When Food Is Love
I’ve been looking at my relationship with food in the last month. I am always health conscious when I eat, but I had come to see that my need to be so healthy was actually causing issues in my body. I have now cleared up the dermatitis on my face and scalp through working on my issues around my need to be so healthy. It was very much that I was coming from fear instead of love. Fear of contamination. Very subtle indeed.
This was exacerbated I think when I found out my friend was dying of pancreatic cancer at the start of the year, it set me into another tail spin on being healthy, in fact the day she died is the day I started a 5 day juice detox. Since that day I have put the weight back on that I lost, and then some.
I was exercising with a PT and had to stop, my adrenals were getting creamed, I just couldn’t lose the weight. I did more research and thought it had to do with my cortisol levels.
Then I started to get indigestion everyday. And felt bloated. I couldn’t work out why because I was eating so healthy.
I decided to start reading Geneen Roth’s books again, and bought Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything because it was the book I could get the fastest. I’ve read all Geneen’s books before, but this time I really got it.
I had never had a weight issue; I had prided myself on the fact I could eat what I wanted without putting on weight. But then I put on a lot of weight after I had an abortion. I thought it was hormonal; perimenopausal. I’ve looked at so many angles I just couldn’t find anything that shifted the issue.
Restrictors and Permitters
Geneen talks about how there are restrictors and permitters in eating. I’m a restrictor. I can restrict my intake of food and control it really well. I have iron will power. I can control cravings. I don’t mean anorexia, but more that I can stick to an eating plan. Restrictors believe that if they can control then they feel safe. My parents are restrictors and so is my first husband. Then my second husband came along and he is a Permitter. They are the ones who eat what they want when they want. They want to have a party with food. Eat everything they weren’t allowed to eat as a kid. They believe they can’t control so they might as well merge with the chaos.
So he hated my restrictions around food. He didn’t want to come home to eat a salad, he wanted a big hearty meaty meal. We always had to have lollies and chips and popcorn and coke. After my childhood and first husband it was as if someone was giving me total permission to have fun while eating, even if I felt guilty, it was easier to just buy the crap food and not get into a battle about how we should eat healthier. On some level my inner child was loving it because I got to eat all the foods I wasn’t allowed to eat on tap as a child.
Food as Love
Geneen has always talked about Food being Love. I never really fully understood this, I knew I was an emotional eater, to quell anxiety usually, but it wasn’t until I read these two lines in her book I really got it. –
“I am beginning to understand that the whole struggle with food is not about discipline, or self-control or bargaining with myself; its not even about food. It is a story – a powerful story- about loving and wanting and having.”
“When I told myself that this time I could eat what I wanted with no strings attached – I headed straight for the foods of my childhood I was never allowed to eat. It was as if in letting myself eat what I couldn’t eat as a kid, I thought I could get what I never got……..I needed to prove to myself that what I wanted most was not forbidden, but what I didn’t understand what that I didn’t want the cookies; I wanted the way being allowed to have them made me feel; welcomed, deserving, adored.”
So if I spent time observing the feelings I have about food. I realised when I eat a salad or something healthy I’m restricting myself, even though consciously I know I’m eating well, unconsciously I’m saying, see, I’ve eaten up all my vegetables, I’m a good girl, which always meant in my childhood that I was then allowed a treat. So when that treat doesn’t come now, I feel empty, as if something is missing. So the emptiness I equate to hunger so I eat more.
Because my emotions around food are all about deprivation, biologically my body goes into storing fat because it thinks its in a famine. More so this year than ever because of my friend dying and really wanting to be in control of my health.
I thought about how my feelings for nice food are no different than how I feel about other things. I realised I like buying nice food and really what Im saying to myself is that I deserve something of value, I want to be valued. I want to be important, I want to matter. All inner child feelings.
I don’t so much crave chocolate anymore, (I had worked on that already) but I seem to have a thing for scones at the moment, date scones. Even though I had stopped myself from having wheat, it was creeping in. So I got into the energy of it and I realised it’s a way of having a treat and still acting like I’m not really making much of an impact, sort of the invisible treat. As if I’m fooling myself into thinking its not really cake. Like the poor man’s substitute, so it didn’t really count towards being special.
I allowed myself to really feel what it is about cake and carbs that I associated with Love and Wanting and realised that those foods always made me feel special when I was a kid, as they were party foods. So eating those foods made me feel special, as if I really mattered and I was seen and valued and loved.
So the idea is to pull away the projections of all the feelings you have about the foods that have an energetic charge for you, and feel into it and explore where they really come from. They are inner child feelings, your inner child is still running the show.
By thinking eating cake is the only way you are allowed to feel special or loved then you aren’t going to give that up for any diet or restriction. The idea is to connect to the Love and allow yourself to have it, without having to eat the cake. Love that part of you that equates food with Love.
Eat What You Want
Geneen talks about eating what you want. I didn’t think I could do that (because Im a restrictor) because I felt I would be “self will run riot”, but by eating consciously, and not from a place of rebellion, you come to see that all food is Love and Love isn’t restricted to only food. Or whatever you project your deprivation issues onto, whether it be things or money or people etc.
So you can still eat from a place of loving yourself, and loving food, but not from a place of deprivation or rebellion.
Do you have any food restrictions that throw you into the yo-yo-ing of Deprivation? Or are you a Permitter? The party is at your house.