Is eating really a desire?

I went for more than a year watching everything I ate and making it as healthy as possible. Lately I have been wanting to eat everything in sight. Why the change? I wonder if it is a symptom or something else entirely.

Either way, I have to regain control, not regain the weight. So, I decided to pray this prayer. “Father, thank You for loving me with a ferocious love. Help me remove and realign the desires of my heart to match Your desires for me. I will pray UP my food cravings knowing You will remove them from me. Please remove all other desires You don’t want me to have. In Christ’s name, Amen.”

When I rededicated my life to Christ back in 2001, I said a similar prayer to stop smoking. It took about three months but I quit and never looked back. That was the event in my life that created the relationship I have with Him today. It keeps growing and growing and I have never felt better about my life. I still have the arthritis and Fibromyalgia etc., but when I am down, God lifts me up.

There are three words that are so similar in nature, I need to see their definitions.  They are all interchangeable for the duration of this post.

The definition of Feeling is “an emotional state or reaction to something”.

The definition of Emotion is “a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others”.

The definition of Desire is “a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen”.

Back to the title question. All choice comes down to desire, whether it is attitude, love or eating. We eat out of necessity sure, but not all eating is necessary. The snacking desire maybe sometimes necessary because we have skipped a meal or it has been a long time since we last ate. But what about the thoughts of that ooey gooey brownie. If eating one bite just to savor the goodness of the chocolate, it could be a simple, controllable desire. To eat the whole pan, is definitely a desire but also another issue altogether.

So what is this other issue? I never really understood what it was when someone would say to me or I’d over hear a conversation state that someone was eating their feelings. How can a person eat something that isn’t tangible? Some people find that eating is a quick way to adjust your feelings. You start eating a bag of chips to redirect your mind off of the feeling and onto the bag of chips. Then after some time, you now feel defeated for eating the bag of chips and the feeling, that started this mess, is still there. It’s OK, we have all experienced this in some fashion.

Surely someone has studied this phenomenon to shed some light on a cause/cure. Abracadabra! I did find a doctor that wrote a book on the subject and I’ll share several things that should be able to help us. She is clinical psychologist Susan Albers, PsyD. She writes the following. Since I gave her proper credit for this information, I will cut and paste her exact words and place in quotes.

“Identify your emotion. Observe how you’re feeling. Then describe the emotion by writing a letter to yourself.”  This step may take a fair amount of self analysis on our part. I don’t know about you but this may be the hardest step. So, sit somewhere comfortable with no noise distractions and relax. Take deep breaths but don’t fall asleep. Think about what emotion is driving you. What feeling seems to be out of control.

“Adjust the emotion. Imagine you can adjust your emotion like you would a dial. From 1 to 10 consider the severity of your emotion. If it’s at a 10, determine what you need to do to turn the dial down to a six.” 

“Reconnect with your body. Put the focus back on your body. As Albers writes, “Feel your feet against the floor. Let your shoulders and neck drop. Observe how it feels not to resist the pull of gravity.

“Don’t fight your feelings. Often the more we tug and resist our emotions, the bigger they become. So, if you’re feeling sad, feel sad. Albers writes. Tell yourself that you can accept your feelings. Find helpful ways to cope with them, such as seeing a movie or calling a close friend.” 

“Don’t punish yourself. No doubt we’re our harshest critics. And, whenever we feel guilty, instead of soothing ourselves, we impose a sentence. But, as Albers points out, this only kick-starts another cycle of mindless eating. ‘You gain more power by being compassionate with yourself and your compassion will prevent negative feelings from arising that could trigger more mindless eating.’ And remember that you deserve compassion and kindness.’

“Engage in daily rituals. An everyday ritual can help you release built-up emotions, according to Albers. Rituals have ‘a grounding effect and foster awareness.’ For instance, she suggests journaling, singing a calming song, saying a prayer aloud or burning incense. Try to practice your ritual at the same time every day.

So, there you have it. From the research I did, I found this docs information to be more practical and simply explained. My goal is to give this a good hard try. I’d love to hear how you are doing and what is or isn’t working for you.

God bless and stay safe.

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