figure out what it was that I was hiding from. What was I afraid to discover? Even though I was praying and searching for direction, I was the one sabotaging sweet progress. I was the one not allowing the connection - not allowing stillness or the space that my body needed.
'Stillness is where creativity and solutions to problems are found.'
'Stillness Speaks.' Eckhart Tolle
Busy, Busy Bee...
So many of us have learned through society and families that if we aren't doing something, anything then we are wasting time, or even more detrimental, we are lazy and worthless. So many of us gain our importance from simply staying busy like bees. Eating, what an easy way to stay in motion, right?
Can you give yourself permission to stop, sit down; to become still and allow for, dare I say it, boredom? Invite it, welcome the long lost feeling of boredom. Try not to hurry to cover it up and get busy with unimportant tasks, so you in turn feel "important".
Do you even remember the last time you were legitimately bored?
Once you catch yourself and sit with the boredom and the unease of it, then it will get smaller, quieter and here you will connect to your true essence.
It's your mind telling you that you are bored and to 'fix' it with food and tasks, not your body; your body isn't hungry in these moments.
Silence the mind - honour your body - stop eating, be quiet, give it the space it calls for.
Start Small, Start Now...
When you rush your actions - you rush through life.
When you become still - you get to know yourself.
Tips. I’m into giving tips because it’s easy for me to say, ‘Just do this, do that,’ however, I know for me, I need practical examples. So, I’m going to start small for ya’ll. When you catch yourself wanting to eat when you aren't hungry, I encourage you to take these actions...
Slow your breaths...
O.k. so right here - please place your hand on your heart creating a physical connection to your body. Now take 3 breaths in and out, breathe deeply and slowly; (there’s no need to rush this,) take all the time you need to truly fill up your lungs and to empty them out completely. Taaake your time - that’s the point here. Just 3 honest inhales and exhales. Bravo, You!
What do you notice?
Next, try slowing your movements; literally, walk slower, talk slower, take more time before you respond. These are the small, yet powerful actions that start to bring you into connection to yourself. Nothing huge, or fancy; just slower, thoughtful actions.
Those are simple adjustments you can make now, and I promise you will gain immediate benefits. It will take practice and you won’t always catch yourself and that’s o.k. This is you creating new habits and reprogramming old behaviours. Keep at it, it will become your norm.
In this stillness, can you recognize 3 things that you enjoy doing outside of food?
Slow Your Flow, Yo...
Start taking notice of the intensity in your daily motions. Where do you get off on intensity? Which moments will you adjust and chill a bit, where can you literally slow your flow?
One major shift I made was to sit down while I eat. (and not in front of the T.V.) Standing and eating at the counter felt intense and charged. When I am sitting to eat, I am calm, present, I am still and connected. Connected to my meal. Present to the moment and to myself.
There are times when I want to eat outside of hunger; this is where I must take a time out. I stop what I’m doing. I even ask myself, ‘Why don’t I want to connect to myself right now?’ 'What am I avoiding?' I take that time to sit myself down. I count my breaths, I fill my body with space - not food - I listen for the wisdom. Maybe I hear it, maybe not, but in that moment I am not filling myself with unnecessary food. I am still and available.
So, Sweet One, ask yourself, 'Why don’t I want to connect to myself?'
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it takes a major effort to step away from the kitchen and sit down and do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! To find comfort in nothingness can be really uncomfortable and I’m here to tell you that you can do it.
Start by staring out the window, watching for birds, listening to the sounds around you. Practice twiddling your thumbs. Seriously, it used to be a thing; let’s bring it back! Nothing to do in those moments but to stare out the window and twiddle your thumbs. These are the moments your ideas can find you.
'In the slowness is where we connect to ourselves. In the stillness is where we hear the answers.' ‘Stillness Speaks.’ Eckhart Tolle
These old habits have worked for us; and once we get honest, we know that they are no longer serving us. They’re old and in the way and you know this, otherwise, you wouldn’t be searching the web for answers on why you can’t stop eating; and I wouldn’t be writing about it, right?
Crave Your Life..!
I once craved for the satisfaction that I thought eating gave me. Now I satisfy that craving with a life that I love. Now my days are full of things I enjoy doing and also there are moments of simple calm and quiet. Even the things I don't necessarily enjoy are still a part of some days, but I don't avoid them with food. I move through them with grace and space in my body. I do not lean on food for my entertainment nor my fulfillment and you'll find you won't either. So you see, you can stop eating, you so totally got this, Love!
I am beyond excited to know that you are reading this and are ready to make amazing shifts in your life and in your body. I am even more excited for you to create the moments in your day that fill your life with joy and laughter and all of the things you desire!
You deserve it!
Wishing you all the pleasure, (outside of food)!!!
~ C. xx