For much of my life, I haven’t felt at ease spending time alone.
I’d crave the aloneness that my introverted self needs, but all too often alone time would be spent eating to fill a void inside me. The only time I’d be able to be alone and not fill my time with the inevitable over-eating would be when I would write and accomplish a list of things to do. Then I could potter around to my heart’s content, completing all the set tasks. But that’s not a way I want to live – needing to constantly be in action.
So, why am I sharing my thoughts about this with you, lovely one? In part because it’s a Saturday – my blog day – and so I wanted to honour the commitment I’ve made to myself and to you by sharing something with you.
Also, I’ve spent the day tired and lazing around without worrying about or consuming too much food…and I’m curious about why and how this shift has taken place.
I’ve recently taken up playing the ukulele with my husband. Neither of us are particularly good at it, but that’s not the point. I love spending time playing it, finding happy songs from my childhood and returning to easy tunes that only have a few chords I can mindlessly play and enjoy.
I don’t think I’ve really had an activity over the past years that I just love doing for the pleasure of it – one that isn’t dependent on getting a certain outcome, being the best or reaching set milestones. And this experience has melted something inside me which allows for greater stillness and peace.
In the past I had a bottled-up tidal wave of emotions, feelings and experiences that I squashed down to appear ok, fine, presentable to the world. The anger, the sadness, the joy, the concern…I would push all of these feelings down, creating a bubbling depth of emotions that I was scared of letting out. And the only way I felt I would control it was by stuffing my feelings down with food.
Writing this blog, the time I spend with a life coach, working in an organisation where I feel I can be my authentic self and starting to share more of myself in person and online has allowed me to express and let go so many of these feelings and this has brought about such peace in my life.
Sometimes I still over eat to bury my feelings…but I’m able to express and let them go so much more than before.
A lot of my fear around over eating stems from not wanting to be ‘fat’, which, I know holds so much more for women than just the physical dangers of being overweight – judgement from others, being looked at with disgust or pity, being taken less seriously, being seen as having no self-control.
I thought the other day to myself:
“what would happen to my relationship with food if I looked exactly the same, regardless of what or how much I ate?”
I know exactly what would happen – I would eat for pleasure, I would be less stressed about what I was eating and how much I was going to eat, I would see food as something that brings nourishment instead of punishment. When eating for comfort, I would stop spiralling out of control (eating, hating myself for eating, denying myself ‘nice’ food, cracking and bingeing) and just get on with life.
What does this change? It makes me aware that it’s not the food but the expectations society (including me) puts on body image and size, which then allows me to step back from it a bit and find greater peace in my alone time.
So it’s a lot of different things that are contributing to this new feeling towards food and my ability to enjoy being alone…and I’m just going to see where it takes me and enjoy being in the moment.