A while back I wrote about the differences between self-esteem and self-worth. My struggles stem from a lack of self-worth, which doesn’t ebb and flow like self-esteem does. It is either there or it isn’t.
The best way to describe that feeling is that there is a void. And it wasn’t until very recently that I realized that there are many ways I attempt to fill this void, one of those being with food. And this is the case especially when I am feeling intense emotions, or charting new territory (like being engaged). A lot of my identity has been surrounded by food whether it be as an overeater in high school and college, as a Weight Watcher who loses 40 lbs, or a fitness enthusiast who needs to fuel her workouts with wholesome foods. Either way, it always seems to be in my radar in some form or another.
But the thing about food is it is temporary, and never fills me emotionally or spiritually. It is a distraction, many times, from dealing with the fact that I’m not feeling grounded or sure of myself.
I found a new blog today, called Bitchcakes. Ever read it? Well she made an incredible point on her last post:
At goal weight, something pretty significant dawned on me – I realized that, for the first time ever, I no longer had my weight to hide behind. In fact, by shedding the weight, and suddenly being at goal – being the smallest I’ve ever been – I felt much more vulnerable – because I was suddenly so exposed. By getting to goal weight, I no longer had that excuse – the excuse of my weight. And I was left to face everything I spent years suppressing, avoiding or distracting myself from when I was abusing food.
Because when the weight comes off, all of those things we were hiding from or avoiding are *still* there. All of those things we tried to hide from or shield ourselves from, all of the things we were afraid of, all of the things we protected ourselves from, all of those things we suppressed with food for however long – they are all still there and now, suddenly, they need to be dealt with.
I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It’s really funny how we often feel so alone and unique in our feelings, and then we come across someone who’s not only dealing with the EXACT same thing you are (or were), but finally explains it in a way you never could.
For some reason, in the midst of my weight loss I was absolutely sure that ALL of my problems would go away as soon as I lost the weight. Like they were somehow tied to every calorie I burned and every Weight Watcher point that I counted. My life was “perfect” otherwise. It was just the weight that had to go. I still clung to this notion and said it out loud very recently (we’re talking in the last few months).
The wake-up call that not only would my problems NOT go away when I lost weight, but that my issues would feel more exposed and intense, was shocking. And extremely upsetting.
But the point of all this is to recognize that I may always struggle with self-worth, but there are meaningful things in my life that I can engage in (or get engaged to ) that will make myself full emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Without binge eating.
Writing, exercising, doing yoga, planning my wedding to the man of my dreams, hosting parties, and spending time with my sweet puppy all make me feel fuller than any bowl of cereal or burrito ever could.
Do you ever struggle with feelings of emptiness? How do you fill the void?