It's not about the food.
When I first started therapy for Binge Eating Disorder, I really thought it was about the food.
I literally thought they were going to teach me how to eat properly so I would stop bingeing and lose weight and be all better.
I even had a timeline planned out -- if the outpatient program was 3 months long, I would be all fixed by the New Year.
Looking back now, I can see how clueless I was, but it actually took me a really long time to “get it.”
I had spent my whole lifetime thinking food was the problem. I was sure that if I could just find some special, magical way to control the way I ate, that my problems would dissolve.
What I failed to understand is that food was a symptom -- not the cause -- of my deeper emotional issues. My struggles with food were a distraction from all the other, bigger, more difficult things in my life (that were much harder to face). It was so much easier to think that the source of my problems was really straightforward and tangible, and hate myself for not being able to get it under control.
When you’re stuck in that cycle -- trying to fix the way you eat and lose weight, failing, hating yourself, and starting over -- you’re not thinking about your emotional well-being or your calling or the reason you were put on this earth. You’re thinking about your weight and your waistline. You’re keeping yourself small, and safe.
There was one particular time in my group program when our wise therapist said, “It’s not about the food.” Everyone around me nodded in understanding, but I felt so confused. What the hell is it about if it isn’t the food? She finally added,
“It’s about self-acceptance.”
I didn’t get it, but I filed it away for the future. Maybe I would get it some day. Thank goodness I finally do. Thank goodness I know the freedom of accepting myself, and loving myself, and deserving respect in any sized body.
It isn’t about eating a certain way, or having a body that feels acceptable, or doing things the way you think you’re supposed to.
It’s about loving yourself, unapologetically, regardless of your size or weight or how many brownies you ate last night. It’s about knowing that you are MUCH MORE than your body, and you were put on this earth to do amazing things and feel wonderful and have great relationships -- in whatever physical form you take. It’s about respecting yourself and respecting others and living with purpose and love and joy. It’s about living your life, exactly the way you want to, without fearing judgment or trying to be who someone else thinks you should be.
It’s not about the food and it’s not about your body. It never was, and it never will be.
If you don’t get it yet, don’t despair. Just hold that truth in your heart, and the understanding will evolve.
I wish for you the liberation and elation of knowing who you are, loving yourself, and living your most incredible, passionate, joyous life!
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