I still do this a few times a week, unsure if I should grab everything I can and run like hell before someone catches me… or if I should turn around empty handed and sob fiercely until the moment passes.
I haven’t binged in a long time, but I still do emotionally overeat when thing’s aren’t “right” or “perfect”. I endure plenty of moments, during which time I convince myself that that food will fix it – whatever “it” may be.
Most of these moments begin with me standing at the pantry or the fridge… staring, contemplating, and weighing my pros and cons on “the food/mood scale.”
Since I moved into this particular apartment, I’ve stared at the exact same scenes hundreds of times. They don’t really change (give or take a new snack).
A few weeks ago, a little light bulb went off, and I said to myself, “What am I waiting for? I have the power to change this view.”
So, I did. I wrote myself a love note and hung it like a piece of art.
Self-Care 101: A Love Note
Notes make me feel safe and organized. They help me keep all of the tiny, moving pieces in order.
As long as something is written in a sparkly notepad, jotted on a bright sticky, or even temporarily scribbled on the back of my hand – it’s real. It matters. It demands thought, action, or a little bit of attention at the very least.
But I’d never written myself a note about food. A letter? Yes – one that I could tuck away and read when I wanted or felt the need to. But never a note that I would see every day.
I was afraid that if I caught a glimpse of this note while I was having a “food-free” moment, it would trigger me to think about eating – even if I hadn’t been.
But… I reasoned that if I’m already in the kitchen, there’s a pretty good chance that my brain is already feeding on the thought of food.
So, I wrote myself a brand new kind of note and taped one copy to my snack shelf and the other to my fridge. They read:
“Enjoy! But remember… if it isn’t hunger, food isn’t going to fix it.”
A NOTEworthy Result:
These notes don’t fix anything. And sometimes I purposefully look right past them to whatever it is that I’m emotionally craving. I still end up soothing with food from time to time. I’m human and I still struggle a little bit every single day… especially when it comes to eating.
BUT! Other days, they help me pause, think, and check in with myself.
Am I bored? Tired? Angry? Sad? Anxious? Or is my tummy actually grumbling?
These notes are most helpful late at night when I’m craving some emotional comfort but it’s too late to “phone a friend”. So, in a way, I use these notes to call upon my stronger alter ego, Jace. (She’s always got my back.)
It’s almost as if I did myself a favor – before I even knew I was going to need it. I saw into the future and could sense that I might require some backup. Every once in a while when I read one of my notes-to-self, I actually smile at myself for taking such good care of me.
This is one order of super-easy and super-sweet self-care that you can cook up right at home. (Ingredients: one piece of paper, one marker or pen, and a little bit o’ love.)
Until next time,
P.S. I do admit that I take my little notes down and stick them in a drawer when I have certain kinds of company. Those notes are not a topic for a round table discussion during dinner. They are for me.
P.P.S. Do you live with someone (or some ones) and you’re not sure if this strategy will work for your current living situation? Maybe you could try putting your note in a purse or day planner– some place where you can get to it easily, that isn’t public, and that won’t trigger you to think about food if you aren’t in a “food mood.”
Have you tried a self-care strategy similar to this one? Please feel safe and welcomed to comment below.