What to do When Food is Your Happy Place!
Updated: December 27, 2012
I don’t remember what was causing the tension to swirl through our house like the winds of autumn, sending emotional debris spinning through the air with such intensity that it seemed to smack up against me. What I do remember was what I felt like: confused and unsafe, as if the stories I could sense on the outside somehow got inside of me. I was helplessly floating in the chaos that surrounded and penetrated me. I was only four years old, but I remember the experience vividly.
I had to have relief. Make it stop! I had to close myself off, ground myself in my body, in Colette.
I knew just what to do. I picked up a cooking spoon that had sticky raw cake dough on it, and as soon as I put it in my mouth, I felt calm. Now, that feeling didn’t last, but it was very powerful. I had already discovered the connection between food and self-soothing. The fear melted away as the gooey, sweet mess on that spoon dissolved in my mouth and slid down my throat. I was “home,” in a safe place where that icky feeling of something being very wrong couldn’t get inside me again. That sense of physicality as the cake dough entered my body gave me a sense of substance. It made me feel whole, and secure.
It would be years before I understood this experience or its significance, but when I finally did, everything changed. I realized that the missing piece in the puzzle of my baffling relationship to food, eating, and weight was empathy. I was a person who felt too much, and I was using food to detour away from the awful feeling of not knowing where I ended and others began.
I shared this vivid memory in my new book, Weight Loss Who Feel Too Much because I know I am not alone. Food was my “happy place” and I found refuge in how textures and tastes made me feel. They filled me up and comforted me.
The first thing I did once I had this realization was to stop beating myself up about my weight and my relationship with food.
The first step you can do is to surrender to the fact you do this. Once you accept that you’ve been powerless over this behavior the amazing paradox is that the power to choose a different way is restored to you. A simple and easy thing you can do right away is to delay your “food now!” reaction. If you’re one of the People who Feel Too Much who have issues with being overweight, you need to ground yourself into a sense of physicality when you’ve been invaded and soaked in emotional energetic debris like a sponge. Breathing slowly and deeply on the spot before you put anything in your mouth for the count of 10 slows down the reaction and restores your sanity before you get into the eating frenzy that is inevitably followed by a bout of self hatred and a false hope that tomorrow you will magically never do it again.
In my free JumpStart Class there are powerful exercises to help you with this. Once you learn these new behaviors and do them with regularity your first thought may be food but your next one will be breathe…. Ahhh. Stay in the moment, breathe, and the need to ground with food will pass- I promise.
Join me and the others on JumpStart! To get access to JumpStart, pre-order my book and you will receive the free JumpStart online home study class with a support forum. Just go to my website. The offer is on the front page.
Love and Blessings,