What Feeds You?

If you’ve been reading Handprint Soul for awhile, you know that I’ve had problems with compulsive eating in the past. I’m not one of those people who wastes away when I’m upset; quite the opposite in fact. While I’ve spent lots of time researching the various genetic, nutritional, hormonal, emotional, and cognitive reasons for this and have taken steps to balance them, this tendency still pops up from time to time.

For most of the past year, I’ve had a good handle on eating intuitively. I lost 30 pounds last summer and felt free from any kind of food obsession. I felt fabulous.

I’ve been pretty munchy for the past couple months, especially the last few weeks, and I have a little bit of a “winter coat,” though I’m pretty confident it will go away in the spring. In the meantime, the couple extra pounds don’t really bother me, but the thoughts do. I don’t like thinking about food all the time. I’d rather think about art, writing, Sam, my friends, or just have a clear head sometimes. I don’t like it when food seems like the most comforting, exciting thing in my life. In the week before a party or planned dinner out, the thoughts of food keep popping in my head and don’t go away. I know this isn’t entirely under my control and that certain parts of my brain tend to be overactive, which is why I get “stuck” on certain thoughts (I’ve put lots of research into this.)

To a certain extent though, I can observe this happening and even talk back to these thoughts. One tactic I’ve been using lately is to think “What is feeding me today?”

If the only enjoyable parts of my day revolved around food, I know one of two things. Either I’m experiencing fear and avoiding thinking about something, or I’m not caring for my spirit.

This is tricky, because it changes every day. I love walks most days, but some days I’d rather paint, or read a book. Sometimes I just need to snuggle with my cat and write in my journal. Once in awhile I want to go out with friends, or be spontaneous. Sometimes, I’m just sad and need some comfort from something other than cookies. The other day, a snap of beautiful weather filled me like nothing I’ve felt in months.

If you struggle with food or any other compulsion, ask yourself what you get out of it and what you’re really missing. Can you give yourself what you really need? Is something off with your mood? Do you need more excitement or challenges in your life? Have you taken time to pursue your own interests? Do you take time for rest?

I’m still getting the hang of this, and I’m learning to eat intuitively during the winter and deal with low moods authentically rather than numbing them. This is a useful tool that I’m learning to use. I feed my body when it needs it, but I also try to feed my spirit just as often, with spiritual “meals” of walking outside, connecting with others, creating, and a little dash of adventure now and again.

Has anyone else had experience with this?

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Posted on February 20, 2012, in Happiness, Intuitive Eating and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I can relate! Thanks for sharing how you’re dealing with compulsive eating – I found it very helpful.

  2. My compulsive thinking has to do with adventure and holding back the urge to go travel the world…meet people, etc. Not sure if I should hold back or not!

  3. I totally understand this. I’ve vacillated between compulsive eating and compulsive strict eating. I’ve done a lot of work and still find myself experiencing ups and downs. I tend to do the opposite where I eat well in the winter and then let it go in the summer because food = fun (ha ha) Thanks for giving insight here and giving me something to think about. I would love to talk to you more in depth. If you are interested, shoot me an email. Xo

  4. I’m having a bit of trouble leaving you a comment. Forgive me if this comes through twice.

    I totally understand what you are saying here. I’ve vacillated between compulsive overeating and compulsive strict eating for many years. It has been a wonderful teacher and like you I’ve done a lot of healing and sometimes catch myself running through my old patterns.

    I would love to talk to connect and talk with you. If you’re interested shoot me an email.
    Xo

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