Unravelling Four Decades of Emotional Eating
My story is universal and individual all at once. I eat too much and move too little, that’s what I have in common with millions of people who struggle with obesity. Why I do this is a combination of my own personal demons, cultural pressures, lifestyle choices and infrastructure challenges.
My dieting journey began in 1977 when I was 14 years old and embarked on my first calorie restricted program. I was not actually overweight but I was a little heavier than my shorter and lighter framed friends and I wanted to weigh as little as they did. Cultural influences and unfounded body image issues were definitely at play here but it wasn't just that. I've also always been a comfort eater who uses food to soothe the anxieties that have been my companions for most of my life and which are rooted deeply in early childhood abandonment trauma. Food makes me feel safe.
Despite the ensuing diet/binge cycles I didn't gain any significant weight until my early 40s when I moved to America and my lifestyle became increasingly sedentary and my food portions a lot bigger. I had some success with a combination of calorie counting and Intuitive Eating in 2015 but then my mom passed away unexpectedly and the grief slowly returned me to my old numbing habits of comfort eating and intertia. Now in my mid-50s I am officially obese. It’s not healthy, it’s not comfortable, it’s no longer about culture or feeling fat. It’s about healing my body and my heart.
The Missing Connection
In early 2018 an orthopedic specialist told me that I had to lose a significant amount of weight to qualify for the ankle replacement surgery I need to fix the post-traumatic arthritis in my right foot that is increasingly impacting my ability to walk and be active. I want to lose weight so that I can have that surgery but I also don't want to diet anymore. The formula for weight loss is pretty straight forward but the emotional maze of dieting and comfort eating is complicated and confusing. For me at least there is a missing connection between all of this and that's what this blog is all about.
Why The Reluctant Cook?
I'm not a bad cook actually but often times I just don't feel like dealing with the peripherals, such as meal planning, shopping, food prep or cleaning the kitchen. My resistance to cooking is rooted in my overall resistance to being more present in my life, tuning out is my default response to my anxieties. I come from a family of great cooks and every now and then I catch a glimpse of their enthusiasm and creativity in my own kitchen and my goal is simple: I want to fall in love with cooking and create nourishing meals that are delicious and help me be healthier and lighter.
Short and Sweet Bio
Born and raised in Cologne, Germany, I have lived in four countries and moved homes more than 35 times before finally settling down in Bellingham, WA, with my American husband and fluffy grey cat. My background in the airline, technology, hospitality and education industries eventually led me to starting my own business as a Squarespace Web Designer and Authorized Trainer in 2014. Click here to read more about my web design studio and my professional career.