Since I can recall, I’ve had an unhealthy relationship with food. Up until I had my tonsils taken out in third grade, I could take it or leave it. I don’t remember it, but I’m told I hardly ate then. So what changed after surgery, other than the fact that I wasn’t sick as often? I learned to self-medicate with food. That feeling you get when you eat comfort food is soothing, especially for a little girl dealing with as many emotions as I was.
I had begun this blog intending on being more transparent about those emotions, but now I realize that’s not the point. The real point is: many of us turn to food for comfort at times – maybe even all of us. It became so natural to turn to food for comfort, that the early negative emotions became irrelevant. Honestly, I’ve dealt with those childhood traumas, so is it fair to keep blaming them now for my unhealthy relationship with food? Nope. I have to learn to process difficult current emotions and situations in a new way – without food being my go to. We all do.
In my own journey, and I hope in yours, I’ve discovered that there’s only one place to take these emotions – to Jesus. I do that now. I’m still not the best at it, but I’m learning and growing better all the time at allowing Him to heal me rather than to use food as a temporary band aid. Whether it’s a big or small issue I’m facing, He can be of greater comforter than food ever was.
These days, as I’m emotionally and spiritually healthier, I’ve noticed something: Turning to food is more of a habit than a necessity. Plus I eat when I’m bored. This journey of learning to tell myself no and end the internal conflict within has had its ups and downs. I do well most times, and I’ve failed a few times. Still, I keep going. I have to believe that the old habit will eventually give up and die. I’m determined to be the victor in this.
New habits I’ve adopted:
- I’m eating cleaner – less processed foods. That requires more cooking on my part, something I used to do only because my family expected food at various times. Now, I’m learning to enjoy cooking more and coming up with foods I like rather than choking down more broccoli.
- I’ve begun something called intermittent fasting. Though I fast at times for spiritual reasons, this isn’t the same. I won’t go into the many benefits of fasting on your body, but the more research I’ve done the more I understand why God, as the body’s Creator, called His people to fast so often. It’s mind-blowing the many positive effects that fasting has – even on aging (says the woman who will turn 49 next month).
Yes, I’m still way too focused on food, a fact that I hope will level out. This is still a learning curve that I’m on, so giving so much consideration to food is necessary. At least now I’m not allowing it to comfort me. I’m not eating when I’m bored. I’m not eating because an Oreo commercial tells me to. My basic goal is to control food rather than to allow it to control me. So I would say I’m making progress.
If you have any thoughts, I would love to hear them. Do you eat for comfort? Are you self-medicating a wound that only Jesus can truly heal?