There was a time, as an adult, when I was so thin someone asked me if I was eating. My immediate response was, “Are you kidding? I LOVE to eat!”
But this question caught me by surprise and caused me to reflect. It turned out to be a somewhat disturbing reflection because eventually I had to ask myself the question “If I love food so much, why am I always counting calories and fat grams, getting on the scale with religious fervor every morning, and wouldn’t be caught dead cooking with or eating any kind of oil or fat?”
If I loved food so much, why was I cutting it out of my life? Why was I limiting the pleasure that food inherently gives us?
In those moments of being brutality honest, I realized that in truth, I had a fear of food. Period. End of story.
I feared food because it had become the enemy. I feared gaining back even one ounce of the weight I had struggled so very hard to lose. I feared the voices in my head that told me I would be a loser if I gained weight. And I blamed food for all of it.
This realization came as quite a shock to me. It turned my world upside down.
Was this my life? Was I actually willing to be so narrowly focused and contracted about food that life force energy couldn’t even flow through me? Was I that afraid of not being skinny?
What if I had it all wrong?
What if the skinny me wasn’t me at all?
What if my body actually needed fats and oils and (gasp) food when it was hungry?
What if the real me was a healthier version in both mind and body?
Having a fear of food can sound silly, but it’s a real thing. I’m not saying that we should eat everything in sight, of course we want to make meaningful choices, but food is more than calories. It’s more than a necessary evil that simply keeps us alive. Food is not our enemy.
Our relationship with food is very precious. When we have a relationship with food that is intimate and loving, something special happens. We can make our own decisions about what and how we eat, life can take on meaning that is expansive and real, and we are no longer a slave to the scale or those voices in our head.
My life changed when my relationship with food changed. Life took on new meaning when I wasn’t constantly hungry to keep those 2, 3 or 10 pounds off or analyzing what I could or couldn’t eat. I was liberated to actually be in my life.
If you’re someone who struggles to be thin or is constantly dieting, I’m asking you to reflect on the question, “Do you have a fear of food?” And if you answer yes, can you see how life might be asking you to explore how you can be in your life differently?
In love and light,