My Relationship With Food: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do - But So Worth It
Oh how I wanted a real life once I opened my eyes to it! As my
wanting grew stronger, I began a gradual but lasting shift away from wanting
food to wanting closeness with others as well as love and respect for
But I needed to consider something else along the way: When I came to
realize how much my fat had meant to me over the years, I couldn't just turn
off my feelings about it. One evening I found myself actually talking to
my fat. I did something I've heard people sometimes do when a dying loved one
is holding on to life out of concern for the feelings of those who will be left
behind: I gave my fat permission to leave me. I thanked it for being
there when I didn't have other ways to take care of myself. I told it that
leaving me now was okay, I'd be all right. And I told my fat I loved it, as an
important part of myself, and would continue to love it and myself after it was
As time passed, I steadily lost weight. My formerly uncontrollable cravings
went away, and I experienced a sense of peace I hadn't known in all the years
of my life.
Just one little (ha!) food-related problem remained: I still needed to eat.
How was I going to keep a former love interest around without drifting back
into its dangerously passionate embrace?
This proved to be more difficult than I'd expected. Even after I
"graduated" from therapy, I still thought about food. And I still liked
to eat a lot of it when a good meal presented itself. I wondered if these
things were more or less in the normal range, or if I was in danger of slipping
back into overeating and getting fat.
So I went back to my therapist and presented her with my concerns. As we
talked, I realized I'd been expecting to put food on a further-back burner than
was really possible. Of course I thought about food, especially when I
was hungry, as everyone does. As for eating a lot of something I liked, I
did need to watch out there, but not because I was craving the food -- I
wasn't. It was because like everyone else, if I ate more than I needed, I'd
gain weight! What a concept!
Bottom line: It was still early in my process of growing out of a powerfully
compelling lifetime habit. I needed to relax and give myself time to adjust to
what in fact has proved to be real and lasting change.
This is the last chapter in this series. I hope that some of what I
experienced in breaking free from emotional eating may be helping you do it,
If you answered the self-questions accompanying the chapters in this series,
you may have a strengthened sense that your emotional eating and your fat are
concealing things about yourself that you want to know. From my experience, the
people who can help are out there now -- and they'll be there to help and
support you whenever you're ready to begin your quest. Good luck!