“The constant craving for that chocolate chip cookie that won’t let up, until finally I can’t stand it anymore and give in…. Before I know it, the whole pack is gone… numb relief, coupled with self disgust because I feel so out of control. When will this nightmare ever end???” (excerpt from Ondina’s Diary Dec 1982)
Yes, I was once a food addict and at the whims of emotional eating bouts that left me exhausted and filled with self loathing. At the time I thought I would never find a way out of the not so merry-go-round of the fasting/ feasting cycle that had it’s grip on me. The breakthrough was when I first began to make the connection that perhaps it was not about the food… so, what was it about then? Here’s that story:
1985 in London, during the throes of my compulsive binge eating days, I was invited to a community in Scotland called Findhorn that was famous for its’ unexplained phenomenon of being able to grow record sized vegetables and fruits out of sandy soils. I spent a magical week living close to the land, eating fresh fruits and vegetables and meeting many interesting people. Needless to say, this was a welcome break from my unhealthy London life!
However, as soon as I was back in London, I hit the sweet shops driven by a compulsion that seemed stronger than me. I was on a massive sugar binge. Miserable and filled with self hatred, all of the magic of Findhorn disappeared. I was right back to square one, except now, it was worse because I had tasted something different. I felt trapped by the prospect of a future with this constant battle against food and my body.
That night I got a call from a new friend I had made at Findhorn. When he asked me how I was doing I decided to tell him the truth. Being at rock bottom, I figured I had nothing to lose. I shared with him hesitantly because I was so ashamed by my excursions.
His response was simple but it changed everything: ” Maybe you are looking for more sweetness in your life?”
It was an “Ah-Ha!” moment that changed everything: I felt seen!
I suddenly got that I was trying fulfill my emotional needs from food. There was a lot more going on here than mere over-eating.
Discovering the link of this emotional component with my struggle around food was the beginning of my healing journey. A journey that continues to this day as I explore with clients ways to break through compulsive binge eating, bulimia, anorexia and all the variations of emotional eating and food addictions.
Gone are the days waking up and dreading facing another day around food. Nurturing myself has become a great pleasure in life. This has created more freedom with food and my body image than I ever would have believed possible!
I share my story in the hope that others who struggle with emotional eating and food addiction might realize that freedom from vicious cycles of food, weight and body image issues IS possible. You might want to start with getting curious about the question: “What if it’s not about the food?”