Breaking the emotional attachment to food.

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

I’m well on my way to being able to refer to myself as a “former food addict.” Eliminating foods that don’t resonate with me has forced me to revisit my relationship to food and how I used to use them as a crutch to get through bad days or uncomfortable emotional situations. And I’m doing pretty well.

Sugar has always been my cheerer upper when having a bad day. Who doesn’t reach for chocolate when needing a little lift? Sugary snacks make the unbearable bearable. During the past week and a bit, I’ve noticed that at first it was super uncomfortable to have a tightening in my chest or in my stomach when dealing with work issues like being passed over for a plum project or feeling stressed out while driving in traffic. The reality is that as long as I live in a big city and am striving to grow in my career; stress and disappointment are going to be my occasional companions.

I’m learning to “be” with my emotions and to focus on the chakras associated. My intense fear of rejection really causes my chest to feel heavy. When I focus on it with kindness and compassion, I can start to loosen that heart chakra  a bit. I’ve also noticed that sugar amps up my power chakra and bolsters me when I lack confidence after a rough day at work. A little stimulation gets my yang energy flowing and props up my solar plexus.

Short term,  I feel great. In the longer term it isn’t so great. Relying on sugar or any other substance chips away at a person’s resiliancy for handling tough situations. This is where building tools for naturally developing that resiliancy comes in. I have been doing self-directed (ie sit and be quiet) and guided meditations. It gives me the opportunity to check out of life for a brief moment and check in with myself.

I’ve also noticed that taking “conventional” foods – dairy, gluten and eggs out of my life has also given me a different perspective on food. While I love food and eating great meals, it’s placed a lot less emphasis on the “fun” side of eating. It’s a little more functional. That’s not to say I’m not enjoying my food, but I generally don’t think about it until meal-time and once it’s over, there’s no nibbling on extra pasta or craving a dessert afterwards.

The gluten, dairy and eggs haven’t been a big problem to eliminate. For years I’ve been cutting back on things like pasta and sandwiches, both of which I had an unending appetite for. It’s taken me a long time to get here. I talk to people all the time who struggle with eliminating bread and my advice is always to take time to reduce and to get creative about other options. It’s taken me years to get to this place.

I’m still getting enough calories in the day by replacing cheese and yogurt with  avocados, hummus and chia pudding. But that said, I haven’t swung the other way – eating a high fat diet. I’m eating veggies, fruit, meat, beans and fish in a balanced diet, with the occasional handful of gluten-free crackers or small bowl of GF hot cereal. What keeps me going is that for over a week now is that my daily GI pain and bloating are both gone. My Lupus is starting to clear up and hopefully will stay cleared up.

My husband can attest to my improved mood. I’m way less irritable, most likely because of the meditation but also because the food I’m eating isn’t messing with my biochemistry. What started as a “cleanse” is now going to be a lifestyle. I wouldn’t be upset if I never tasted cheddar again.

If you are also on this path and are struggling, please know that it takes time. I usually tell my clients that it takes up to a year to slay the sugar dragon. It’s not an easy feat by any means. Like most addicts you’ll probably have many relapses. But every time you get back on your path, you’ll be stronger for it.

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