Anonymous Comfort Eaters

“Hi, my name is Soraya and I’m a comfort eater”
The people in the room reply all together: “Hi Soraya”

I feel a bit awkward. All eyes on me. All eyes on me because I’m about to tell a story that will probably sound very familiar in all these unfamiliar ears.
“I don’t remember when it all started exactly, but I know I was young. I always enjoyed food. And candy. And chocolate…” 
Unwillingly my mind takes me to the sweet taste of my favorite chocolate melting on my tongue. Then I realize that I usually don’t let it melt. I just bite it, chew it and swallow it. You’d think that someone who loves chocolate so much, would take her time to enjoy the rich flavor to the fullest. But I don’t. I just want it in my stomach. It makes no sense. Not even to me.

The people wait patiently as I try to recollect my thoughts. I look at them. Some are nodding comprehensibly. Some look worried , with a look of compasion on their face. Or is it pitty?

“The environment I grew up is was heavy on me. The worse I felt, the more I ate. Food was safe, no unexpected events. Food was pleasure. I guess it took me back to the very first basic needs. The first thing a baby does is cry. And drink milk. Somehow the connection between food and caring physical contact was made in my head early on. And when I would lack one (the caring hugs and caresses) and felt unsafe, I would try to compensate it with the other (food).
Slowly but surely I developed an intense love-hate relationship with food. I needed it to fill a void. But the more I tried to eat away loneliness, the more food I stuffed myself with to ignore the traumatic events that were going on around me, the more weight I gained. I started feeling fat in elementary school. I hung out with the fat girls. I felt ugly. So I would try to eat that feeling away. It was the little devil – little angel situation. The devil told me to eat, and I would feel better. The angel told me to step away from the food, because I would feel even worse. The devil won, but the angel was always right. The worse I felt, the fatter I would get.

When I look back at pictures of myself, I realize that I wasn’t even that fat. I was chubby, but I’ve seen worse. I’ve struggled with food all my life. Then one day I was watching an Oprah show and they were talking about comfort eaters. It slowly dawned on me that this was me. I had to face the fact that I was a comfort eater too. And since that day I’ve been trying to figure out how to deal with it.. And that’s my story.”
The other people in the room clapped for me. Some were crying, others gave me an encouraging smile. I stepped down, sat down on my chair. I felt sad but relieved at the same time. I did it. I said it out loud. I’ve managed to define myself in front of a bunch of strangers. I am a Comfort Eater. 

This could be a real scenario. There are so many people out there who use and abuse food to work around negative feelings they have about themselves. About life. Usually it’s the both combined into one. The problem is that it’s very hard to figure out what’s wrong. We all eat. We have to eat. But once food becomes more than a basic need to stay alive, once food  is your way to feel better, that’s when things go wrong.

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching. To me, eating is directly connected with cozyness and comfort. Yes, even happiness. Think about it. The times you have dinner with your family are so fullfilling. You are surrounded with your loved ones. And you give in to a basic need. So food equals love. Icecream subconsciously reminds you of those summer times as a child when you went out with your parents and they bought you an icecream. The whole day was filled with fun and pleasure. Everybody was smiling. You felt loved. And you had an icecream… Can you see the pattern yet?

When I started to pay attention, I did realize that I eat a lot more when I’m alone, feeling lonely and down. When I feel happy and loved,  I don’t feel the need to eat. I can go a whole day with just breakfast. And maybe dinner, when I get hungry.

I kept trying to figure it out.

I was always taught that acknowledgement is the first step on the path to healing. So I acknowledge my addiction. I am a comfort eater. And I’m working hard to stay in control of it. I just haven’t figured out yet how to get over it. Maybe I never will. But I know that it’s part of me. I’m a recovering food junkie. But as of today, I am no longer anonymous…

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Passing over

Someone stated: “I wonder who came up with the word,’Death’…it just seems too simple a word to describe the horror and tragedy of losing one’s life. If anything,it even rhymes with,’Breath’,something incredibly vital to being alive.”

Good point. But personally, I don’t think death is a horrible thing. It’s hard on those who are left behind. The horror in death can be the way a life is ended.  But death in itself is a peaceful state of being…

There’s no stress, no earthly problems. No pain, no suffering.  It’s just you, your soul healing from the life you’ve lived, learning the lessons that were needed and moving on.

Death is a familiar stranger.  We know that people die and we will die too. But we don’t know what happens once we no longer breathe, when there’s no longer a heartbeat. And not knowing scares people. Humans have this tendacy to try and explain everything.  That’s the birth and the basics of science. And religion. We look around and we want to understand. In general we are not satisfied with the answer: “because that’s just the way it is.” We want to analyze, pull apart, put back together and reanalyze. We might find ways to change it in the process. But there’s no way to change death. No one ever succeeded in cheating death and live forever. No one ever will.

Whatever happens to you once your body clocks out, can’t be bad. Nobody ever returned to tell us what it’s like. That’s a joke my mom used to make. I believe that we should accept that there’s nothing bad about death and there’s nothing scary about it. The only thing we should fear is the way we might die . And  even more so, fear ending this life without doing the things we wanted to do.

I personally believe in reincarnation. To me death is just a necessary pause for our souls to catch a breath. No matter what you believe or don’t believe, death is unavoidable. So the best way to deal with it, is living your life to the fullest. Celebrate life. That’s the best lesson death can teach you. Celebrate life. Chase your dreams and never regret.