There is a reason we talk about receiving comfort from food.
The very first place we received comfort, love or any sense of security came from our mother’s breast when we were first born. It is also one of the reasons we tend to run to dairy for comfort in the form of ice cream, cheeses and milk when we feel anxious, worried or insecure or fragile.
Food is where we run when we feel empty, lacking, vulnerable or simply heart broken. When in that sensitive place we seek out nurturing, compassion and support. We're searching for a sense of nourishment on a soul level. Nourishment that goes far beyond what is on our plate or on our spoon. We crave nurturing and nourishment that comes from a sense of belonging. That feeling of having a tribe of people who "get" us. People we know have our backs. People we can laugh with and cry with when life gets rough. People who we share common points of view, interests and lifestyles.
We also crave nourishment from a sense of purpose. A reason to get out of bed. Passion about doing something close to our heart that we receive genuine pleasure from, as well as the satisfaction of achievement. We crave nourishment from balance, tranquility and inner peace. We crave nourishment from a wide variety of places that extends far beyond our plate or our spoon, and yet food is where we often go to find comfort.
Why Do We Seek Comfort From Our Food?
In my experience, we seek out food for nurturing and nourishment because it's the fastest form of satisfaction. We have memories associated with certain foods and smells that go back to a time when we were a young child and we were nurtured by those smells. Food can relay love by the person who created it. It can be a place of fun and social engagement. Food can seem to be all the things we are seeking in one easy to grab bite. But is it the fond memory or is the actual food that is nurturing and nourishing us? I talk quiet a bit about this in the book Stop Eating Your Stress: Start Nourishing Your Soul. Available for free on Kindle Unlimited.
So What Do We Do About It?
If we check in with ourselves and ask the question, "What would nourish me right now?" we may be surprised by the answer the intuitive intelligence of our bodymind gives us. Because it may not actually be physical food. So then how do we know what we need most? It may appear on the surface to be a tricky question but you actually already know the answer. You just need to ask your authentic inner Self (that part of you that can never be wet, harmed or damaged in any way) and ask the question again, “What would truly nourish me right now?”. Then trust what arises like the subtle flutter of a butterfly wing. It may come to you like a whisper, it could be a general feeling, a “knowing” without any logic or rationale, or it could be this solid feeling in your body that says, “YES!” this is what I need. Then follow through and take action. For me, I feel it in my heart as a warm and loving embrace that then radiates throughout my whole body. That's when I know what is right for me. Otherwise, my belly and body feels tense, tight and I am riddled with anxiety. When I feel that, I know the choices isn't for my highest good or the highest god of all concerned. So I do my best to avoid imposing my will on it and go with the flow. But... that doesn't always work. Not even for me. And that's OK, because I listen and trust my inner wisdom 90% of the time. So that 10% when I go off the rails is attributed to human nature.
My Experience Lately
Lately I am finding myself seeking out sweets or bread in the hopes that they will fill the gaping hole in my heart and soul. Pasta, bread and refined carbs of this kind were always available in my home growing up and was often the food family functions we centered around. So naturally it is where I find comfort as well. And Lately I'm needing it.
I'm realizing that finding the right service dog is stressful and adds to some of my anxiety. Because for me to actually go outside and do things is terrifying for me and having the right dog right now is essential. Sure I will go out, but only if I have to. I'll go 30 minutes for a quick trip to the grocery store close to home that I am familiar with, I'll visit my parents at their house, and go to a couple of other places that I am very familiar with and know there will be no surprises. But what is really crushing is that I have been told by a couple of different organizations that I am not allowed to adopt from them because I "gave up" on my puppy and they won't do that to their dogs. All without ever knowing the truth to my story or caring to hear it out. They simply told me that I am an unfit dog parent. A truly devastating thing to hear when I know, and my family knows that that is the farthest thing from the truth. If you don't know the story behind this you can read it here.
I have been so depressed that I have been craving the comfort from an entire loaf of bread. I've been craving tons of pasta and cookies. And I have eaten some of it I won't lie to you. But instead of giving in to my low quality carb cravings and letting them mindlessly take over my mind and my life, I make sure that at least 75% of the time I am choosing higher quality carbs instead of the processed bread and refined sugars. So instead of semolina pasta I choose the bright color of zucchini pasta noodles I make with my spiralizer. I'll eat spaghetti squash with tomato sauce or garlic butter. I'll choose homemade muffins or bread instead of store bought that is often filled with preservatives.
Then I take it to the next level. I hug myself and really mean it. making sure to raise those serotonin (the feel good chemical in our body) levels so I can begin to feel a bit better. I talk with myself in a compassionate, appreciative and respectful way, that is also encouraging. I keep moving forwards and contact an endless stream of rescue groups, breeders and anyone I can think of that can help me find the right service dog for me, so I don’t feel hopeless or helpless. I know for the dogs benefit and for mine a greyhound would be best for me. But right now I am open to any dog that fits the criteria to not only make a good service dog for me, but will also fit my lifestyle and be a member of our family that is a great fit. I also reach out to close friends and certain family members that I know I can be safe with to share my heartache. These are people who I know love me for me, no matter what. They acknowledge that I'm not exactly the same person I was before the injury, but to them it doesn't matter. They love me no matter what. And that is a blessing that can never be overlooked. Because it is another way to satisfy my need for comfort, nurturing and nourishment in a way physical food just can't offer.
We all can experience times in our lives when we are feeling vulnerable, fragile, empty and broken. Especially after a traumatic brain injury or any other traumatic life altering event. Even the smaller ones such as heartbreak.
What Is Your Unique Solution?
Do you have a unique solution for comforting, nurturing and nourishing yourself when it has nothing to do with physical food? Feel free to share in our Facebook support group, or write in your journal and just let the pen flow over the page free from thought or planning. See what reveals itself to you.
Information contained within this site does not take the place of professional medical care. It is for educational purposes only and created with the intention of offering support and empowerment to women struggling to find wholistic and natural answers to their challenges. Every individual is responsible for their own actions, choices and behavior.