Let's be honest.
If you're significantly overweight or even (gasp!) fat, one of the things that well-intentioned people tell you to do is to stop eating your feelings or to stop eating when you're not hungry.
That's kind of like when someone tells you that in order to lose weight, you should start eating more vegetables.
Every time someone says that I secretly want to roll my eyes and sarcastically exclaim, "Really?!?! That's the key to being thin? Why haven't I heard this before?"
The concept of eating only when you're hungry isn't lost on me. And if you've been reading my blog for long, you know that it's kind of like finding the gold at the end of the rainbow - at least for me. I'm always looking for ways that I can stop eating when I'm not hungry - but I can never seem to find it...at least not for long.
Last week, I referenced a really emotional discussion that I had with my mom - one where we talked about some sexual abuse that I experienced as a child that involves a close family member. We talked a lot about how I just don't feel like people get how absolutely traumatic that was - that my family just wants to brush it under the rug with the statement of "That person is sorry - can't you just get over it?" In fact, in the discussion with my mom, she chose to bring up other ways that I've said or done something that hurt my abuser. Umm...really? Does that justify what happened to me? Not so much. And OHMYGOSH- stealing a Barbie or pulling someone's hair isn't the same as being forced to do things that you don't want to do!
Gah. I'm getting upset again.
My point is, I walked in the door to my home while still on the phone with my mom. When I walked through the door and Joe saw my face, he asked me if someone had died. I shook my head, still listening to my mom, and finished my conversation. By the end of it, Joe knew what the conversation revolved around, but he was in the office trying to give me the space that I might need.
I got off the phone, grabbed a blanket from the couch, and made my way (past the office) to my bedroom where I bundled myself under the covers and started to sob. Joe came in quickly thereafter and comforted me (seriously, is he great or what?).
Later, he said, "When I saw you walking past with the blanket, I thought, 'Oh no - this is bad. She must be really upset.'"
That's because he's seen me do the same routine a few times in the past few months...maybe not the sobbing part, but the bundling underneath the covers part. I didn't even realize that I had started to use it as my go-to soothing method until Joe said something.
Why? Because I realized that bundling under the covers feels comforting and soothing. We even got a mattress cover that heats up (kind of like the ones here) so that the warmth and comfort can be available quickly.
Sometimes this is exactly what I need. But sometimes it isn't. I never usually know until I'm underneath the covers. Kind of like when I used to eat food as a way of comforting myself and then halfway through I'd realize that food wasn't at all what I wanted.
My needs haven't changed. I still don't really know how to comfort myself 100% correctly every time. What I've done is I've changed what I try first. Instead of making myself a burrito, I try making myself INTO a burrito. :)
Like I said, it sounds great to say "don't eat when you're not hungry" but without something to substitute it WITH, it's hard to do. Usually the follow up to "not eating your feelings" is to try to ask yourself, "What do I really want? What am I really upset about?"
What if you don't know the answers to the above? Or what if you do know but you can't get what you most want?
In the example from above, what I really wanted was feeling like my mother GOT how horrible it felt to be me. How horrible sometimes it still feels when my abuse isn't acknowledged. I know that she loves my abuser, but dammit, I'm her daughter too. No matter how hard I try, she just doesn't get it. And the sucky thing is, I can ask myself what I'm really upset about all I want; I can ask myself about what I really want. But if I can't ever receive what would comfort me the most, I am still left with disappointment and the urge to do something - anything - to make myself feel more powerful and/or soothed. To think beyond that feels too hard. That's where I've always gotten stuck before, thrown my hands into the air, and then helped myself to eating whatever was handy.
I've never been a mom, but when you have a crying baby, don't you run through a series of fixes before you (hopefully) find something that soothes? Maybe it's holding, burping, cradling, distracting, changing the diaper, and feeding. All I'm saying is that I'm choosing to make "feeding" as a potential fix further into the cycle of comforting things rather than the first thing I try.
I know - it's not mind shattering. But for some reason, that simple idea of realizing that I can substitute what I use first to soothe was a completely new idea.
What kinds of things do you try when you're trying to soothe yourself? Even if you usually don't comment, I'd love your input. I desperately need more things to add to my soothing rotation and I'm betting that other people could use your idea too.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Let's be honest.