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I’m standing at the sink, chowing down on a piece of toast when I suddenly wonder:
How did I get here?
I look back at my computer desk, where I sat just a minute or two ago. Or at least I think I did. I really don’t remember, now.
- I don’t remember standing up.
- I don’t remember walking to the frig.
- I don’t remember grabbing the bag of Winter Wheat bread off the top of the frig.
- I don’t remember opening it or sticking a slice in the toaster.
- I don’t remember getting a plate or knife.
- I don’t remember dipping the knife into the peanut butter jar or squeezing the honey bear.
It bothers me that I don’t remember so many actions..
But what troubles me most is this: I don’t remember feeling hungry.
Losing the Food Battle Without a Fight
WTF? I wonder.
As in, “Why the food?”
How have I developed such an automatic, robotic routine that I can find myself half-way through eating something without any idea how I got there?
I back-track my steps, trying to understand.
What was I doing at my computer?
Except that one of the e-mails was upsetting. It was a blind-sider, and I didn’t want to deal with it.
“it” meaning the e-mail?
No. More than the e-mail.
The way the e-mail made me feel.
And my automatic response to feelings I don’t want to deal with is to stuff them down with food.
So the real question isn’t “Why the food?”
It’s “What’s the feeling?”
Fighting the Food Battle with Questions
Realizing that I’ve developed food habits that are so automatic, I can’t even answer the question How did I get here? shakes me.
So for several weeks, I make a point to question myself each time I head into the kitchen between meals.
I challenge myself, “Why the food?” followed by, “What’s the feeling?”
I discover a plethora of answers:
- I’m feeling Lonely.
- I’m feeling Insecure.
- I’m feeling Resentful.
- I’m feeling Angry.
- I’m feeling Worried.
- I’m feeling Unloved.
I reminded myself: Food resolves hunger, not feelings.
For a while.
Soon, though, I find that a purely intellectual response isn’t enough. I can tell myself, Apple crisp a la mode isn’t going to resolve Worry.
But I still want it.
Or, to be more honest, I want the escape from Worry that the few minutes of eating apple crisp provides.
Of course, after I’ve eaten the last bite, Worry is back.
With buddies: Guilt and Blame and Shame.
Discovering a 3rd Food Battle Question
And so, a third question arises:
“Where’s the freedom?”
Yeah, I know it’s awkward and could even sound accusatory.
But for me, it’s simply asking, “Where am I really going to find freedom? In food? In feelings? How about in faith?”
(To be continued with “Win Every Food Battle Right Here“.)