Do you struggle with issues of worthiness and feeling good about yourself? Do you truly believe that you deserve to manifest a life you love? Do you feel disconnected from the love you already have manifested into your life?
This is a tricky issue to articulate, and one that is incredibly complex and multi-layered, but the inextricable connection between food and intimacy can’t be denied.
The weight loss industry is a billion dollar money maker. It’s safe to say that most mainstream media and advertising is targeted to women to “solve” their problems because they need to measure up to society’s bullshit standards of so-called “beauty”. It’s estimated that on a daily basis our subconscious mind is bombarded thousands upon thousands of times with negative messaging that reinforce that we’re not good enough. Even though everything is Photoshopped, hyper-sexualized, and most of all unrealistic, it sends the subliminal message that we will never be good enough and that happiness is always a destination when we lose the weight, when we land the man/woman, when we make a million dollars, when the wrinkles go away. This messaging feeds off our pre-programed triggers that originated in childhood, or through various heartbreaks that have unfolding along the way.
Sure, you could blame your parents for your issues – but sadly they are the products of their own parental conditioning as well and so the vicious cycle continues. That is…
Until you make a conscious choice to shine a light on the linchpins that hold you back from your magnificence.
The thing about food is that the issues surrounding it can manifest in a multitude of different ways. Most of them pertain to the ability to control food because food doesn’t judge you. Whether it’s overeating or under-eating, the underlying issues tend to be the same.
I’ve only just recently had an ‘ah-ha’ moment with the connection between love and food. I’ve started reading some books on this subject and hope to talk about it more in the future, but for now I’ll just give some really personal examples in my own life about how food (or controlling food) has replaced LOVE and manifested in different ways.
My parents always tell the story of how much of a “fat” and greedy baby I was. They couldn’t eat food in my presence without me throwing a tantrum for more. By the time I was 7 there was some kind of shame that manifested around food and I would secretly hide it and not eat it. I would hide vegetables and meat in my mother’s shoes because I didn’t want to eat her meals. This not-so-silent protest was never addressed. I always refused to eat dairy products and got really phobic about food from that time onwards. By age 11, I would eat a carrot a day and lie about what I had eaten.
At 15, I became pretty much fully “vegan” as a way to manage my food phobias. After I had my son at 21, my body changed. I’d never felt “fat” before, but this time in my life signaled the first time I was aware of hating my body and I was only (115 lbs or 53 kgs) right after giving birth. I hated the cellulite on my thighs, I hated the stretch marks and the fact I would probably never wear a bikini again. I became bulimic for 5 years and no-one knew. I would binge (on plain pasta mainly) and tell my husband that I’d already eaten dinner by the time he arrived home in the evenings after work. I didn’t lose any weight, but got addicted to the “high” that making myself throw up would give me. I’d get maybe 30 minutes of feeling “normal” if I was lucky.
Over the years I’ve resorted to that toxic action (very rarely) in my times of extreme sadness, but the habitual daily pattern was broken back in 2005 – thank goodness. I can’t even remember what changed, but I'm really glad that it did. The bottom line was that I refused to nourish myself on all levels, mainly because I wasn’t getting the love and intimacy I needed within my first marriage. I would fight for my emotions and we’d end up in physical fights. Mr Ex had his levels of disconnect and I had mine, and there was no foreseeable way we could ever meet in the middle and make peace.
There was a total disconnect between my soul and my body that stemmed back to childhood.
So what would make someone do this? What would make someone control food and disconnect from their own body?
To be clear, I’m not looking to blame anyone because my parents did the best job they knew how to do. I wasn’t abused as a child, only as a young adult when the domestic violence started. Yes, the family I grew up in was/is VERY dysfunctional but our hearts were all in the right place even though they were all broken from various different life experiences. That’s life, right? Can you relate?
My best working theory is that I was a super-sensitive child. The pain that was going on with everyone else gave me a one-way ticket to check out from myself because I felt powerless. I couldn't help them, I couldn't fix them, and I could deeply feel their sadness. As an example, my mother gave up her first two children for adoption, kept it a secret until I was 17, and I was the first baby she was able to keep. The “wounded nurturer” archetype was circulating in all different directions, but that's a story for another day.
That feeling of being powerless meant that I didn’t feel loved, it meant that I needed to find something to control and it meant that a healthy connection between mind/body/spirit was severed like taking an axe to the branch of a beautiful cherry blossom tree.
All I wanted was unconditional love, and when I corroded that connection with lack of worthiness then it became super-tricky to let love in and feel it. In all transparency, I still struggle with trusting and believing in intimacy, but slowly I am willing to dismantle the wall.
It’s only during this pregnancy with the daughter I am carrying now that I have started to face this lack of being present within my own skin. I started to unravel this soul-mess a couple of years ago when I kept having recurrent miscarriages (5 in total) over a 10 month period in 2013/14.
My realization was…
“How can I expect my soul baby to grow in my body when I’m not even in it myself?”
But fast forward to today, it was only in the last few days that I cried my eyes out prompted by the energy of the new moon and realized that food is a way for me to rebuild the lost connection. If I can nurture myself more, I can nurture and connect more deeply with my loved ones.
See? Even “spiritual” teachers and personal development authors have many layers of this soul-journey onion to peel away. No one is perfect, no one is flawless, and no one is exempt from life teaching them the lessons that their soul needs in order to expand in consciousness.
So if you make excuses as to why you keep people at a distance, why you struggle feeling loved, or why you might self-sabotage and screw things up intentionally, stop and look at the relationship you have with food. Don’t look to the past for answers, look to the present moment and each opportunity you have to nourish yourself and your future. Show yourself some gentle compassion, do the best you can do and trust that awareness around this issue is the first step in a new and empowering direction.