Our issues with food, weight and body image are really the body’s cry for help. Our struggle with food and emotional eating is a red flag warning us that we are not listening, nurturing, appreciating or loving ourselves. It is the inner self saying “Pay attention to me now!” There is an inner war going on and instead of engaging with it we disconnect. Our mind tells us we are hungry but it is really the Soul that is starving.
You are not alone!
I have struggled with issues and emotional triggers that have sabotaged my life and happiness for 40 years. I have battled with emotional eating and bulimia; it was my deepest shame and my darkest secret. No one knew, not even my husband!!! I felt flawed, broken, not good enough and a failure. When I think back to the amount of time I spent focusing on food; hiding my eating, shame and guilt; the distractions it caused in my daily life and the money spent, I realized how much of my life was lost.
My emotional eating began to surface when I was in high school but the emotional trauma really began when I was 11 years old. I learned that sad or unpleasant emotions were feelings that had to be hidden and not expressed. I was expected to be strong and I grew up feeling lonely, rejected, not good enough and unloved. On some level I did know that I was loved and cared for but I always felt that I was second place and I tried hard to win affection and to be better.
As a child I was quiet, shy and teased about my looks! This led me to withdraw even more into myself. At an early age I was often left alone at night and on weekends to care for my younger brother. It was then that food became my best friend and I used it to fill the loneliness, inadequacies and emptiness inside me. I began to eat more and more at night and started putting on weight. I felt uncomfortable in my body and started to become even more self-conscious about myself. Being an athlete helped to control the weight gain for a while but as the overeating began to escalate the pounds began to show and I started to dislike my body. Being an athlete also led to a more distorted self-body image and a great deal of pressure to be thin. Being overweight was not an option for me; physically, mentally or emotionally so I began to restrict and hide my eating during the day only to binge and over eat at night in secret.
There were periods of anorexia early on but bulimia gave me a feeling of satisfaction, comfort and pleasure. It took away my loneliness and insecurities temporarily. Binging and purging became an escape, a way to ease the pain and stress, a way to hide from and numb my inner feelings but I didn’t feel safe in my own body. Food was my drug of choice and I could easily have several episodes a day. I would eat until I felt physically uncomfortable yet I still kept eating. It was like being pummeled and swept away by a strong wave but when I came back up for air the shame and guilt would come back. The compulsion and obsession to binge was so strong I thought there was something physically or emotionally wrong with me.
The urge to binge was so powerful that food consumed most of my thoughts. I was out of control and purging was the only way of releasing my emotions and stress without really having to deal with them. But just like any substance abuse addict the emotions and problems are still there and they became worse as I tried to push them further and further down.
Deep down I disliked myself and despised my body, I was very critical of myself and full of negative thoughts and self-loathing. My diet was very restrictive, limited and unsatisfying. My secret life with food was a whole different beast. Food was my best friend and yet my dreaded enemy.
I was so disgusted with myself for not having the will power and self-control to fix and stop my shameful behavior. Slowly I was becoming more and more depressed and isolating myself from emotional connections with others. I was heading down a path of self-destruction, slowly killing myself physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Why couldn’t I fix myself?
Although I have a master’s degree in nutrition and taught nutrition for 30 years I still could not get a grip on my bulimia and I was hitting rock bottom. I thought I just had a food and eating problem, I felt very isolated and thought I was the only one suffering with a eating disorder. What I discovered was much more. I turned to food for comfort and escape from the pain of emotional issues. I ate to feel whole and fill a void but as I began to transform my life I realized that food was not the answer or the solution. It was time to change my relationship with food but more importantly it was time to change my relationship with myself and my body. Once I let go of the shame and guilt surrounding my eating disorder and addressed my emotional issues I finally was able to break free of the strangle hold food had over me.
So after 40 years of struggle I met a coach who helped me to understand the cause for my bulimia.
I began to detox and let go many old negative beliefs, emotions, stories and unfulfilled relationships The most powerful step for me was to approach my bulimia with kindness, gentleness, acceptance and forgiveness. The burden of shame began to lose its grip and I started to view food in a whole new light. When food becomes the solution to your problems you don’t address the underlying causes, when you run and hide from your feelings they follow you everywhere. When you become accustomed to ignoring the true needs of your soul you begin to head down a path of self-destruction. Once I learned to listen to what my soul was saying my transformation began to happen.
My mission is to empower and inspire women to go beyond their cravings and emotional triggers to help them reclaim their body, health, and lifestyle they desire.
Is your relationship with food nourishing or punishing?
If your struggles with food and emotional issues are causing you to suffer I can help. Stop beating yourself up with diet and exercise plans that leave you feeling frustrated and disappointed. If you want to understand what you are really hungry for and where that hunger comes from take the first step and schedule a free 30 minute breakthrough session with me.
– Lorrie Beck