Healing Food AddictionBy Dr. Margaret Paul
December 31, 2006
Food addiction is challenging because you can't just not eat. Discover an underlying cause of food addiction and how to begin healing this challenging issue.
Hannah was distressed that, with all the inner work she had done on herself, she still found herself binge eating.
"There are times when I just can't stop eating. I feel awful after, but at the time I just want another cookie and another until they are all gone. Or I'll intend to take a few bites of ice cream out of the carton and find myself unable to stop until the whole carton is empty. I just don't get why I'm still doing this! And it seems worse since I married Roger, even though I really love him. I just can't figure this out!"
I asked Hannah to tune in to the addicted part of herself, and allow that part to speak about why she needs to fill up with food.
"Well, sometimes I just feel so empty and alone inside. I just can't stand it. The food makes me feel so much better. I don't feel so lonely when I'm eating and filled up. But I don't get why I feel this way. I'm not alone. I have Roger and he loves me."
"It sounds like you want to eat when you feel alone inside, when your inner child - which is your feeling self - feels alone and abandoned inside."
"Yes," answered Hannah. "That's exactly what I feel, but I have no idea how to fill that emptiness and aloneness without food. And why do I feel alone inside when I'm not alone outside?"
The problem is that most people think that the empty alone feeling is caused by something outside themselves - such as not having a partner, feeling rejected by someone, being unhappy at a job or not having enough money. Yet that is never what causes inner emptiness and inner aloneness. It is caused by one thing - not taking loving care of yourself - abandoning yourself by ignoring your feelings, or by judging yourself or by making someone else responsible for your feelings, and then further numbing them out by turning to addictions.
We Cannot Heal Addictions Alone
We cannot take loving care of our feelings without having a spiritual source to turn to for love, comfort, wisdom, guidance and strength.
A spiritual source can be God, a Higher Power, a guardian angel, an inner mentor or teacher, a beloved relative who has died, or your own Higher Self. We all need a source of guidance to turn to, rather than other people or our own mind. Your mind is limited to your storehouse of beliefs, many of which are false or no longer supportive of who are now are. Your mind cannot guide you in what is truly loving to yourself. It cannot advise you in what actions support your highest good. So unless you have a source of wisdom to turn to, you may not know what to do to take loving care of yourself.
You may not open to this Source until your deep desire is to take loving care of yourself. As long as you believe it is someone else's job to fill you up, or that you will get filled up from work, money, food and so on, you may not take the loving action you need to take in your own behalf to take care of your inner child and fill yourself with love.
The first thing I did with Hannah was to help her create, in her imagination, a spiritual source for her to turn to. When I asked her to do this, she immediately imagined her grandfather whom she had dearly loved as a child and who had died when she was five. She said she had often felt her grandfather around her, but had never thought to turn to him for help. Now, as she imagined him holding her and loving her, she began to cry with the joy of feeling his love for her.
Dialoguing With Your Inner Child
"Hannah, while he is holding you, imagine the child part of you that wants to overeat. Imagine that you are holding her while your grandfather is holding you. Ask her how you are treating her that causes her to feel so empty and alone."
Little Hannah: "The thing you ALWAYS do that I just hate is you just go along with everything that Roger wants. What he wants and needs and feels is always more important to you than I am. You don't speak up for me. Every since we got married, it's like Roger is supposed to make me happy instead of you making me happy. I need you to make me happy by taking care of me instead of taking care of Roger so that Roger will love us. I need you to love me." (This did not come out all at once - this is a summary of what the inner child eventually said to adult Hannah).
Hannah devoted herself to the practice of Inner Bonding, learning to turn to her grandfather for love and guidance, and to take care of herself instead of giving herself up to Roger. Through her Inner Bonding practice, she eventually healed her aloneness and her binge eating gradually vanished.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."
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Photo by Igorovsyannykov
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We draw people to us at our common level of woundedness and our common level of health. Therefore, if you want your relationships to change from conflicted or distant to loving and connected, be devoted to your own healing and become the kind of person you want to attract into your life.
By Dr. Margaret Paul