Why am I not satisfied when I eat?

April 21, 2008 at 1:47 pm Leave a comment

I see that someone used this as a search term today, and that got me thinking. There are some basic reasons I can think of.


– I want something else

– I eat so fast that I don’t really taste it

– I feel guilty and think I should really eat something else

– I don’t eat enough

– I’m distracted

– I’m not really hungry

– I’m starving

– I want more

– I don’t feel good

– I want love

– my eating is so screwed up that I don’t feel hunger or satisfaction

– I want to relax

– I am tired

Of course, it depends on whether this lack of satisfaction is meant on a physical (satiation) or more emotional level. I can be satisfied when my needs and desires are met.

My thoughts wander to reflection on what I want. What would satisfy me? As a matter of fact, that is how I learned to eat foods that used to trigger a binge. They were the so-called sinful, forbidden delights. I turned it around. Rather than they being forbidden fruits (ok, not fruits, they were usually sweeter), I asked myself: What do I want? If I want a piece of that, I can have it. Which led to: What do I want now? Do I want anything now? Sure enough, after a while, I realized it wasn’t about taking whatever was offered. Not at all. It was about how I felt at the moment. It was my choice. That was not about discipline; it was about what I chose and how I felt.

It’s not as if I’m invited out all the time, but there plenty of occasions where tempting things are offered. If I am hungry, I will take a piece. If I want to. I am allowed to eat what I want, because I said so. I am also allowed to say No.

This brings me to the affirmation that there is enough for me. There will always be enough and it will be there at the appropriate time. As a matter of fact, there is more than enough, so it is my right to pick and choose. See, when you turn it around, you can fulfill your needs. Self-denial is no longer necessary. And when that is the case, there is no more guilt. And when that is the case, there is no need to gulp down a dozen, while at the same time swearing I’ll never eat it again. And it doesn’t occur to me to wolf down anything, because I am entitled to enjoy it.

Sometimes I wonder if our basic drive to survive plays a role. Going back to the gatherers and hunters, they had to eat what was there. Our western civilization has evolved incredibly to the point that we have way too much food, but perhaps our bodies still react in that primitive way when they see food: Eat it! There may not be any more for a long time after this! It takes a while to re-condition.

This all takes a lot of honesty, clarity and practice, but it does work. And it works on a long-term basis, which is what recovery and normal eating are about – for me. I can only speak for myself and what I consider to be normal. After a while, it stretches out to include much more than food. Do I want company? Do I want to be alone? What do I want in this relationship? What is being offered? Is that enough? In a sense, I suppose I can’t be satisfied until I know what I want.

I know I kind of went off on a tangent, and I don’t know what you were looking for, but maybe these thoughts might help.



Entry filed under: About Recovery. Tags: , , , , , , .

Normal Eating (how I learned to eat) Why this isn’t just about Bulimia

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