Almost 10 years ago, my husband and I did a 5 day fast together. It was the first time I did anything like that, and I figured I’d be starving the whole time and get hungrier and hungrier over the course of the five days (and suffer over it, too!).
But my experience didn’t happen the way I envisioned it would. Yes, I got hungry. And yes, I got very hungry. But that’s where it stopped. I never got hungrier than very hungry.
Prior to the fast, I was very attached to not feeling hungry, and would get very upset if I felt very hungry. During and after the fast, I experienced that it would never get worse than “very hungry” and even that experience would pass after a short time. It transformed my relationship to food, and allowed me to avoid getting upset when I was hungry, since I knew it wouldn’t get much worse.
Fast forward to this past year, in which I was recovering from a skiing accident, and our company also closed. For the first 8 months of the year, my attention was focused on my panic about our future, as well as my discomfort in my body and as a result, my appetite was suppressed.
In the fall of 2015, my elbow finally started improving, and our company was fully closed, and I took a deep breath.
And promptly found that no matter how much I ate, it wasn’t enough. Three full meals, and three snacks a day that were the size of meals, and I was still hungry. I could eat all day long, and not get full.
Four months and fourteen pounds later (!), it was time to get real. While of course I needed to eat, it became pretty clear to me that there was something else at play here.
Additionally, while I am a woman of a certain age, and prone to weight gain, I could not blame it on that, either. And while I was underweight before this non-stop eating experience, I wasn’t fourteen pounds underweight!
So I spent some time watching, listening and thinking about this. I’ve never had a problem self-regulating before. But I’ve also never had the type of upheaval we had last year, either.
Any guesses? Yup. It was how my fear manifested itself. The immediate panic had passed and I knew we’d be OK eventually, but the uncertainty of how we’d get there still “had” me.
Around the same time, we restarted our meditation practice, and one of the instructions is to pick a trait that you want to embody and hold that trait in front of you during the meditation. So, I chose TRUST, and every night when we meditated, I held TRUST as the purpose of my meditation.
Amazingly, it began working. My deep, gnawing hunger lessened, and I dropped 7 pounds almost immediately. I’ve noticed a pretty close correlation with the days I’m grounded, or meditate on trust, and my fear level, which is directly related to the pull of the insatiable appetite.
It’s become my new red flag, actually. Now, whenever my appetite flares up, it’s my signal to slow down, get refocused on trusting that we’ll be OK, and taking a deep breath before I open my mouth to eat.
Food and weight can be an extremely discouraging topic, but I promise, there’s hope. I invite you to take a moment to slow down and see if there’s something that “has” you and is causing you to do something you wouldn’t otherwise do.
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