“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.