I’ve written a lot in the past about eating habits getting out of control when feeling emotional (or trying NOT to feel emotional), but I had an experience last week that was sort of new for me and it made me wonder if any of you have had similar experiences.
I woke up my own worst enemy and I quickly noticed that I was having an extra emotional day (I realized later it was probably largely hormonal, oops!), and knew I had to be careful and on the alert with food stuff. I tried to take some breaths and be gentle with myself, but I was in a bit of an inner-frenzy. I sat down to figure out what I wanted to have for breakfast and then I realized I was in a way sort of afraid to eat because I didn’t want to tip myself over into a binge-like state. Obviously, I didn’t want to set myself up for some behaviors like that, but fear of eating is definitely not good either!
I have in the past been restrictive in my eating (I wouldn’t recommend it!), but never noticed a hesitancy to start eating before the fact very often. It was almost like I was overly aware and knew myself so well that I was defending against my own past patterns and games before they happened-which I supposed is ultimately a good thing. Given my recovery and better understanding of how I work with all of this stuff, I fortunately am aware of what kinds of strong emotions, moods and situations set me up for overeating or negative food/body stuff that I know is not helpful to me. Unfortunately, unlike with alcoholism or other such addiction-like tendencies, I can’t not eat when feeling triggered. That’s not an option.
In the end, the voice of reason and good-sense was strong enough inside myself that I came to the conclusion that I would have to get over this moment of fear and trust myself with food. I thought ahead to what it would be like if I put off eating and got even more hungry than I already was…feeling starving and emotional—not good.
I’m not advocating that if you aren’t hungry to just eat because you think you should, but I knew I needed to proceed normally and eat as normally as I would on a day where I was feeling just fine. I was a bit cautious, but I kept reminding myself that depriving myself (and not trusting myself) was only going to magnify the uneasiness of the day and catch up with me later—somewhere a long the lines of what Geneen Roth says, every restriction has an equal and opposite binge.
Maybe because I knew I wasn’t feeling very in control of how I was feeling (which is okay, as we’ve talked about before), that I felt like I was going to be a big old mess when it came to eating a healthfully “controlled” amount? I was having a moment of not trusting myself around food, which since my recovery, hasn’t come up that much, so perhaps the novelty made me extra aware of it. Either way, I got through the day and talked to a friend and it was more or less alright. I ate normal meals, went for a walk and took a lot of pauses and deep breaths until I got out of my little funk.
Have you ever been sort of afraid to eat? —Morgan