This is NOT what I wanted my lunch to be today.
It’s wet, cold and drizzly outside, I’m tired after Maxwell’s unsettled night(s) and we’re currently amidst a heap of ‘oh wow, life is about to change a lot - again - and very soon!’ (Yes folks, we’re on the move again and sooner than expected but I’ll tell you more on that another time!)
So no, I did not want to freshen myself with this raw spinach, sea bass and avocado salad.
I wanted to dive head-first into a bowl full of steamy, buttery, cheesy pasta; eat enough for three people and then top it all off with an entire bar of chocolate - and no, not the healthy kind.
But I didn’t…
Sometimes I do…
But ideally, not at times like this.
Because times like this, I’ve come to realise, are when I MOST need to care for myself. I most need to show up and do things that say to me, “I care about you Georgie, and I’m here to look after you.”
Cheesy, buttery pasta to a lactose intolerant who generally avoids gluten, sadly, does not say ‘I care’.
Recently, it’s become very easy for my food to become an array of Max’s leftovers, squeezed between this job and that, occasionally washed down with the dregs of whatever cold tea is still lying about.
Again, this does not exactly scream ‘I’m here for you Georgie, you’re worth it.’
Thankfully, these days, I’m far quicker to nip these patterns in the bud - recognising them before I really am feeling neglected, uncared for and yucky.
I know I’m not alone in this too - just yesterday I was chatting with a client about pausing before the hurried chocolate bar to ask herself;
“Am I hungry? Is there something else I need first?”
Whether it’s due to a lack of planning or an attempt to fill a void, unhealthy choices at challenging times can really kick us when we’re down.
To many of us, that concept will feel challenging - our childhoods were filled with messages that food equals care and love, so surely eating equals comfort? For sure, in my family home, food was and is a language of love and nothing says ‘well done baby’ or ‘I love you’ like your favourite home-cooked meal.
HOWEVER, when the purpose is to comfort, sometimes our choices let us down.
Sure, the actual chewing phase of the cookies can be pretty great, but the aftermath of guilt/shame/frustration/self-degradation is rarely worth it and certainly NOT the comfort we were seeking. Also, let’s be honest, if we truly are comfort-eating, we’re often barely present enough in the moment to properly enjoy the eating-phase and before we know it, we’re 6 biscuits down and feeling like sh*t.
I could go into the biochemistry of classic ‘comfort foods’; a comforting yet momentary high, the blood-sugar spikes, energy crashes, leptin suppression (the ‘feel full hormone’), and of course the emotional chastising of ‘why did you just do that?!’ . BUT I’ll save more on that for another time.
Instead, I am here to encourage you to simply reflect on your experiences.
Take a moment to look at the classic things you lean towards when you’re in need of some comfort. Is it food? Which type? Is it people? Which type? Is it activities? Which type?
Do these things produce the goods and meet your desires?
Do they leave you feeling comforted , supported and cared for by yourself?
Or ultimately, do they achieve the opposite?
Can you see, as you reach for the 4th chocolate biscuit, that this is perhaps an attempt at comforting yourself? Could this very behaviour, that you so abhor about yourself, in fact be a gift as it signals that, right now, you need something that says “I’m here, I care, I love you”? Noticing this could mean it becomes the cue to you finding and giving yourself exactly what you need…realising it wasn’t the biscuit at all.
But if it’s not the chocolate biscuit, then what is it?
Do you even know what TRULY feels comforting to you? Truly feels like you’re showing up for yourself and saying “it’s ok my darling, you’re ok, I’m here to look after you”.
For me, it’s bothering to provide myself with good food. It’s finding the time in my busy schedule to sit with my journal and ask myself ‘what’s up?’. It’s giving myself a gentle hug and saying ‘It’s ok Georgie, you’ve got this, you’re doing great.’
SO no, this lunch was not what I wanted today, but it was EXACTLY what I needed, and it felt great.
Does that make sense?
I’d love to know if this resonates with you so please message or comment below.
So much love,