Through the Fire
In Eating Psychology, we see body challenges as doorways into our inner world. Every thing can be an opportunity for that inner exploration, for growth and change if that is what we are after. We can open and go through the door, or keep it closed. We might even lock it and throw away the key. Up to us.
I have been aware of my appetite the last few weeks in different sorts of ways. It feels more like getting on a roller coaster than going through a door way ! ( I HATE roller coasters!) Even looking at the photo makes me kind of dizzy. But here I go, buckling up for the ride, scream my way through the tunnel into the light.
Appetite is necessary and an important part of our physiology. We need to know when we need food. If we feel appetite is “bad” or our enemy and try to control/fight it, we get into trouble. Our body becomes physically stressed, known as physiologic stress mode. All kinds of hormones kick in, blood flow changes, and immune response gets activated! Think back to what you learned in school about our fight or flight modes. If we are constantly at war with our appetite we are in that stress response all the time which leads to inflammation, disease, and emotional problems. Check this out if you want more information.
I got a pretty bad cold and “lost” my appetite for a few days. This is a rare occasion for me. I really didn’t feel well. So, I had some time when food wasn’t interesting and I didn’t want to think about it. This was appealing to some part of me. In my dieting days, I could be pretty strict with myself for periods of time. There were lots of years when I wished I could be anorexic or bulimic! I thank the Gods that I couldn’t manage making myself throw up. I have definitely moved on from the crazy diet days. I am not always happy being the size and weight I am and I did think “Well, maybe I’ll lose some weight and that will be good,” Nothing wrong with losing a few pounds! The cold started to get better and I moved into that phase of hungry/not hungry. I took some time and really listened to what my body wanted me to eat. I worked at finding that sweet spot of just enough food, just the right food, satisfying my needs and finding some pleasure. I took really good care of myself, at least for a few days.
As the cold waned, stress grew. I had things I needed to do. Worries. Shit piling up. Family visit looming. So, here was another phase of the appetite. There were a few days of not such good self care, though in the overall picture of my appetite history , things have changed. I can’t do the old eat myself into a coma anymore. I don’t want to. Over eat, eat “wrong” things, oh yes.
It still amazes me how emotions and behaviors can change in a heart beat. In any direction ( oy, sort of like that roller coaster!!) And sometimes that is comforting. That something difficult will eventually, perhaps in the next second, become something beautiful. It is inevitable. Nothing stays still, stays the same.
The cold continued to get better. I took care of some of the things which were stressing me. I had a peaceful and pleasant visit with my family. Food wasn’t a big deal! ( which in itself is kind of big deal still) I ate casually and thoughtfully in restaurants. I ate good food and digested it well. I came home and didn’t fall apart as I sometimes do. The roller coaster has come to a stop for now. I know there are rides ahead. There are doorways to explore.