Have you read Geneen Roth’s Women, Food and God?
Some of you know that food is probably the most prevalent recurring struggle in my life.
As Roth describes it, food can be the doorway to a lot of learning. It was validating to read her work and discover similarities to what I’ve been learning and applying recently.
Some people looking at me from the outside think I’ve figured out how to count calories just right, or found the right program. People that know me better, realize that the 100 pounds I’ve lost is only an outward sign of a bigger change in how I approach life. The biggest lesson has been one about connection. I talk about connection as the elixir for many human struggles. I propose that most of those struggles fall away, or appear less…strugglish…when we are deeply connected to ourselves, our world, God or whatever you choose to call that powerful force that connects and creates.
Roth discusses how those of us who turn to food are choosing it as a means to turn away from pain or angst. We turn to it trying to feel filled up, not when we are physically hungry, but because we haven’t connected to our center; to the deep source that fuels us. The method of disconnection can take many forms; shopping, TV, alcohol, but the effect is still the same.
I noticed the phrase “intense epic battle sequences” on the jacket of a movie the other day. It made me smile. The food struggle has seemed like a looming epic battle for most of my life. Lately, I’ve wanted to shed the battle part. I’ve felt a shift. I’ve noticed that this food thing is starting to feel more like an epic learning sequence. As I’ve looked at how and why I use food the way I do, I’ve learned to shift not only my eating patterns, but my living patterns. What started out as a search to find the “best” diet program became a discovery of who I am and how my patterns are affecting me. It did yield significant weight loss, but the unexpected result was a life with more ease and happiness. At the outset I thought I would get that WHEN I became thin, not because of the learning I would do on the way down the scale.
So where are you in relation to yourself? Are you connected and engaged? Are you seeking outside yourself for the next right answer about your struggle with food?
Trial and error with the way to eat is necessary to find what works best. However, without an intention to connect and truly listen, the trials won’t yield much insight about what works best for your body. What steps can you take today to pay attention to how food affects you? Do you know when you’ve had enough? After eating certain foods do you always feel really good, or really sluggish? Are you able to make connections to why you eat?
What would change for you if you took a few minutes each day to be still and truly listen to you? Would you hear the lurking voices that say you’re not good enough….things will never change? What would happen if you were kind to that voice, and the person who carries it? What if you stopped punishing and started appreciating? All of your experience is beautiful and necessary. Good can come from all of it, if you gently take care of, rather than covering up, the uncomfortable and the hard.
It does not have to be a battle.