While sitting at my desk today, a co-worker came by and held up a large canister of assorted miniature candy bars and offered me a snack. I held up my hand and declined. I then went on to explain my recent quest to lose weight and the changes I’ve made to my diet to assist me in reaching my goal. I took a bite out of the carrot I brought for lunch.
While chewing the carrot, I noticed and odd feeling and did a quick check-in with my self. I realized that a multitude of emotions were flowing through me: anger, resentment, frustration, boredom, deprivation, emptiness, and anxiety (to name a few). Could this be withdrawal I’m going through? I missed eating, the instant “ahh” sensation that happens when I put a favorite food in my mouth, and feeling satiated. I was suffering and I didn’t like it.
I’d like to tell you now that I am no stranger to the process of withdrawal. I have quit alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, and coffee before. I understand the feeling of intense want, when all you do is think about the substance you crave. I know that it comes and goes like a wave. I know the agitation, the obsession, and the searching for relief. Food has become a substance that I crave. It offers me a way for me to check out, to dull my emotions when they become overwhelming. Stuffing food = stuffing feelings. Now what?
Food is something that we all need. It is not something I can give up like alcohol or other abused substances. It doesn’t work on an all-or-nothing plan. It’s far easier for me to give up something altogether than it is to moderate. Moderation has never been one of my strengths. I have known for a long time that food has been an issue for me, but what I felt that day really opened my eyes, like another step up in my level of awareness. It became clearer than ever. I believe that we are all capable of making changes in our lives when the time is right, that we have to live all the mistakes necessary for us to learn the lesson. I know that I not only have to make healthier food choices, but also find a different way to deal with my emotions. Knowing that feels overwhelming, but I only have to do this one day at a time. Being present in life requires attention. Time spent using substances and checking out is a waste of your life’s time.
What are some of the ways you check out of your life? What could you accomplish with that wasted time? Next time you go there, notice the feelings and understand the emotions behind them. Until we become aware of what is driving us, we will continue on the same road.
Yours in discovery and transformation,