I am reading a book at the moment by well-known author, Geneen Roth, called ‘Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything‘. From what I have read so far it applies to men as much women, so don’t let the title put you off!
In one of the early chapters, it talks about compulsive eating as a means of distancing ourselves from the way things are, when they are not how we want them to be. I think that this is such an accurate way of describing the function of overeating, the reason why we continue to overeat when we really know we shouldn’t…
Overeating, or eating when we are not hungry, is really just a way of escaping our current situation: whether that be a way of comforting ourselves when we are going through a stressful period, a way to distract ourselves from feelings of sadness or loneliness or boredom, or simply a way of procrastinating when we have work or chores that need to get done. In any of these circumstances not only does the process of eating itself become a short-term, momentary escape, but the constant obsession with food and weight becomes a longer-term escape – to the point that we can end up missing out on experiencing our whole lives!
Who has ever thought to themselves, “Just as soon as I lose weight, I will …(insert appropriate plan here)”: eg. take a dance class/ go to the beach/ go to the gym/ buy clothes that make me feel good/ start dating/ be happy? Do you ever get the feeling that you are putting your life on hold???
It is easy to blame our weight, our eating habits, our bodies for why things are not as we would like them to be, but maybe it is actually the other way around: Because things are not as we would like them to be, we use food and weight as a way of escaping.