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Feelings of Gratitude for Feelings of Fullness
As I sit at my table, bentching(saying the after blessing prayer) over the meal I just ate, I can’t help but to be overwhelmed with my feelings of gratitude for this food and this full belly.
I remember a darker time, a scarier time, when I could never get that full sensation.
Their wasn’t enough food.
It wasn’t because I didn’t have enough food, it was because I didn’t allow myself enough food.
Each meal time, although my body desperately wanted one more bite, two more bites, a whole plate full more, please anything, my brain told me “good job,” “just keep going,” “you can do this” or even worse “you don’t deserve to feel full.”
Now looking back on it,
I felt I didn’t deserve to feel full of anything. My needs seemed more like annoyances for those around me. Having needs was like having a weakness.
So to develop any parable of how to play that out in my physical world, felt like I hit the jackpot.
To restrict felt so strong, so powerful. No one can make me eat. No one knows my inner battle. It’s my own to hold.
When clients describe their food struggles to me, I feel like I may be wearing X-ray vision glasses, where I can see that specific eating encounter they are discussing is not what it appears.
We play out our dysfunction in other relationships in our lives, including the relationship with food.
Until you get to the root cause, and realize why you can not meet your needs or fill your stomach up with food you enjoy, it is going to be very hard to heal.
I write this as I sit in my house. The house I dreamed of owning since I can remember. It wasn’t until I consciously noticed that I felt I didn’t deserve, that I was able to start making real changes in my life. I urge you, If you are struggling with this, you can heal, you just need to start peeling back those layers.
Restricting and binging behaviors do not exist in a vacuum. We engage in these behaviors for a reason as I mentioned mine earlier. You are not broken if you do these things, you just might need some help figuring out why you do those things, and how to meet that deeper need.
As a former client puts it “For me, it’s a part deep inside that’s hurting and throbbing. I can only feel it when I really tune into it on a deep level. It’s asking for love and approval and acceptance. Its afraid of judgments and being rejected. For me, an empty stomach means I am good, I am worthy, and I have self control.”
When I asked this client how an empty stomach feels now that her eating disorder is less of an issue, she answered “lol hungry, it means I need food.” I responded “so that’s a huge difference!” And she said back “But I am not going to lie, sometimes it still gives me a high.”
Yup – these voices don’t just disappear, they are usually trying to help us on some level. The amazing thing is is that when we get the help we need, we can replace the eating disorder thoughts and behaviors with things that actually do help us. Restricting or bingeing may feel like they are helping us in the moment because of the temporary sense of relief or high we get, but it doesn’t last, and our core issue is still sitting there, staring us in the face, asking for some real help.
This world is a world of tikkun – fixing. I know it’s hard to push and keep trying, but really, really, really, at the heart of everything, is the yearning for fixing. Just by showing up and trying to fix, is its own form of fixing. Don’t ever forget that! Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional – please don’t stay stuck in suffering forever – the world needs you!
Gila Glassberg is a Master's level registered dietitian and a certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. Asa teenager, she was faced with constant ha talk, body shaming and obsessive guilt around food, she smuggled with disordered eating.This is what propelled her into the field of nutrition. She uses a on-diet, weight-neutral approach called Intuitive Eating. She helps growth oriented women break out of chronic dieting, and regain clarity into what is really important to them.
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