Do you compensate with food?

Authorities are worried that due to Covid-19 alcoholism will become more of a problem. The same could be said for Eating Issues. Right now, addictions and compensatory behaviors are the only way many people can still escape from themselves, their emotions and their inner and/or outer reality at home.

  • Fast eating and overeating are effective ways to distract yourself, to numb your anxiety, fear, worry or anger and to dis-embody.
  • Obsessing about food and/or calories is a great strategy to not look at the big inner questions certainly wanting to pop into your awareness right now.
  • Opening the door of the fridge every 30min to check what’s new is a distorted attempt to escape boredom and that inner emptiness you fear to encounter if you simply sit with yourself in silence.
  • Stocking up on food is a symbolic way to fill that inner lack of safety and security that you so long for.  

Do you recognize yourself in any of this?

Your behavior around food is the first symptom of underlying inner turmoil. Because the way you do food is the way you do Life. The relationship you have with food is indicative of all other relationships you have in life, first and foremost the one you have with yourself.

If you notice that you do compensate with food, try this:

  • Put aside your laptop, mobile phone or book and turn off the TV or radio.
  • Sit down and take 5-10 long deep breaths, tuning into your body and its sensations. Ask yourself: “Do you feel hungry”? If yes, do you feel hungry for food or for something else? How do you know? How does the hunger for food make itself known in terms of physical sensations? And how does it differ from thirst or emotional hunger?
  • If the answer is yes, you are hungry for food, ask your body: “What would you really like to eat right now?” Allow your body to produce an image, a smell, a word, a taste… Simply notice the answer and honor it through your awareness. If it is possible to give your body what it asked for, do so, even if it goes against your convictions (if every time you ask the body seems to ask for chocolate, you might not have gotten the first question right and you are actually emotionally hungry rather than physically). Eat very slowly and consciously, really taking in that food with all your senses and noticing how your body feels to receive your trust and the desired food.
  • If the answer is no, you are not hungry for food, ask the body what it would need instead. A cup of tea, a nap, a walk, a massage (you can give it to yourself), a hug, some nice words, phoning a friend, writing in your journal, self-pleasure? Really own your desire and if possible, fulfill it. Again, be very conscious about how receiving what you asked for makes you feel. Do you still crave that chocolate now?

We really have two tanks in our body: One for physical food and one for emotional food. If you are not yet trained in tuning inside and sensing the subtle differences, it is easy to confuse one with the other. However, more food will never satisfy you emotionally and vice-versa.

Dare to feel your feelings, to meet yourself on the inside, to really get intimate with yourself. And you will find that what felt so scary will become your greatest source of strength, joy and abundance. Because the emptiness is actually full of connection – and it’s a type of connection that nourishes deeply and that nobody can ever take away from you, no matter the outer restrictions.


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