Food, Glorious Food! It has been my best friend and my worst enemy all my life. I believed that I only used food to comfort me, and who doesn’t need that once in a while? I thought that if I just tried harder, or was stronger, or went to another diet program, that eventually my weight would be “normal.” I prayed that someday, somehow, my body would be pretty enough, or sexy enough or small enough.
Well, my eyes have been opened. My perception of how I see myself and food is changing. It is not about the food. It was never about the food. It was about spending so much time obsessing about the food, the diet, the shame, the weight loss, the weight gain, my pant size, my waist measurement, that I didn’t have time or energy to face what was really going on in my heart.
Obsession with food and dieting was a diversion so I didn’t feel the fear and the pain and the loss of my parents’ divorce, my mother’s drinking, my father’s abandonment, my divorce. All those feelings were still there but hidden deeply.
So what is the solution? What can replace this obsession with food and dieting? It is a process and a hard one. I am developing behaviors that support my emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. I am learning them through a bunch of courageous women who share my struggles with disordered eating.
Some of us binge, some are overeaters, some of us are restricters, some of us purge, and yet we are all the same. We have all used food, controlled food, denied ourselves food, to avoid the real issues. And we are all getting better. Here is what we are practicing that we learned from The BE Program. (http://www.thebeprogram.com)
I learned to BE CONNECTED, BE TRUTHFUL, BE ACCEPTING, BE COURAGEOUS, BE COMPLETE, AND BE COMMITTED. By BEING CONNECTED, I stop isolating, work on knowing my wants and needs, face my feelings, ask for help, find my inner voice that knows what is best for me, and build a supportive community.
By BEING TRUTHFUL, I share with others the truth about my eating behavior, my shame, my fears. I stay with feelings and situations, even though they are uncomfortable. I am more truthful with myself, and face denial.
By BEING ACCEPTING, I stop focusing on everyone else, and focus on myself – what I am responsible for and what I can change. BEING COURAGEOUS means moving out of my comfort zone. I take more risks and I am more assertive in asking for and getting what I need. In BEING COMPLETE, I use the behaviors above to determine when and in which relationships I need to take action.
Often the relationship I need to repair the most is with myself. I become more accepting of myself and others and work on “progress, not perfection.” Finally, BEING COMMITTED means that I am determined to continue this journey.
Instead of “doing,” I am slowly learning to BE, to live in the present, to value myself and my body. I speak to myself differently because what I tell myself, about myself, really matters. Today, I don’t have to be perfect. I can be vulnerable, which, for me, is the key to getting rid of shame.
I am not just ok, I am special. I am enough! I deserve all the wonderful things that life and love will bring me. They have been there all along, but for the first time, I can open my heart to receive them.