I received an email from a client this morning. I’ve been working with her for about nine months on breaking free from binge eating and healing her relationship with herself. In her sunrise note to me, she shared the following:
“I sat down with my breakfast and half way through I had the thought, “I am full. I really, really don’t want to eat the rest of this.” So I walked my half-eaten bowl into the kitchen, slapped on some plastic wrap and placed it in the fridge. Done. Holy what!?!”
Yes! Yes! Yes!
I knew this day would come for her. If you struggle with disconnected eating, I know this day can come for you too.
Just a note, if you are one of the many people whose form of disconnected eating leans toward restriction – this story would be same if she ate her entire bowl and then realized she was hungry for more and then ate more. Same coin. Different sides. I’ve been on both.
Right before I entered eating disorder treatment for the second time I was standing in the kitchen at my office (back when I had a 9-5). I had gotten into work before any of my coworkers and went to put my lunch in the refrigerator. As I did, I saw that there was a lot of leftover bean dip and pita chips from a party the office attended the day before.
At that party I had tasted the bean dip and loved it. It was creamy, salty, and delicious. The pita chips were homemade, and tasted of really good olive oil. I also only allowed myself a few bites.
That next day, standing there alone in the office kitchen I took a bite. I took another. I went back to my desk and in the blink of my eye found myself back in the kitchen inhaling it. Repeat this a few more times. Desk. Kitchen. Desk. Kitchen. Stuffing myself. Anxious someone would come in. Feeling entirely out of control. Lacking all connection to myself, my heart, my stomach, and my soul. I binged.
That was years ago and since then I have worked hard to surrender my weapons and take up living in peace.
Today. Life, for the most part, and food are peaceful. Honestly and truly. And I know they can be for everyone who struggles this way.
Truth? We simply will not feel able to stop eating during a meal, even when we’re full, if any of the following are true:
:: We think shouldn’t be eating (this food, this amount, at this time) in the first place
:: We think the food = love, companionship, a hug, etc.
:: We are using eating to manage emotions we think are too powerful for us to handle
:: We are out of touch with our body’s wise cues
:: We are disconnected from the natural inclination to care for ourselves and at the mercy of our critic
:: We are, overall, underfed
My client’s experience at breakfast – her having that moment of fullness and making the choice to stop eating – tells me that none of these things were true for her, which tells me she is, as I knew she would be, waking up and really living life as a Well-Fed Woman.
She did not make this choice because she wanted to lose weight. She didn’t make this choice because she was following a diet. She was not trying to control herself or punish herself.
She was honoring herself.
:: We must legalize all food and all eating. Allow ourselves to eat anything, at any time, in any amount.
:: We must come to see that we are lovable (and we are love). When we feel lonely or any emotion, feel it.
:: We must practice, taking baby steps, coming home to our wise body, as it is, right now.
:: We must come to ourselves as a mother does to her child, with the utmost tenderness and care.
:: We must remember that food is good. Eating is good. Filling up is good. Living a life of just barely getting enough or striving to not be too much or eat too much is a recipe for living a half-eaten life.
Tell me. What does living a half-eaten life look and feel like to you? What are the signs and sensations a life Well-Fed? I’d love to hear your thoughts.