I had blood tests today as a follow up to my surgery. I fasted and I am still a little spacey and lightheaded. I was aware of how much simpler my life is when I don't have to deal with food. There seemed to be so much time for me to do what I wanted to do without being distracted by meal planning, food preparation and eating. Yesterday when I knew I was going to fast, I was focused on food and eating all day. In the height of my eating disorder in my late twenties and thirties I would fast for a week and break the fast with a pizza or a cheesecake. I have come a long way in releasing my attachment to food as love. However, I am aware that I still am very fearful of gaining weight and being fat.
I take a moment to go into my circle and say to myself, "I can understand that you feel that way. I care about your suffering. May you be free from suffering." Then I go down inside my body and breathe into the fear. I am aware of the fat little girl inside of me who medicated her pain with food. I feel compassion and love for her. It has taken many years for me to forgive myself for being fat. I blamed that little girl for years and felt strong aversion toward her. I couldn't look at a picture of myself as a kid without cringing. As I was more willing to feel the pain that I stuffed under food I began to see her strategy as a brilliant survival solution. As a child, I learned to soothe myself with sweet treats when I felt strong emotion. This protected me from feeling anxious and unloved. As I faced that old pain with the help of good therapists, I could release the pattern of coping with my feelings of abandonment by abandoning myself to overeating. As my willingness to be present with my pain expanded so did my ability to tolerate the anxiety that tells me to eat when I'm not hungry. I have a picture myself at age eight in my office. When I look at her I feel her sadness and I am grateful to her that she went through what she did to help get me to where I am now.
Fasting last night let me see how far I've come in my relationship with food. I also notice I've been falling into some old unhealthy patterns of eating when I'm not hungry. I want to bring kind alert attention to myself to be more mindful about what is going on with me that I've been thinking needs to be medicated with food. Then I want to be with whatever that is instead of knee-jerking to eat on top of it. In that way I can show up for myself instead of using food to stuff my feelings.
What is your relationship with food like lately? Would it be useful to pay attention and see what you notice?