I took this blog post down because I was embarrassed but I am putting it back up.
Cheers to Self Love, Self Acceptance, Self Compassion, & Self Appreciation
I am loving my self in this moment in deeper ways that I have in the past.
I love food. I always have. When I was a little girl I used to dance around the kitchen whenever I smelled something good cooking. Food became a consistent comfort. Something that I knew I could rely on to make me feel better no matter what happened.
Growing up there were a lot of circumstances beyond my control that didn’t feel good so I learned to self soothe in ways by controlling what I could.
I started cooking at a very young age. I liked to make my own meals and I loved cooking for other people. This eventually became an issue when it was pointed out that I was overweight and needed to slim down. Around the age of 9 or 10 I was taught how to read nutrition labels and calculate calories. I was encouraged to walk around the block and sports were not optional. I’ve always been naturally athletic but not interested in the competitive nature of sports.
Growing up with a set of very physically fit parents and older brother, being overweight felt like a sin. It felt almost as if everyone who I met was angry with me for being “fat”. I remember praying to God that I would lose weight when I was in the 5th grade. At this time I was not really concerned with the way I looked, I more just wanted to make my parents happy. One night I made a tape recording of myself saying “I will lose weight, I will lose weight, I will lose weight” continuously and listened to it in my headphones while I went to sleep.
By the end of my 5th grade year I developed an eating disorder (which I didn’t know at the time). I had lost weight, I went from being chubby to tall and slim. Other kids, teachers, coaches, even family started treating me a lot nicer. Instead of being made fun of people were telling me that I was beautiful and for a moment I felt like I fit in. That is until I switched schools and the eating disorder got out of hand.
By the time I was 12 I had a full fledged eating which involved compulsive over eating and purging. I became dangerously thin all the while still being forced into sports. I looked extremely unhealthy and once again I felt very isolated due to my appearance. It again felt like everyone I met was angry at me for being sick (too thin). I knew I had a problem but I didn’t know how to stop. At such a young age this addictive behavior pattern felt beyond my control and I didn’t know how to ask for help, so I didn’t. I lied and said that everything was ok. I snuck food and hid in the bathrooms and did a lot of other things. I was very anxious, very depressed, and very alone. This was my world for a couple years.
Gradually I weaned myself into relative normalcy and by the time I went to college I let the disorder go.
I never officially went to treatment for it or sought counseling. The thing about addiction is that it doesn’t really go away. It can lay dormant for awhile and seem like it’s gone but whenever something triggering happens the same behaviors can creep back up.
I recently noticed that although I may not be purging I do binge eat. This behavior doesn’t necessarily control my life but it is disruptive. There are phases I find myself eating until the point my stomach hurts and I’m extremely uncomfortable. If I do this late at night, I often stay up watching television because it’s difficult to go to sleep with such a full stomach. I continue on like this until reality sinks in and I notice a shift in weight.
This cycle typically ends with harsh self talk and restrictions until the weight is lost. This time, however, I approached things differently. Instead of being hard on myself, I chose to investigate.
Why I am eating when I don’t feel hungry? When my stomach hurts, why don’t I stop? Am I being present when I am doing this? Is there something else going on?
I found that a lot of times this behavior of binge eating occurs late at night when I am tired. Typically I don’t have the energy to read or draw a bath so I go to what’s easy, my first form of comfort: food. Then I eat, and eat, and eat until I am uncomfortably full. This tends to happen more when I have a lot going on.
Eating is my Vice. I eat when I’m sad, when I’m happy, when I’m bored, when I’m excited. You name it! That’s when I eat. I love food and I always will. In my human experience this is one form that I truly enjoy.
Moving forward I intend to create more conscious eating habits. Not restrictive! CONSCIOUS! This means eating what I want to eat, when I want to eat it so long as I’m fully present while doing it. In my full presence I can be aware of when my body has had enough, when I’m full.
I love the way I’m treating myself through this and I am loving this approach. I’ve been much kinder and compassionate towards myself this time around.
Cheers to growth, self love, self acceptance, and self compassion!