I’m reading this amazing book by Geneen Roth called This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide. So far, 10/10 would recommend to anybody who has EVER struggled with their body image, wanting to lose weight, or their relationship to eating and food.
As a female in her late twenties who is big on self-development and has ALWAYS struggled with food & body image, This Messy Magnificent Life brings to surface some pretty touchy and prickly emotional wounds that I’ve likely tried to bury since the age of 10 or 11, which is the earliest I can remember being self-conscious about my body.
Since starting the book, one question that has consistently come up whenever I’m on the verge of a food binge, or wanting to eat despite already being uncomfortably full, is to ask myself, “What am I avoiding right now?”
What am I distracting myself from?
What are the feelings I’m unwilling to face?
What are the tasks, responsibilities and stresses I’m trying to bury away with this food?
Where in my life am I feeling powerless and small?
Where in my life am I sabotaging my chances for success?
And my gosh, the list of answers never falls short… when I’m willing to authentically look, that is. I’m actually flabbergasted at the sheer amount of
stuff crap my mind attempts to bury away and distract me from with sensory pleasure activities. Throughout my life, it’s been many different things: shopping, exercise, alcohol/drugs, busying myself with social events. But the most constant thing has always been food.
I love food. I love how food tastes. I love how food makes me feel. I love the feeling I get when I have a big meal, or lots of food to look forward to. In low moments, food has often been a driver for me to get up in the morning, or get up and dressed even if I’m feeling super lazy.
But I’ve also hated the way I lose control around food. I’ve hated feeling full to the point where I think my stomach is about to tear open, and stuffing my face anyway. I’ve hated the feeling of a meal coming to an end, while others are still working on their plate. I’ve hated the feelings of emptiness and subsequent punishment that has often followed one of my binge sessions; whether that meant pushing myself excessively hard with physical activity, or restricting and under-eating.
Although I’m not nearly as bad now as I was in my early twenties, my body is TIRED. My metabolism isn’t as fast as it used to be, and with where I am in my life, I’m fed up with the narrative of being a failure/not good enough – which, I’ve discovered, is the root of many of my longstanding problems. After over a decade of this sh*t, it’s just getting really old.
To quote Ariana Grande… Thank U, Next!
Turns out there is a lot I’m still avoiding, or haven’t fully dealt with. And I don’t expect to be able to resolve seventeen years worth of deep-seated issues and detrimental self-beliefs overnight. Geneen Roth’s book has been an eye-opener for me, and if you’ve stuck with me this far into my blog post, I genuinely believe it would be well worth a read for you too.
For now, here are the questions I’m asking myself as I navigate my relationship to food and feelings of self-worth:
- What am I avoiding?
- What feelings am I burying?
- What is it that I’m actually starving for that I’m replacing with food (or other mindless entertainment)? i.e. purpose, love, affection, feeling like I matter, etc.
And the beliefs I’m cultivating:
- I am worthy of love despite my shortcomings
- I am worthy of abundance despite my flaws
- I am worthy of happiness despite the mistakes I’ve made
- My accomplishments/failures do not dictate my success
- My accomplishments/failures do not dictate my worthiness as a person
Order your copy of This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide now
Click here to learn more about Geneen Roth’s work and upcoming talks.