In my work with women as an eating coach and Somatic Experiencing practitioner, I find that we rarely talk about food or our bodies, but rather trauma and pain.
In my experience, the focus on the body is a distraction from dealing with the more substantive and painful issues present in our psyche and in our lives. The elephant in the room is often developmental trauma/childhood trauma.
For me, issues around food and body aren’t about making myself more attractive, but to feel powerful and whole in my body. When I find myself focusing on food or body, its simply like my own personal barometer. As in, ah ha, something must be up for me. What is actually going on? What am I avoiding? Where am I giving my power away?
And when we turn towards what we would rather avoid or resist, something naturally shifts internally. Sometimes it takes me hours or even days of avoiding before I can shift. And this state usually involves comforting with sweets, or some form of emotional eating to numb. And in my resistance to “what is,” my inner critic fires up. It can get ugly, and naturally a vicious cycle sets in fairly quickly.
But, shifting is possible. And of course, the earlier we can get to know the signs of our unique resistance–our own unwillingness to be present to deeply painful emotional states–the easier it can be to work with these states.
The next time you find yourself criticizing your body, or turning to food to soothe or numb yourself, see if you can gently pause. Notice the sensations in your body. Simply allow them to be here, without trying to change them.
And then notice any emotions which might be present. The greater the resistance, the more you will need to just sit with this. The emotional state may be deeply buried, and it may not feel safe to come out.
This is especially true for those of us who go numb or freeze our nervous system. It’s useful to remember that the numb state is a protective mechanism, and it’s a perfectly natural, and even a highly intelligent body response to a threat. It may sound silly, but simply reassuring yourself (actually this scared part of yourself) that all feelings are welcome here, and it’s safe to feel angry/sad/despair, can do wonders. This sense of safety can often help unlock a deeply held emotional state.
And then sometimes finding just the right thing–a mellow yoga class, a warm bath, a run, burrowing under your covers, listening to your all-time favorite sad song–lets the difficult emotions bubble up to the surface.
In my own experience, when I get past resisting “what is” and let myself simply experience whatever is arising within me (even if it’s yucky and seemingly unbearable), something magical happens. My body seems to breathe a deep sigh of relief, and says finally…it was never about the food anyway.
I am a Heart and Soul Eating Coach, yoga teacher, Somatic Experiencing practitioner in-training, and human rights lawyer. I can help you connect with the wisdom of your body to transform challenges around eating, digestion and body image. Such symptoms may include overeating, emotional eating, compulsive/binge eating, constant dieting or restrictions, excess weight, poor body image, digestive problems, fatigue, anxiety, or general life overwhelm. I have struggled with many of these issues myself, and I know the pain and suffering of abandoning ourselves. I also know there is another way, and it is my deep joy to guide clients back to their inner knowing. By using concrete tools, body-based practices, and wisdom teachings, I will help you address the root causes of your challenges, facilitate your body’s innate capacity for wholeness and joy, and create the sense of thriving that you desire. My approach embraces self-compassion, body love, and greater self-expression as tools for integration. I am certified as an eating psychology coach through the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. I have also been trained or practiced with experts in conscious parenting (Dr. Shefali) self-care (Suzi Lula) and the Conscious Leadership Group (Annmarie Chereso). I am currently completing the Somatic Experiencing training program, which is a body-based trauma healing modality.