Thursday, January 8, 2015

Fear of Hunger

About seven months ago, I started on a journey with Ellen of A Balanced Table.  She got me thinking about food in a completely different way.  When she asked me to do a food journal, she didn't ask me to record my calories, she asked me to write down how a food made me feel after I ate it.  Seeing that written down on paper made it much easier to start removing foods that made me feel bad.  She didn't say, you can't eat that food.  She let me decide when I was ready to stop making myself feel crappy. 

I did really well for four or five months.  I wouldn't say I was suddenly the "perfect eater," but I had made changes to my daily diet that made me feel good and I even dropped 22 pounds without trying.  Then October arrived.  Halloween.  The candy started early in my office.  I would stop by a co-worker's desk and pick up one piece.  Then two.  Then four.  The spiral downward was pretty fast and hard.  Halloween really marks the beginning of the holidays now.  Thanksgiving is a month later.  Christmas.  On top of that, I had a death in the family, and a new addition.  So much stuff going on.  I definitely backslid.  I gained 5 pounds.  I wouldn't say my meals suffered, but I was allowing a lot more of those sweet snacks back into my life, especially at work.  I don't feel good when I eat that crap.  

Recently a friend also joined the Ellen journey and wrote this to me: ..."realized I have been living my life from the neck up... I don’t FEEL because it is just too painful (physically & emotionally). For a whole host of reasons. I am a master numb-er." Holy shit. Me too.

At first, I felt like I was afraid of the physical pain of hunger. Like, if I missed a meal or went too long between snacks, it would hurt to be hungry. But, let's be honest. Most of us reading this blog (we can afford computers and the internet), have probably never truly felt hunger. Not the painful hunger. The hunger that hurts your entire body. We don't know how that feels. At most, I've only felt a little grumbling in my stomach, which I immediately feed so that I don't have to feel any discomfort. So the only pain I could truly fear would be emotional pain. So I eat to numb that pain.

I am starting a kind of sugar cleanse type of diet. It is actually not too far off from the food I am eating now. I am trying to remove a few more problem foods and add more protein. Ellen has been great about not pushing me into things that I'm not ready to take on. I feel like I'm ready. I don't feel trigger-y at all. I guess I can't really trigger a binge if I've been on one for the last three months. I am hoping that as I strip away more and more of these food issues, I might actually get to the core of what causes me to eat the things I don't need. It might get ugly, but it probably needs to happen.

The next few months will be interesting. I hope you are all ready for this journey. I know I am!

Tired of being upside down...time to start paying attention to my feelings!

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