I dedicated 26 days of intentionality toward myself.
To be honest, about halfway through the process I was surprised at what was being uncovered about the state of my relationship with food and me. I was set for losing pounds and inches, prepared to workout really hard, and ready to feel more energy physically and mentally. What actually startled me though were the thoughts and feelings that came up through having to eat good food, five times a day, seven days a week.
I think I was about 10 days in, my initial momentum waning, and it was clear that several times a day I was beyond annoyed at having to eat…AGAIN! This particular day, I was throwing a tantrum as I marched up the stairs to the kitchen. I opened and slammed shut the refrigerator door numerous times, just heated that I had to “fix” something. First of all, I did not want to eat; and secondly, if I was going to have to eat, could I just please have something out of a box or a drive-thru that would JUST taste good and make me feel better.
I stopped for a moment…quiet…and asked out loud, “What is my problem? Why am I so angry? What is going on?” It took a minute, but I felt like the clouds parted and I saw clearly the arrangement I had made with food.
The truth was, up to that point (and without really knowing it) food only existed to make me feel better. Many days if I was too busy, or just to lazy, I would not eat ‘til I was starving, which was about dinner time. It was too much effort to get the food, and if I had to “work” in order to eat…that did not make me feel better. Then, when I would get around to eating, I would eat way too much because I was famished. And, on top of that, I would eat JUNK food, because it tasted so good going down, and I would feel better.
That moment (talking to myself in the middle of a temper tantrum) was so marked for me, seeing how committed I was to using food simply to bring relief to my day or give me some sort of pleasure. Ironic, isn’t it, how dedicated I was to feeling better through food, yet, ultimately that attachment with food made me feel so much worse.
Okay, so even harder to swallow than the truth of how I had been using food; yet incredibly freeing and the most significant part of transforming my eating was that: eating well five times a day became an act of care and love for myself.
My eyes were not just opened to my relationship with food, but more importantly my relationship to myself. Each meal became a statement TO MYSELF that I mattered. I, Angie Johnston am important to myself.
I know that this can sound cliché’ or cheesy but it was profoundly true. I have sought to know that I matter to God, that I am valuable to my husband, that I am cared for by family and friends, that I am even liked by my children, but oh…how did I miss it? In my 43 years of life, how have I not experienced care and love for my own being? I guess that was somehow allotted to selfishness.
What freedom I feel to begin knowing that giving myself nurturing and nutrients is fundamental to talking kindly and relating to my own soul. I honestly feel like I became friends with myself. Ha, funny, eh? But so good. Something has freed up in me, and eating is not some heavy-duty, law-based failure anymore.
Food no longer exists to just make me feel better.
I eat to care about myself…and what do you know, I feel better than ever.
….OKAY, okay the $500 dollars that I won was great too;)
Angie is a mother to three children (ages 16, 12, and 9) and wife to a health nut/computer geek. She has sincerely enjoyed her work as a professional counselor for the last 20 years, but mostly seek creating space to play with her kids in their lives, drink coffee, tea and cocktails with her friends, be outside in the colors of Colorado beauty and read good stories. Of course cooking, cleaning and doing laundry take up a good portion of her life, too.