Raise your hand if you’re an emotional eater or a compulsive over-eater! Raise your hand if you’re trying to learn how to eat normally!
Bet a heckuva lot of hands went up, amirite?
Now, notice that I did not say “trying to lose weight.” There are so many who struggle to eat well and sanely who are not heavy. Certainly any glance into a clergy gathering will inform the most unscientific observer that we are an OverEating People, but the struggle to feed oneself in nourishing and loving ways is an issue that spans body size spectrum. Not every fat person is addicted to food and not every slim person is a healthy eater. *tight-lipped finger wag*
I found this woman’s work spot on in terms of what I am trying to accomplish with the help of a hypnotherapist and listening to Mindful Eating CDs daily. It’s hard work. I am undoing years of habits. I have to pay careful attention to my body signals and I still get confused between hunger and tiredness. Even when I do eat slowly and mindfully, I sometimes don’t realize until a half an hour later that I ate too much. It’s frustrating and I feel sometimes like I adopted a very complicated animal this past fall (when I started hypnotherapy)with whom I have yet to become comfortably familiar in order to care of in a natural, intuitive way. It’s like when I first adopted my dog, I was always looking at my Beagles For Dummies guide to figure out how to handle the simplest things about his care. My ex-boyfriend and I were such nervous dog parents! I’m that way with myself and food right now in my life: a little hyper-vigilant but hopeful that the relationship will get much easier. I have a lifetime of arguing with myself about eating and it will take steady, calm attention to eating normally before it all becomes second nature.
Church life is centered around the table fellowship and that’s a wonderful thing. Breaking bread together is cherished and ancient way of being together in community. Food is love, food is gratitude. Food is life. I love a good church potluck. I love cooking and often cook for parishioners, making soups or baked beans while praying for them. I like knowing that the people I’m feeding are going to ingest my prayers in the form of a nourishing meal.
But I am also trying to recover from compulsive over-eating, and I am starting to more actively enlist the support of parishioners in that goal. It’s as simple as letting people know where I’m at. I have been on diets and food plans before, but learning to eat normally is different: I eat whatever I like, but just until my hunger is sated. That’s not very much food at all but it’s very easy to over-eat when I’m socializing or distracted. As you know, when you’re with church folk, you’re both socializing and at work, and distracted. I am learning that I have to think about table fellowship in a different way. Instead of looking forward to an opportunity to feast, I have to think about the people, rather than the food, as the feast.