Monday, November 23, 2009

Question # 14: Eating with Others

Question # 14 comes from an Anonymous Commenter. Anonymous writes:

"How can I stay with people when I've eaten? I feel so... dirty! It makes me anxious. It makes me cry..."

I can't tell you how many people I know or know OF who feel the exact same way. If nothing else, this question should serve to make you feel less alone.

Here's something to try. Examine the situation. Why does it make you feel so dirty? Is it because you are ashamed? Because you're being watched? Because you're uncomfortable? Because you want to get rid of what you've eaten? Because you wish you hadn't eaten it? Because you feel smothered when you're not alone? Because you dislike the way the food in your body makes you feel? WHAT IS IT?

Try to tap into the feeling. What is it that makes you feel so dirty? Once you can pinpoint why you feel the way you do, you can start to do something about. You can start to train yourself to think differently or feel differently.

I suggest keeping a food journal--but not of how much you've eaten. Try keeping a journal of what you eat, when you eat, and who you eat with--and the emotions you feel in relation to each scenario. If you notice patterns, you can start to work with them. You can start to change the reality of your situations. If you notice that you feel "dirtier" or more "anxious" with a certain person or with a certain crowd, you can delve deeper and examine why that is. What is it about that person or those people that makes you feel uncomfortable eating with them?

If you notice you feel "dirtier" or more "anxious" at certain times of the day, say at dinner with people opposed to at breakfast with people, you can start to delve deeper and figure out what this means, what this signifies, and how to work through it.

If you notice you feel "dirtier" or more "anxious" when eating certain foods, you can experiment and see what alleviates the situation.

In short, it's about way more than just eating. There is something mentally going on here that makes you feel "dirty" and "anxious," that makes you cry.

The second you think it's all because of food or all because of the act of eating, you are relinquishing some power over to your eating disorder. You are being fooled. Go within. Go deeper. If you need to ask yourself the sort of questions I asked above, then do it. And start now.

That's the first part. You can watch one of my older videos about this here. It's actually a response to a question opposite this (those who find it easier to eat with others), but I touch on a lot of the same things and explain my points in detail. It relates a lot.)

The second part is to come up with reasons to stay. List the reasons to stay with people once you've eaten. This is something you want to beat and to do so, you have to have a plan. You have to have valid reasons.

Reasons to stay:
-the people you're eating with care about you
-you are one step ahead of your eating disorder if you stay with them after eating
-you give yourself a chance to act "normal" and put other issues aside
-you miss out on conversation if you leave
-you isolate yourself the more you leave after a meal or in the middle of a meal
-the more you STAY, the more you will be able to fight that "dirty," "anxious" feeling

Try, try, try, and then try again. I know it sounds difficult, and I know it's much easier said than done, but don't discount it.


Joy said...

I have this feeling a lot when I feel like I eat too much... especially if I impulsively binge.. then I sit and I feel like I absolutely can't sit with myself I am ashamed... I find that controlling the binge is easier than trying not to purge after a binge. If I eat mindfully and the binge doesn't occur, neither does the "disgusting" feeling or the purge.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

quite interesting read. I would love to follow you on twitter.