Food : Relationship -vs- Power Struggle

The last few months have been emotionally and physically challenging on this journey I started a little more than 6 months ago. Honestly, I am not where I wanted to be at this point, but I have made progress which is better than standing still.

I injured my right leg twice, pulling my Iliotibial Band, flaring up my Sciatic nerve in the process. This left me out of the gym for multiple weeks and a bit depressed about delayed process. Through this time my power struggle with food returned.

In my constant change in my relationship with food I have come to know, my connection with food has always been more of a power struggle, than a relationship.

Last night while laying in bed I had this epiphany, or “ah ha!” moment about my childhood, which I never attributed with any connection to food before now.  While I attribute these childhood issues to my relationship with food, I in no way blame anyone else for the choices I have made around food and my body. I love my family and know they did the best they could, even with their faults. This is not about blame, this is about how I got to where I am in order to move forward.

As a small child I was pretty emotional, having what some would call over exaggerated feelings or emotions. I was very sensitive, not only to my own feelings but had a heightened sense of what others were feeling as well. I felt like these feelings were mine and part of who I was, and was surprisingly content with them.

I came from a family of people who were not emotionally available and treated me a certain way in hopes that I would not continue to be this way emotionally. But the truth is, changing the fact that I had feeling was not possible and the power struggle I began to feel within myself about who I was and who I felt like others needed me to be, also became part of who I was and carried over into my relationship with food.

My relationship with food seemed normal to me, but to others it was problematic. No one discussed why, but solutions were often forced onto me.

I remember being put in a medical weight loss program in the 5th grade and I never remember being asked if it was something I wanted, it was just something I needed to do. It had become clear my weight and relationship with food was now a family problem. My truth about that, is I was easier to focus on, rather than the other things which happened in our house. Not that I was a scapegoat, but I was the softer gentler focal point that was needed, because focusing on the tough stuff was not possible for everyone in my family.

Over time I constantly felt like I was not able to be myself and needed to hide who I was and how I felt, in order to get by in a family of people who did not understand. I often stuffed food in my mouth to keep from talking, because I felt like no one listened to me. I felt as though when I did express myself it was brushed aside and I was left feeling invalidated, so I again turned to food to fight the battles I never felt like I could win anywhere else.

I could always win the battle against food, because it never fought back, it never argued and it never asked me to be anything except who I was. Food was my friend, my confident, it was the one thing I could count on, over and over again to listen and not have to hide from. Food began to hold all my power. Food became my power, the only thing I could control and yet the loss of control I had with it was devastating.

So how have I changed this power struggle to a relationship… well it is still a work in progress. But today when I feel like I am eating for emotional reasons, power reasons or reasons other than being hungry I think about it, I write about it, and I talk about. I express myself, even if only to myself. So those feelings which I once ate around, no longer control the new relationship I am having with my body and what it requires for energy.

Today, it is not a perfect science, and I don’t do everything right, but me and food are on the road to recovering a healthy relationship and I can live with that.

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