When you aren’t hungry but you eat anyway

When you aren’t hungry but you eat anyway
July 19, 2017 Ann Weiser Cornell
Do you eat when you aren't hungy

Focusing Tip #568 – “And then I become aware I am munching on something I didn’t even want…”


Connie writes:

Around 4:00 to 6:00 PM on most days I find myself in the kitchen craving something. I know I am not hungry because nothing I see appeals to me. And then I become aware I am munching on something I didn’t even want. I feel bad about myself but also…disappointed, discouraged, regretful, frustrated, displeased.

I am beginning to recognize these moments of unconsciousness, or brain fog, or confusion. Staying in these moments is difficult; something in me wants to run away from it – hence the fog or whatever. Yet I know that is exactly where the pearl is. These are the moments when the unvoiced parts of me are waiting to be heard but other parts of me become so loud these small hidden voices are silenced.

Peace feels elusive. Anything you might say will be helpful.

Dear Connie:

You’ve done a beautiful job of noticing that there is something going on in you at those moment of craving and unconscious eating.

I think you’ve put your finger right on the essence of the matter when you say that there are “unvoiced parts of you waiting to be heard.”

And something else in you wants to run away, to be in a fog, to go unconscious… to munch on something you didn’t even want.

Staying present when something in you wants to go unconscious is challenging… and, as you say, that’s where the “pearl” is! (A lovely way to put it!)

The key here is to be with the part of you that wants to run away… because if you scold it and make it wrong — “I should stay present and not run away…” — then there’s no way forward.

Sometimes we can actually be conscious at the time, in the moment of restlessness and craving, that there is something there calling for attention.

Often however it will be later that we will realize that the whole sequence came from something needing attention and something else wanting to escape.

That’s OK, you can still turn toward it later, whenever you become aware of it. (It’s never too late!)

You can say, “I realize now that something in me wanted to escape… and there was something vague, foggy, unvoiced that it wanted to escape from… and now I am acknowledging both of them.”

Something new will come from this, emerging from this radically accepting relationship with yourself.

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