Topic Tuesday: Intuitive Eating

AHR“What Am I Hungry For?” (By: Anne Howell Robertson)

Many years ago I found a wonderful book Listen to the Hunger.  The author eloquently expresses her struggles with addiction particularly eating disorders and her insight into her harmful behavior and its effect on her family. I am learning to listen to my hunger and identify the underlying emotions and feelings associated with this void that I tried to fill with food for so long rather than reconcile the emptiness I felt.

When I turn to food after I have had a filling, nutritious meal, I try to ask myself, “What am I hungry for?” Do I need a hug or go for a walk, am I lonely or tired, am I anxious? What is going on, what do I need and what will fill me up, because I know it is not food? One impulsive bite leads to another and another. I don’t want to stop–there never seems to be enough yet, too much at the same time.

Besides anorexia and bulimia, there is compulsive overeating. It has taken me time to learn new eating habits and to change my attitude towards food. I no longer use fatty, salty, sugar laden food as my sole comforter. For so long I stuffed my face with food not realizing I did it because it made me numb and that I was too scared to feel any emotion good or bad, happy or sad. I wasn’t in touch with my feelings and I was a people pleaser and did not know how to take care of me.

There is a print advertisement that says, “Love your body.” God has given us one time here on earth in one vessel. It is up to me how I live my life and take care of my body.

For some divine reason I was ready to make a change 10 years ago. With the support of my adult daughter I started following a sensible (I didn’t feel totally deprived) food plan and gradually I learned to be a more mindful eater. I stuck with it and made slow but steady progress. I have hit plateaus along the way but I’ve kept going. My new eating habits have taken root.

Today I like what and who I see when I look in a mirror. I smile when I see my reflection in a plate glass window as I walk by. I have noticed that I carry myself more confidentially than I did before. I feel like I own my space. This is new for me.

The challenges I face – avoid temptation; triggers; not recognizing my emotions; allow myself to start over after a day of bingeing.

How do I do it – express gratitude; reach out to friends and loved ones; know that the sun will come up tomorrow.

About the Author

Anne has struggled with overeating for many, many years. She has two adult children and 3 grandchildren, who she loves more than anything – they remind her that life’s simple things matter most. Anne enjoys sewing, gardening and visiting national parks. She has lived in Nashville most of her life and wishes the city had more sidewalks to encourage everyone to walk more and drive less. Anne’s dog, Holly, is a mixed lab. Anne and Holly rescued each other 8 years ago – she gives her great joy. She loves all dogs.

Anne believes we are always reinventing ourselves and it is never too late to be what we were meant to be.