Why I overeat – Nutella and I
Why I overeat – Nutella and I
When I was a little girl I loved to sit down and eat Nutella (hazelnut cream) with a spoon straight out of a jar... I would eat till I felt full. Like, really full!
My family and others were amazed that I could eat Nutella without any bread and not get sick.
One thing was the satisfaction in my mouth, the sweet and creamy taste . . . but the other was to eat ‘till I was stuffed and really felt no craving any more.
Now, after years of ‘experimenting’ with food, a lot of my food habits have changed. In general I have a lovely, strong eye and a feel for what I cook and eat. I love cooking every day with fresh ingredients and joy.
I no longer eat fast food
I no longer eat gluten
I do not consume dairy
I do not like sugar
But still … sometimes I eat more than I need – I overeat.
These days I can even overeat on apples or other fruits. In truth it can be anything that is generally considered good for me.
So I ask myself:
Have I changed what I eat but not really my habits, why and how I eat?
And then I remember me as a little girl eating jar loads of Nutella. Later of course, Nutella became pizza, ice cream replaced pizza, followed by alcohol and a variety of other foods or drinks. So now, by most people’s standards, I am eating a very healthy balanced diet, but why do I still overeat?
For instance, sometimes I do not feel like having breakfast but I still eat it because it seems a ‘sensible’ thing to do, because I have to work the whole day and I don’t know if I will get a break to eat something … Or I take a second helping, even when I know I have had enough.
It seems to me that my food choices have changed, but not my relationship with food. It’s like I am still trying to get something from food that I do not get from me! OR Is it possible that, perversely, I actually do get exactly what I want?
What I do get is a feeling in my body of heaviness and tiredness. A physical fullness that allows me to seemingly ‘relax’, to sit back (and literally sit down) and to ‘let things happen’ around me.
When I overeat I can sit back and let the world be … somewhere out there. I can remain an inactive observer rather than an active player. So I have come to an understanding that:
I overeat to get dis-connected from feeling what goes on around me in the world.
Which leads me to an even deeper question: Why do I not want to feel everything I naturally can? Maybe it is because I do not like what I feel?... When I am honest I can say I know my relationships are holding back in closeness, to be more open, and I don’t like to feel how much I miss the depth of intimacy that would be possible. I also don’t like to feel the jealousy which comes through friends or which I feel from me against them sometimes. I notice the helplessness and hurts around me and in me, and no less, I don’t like to feel the coping-mechanisms we create to cover them up. These are areas of life that challenge me to be more, to speak up, to be the one that initiates a different way to be in life and take responsibility for that, and when I over-eat I can numb out from this awareness and feeling.
- Will my life change when I sit down, endure all of this and become dull?
- And for us all to consider: Do we make our living better by eating ourselves to the point of numbness?
- Is retreating and refusing to engage the answer?
I don’t think so.
What’s more, just because our awareness diminishes, the suffering does not disappear …
Saying yes to ME and to awareness
By not overeating, we say YES to our feelings, Yes to ourselves and Yes to the responsibility to bring about well-needed change in the world as we wish it to be. As a child I was overwhelmed by what I felt and I chose to numb those feelings. This then became a habit.
Now as an adult I can make a choice to feel, to be aware of what goes on around me and to accept that I am part of the whole. This is an amazing self-empowering choice, and the one I would never again trade for another jar of Nutella. Never!