Wow, Karyn, I think you're on to something. "I'm thinking that you still see certain foods as necessary to your well being and happiness." When I read your comment, those words stopped me in my tracks.
My "precious foods" are just that. They are my emotional tie to happiness. And I think this goes deeper than "comfort food". Thinking back to the happiest times in my life, I can tie each one of them to a specific food item or meal. Celebrations always rewarded with great food. Family gatherings (which are so completely rare in my family) all center around a great meal. Getting together with people I haven't seen in years—think big hearty extravagant meal. Something horrible happens in my life and I try to mend the hurt with those same "celebration" foods to try and bring back the happy times.
My "precious foods" also represent monetary success for me. I've never been the smartest with money so we've struggled from time to time over the years and as soon as we have some extra money, what do we do but go out and buy an expensive meal that we shouldn't spend the money on and of course I'll get the richest most decadent foods (naturally accompanied by the biggest and sweetest dessert on the menu). In our last house, the food pantry had two accordion doors. You know, I never could bring myself to close those accordion doors because that would hide the food. I had to see the food so that I could feel safe and secure. If there was food in the pantry, I felt safe and successful. That sounds so sad.
This blog has always been a place where I can pour out my honest thoughts and emotions, but with this post, I'm taking it to a whole other level. I really can't believe I'm being so completely honest. In fact, I will surprise myself if I actually end up hitting the "Publish Post" button when I'm done.
But this is therapeutic. So many of you have offered such sage advice to help me past this huge hurdle (which, by the way, looks more like Mt. McKinley rather than a little wooden hurdle). And every word has meant so much to me.
They say identifying the problem is half of the solution. So if this is the problem, then how to I solve it?
How do you change something that is so fundamentally ingrained into who I am?
My "precious food" helps me stay sane. It helps me cope with life. It helps me know that things will be alright. It helps me see both feet firmly planted on the ground. It tells me that no matter what happens in life, it'll always be there to make things better.
How do you solve something like that?
Is it even a solvable problem? Or is it a problem who's solution is a "work around"?
My first thought is to contemplate the next time I'm eating for any reason other than to fuel my body. Let's see, that's about 90% of the time. So it shouldn't be hard to spot. It'll still be hard to identify, though. I can always use the excuse—"well, I have to eat, you know".
Hmm. The more I think about it, the more I need to switch from looking at food as my savior to looking at other things to congratulate and comfort me. Other things to let me know that I'm successful. How do I even do that?
How do I have a celebration without involving food? What would I replace it with?
How do I comfort myself when I'm feeling down without food?
I can't imagine what could possibly replace food.
Let's see... there's buying clothes or shoes. Too expensive. There's going to see a movie (which I LOVE). There are only so many movies out there. There's exercise. I've heard that's great emotional fuel. I have been having alot of fun running lately. Maybe I could switch to exercise rather than food. But will it satisfy me the same way? I get the warm and fuzzy feelings after taking a few bites of something wonderful. Exercise sounds awfully rigid, not soft and cuddly.
Okay, so I'm half way through the solution. I've identified the problem. The rest of the solution is just going to have to come in time because it's not coming to me right now. What do you guys do to make yourself feel safe, wanted, secure, satisfied, comforted, and "right with the world"?
Maybe there is no solution. Or maybe the solution is already there, I'm just not seeing it. Or maybe the solution is just identifying the problem.