Saturday, January 3, 2009

My precious food...

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.



Nicole said...

Hello. I have been blogging too, i often find myself skipping out on the blog when I am doing "crappily" at being healthier. Having weight loss buddies sure does help! Keep on it, sister.

SeaShore said...

You definitely need another way to find that comfort. Replace food. I say that only because I have the same issue. I'm still looking. I suspect that ideally, for me, it would be a matter of dealing with each problem that causes me to eat to avoid my anxiety. I'm not sure that will be realistic for me, so I'm looking for a substitute. Lots of people have hobbies for that reason! (And some people's hobbies are fitness related.)

Good luck, and thanks for such an open post.

rochelle bell said...

"My "precious foods" also represent monetary success for 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"

Perhaps you need to look at each thing seperately. So in the above example, when you have some extra money, how else could you use it? A piece of clothing, jewellery (I know alot of women love the pandora bracelets, a charm as a reward instead.) something tangible as a reminder of your success?

Lake Mary WWLeader said...

I applaude your frank and honest words in your blogs. I would like to suggest that you revist the Reframing Tool For Living. It sounds like it might be a good starting point for where you would like to go. Let me know if it helps.

MaryFran said...

For me, just understanding that I have this problem is sometimes enough. I don't know that I'll ever beable to totally eradicate my dependance, love and addiction to food...but knowing it's there helps me overcome it!

tisha85 said...

I'm still looking for a quick fix. Food has always been a part of everything for me. Not even a margarita can replace it. I have a food addiction. Loved your post and your honestly. I hope that I can achieve your success one day. Despite your precious foods Cara look how AMAZING you have done. It's truly inspiring.