What I have learnt in the past few years concerns the title of this post. For a long time I struggled with an eating disorder to distract myself from the larger issues in my life, and, well to feel in control even if it was just an illusion. I used to tell myself I ‘felt’ fat. Since when did fat become a feeling? The thing I realized was whenever I told myself I was ‘feeling fat’, it was actually just a cover up for a more painful feeling. Generally it was either anger, fear, hurt, loneliness, sadness or shame masquerading under the banner feeling of fat. When I acknowledged this I became able to ask myself, what was I really feeling? It got me to pause mentally and sort through in my mind the possible feelings I might be wanting to avoid.
As a cerebral person I think an awful lot about things more so than feel. But with the knowledge and understanding of the basic feelings-mad, sad, glad and afraid, I quickly learnt I could substitute one of these feelings in for ‘fat’ and begin to understand myself more. Now I have a more nuanced understanding and vocabulary for my feelings so am not limited to mad,sad,glad and afraid!
You might be curious why I didn’t know this information about feelings all along. Well, the answer to that is I was never taught by anyone, nor shown, what feelings were or looked like. My parents were both dysfunctional and lacked an understanding of their own feelings, thus they couldn’t teach/model them for me. Nowadays kids are taught the different feelings in daycare/nursery school but I only attended for a year and in my early years that wasn’t part of the curriculum.
So these days when I catch myself saying ‘I feel fat’ in my head, I tell myself to stop then find out the true feeling(s) involved. It prevents me from relapsing effectively as I know that I’m not really fat but lonely for example, or angry or whatever it might be. Not weighing myself also helps curb the desire to bemoan how ‘fat’ I’ve become simply because I am not a certain number on the scale. Less attention and focus to the things that trigger my eating disordered thoughts and more to healthy alternatives. I know that whatever I weigh the feelings inside me aren’t going to evaporate because I reached x on the scale-it never has in the past!
Thanks for reading 🙂
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