Monday, September 10, 2007


What does it take to fill you?

Sort of an open question... but I was thinking about what it takes to fill me up. Sometimes, like when I would have a big bag of my favorite chips and a thing of dip and a 6-pack of Cokes, it seemed to take exactly one big bag of chips, one thing of dip, and a 6-pack of Cokes to fill me up. Why is that? Whatever amount was available, was what I needed. Then after it was all gone, I suddenly felt VERY full. Same thing with going out to dinner. All the bread I could snag from the bread basket, a whole salad with ALL the dressing they gave me, an appetizer, the whole entree, and a whole dessert was always EXACTLY what it took to fill me! These restaurants and manufacturers are so amazing. How did they know the precise number of molecules of food I would need?? Miraculous.

There have been times that it seemed like NOTHING could fill me. I would eat, and eat, and eat, and still want more. Still feel empty. How can that be? I remember, specifically, one of the worst times of my life. My mother had been diagnosed with cancer. I immediately went to be with her. The day after I arrived... just 11 days after being diagnosed... she died. It was unexpected and tragic. It shook me to the core. I was left alone, as my father had died years earlier, and I had no brothers or sisters. I was an orphan at 32. I sat alone for days. How did I deal with my grief? I cried, certainly, but more than crying, I ate. I ate more than I have ever eaten in my life. I ate whole pizzas, subs, milkshakes, burgers. I ate box after box... literally... of Tastycakes. I remember going to the store and buying 3 boxes of Tastycakes, and then eating them ALL. There are like, 10 or 12 servings in a box! That was still not enough to fill me. I went back to the store 3 times in one day and ate every single Tastycake myself. My entire body hurt from the extreme overeating. It pains me even now to admit it, and recall it. The pain was unbearable. Both pains. And nothing could fill me.

I think food is inextricably tied to emotions for many of us. We eat when we are happy, sad, angry. We eat in response to stress, frustration, and emotional pain. Instead of feeling the actual FEELINGS, we stuff them down with food. Eat eat eat, try to fill that void, that emptiness... but it never works.

Now, I am trying to be more aware of my feelings. Instead of eating right away, I just sit with the emotion and feel it. I am learning that it is okay to feel angry. It is okay to just FEEL. I have been running in fear from my emotions, and now I am learning instead to just feel them. When I am worried, or upset, I sit with it. I let myself feel it. I get this panicky feeling sometimes like I need to jump up and run and get a cheesecake, but I don't. I just let the emotions be, and feel them. And then I realize they are not so scary. They are just feelings, nothing more, and I do not have to *DO* anything.

Tonight I was eating my vegetarian chili and low fat cornbread, and after 1 small bowl of chili and 1 1/2 pieces of cornbread, I was full. I used to never be full after such a small amount. Maybe my stomach is shrinking... or maybe I am finally using food for nourishment to feed my physical hunger instead of a balm for my emotional pain. Life is richer when it is not obstructed by too much food. Remember that, and live well.


Bean said...

I cannot even imagine actually feeling something for more than the thirty seconds that it takes for me to find something else to think about. A lot of times, that other thing is food. I think that I've been doing it so well for so long now, that I didn't even realize I was doing it until I read this post. I can't remember the last time I actually felt full, really and truly full. I'm afraid I wouldn't recognize the feeling if I did have it. Thank you for your post. It has given me some insight.

Chubby Chick said...

I think before I started this diet, I was constantly TOO full. I was never hungry... because I was eating all the time. And I was eating way too much of everything that I was eating. Why? I have no idea... other than the emotion factor.

I am actually enjoying the feeling of NOT being constantly too full now. And I'm enjoying rediscovering the signs of my body telling me when it does need to be nourished. I can finally feel good about eating... because I'm eating for all the right reasons, I'm eating the right foods,and I'm eating only the amount that my body requires... not the amount that my emotions always told me my body required.

Twix said...

We have to guard our hearts and our bodies. Today I only ate when I was hungry and I pushed away from the table when I was full. It is a hard thing to do.



Hanlie Blewett said...

Excellent post! I'm going to post a link to it from my blog...
I'm also an emotional eater and you've given me a lot to think about. These weigth loss blogs are like a support group!
Keep going strong! I'm just starting out..

Teale said...

This was a really great post, and SO true for me! Not only would I hide from bad feelings with food, but I'd celebrate those good feelings with food, too! I've been doing much better with this, but I'm still a work in progress!

Karen (aka Deadbudgee) said...

That was truly touching and so filled with wisdom. Thank you for giving me exactly what I needed to read this morning.


Lady T said...

during this process for me...for the first time in my entire life i have become aware of an emotion and then a few seconds after it, had that thought. disappointed? want fried chicken. angry? want chocolate.

i can see the connection now. though i sometimes fall into bad habits, slowly but surely i am identifying emotions and addressing the emotion instead of feeding it.

and i do feel so much better. often my stomach would hurt. i would feel gassy. i was nauseas MOST of the time. i can't believe i spent so much of my life that way......(shaking head)

Anonymous said...

Hi I used to also get sick. November 2005 I spent the entire night in the ER thinking I had appendix issues. It was degrading to get out at 1 AM in the city and have nothing wrong. I had been to the doctor about 50 times for stomach / gas pain and turned out -- I was just eating too much. How embarrassing. Once I started dieting it all went away and has for months. Noreen

butterflygirl17 said...

Awareness is truly an amazing thing, to be aware of WHY we eat what and how much we REALLY need. :)

Mirtika said...

FAbulous! 16 pounds gone. YAY!

We have many things in common. Not all, but I also am a stay-at-homer with a couple of college degrees. I have 10 Wide feet. I am a lonerish type (urban hermit). And I did my meme and didn't tag anyone. :D

You're ahead of me, so you're my inspiration for the day. :)

Mir, the Princess Dieter (high weight 299, and never going there again, please, God.)