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My Relationship With Food: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do - But So Worth It

continued...

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 myself.

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 gone.

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, too.

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!

Diana

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