It’s Christmas Eve and I am looking out of my kitchen widow eating a cookie. Most of the holiday chores are done, the evening meal is planned, the gifts are wrapped but I am unsettled. The holidays are anxious times for me but I remain steady as I search for peace in my heart.
My attention is on my cookie. What is it about this sweet mixture of chocolate, flour and sugar that draws me to it? For much of my life I have engaged in overindulgent eating as an attempt to manage uneasy emotions. Food has been both a source of comfort as well as an vehicle for despair. I now realize turning to food in order to ease emotional pain is but a temporary solution. The joy I receive from eating to sooth is fleeting. The problems do not go away and the pain and guilt I feel in the aftermath is long lasting.
My thoughts and attention remain on the cookie. Each bite is sweet and chewy. I eat it slowly and enjoy it. I am fully aware that I am on my second cookie. I could have easily been satisfied with just one, but today I am having a second one. I am not hungry and know I am anxious. I worry that I am eating out of pure emotion … and part of of me is. But today it’s o.k. because there is a difference. A little over 4 years ago I discovered Intuitive Eating. It is here I learned of the depth of my emotional eating. Before becoming an Intuitive Eater I would be putting food in my mouth in a comatose state. This was my drug. It would help me cope, but it the long run caused me nothing but guilt and anguish.
Today, however, I am fully aware of my actions. I realize that I am making a choice. Yes, part of me knows that I am eating beyond what I ‘need’. I had my sweet, and did not feel guilty. I truly enjoyed it. I also know that my one cookie today would have been a dozen or more in years past. I will not lie to you, part of me wishes I stopped at just one. But there is another part, a deeper part that knows changes take time. I am far better off than I was 5 years ago. Today I made an important choice. Instead of reaching for a third and fourth, I chose to refocus my attention and share my thoughts here. Each and every baby step I take will form giant steps. This I know in my heart to be true.
My wish for you, today and everyday, is to continue to take those baby steps. Each one builds everlasting strength. May you find the love and comfort you seek, be able to spend time with those you love, and trust and believe enough in your abilities to make your best choices. My wish for you and me is to find peace in our hearts.
May you all have a happy, healthy, holiday season.