Imagine two women sitting on the kitchen floor with a plate of brownies in each of their laps. One woman eats her brownies slowly, sitting comfortably with a look of pure delight on her face. The other woman is hunched over, turned toward the wall and eating so quickly she barely notices how the brownies taste.
The woman who slowly savors the brownies, paying attention to how much she loves the rich sweetness, is happy and satisfied. The brownies are an indulgence that she thoroughly enjoys. She eats what she wants and leaves the rest, feeling like she just gave herself a treat.
The woman who binges on the brownies feels shame from her indulgence. She doesn’t believe she is allowed to eat brownies because she’s not as beautiful or successful or worthy as the other woman. When she eats brownies she’d rather do so in private, in massive quantities and very fast. Perhaps if she eats them fast enough, it’s as if they don’t exist. It might help bury her guilt and self-loathing. Even better, she might fully disappear.
These two women are eating the same thing. Their beliefs, however, couldn’t be more different. Not just about the brownies but about their very selves.
I have been a binge eater and compulsive overeater for most of my life. There was no single “Aha!” moment that made me decide to become a healthier person. Year’s worth of heartbreaking challenges and breakthrough epiphanies made me finally realize I needed the right kind of help. Not help staying away from brownies. I needed help changing what I believed, or couldn’t find the self-love to believe, about me.
No, I’m not preaching the healing power of brownies. I know all about unhealthy food addictions. I’m learning what a gift good nutrition is for my well-being. What I’m saying is the road to changing what’s on my plate must start with changing what’s in my heart and mind, too.
Every single day I begin the path to recovery again, a little closer to the goal. My healing process is no longer about a number and I can’t let it be about shame. My tools are awareness, breathing and meditation. My progress is about feeling and accepting. My consultants are my amazing therapist, books by Geneen Roth and the loving voice inside me that’s learning to believe I am worth every brownie I crave.