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 habitually, 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’d 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 – plummeted.

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.

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 many of my blog posts are questions – questions intended to prompt that conversation within you.

You’ll notice my posts are grouped into different categories, such as Defining your Boundaries, Meeting your Emotional Needs or The Dangers of Dieting.

Expert Insight posts 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 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”.

Gentle Reminders are prompts about an aspect of the process of making peace with food and yourself, and often include a link to a previous post you might have missed.

I hope my words might help you move towards finding your personal autonomy with food and freedom from your issues. As Oliver Wendell-Holmes Snr. said, “A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.”

I know how lonely and shameful it feels to be trapped in a binge eating cycle.  I also know how liberating and empowering it is to make peace with food.

It’s my dream that everyone struggling with the former can experience the latter.

©️ Julie de Rohan 2018.

19 thoughts on “What is eatonomy?

  1. Hi Julie, what a great post! I loved it! I am truly disappointed that I live too far away from Norwich to be part of the Community but I am already looking forward to the new subject areas you will be blogging about in future. And fair play to you for embracing social media – I have tried and failed many times 🙂 Also, I love your new word, very clever indeed! Lxxx

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    1. Thank you, Lol! Your support means a great deal to me. I’m not great with the whole social media thing, but I’m learning – am finding Instagram quite creative. Glad you like “eatonomy” – it’s a word very dear to my heart. Many thanks for your comment.

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    1. “Escape” is the word, isn’t it? That was definitely my experience too – a need to get away from feelings I thought I couldn’t handle. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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  2. Oh I love this so much, Julie! I am jealous that I am not closer to Norwich so I can participate (maybe someday you can do “virtual” groups) but I hope to read about your insights and reflections as you get the group started. I truly enjoy your work and look forward to each of your posts. “eatonomy” is a brilliant concept and I’m excited to see this launch. 🙂

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    1. What a lovely comment, Cristy, thank you. I’ve been working on eatonomy for some time so it feels a bit weird that it’s finally here. We’d love to see you at the Norwich group but I appreciate it’s a bit far to come! I’ve been facilitating groups for many years at the charity I work for but this is the first time I’ve done one privately so it’s very exciting. A virtual group sounds like a great idea, I may look into that in the future (one thing at a time…)

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    1. You’re very kind, thank you. I’m afraid I don’t participate in blogging awards but I’m very touched not only by your nomination but by your thoughtful comment. Many congratulations on your award, very well deserved.

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