Eating patterns and comfort eating
Eating patterns and comfort eating
Have you ever considered the reasons why you eat?
You may say that, “We all need to eat in order to live”, and while that is true to a certain extent, there is more to eating than meets the eye. How we eat and our drive to eat affects our lives and our well-being. We know that:
- Comfort eating
- Binge eating
- Needing to stop eating
- Emotional eating
- Destructive eating patterns such as anorexia and bulimia ...
... all indicate that our relationship with food is not going well.
Perhaps the problem is that we do not consider that we have a relationship with food ... we just eat it and use it for our purpose and needs, such as for distraction from our life and or looking for a stimulation in life.
Choices about food
What is really going on in our body when we eat chocolate?
The things we use food for are not always to our benefit. Would you consider it far from the mark to say that we use food against ourselves – that is, to actually hurt ourselves? Certainly this can be said with confidence if our eating patterns harm us or cause us to put on weight or even cause us to lose too much weight.
We are all taught from a young age that we should eat ‘healthy foods’, eat ‘a balanced diet’ and so on. But is the reason we eat, to ‘be healthy’? Or is the reason we eat all about comfort, or, emotional eating?
Is it possible we do not eat because we are hungry?
Could the reality be that we eat way too much food to actually experience true hunger?
This then begs the question:
Why do we eat so much?
One source suggests that:
“Powerful forces you don't recognise may be driving you to overeat.”
... according to a recent book, The End of Overeating, by former United States Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, Dr David Kessler, MD[i].
- The culprits: Fat, salt, sugar and brain chemistry
- His theory: ‘Hyperpalatable’ foods calm us down and make us feel good
Kessler explains that we eat because we ‘get a hit’ from the food the same as a drug addict does, and we keep going back for more.
But what’s underneath this needing, ‘a hit’?
Anne Dranitsaris and Heather Dranitsaris-Hilliard[ii] state:
“We eat when we're hungry, we eat to celebrate and when we indulge, food is our best friend.”
So the question we need to ask is:
Why is food, "our best friend"?
- Does food comfort us and give us a warm feeling?
Does it give us a brief ‘high’ that lasts in the mouth for a few seconds?
What are we doing with food?
- Could it be that we all fool ourselves as to why we eat what we eat?
Could the truth be:
We use food to make ourselves comfortable.
Why would we do that?
Why do we use food as a reward?
What is going on when we eat for reasons other than what our body truly needs?
There is a whole health, nutrition and diet industry, a multi-billion dollar industry out there to support us to fool ourselves. They all tell us what and when to eat, but none of them tell us that:
We eat to not feel our disconnection
from the love we truly are.
Is this too much for us to hear? Consider the possibility that we are actually a whole lot more than we appear – that there is so much more to us than what we see and what we live every day.
But how can we find the truth of this for ourselves?
I used to be 44kg heavier than I am today, so I understand comfort eating really well. I would put on a movie or a good TV show and eat my dinner, then eat a bag of Tortilla chips then round it off with chocolates and maybe some biscuits. An hour later I’d want more, and the more TV I watched the more I wanted. I wanted to feel more comfortable about my weight, my body and the way I was living.
I did not want to feel how disconnected I was. When I started to connect with my body, I became open to feeling more and, yes it was uncomfortable to do that, but the discomfort was well worth it.
How did I start to connect with my body?
I began by choosing a simple gentle breath. The gentle breath is a short meditation which develops a connection to ourselves. As we build a connection inside us this way, stopping two or three times a day for ten minutes, we can begin to feel how to bring this connection with our body into our everyday life.
The gentle breath was just the beginning for me in how I connected with my body.
Making things very practical, I brought the feeling I had during the meditation into how I opened each and every door. I felt my hand on the door handle, placing it there with infinite care and tenderness, delicately opening the door and still more delicately bringing my hand away.
This brought a real connection with my body, and with the connection to me from deep inside. I could say, “Door handles changed my life”, but it was how I ‘handled the handle’ that did it.
I then used that same very practical connection with other things that I touched, like the keyboard, the telephone, how I cooked and how I ate. I just kept making it a very practical tool to keep me aware of my body and just how tender and delicate I can be.
It doesn’t matter what gender you are, everyone can bring this level of gentleness to themselves and to the way they live.
Eat to support your inner connection
It’s great to discover for ourselves that disconnection gives us a relationship with food that does not serve us. It drives comfort eating, binge eating, emotional eating, over-eating and destructive eating patterns such as anorexia and bulimia.
We can develop a true relationship with food that supports us to be the love we are, naturally so.
Returning to your essence
Getting to know your essence is about understanding your breath. When you choose to breathe the yumminess of your own breath you can begin to feel and live full of yourself without needing anything else.