This is something that Geneen Roth posted on her Facebook page last week that really spoke to me:
“Most of us who have challenges around food are convinced we love food. We love eating. But when you love something, you pay attention to it. When you love something, you take time with it.
Notice, today, how it is with you and food. Do you actually pay attention to the food in your mouth for longer than the first second of the first bite? Do you follow the taste all the way through, notice how it changes? Do you allow yourself to actually HAVE the food or are you busy rushing, standing up, talking on the phone, at your computer, doing errands that you miss it–and want more. If you keep missing it, you keep wanting more, as anyone would. Give yourself the gift of having what you have. On every level…”
Last year, I basically read the complete works of Geneen Roth over the course of six months. Much of what I talk to my therapist about is stuff related to disordered eating. And part of really being involved in therapy, I have found, is that I am either sitting in a chair in her office talking to my therapist, or I am thinking in some way about what we have recently talked about. Reading Geneen Roth’s books really helped to supplement a lot of what my therapist and I spent the second half of 2012 talking about.
This quote really said something to me because I profess to love food. And I have to admit that I claim to REALLY love fast food. I say I love McDonald’s fries and Chick-fil-a nuggets and Arby’s potato cakes. But when I hit the drive thru on my way home from work and inhale my entire meal before I make it home (as an example, I live maybe a mile from the McDonald’s, so “before I make it home” is not far), I am not loving food. And I am not showing much love for myself either. I am feeding into the belief that I am not worth the time it takes to sit down and enjoy my meal without any other outside distractions.
This week, I have been making more of an effort to slow down and actually taste my food. That is not to say that I have not reached for something quick on more than one occasion. But I have taken the time to chew my food, while sitting somewhere other than my car, and I have really noticed that when I allow myself the time to enjoy my food, my inner dialogue is no longer a frantic thought about what I can eat next. Instead, I have been able to eat my meal and be done with it.
The past year or so of my life, as you all know, has been full of change. As a non-emoter, I have not necessarily known what to do with all the emotions that I have had bubbling to the surface. When I have felt anger or sadness or jealousy or guilt trying to break through, I have done what any good compulsive eater does and used food to push down those feelings and numb them. In the past few weeks, I have been trying to feel my emotions more. This is still really hard for me, as my tendency when things get too “real” is to want to turn off the emotion with food. But this week, I did not give in to that impulse. This week, I didn’t use food in that way. And I have to admit that it felt amazing.