Over the years, I slayed addictions one after another.
I used to run to alcohol, drugs, and men.
Then I turned to shopping and clothes. As a recovering alcoholic/addict and impulsive spender, I realized that my one last addiction was to food and eating to fill a void deep within myself.
A couple of years ago, I read a book called Emotional Eating S.O.S by Natalia Rose.
This book really helped me uncover when and why I run to food for comfort. Rose says that there is a spiritual connection to what we put in our bodies. She puts it this way:
“I’ll say it again: the only way out is in, into the spirit. And there’s only one way into the spirit, through honesty. How honest can you be? Ask yourself this simple question: “ What does my deepest self desire?” Then ask yourself: “How would my life be different if I achieved this?” If this is truly your deepest wish, you have no other choice than to pursue it. If you ignore it, you will keep stuffing yourself with false nourishment, which will just leave you feeling empty, voiceless, and ashamed.”
Sometimes, I think that splurging and treating ourselves is great and no big deal. But when I am on a binge of sorts and only craving comfort foods, I need to check in with myself.
A lot of times, the feeling is a deep fatigue that intrigues me, so I to go to Pizza Luce (the best Minneapolis pizza chain with the best vegan pizza) and eat a whole pizza, then take a nap—there is something so comforting about that.
I know that journaling and praying help me immensely. I know that going for a walk outside or to the gym helps as well. Sometimes, a change of scenery (like heading to the lake or a beach for a day of exploring) can do wonders for my mental state, but, sometimes, I just want to eat comfort food and lavish in the glory of feeling full, fed, and satisfied.
Will I feel like junk the next day? Usually I do. Is this really the best thing for my mind and body? Probably not.
Rose says this:
“On the one hand, we are addicted to all of the ‘normal’ foods that comprise the mainstream diet: processed grains, animal products, so-called health foods, soda, alcohol, and all the other usual suspects. On the other hand, we are stuck in a socially programmed environment that undermines our most valuable, life-generating instincts. Together, our addictions and our environment all but destroy the spirit, yet we limp along, our spirits still struggling to communicate, someway, somehow.”
Our bodies want nourishment, and we’ve been socially programmed to eat what “tastes good,” but our bodies can’t run on bad fuel. The difference I feel when I give my body what it needs to run properly ends that endless cycle of binge, nap, and repeat.
I have to ask myself:
What am I numbing out?
Why don’t I want to feel anymore?
What could I reach for instead?
What am I running from?
Why is something that tastes good (but isn’t good for my body) calling to me?
What emotional need do I have right now that is not being met?
Do I need a hug? To talk to a friend?
Is there something from childhood I’m repressing?
I stopped eating fast-food 15 years ago after watching “Super Size Me.” I have an 11-year-old who has never eaten at McDonalds (except that time a friend took him and he threw up).
If our bodies don’t get acquainted with the garbage that society calls food, they won’t want it. I am still blown away when I see a line of cars at the drive-through at our local Dunkin Donuts or McDonalds. I don’t get it.
I am far removed from foods like that, but I still dabble in my own comfort foods that give me a case of the Blahs.
I’m not here to preach, but this book about emotional eating really opened my eyes to asking, “Why?” when I am about to partake in a food fest. There can be so much powerlessness around food and most people ingest it without even taking a second thought.
What would happen if we, as a society, became more conscientious of what we put in our bodies and where our food is coming from?
I’ll tell you, once I saw what was happening to the animals I was ingesting, I could no longer partake in the cruelty around me. Once I learned what was in a fast-food meal, it was over for me.
The standard American diet needs an overhaul. It starts with us as individuals doing our own research and asking the hard questions about ingredients, labels, and heading back toward a whole foods diet for our own optimal spiritual, physical, and mental health.
Our planet and the environment are pleading with us to make a change for the better.