The other day I paused as I opened the box of chocolate chip Cliff Bars and asked myself if my stomach was even hungry. The answer was no, I was at a 6 or 7 on the hunger/full scale. When I asked why I wanted a 2nd Cliff Bar, sadness crept up to my chest from my gut. I didn’t want to feel it but knew it was the first step to freedom from the desire to eat and the freedom to identify what I was really craving. That feeling of longing is one I avoided for years. One reason was that I couldn’t pause long enough to identify the feeling, I just stuffed food in my mouth at the first hint of discomfort. Second, if I felt emotional pain, I didn’t believe I had the power to stop the pain and satisfy my true hunger.
I closed the kitchen cabinet and allowed the sadness to speak. I listened. What I heard was a longing for freedom. I absolutely adore my kids but I was craving a few hours to myself. I need peace and quiet, fun, social activity with friends (sans kids), I need to go to concerts and go crazy. My desire to overeat dissolved when I listened to what my spirit was saying. With my channel now clear, power flowed through and I knew the obvious, simple solution. I can get a babysitter for a few hours so I can have some free time to myself… without guilt.
You’ve been depriving yourself with every binge. Every desire to eat outside of stomach hunger is an opportunity to hear what you are truly craving in your life. Satisfying your aching soul with true nourishment dissolves the desire to overeat. What is your spirit trying to tell you? Get quiet and listen……
If you are a compulsive eater, you have experienced enough self loathing to last a lifetime. My self hate grew with each compulsive bite. Every time I looked in the mirror, every time I tried on jeans and they were too tight, every time I compared myself to skinny girls, I hated myself more. I was so angry with myself for overeating after every firm resolve to stop. It’s crystal clear in retrospect that the anger did not control my eating or help me lose weight. I read books by Louise Hay, Judi Hollis and Sondra Ray that convinced me to flirt with forgiveness. I was so afraid that if I forgave myself for bingeing, then I would continue to binge, as if forgiveness was permission to continue harmful behavior. I confused forgiveness and self- acceptance with staying stuck. I was afraid that forgiving my self meant that I was just making peace with being overweight. I learned that forgiveness addresses past behavior, and was the invitation to stop hurtful behavior in the future.
For many years, forgiveness made me feel vulnerable, as if anger was emotional protection. The anger at others, and especially at myself, was like a brick wall I built around my heart, keeping me alone. When I began to forgive myself, the wall started to crumble. I began to feel warmth from the light shining through and it felt comforting and safe. The truth about forgiveness is that it enables the healing that melts away fat. If I could have stopped overeating years ago I would have. I tried every method with all the strength I could muster and bingeing was just inevitable at times. Forgiveness puts the brakes on the runaway train of compulsive eating. Forgiveness is power. Forgiveness is the salve that soothes your self inflicted wounds. When you practice forgiveness, you begin to release the weight of the past from your body.
I met Marianne Williamson last weekend at the Mystical Journey Bookstore in Venice, CA, and she explained that destructive behavior emerges from an inner wound. If you can’t forgive the adult you are today, identify the core inner wound when you first started compulsively eating. That is the wound that is crying for comfort each time you want to binge. Begin to comfort yourself with forgiveness instead of food. You CAN be free.
The concept of eating when you are hungry and stopping when full always made sense to me, if it was only that easy! I tried for years to wait for the hunger and eat moderately. At times I could wait until my stomach felt empty but then I usually overate or totally binged. The truth was, feeling hungry was scary for me. With a less than full stomach came anxiety. I believed that I needed a full stomach to ground me and to fill the emptiness in my gut. For years, “hungry” meant empty, vulnerable, alone and weak. No wonder I felt anxiety waiting for hunger!
What I discovered when I got pregnant with my first child was a reminder of what I had forgotten. My gut is where God lives. It’s where the still small voice comes from when my head is quiet enough to listen. Positive energy is flowing through my body at all times. The same creative intelligence that beats my heart with no thought from my mind is sending me a hunger signal from my stomach when it needs food. “Hungry” is a natural message from a Higher Power telling me when to eat.
I like using the hunger/full scale. A “0” is ravenous and a “10” is painfully stuffed. I never let myself get to a “0”. I have sincere respect for my body and like to feed it when it needs food. And I still love to eat! I like to eat at a “2” or “3” which means I don’t feel food in my stomach from the last time I ate. I like to stop eating around a “6” or “7” which means I’m satisfied but my stomach is not full. (I still feel like playing!) Since I started changing my beliefs about hunger, I welcome it. Whenever I feel energy move, hear a growl, or feel more space in my stomach, I’m reminded of the perfect organizing power of the divine inside my body.