It might not mean to you when it meant to me for 40 years.
Just a bite?
A neatly contained meal?
Not for me.
It was my sedative, which kept me from raging, and perhaps committing a homicide or two.
Food was my lover, a ready conduit of passion that revved my adrenaline. And distracted me from the reality that, other than plunging my arm into a warm bag of takeout food, my life was devoid of Joy.
Salty carbs and greasy sweets were a shower of unconditional Love when I needed mothering. The perfect accompaniment to a night of television on a lonely Friday evening. And a salve to cement over the vortex of denied feelings that were too overwhelming and intimidating to touch.
For most of my life, Food was the Heart of it all. My motivation to keep going. In some cases, it helped me agree to do it all again tomorrow: the humiliating bus ride to school, toxic work environments, unhappy relationships, listening to society’s bigoted opinions of my body.
Food addiction has long been misunderstood and curiously invokes inappropriate reactions from bystanders. For the record, it’s not an issue that’s solved by shaving someone’s calories in half and having them do 50 minutes of cardio 4 times a week. I tried that…and many, many other remedies American entrepreneurs dreamed up. Oh the luxurious second home in Florida I’d have now if I hadn’t invested.
Here’s the only thing that ever helped: Empahty. Kindness. Non-judgement. Those had to be in place. First from myself, and later from others (as I began to insist) before I could begin the process of honesty and self-inquiry.
Reframing and rebuilding a foundation of worthlessness takes time.
So before you send a reproachful thought or look someone’s way as you wait in line for your lunch order or at the checkout line of the grocery store, consider they might be in a dark and compromised place and would benefit from a smile…or at least a silent agreement to not condemn.
Trust me when I say no one really wants to be 345 pounds and trapped both biochemically and emotionally in a cycle of seeking comfort and relief from food. But sometimes, until the awakening takes root, they can’t help it.
One of my favorite anthems for Kindness & The Golden Rule…