Wednesday, May 11, 2011

how do we fill the empty spaces

I've been reading Women Food and God, and while I'm not finished yet, I think I can recommend it now to those of you who have food issues such as compulsive eating or perpetual dieting.

The God in the title is not necessarily God that sits up in the clouds and watches over us, but more like a shorthand for that essence of the divine, however you may find it. Whether in nature or your babies or your work or, yes, even your religion.

When I am in a place of stress (the last week or so at work has been tough) I have a tendency to wake up at around 2:30 in the morning with two choices: eat something or have a minor panic attack. More often that not, I go for a bowl of cereal. But I was so disgusted with myself a couple nights ago that I refused to eat. I just sat in the dark in the living room trying not to go crazy. Then I remembered that I had bought this book a couple months back, but had been avoiding reading it. It was time to start. I read for about an hour before my eyes told me it was time to go back to bed, and while my compulsive eating hasn't been immediately cured, I feel like I might be on the right road.

I also feel like this won't be easy. I will get off track and have to be gentle with myself and bring myself back. Over and over again. And again. And again.


I dreamed about Jeff last night, a man who I used to work with until he took his own life some months after having gastric surgery to lose weight. I wrote about him here. I can't remember much about the dream, only the sadness that came after I woke up and remembered he was gone.


I suppose I should say more about the book... the author talks about listening to your body. She provides some general practices for exploring why we eat when we aren't [physically] hungry and what we might be spiritually hungry for. She talks about accepting yourself, not in the sense of settling for or altering your expectations, but embracing, and loving. Which, frankly, is really fucking hard to do for some of us.

She hasn't use the word abuse yet, but I think that's what I'm taking from it. That by eating the way I do, I am abusing myself, several times a day. The trick is to learn that I deserve better from myself.

That's not her message though -- she talks about dieting as self-torture more than eating, and that eating compulsively is a means of escaping... whatever it is we think we need to escape. And that we really are strong enough to face head-on the feelings we are escaping.


Sarcastic Bastard said...

Thanks for the tip on this book, Steph. I am a binge-eater.

Bethany said...

Hey Steph, I love this author, so glad she is getting more main stream. I have an audio program of hers that's amazing. When food is love. I donated it to the library, otherwise I'd have sent it to you.
I finally went to OA for some help a while back. One of the things I decided to do was not eat after dinner. I too get up in the middle of the night and eat just to calm myself down. I don't do that much anymore, though still sometimes. You are right about the practice. It's just something you have to do over and over and be gentle with yourself. Train yourself the other way. I keep thinking now when I turn to food, is this the woman I want to be? Because if it is, I am reinforcing it every time I eat to fill a void. It's tough stuff. Good for you for working on this. I'm cheering you on buddy.

Mwa said...

I've had that book on my wish list on Amazon for the longest time. It sounds wonderful. I could probably do with it right now, as I go between starving and binging all the time.

Petit fleur said...

Tried to comment on this a while ago, but blogger was down... I've heard from a very reliable source that this book is awesome and may have saved said person's life.

Proud of you for reading it. I may pick up a used copy also. I wish I didn't have to watch my pennies so closely. sigh.