I grew up in a home where my parents often said, "Clean up your plate! There are children starving in Africa. You should be grateful that you have spinach to eat." Sometimes I'd sit for an hour at the dinner table hoping to wait them out, but it didn't work. I ended up having to eat what was on my plate.
In my 20's I had a love-hate relationship with food. It was comforting to me and yet it also brought me anxiety because I had to be conscious of my weight. I was a Playboy Bunny and we were expected to maintain a certain weight in order to work. When we went over that weight we were put on the "fat list" and removed from the work schedule.
One day I came in to work and my supervisor told me to step onto the scale. I weighed 110 pounds, which was ten pounds more than I weighed on my start date. I was warned that if I didn't lose the weight I would be taken off the schedule.
After dinner that night, I went into the restroom and, looking to make sure that no one was around, bent over the toilet and stuck my finger down my throat. My dinner came up quickly.
After that, it became a ritual. I felt like I had control of the situation. I ate as much as I liked knowing that I could release it afterwards. Ice cream sundaes, spaghetti, baked potatoes with sour cream and butter...I gorged myself with these foods, which gave me a strange sense of comfort. It was an unhealthy ritual and I am fortunate that it did not become an obsession, as it has become for many women.
I didn't realize it at the time, but I was eating to fill up a part of me that felt empty. I was sad, lonely and depressed. I hated my body and I hated my life.
What changed my life was setting a goal to finish college. I returned to school and began to see myself as capable and intelligent. I started to see that there was more to me than my appearance. I began to eat only when I was hungry and to feed myself spiritually, reading books about philosophy, religion and mythology. My soul hungered for something more than food.
If you are eating to fill an emptiness within you, consider this: Maybe what is missing is a personal relationship to God. Maybe that hunger that you feel is a hunger for God. Why not spend some time in prayer today and connect with that divine presence that lies at the core of your being.
Below you will find a link to a special little movie that was made by Mary Robinson Reynolds. Through imagery, music and its inspiring message, it can help you find emotional and spiritual support in releasing any extra weight that you may be carrying. I found it to be very soothing, peaceful and affirmative.