Day 71: An unexpected trigger

I cooked a delicious meal tonight.

My son’s nursery produced a cookbook full of the recipes they use for the kids’ meals and I tried my hand at the “Beef and Bean Crumble”. It was full of wholesome ingredients but tasted like comfort food and I ate two portions. Way too much food for me. I was full and uncomfortable and the cravings for something sweet hit me with maximum brutality.

In the past, if I felt this way I would have something sweet – and usually keep going back for more. I’d throw alcohol into the mix to help drown out the guilt and usually keep going back for more of both because that odd, unsettled feeling would stick with me no matter how hard I tried to get rid of it.

Or, if I was “on a health kick”, I would beat myself with feelings of guilt and shame along with thoughts of “I should just give in. I’m too weak-willed. I can’t keep this going for much longer.”

This time, with the goal of investigating and understanding the feelings underneath the craving, I just sat with it to see what might happen and suddenly it came to me – being full is an anxiety trigger for me.

I was bulimic for 20 years and being full was an instant signal to ‘deal with the situation.’ In those cases, I always ate something sweet first. I told myself it was logical – to take advantage of the situation. Even now, I guard against being full because I don’t like how it feels but I’ve never thought about the few occasions when I’ve allowed myself to get this full and then eaten compulsively for the rest of the evening.

This practice of accepting feelings and not trying to change them is proving revolutionary for me. Instead of ending up full of self-loathing (and booze and junk food) I’m getting these little lightbulbs moments.

With the feelings illuminated, I can see I have everything I need to deal with them.

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