What is eatonomy?

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow.  The only way that we can grow is if we change.  The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed.  And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it.  Throw yourself.”
– C. JoyBell C.

I started turning to food when I was around 12 years-old.  My emotional attachment to it had begun before that but I was about 12 when I started to binge, in secret, to the point that I felt sick.  As a result, I began to put on weight.

At the age of 19, I did what we’re told to do if you want to lose weight – I started dieting.  The restriction of dieting only served to ramp up the bingeing. With every diet, I would lose weight and put it back on, and a bit more besides.  As my weight increased further, my self-esteem – which had never been particularly robust – was decimated.

It’s my belief that you can’t achieve a sense of personal agency by following someone else’s instructions.

The only way I could find my way through and make peace with food, my body and myself was to discover my personal autonomy.

Instead of listening to other people about what I should eat, I started listening to myself about what I wanted.  I learned to shut out the noise, stop judging what I was eating and handle challenging emotions I had been denying for years.

Gradually, I developed a self-trust that influenced positively not only how I ate but every other area of my life.

eatonomy is a word I came up with many years ago to describe that self-trust – the ability to decide for yourself if you’re hungry, what you feel like eating and when you’ve had enough.  It’s about working with yourself – emotionally, psychologically and physically – rather than against.

That doesn’t mean that life is suddenly magical and perfect – you still have stresses and worries the same as anyone.  It just means you no longer turn to food to deal with them and have a better relationship with yourself.

It’s my belief that you can’t achieve a sense of personal agency by following someone else’s instructions – it just doesn’t work.  Therefore, this isn’t a hey-just-follow-these-10-miraculous-steps-and-your-problems-will-be-solved approach, it’s a stop-looking-outside-of-yourself-and-pay-attention-to-your-thoughts-and-feelings kind of thing.

What I write here is intended to aid self-awareness and self-reflection, to help you discover that authentic inner voice that knows what’s best for you.  In order to find that voice you need to be willing to have a conversation with yourself.  That’s why my blog post titles are always questions – questions intended to prompt that conversation.

I know how lonely and shameful it feels to be trapped in a restricting/bingeing cycle.  I also know how liberating and empowering it is to make peace with food – it’s my hope that everyone struggling with the former can experience the latter.

 

The eatonomy Community 

“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.”  – Shannon L. Alder

eatonomists assemble! Please see the new Community section in the menu.

If you’re struggling with emotion-driven overeating it can be tough to find people who understand what you’re going through.

It can be especially difficult to find someone to help you make sense of it. No wonder that so many people with overeating issues feel isolated and alone, exacerbating the sense of not belonging that they’ve often experienced from a very young age.

From January 2019, I’ll be facilitating a monthly eatonomy group in Norwich (apologies to anyone outside of the UK and probably outside of East Anglia for that matter).

The question posed in each monthly blog post will be the focus of discussion.  This is a group for those of you who are serious about exploring and understanding your problems.  It’s also a chance to hear other people’s experiences and build a supportive and motivated community.

So eatonomists assemble!  For more information about the group, please see the new “Community” section in the menu.

 

New Year Additions to the eatonomy Family

“A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.” – Oliver Wendell-Holmes Sr.

Also starting in January 2019, you’ll notice two new monthly posts: “Expert Insights” and “Food for Thought”.

“Expert Insights” are short excerpts from the vast array of literature I’ve read over the past 20 years in my quest to understand and find my own solution to this issue.  These are thought-provoking words from authors, researchers and practitioners about overeating and related issues such as body image, feelings, relationships and personal boundaries.

“Food for Thought” will feature enriching reflections from people who really have a way with words.  These are offered to uplift and reassure you, and to encourage you to reflect and stay connected to the part of you that says “it’s OK, you can do this”.

 

And Finally…

“I love this.  I feel so social.” – Jen, “The IT Crowd”

The following is a conversation that took place a little while ago.

Me:  Hi, you must be Social Media.  I’ve heard a lot about you, but we’ve never actually met.
SM:  Well, well, well, look what the cat just dragged in.
Me:  Sorry?
SM:  We’ve been around, like, forever.  Where the hell have you been?
Me:  Um, dunno, 1992?
SM:  Well, you’ve got some catching up to do, so you’d better get on with it.
Me:  Great.  I just have a quick question.
SM:  (suspiciously) Yes…?
Me:  How does all this work (points to Facebook, Instagram etc) and where do I start? Also, what’s an RSS?
SM:  *Sigh* (shakes head and walks off).

This is my way of letting you know that you can now follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

So welcome to eatonomy.  That’s all my news – how are you?

 

 

(My gratitude goes to the very talented, award-winning designer Maddy Russell at mrusselldesigns for the wonderful logo).

How Do You Measure Success?

Dressed to kill, you appear in the doorway to the party.  There’s an immediate hush among the assembled guests.  Maybe a few gasps.  You stride confidently across the room to the bar.  Before you utter a word, the bartender hands you a glass of champagne with an admiring smile.

You turn to find the other guests clamouring around you.  “You look incredible”, they gush.  “You’ve lost so much weight!”.  “How did you do it?”.

“Just sheer willpower and utter fabulousness”, you smirk triumphantly.  You take a sip of champagne and think: “At last, I’ve arrived”.

Continue reading “How Do You Measure Success?”

Why Must Fat Shaming Stop?

“A final message Ellen wanted to share was about the fat shaming she endured from the medical profession.  Over the past few years of feeling unwell she sought out medical intervention and no one offered any support or suggestions beyond weight loss.  Ellen’s dying wish was that women of size make her death matter by advocating strongly for their health and not accepting that fat is the only relevant health issue.”

This is an excerpt from the obituary of Ellen Bennett who died on May 11th this year, aged 64.  Shortly before, Ellen had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer and was given just a few days to live.  According to her family, she was “an unforgettable character” who enjoyed careers in politics, film and TV.

Continue reading “Why Must Fat Shaming Stop?”