When we eat when we are not hungry, we are eating to fill another need. This could be boredom, distraction from pain or loneliness, to fit in, to celebrate. We all eat for different reasons when we eat when we aren’t physically hungry.
We don’t want to be told that most of the time we are eating not because we need to, but because we are using food as a way to numb out, comfort ourselves or fit in with others. But when eating food becomes a crutch, our bodies suffer, our confidence suffers and our health suffers. And after all the food is gone, realize that we are still left with the boredom, the pain. Or we find that we can still experience the joy of community without the glutony of the feast. We learn that we can trust our bodies to know what they need and that we have the strength to listen to them. We also find that when we drop the distraction of the food or the battle to be thin, we have the strength to face our fears, our beliefs about ourselves. We find that we are strong enough to feel the pain – and in feeling it, we heal.
For some of us, the habit of eating – either by the clock, or by the book, or by distraction – is so ingrained that we do not even really know what physical hunger actually feels like. This meditation will help you to tune into your body. It might be nice to have a pen and paper handy for afterwards, as I find that when I tune in, often I get answers not just about hunger or what my body needs, but about some of the fears, pain and beliefs that underlie my eating behaviours in the first place.
Remember, curiosity and kindness are fundamental skills we need to practice as we embark on this journey of healing our whole selves.