I have always been really enthusiastic about food, beginning at least when I was a teenager. It made me happy. I used to get a tub of ice cream from Baskin Robins with my dad after my basketball games, and a tub of sprinkles to go with it. I remember often having a huge appetite and eating a lot more than everyone around me. Even with my high school and college sports teams, I was acknowledged for being the shortest one on the team who ate the most. I didn’t really know how to explain it, I usually just laughed it off. It didn’t become an issue until I was older.
Looking back, I would disappear into the eating experience, into the pleasure of it. It took me away from all the other things going on and I got to focus on the taste, the texture, the salty or the sweet.. and ultimately, the escape. I don’t blame myself for developing that kind of drug-like relationship with food. Not one bit. I’ve done the work to understand the root of what was driving my behaviors, and there’s no more shame here for that young girl, only lots and lots of deep compassion and love. The things she needed the most.
Think about your very first memory of food…
A couple come to mind for me. Having to sit at the kitchen table, alone in the dark until I finished my plate. I just hated the texture of apple sauce. Sitting a couple of inches away from the television screen, crushing a tub of “Piknik potato sticks” with salt all over my hands. Going to the movies with a friend and her mom, and telling her mom I wanted two candy bars instead of one, and then her calling my parents and my dad getting very upset and calling the doctor.
I didn’t know it then, but food was becoming my crutch. It wasn’t about nourishment or understanding if my body was asking for certain foods, it was about a mental escape. I was too young to really realize that I did desperately need an escape from the trauma I was carrying from when I was much younger, so I carried on with food, and it helped me feel less discomfort.
Eventually my dependency on certain foods started to get in the way of my day-to-day life, and I had no idea what to do.
Fortunately, I found the right resources, or they found me, and I was able to turn it all around with deep-diving into my inner personal world, getting to know my emotions. I was carrying the trauma of having a very loving mother, who was also suffering from depression and alcoholism which led her to attempt to end her life when I was three years old. I was there for it when it happend, and for her coma in the hospital although I don’t remember any of it. She came out of the coma with brain damage, and with a lot of shame, anger, and pain, and she moved away but later returned. I had to become responsible for myself, and to understand how to handle a lot of fighting and a very unstable home.
I recognize that I needed an escape, and I am glad that I made one for myself at the time. I’m also grateful I was able to recognize when it was no longer serving me, and lovingly let it go.
The work I was able to do around what my food habits allowed me to discover my path to healing, and to give me my true freedom.
Read more about my story here.