So, today I realized that I am afraid of feeling hungry. I have never really thought about/acknowledged this piece of my personality before, but it came to light today as I was discussing why I didn't want to start exercising again. Inevitably, I will feel more hungry and I don't want to feel that way.
This was a WOW, stop-me-in-my-tracks moment. It's true, I am afraid of feeling hungry (especially since I have had 2 decent months of fairly contained hunger... I just don't want to deal with it anymore).
This was a point of challenge from my therapist. She said that hunger isn't what needs to be feared, because it's just information from our bodies; in fact (lo and behold) it's NORMAL to feel hungry, especially after working out. She said it is the eating disorder that is making me fearful of what has been the RESULT of feeling hungry, being completely out of control with my food in the past.
Ok, so I am letting that settle in for a moment. I googled the opposite of fear and came up with the following: peace, faith and safety. Ok... so let's break those down. Do I feel peaceful with my food? During the last couple months, sure more than before, but I never feel completely at peace with my food choices so that doesn't work. Faith? Well, I'm working on that in a different aspect but I don't have faith in myself enough to believe that I really do have this conquered (I've been down this road a million times, I'm done being persuaded). So there goes that.
Now I am left with safety. Safety in my food choices, safety in knowing that X won't cause me to gain weight in the long run. Safety in knowing that intentional movement is a way to be kinder to myself. Safety in knowing that losing 5 pounds a month, and having it feel like it was not a ton of work and being able to maintain the loss is psychologically less damaging than losing 5 pounds in a week and swinging back up the next because I ate less than I normally do and am now compensating.
So for me, the opposite of fear is safety. I can work on building safe habits that will help ensure I don't swing. It won't be glamorous, as I was reminded of today, but it will be sustainable. And I will have to work on it being enough because what has worked before hasn't been able to be sustained.
I want different for myself. I feel like I am on the right path and making good progress in many areas of my life. I am thankful for being able to recognize the Fear so I can challenge and reframe the unconscious messaging I've been telling myself forever.
And I am thankful for you, SparkFriends. Your encouragement means more to me than you will ever know. I long for the day that I have more spare time to respond and interact with you, but until I am done with grad school, I am working on coming here and writing down my thoughts as being enough.