Rachel’s last challenge was one that I knew I couldn’t participate in from the get go. I loved the idea of it but I lacked the necessary prerequisites. I don’t eat my feelings.

I do the opposite, actually. I starve my feelings. Literally and metaphorically, I’ve learned over the years how to pull back away from any inconvenient emotional sensations. I learned to think my feelings before I felt them.

I become a witness to my emotional process rather than a participant until I decide that the feelings are valid, reasonable, and bearable.

If you just thought, “Wow, she’s crazy,” all I can say is… um, yes. It’s true.

Lately, though, I’ve been feeling things before I can even come close to identifying and analyzing what’s going on. That’s some scary shit, man. Apparently it’s also healthy.

I’ve tried to backtrack and analyze and get this all under my logical control but it appears I might just have burned the bridge to that defense mechanism. Instead, now I’m reflecting. Here are some of the things I’ve realized over the last few weeks.

1. I confuse the feeling of hunger with the feeling of anxiety. Last night I was lying in bed, unable to sleep, and churning with anxiety. I was angry that I couldn’t get it under my control and fall asleep. Thinking of girls who eat their feelings, I thought I might give it a try. As it turns out, I wasn’t anxious, I was hungry.

When I looked back over the last few weeks to my most anxious moments, they directly correlated to when I was not eating. Um… oh.

2. I’m stronger than I was. How cliché, right? Fine, but it’s true. A few years ago when I was confronted with actually feeling things instead of thinking them I coped with extremely self destructive methods. I would stop eating (much worse than now), cut myself, isolate, not sleep, and so many other things.

Yeah, clearly I’m still struggling with not eating enough but it’s not the same. Back in the day I would go a few days without eating; now it might be a few meals before I will make myself eat. I’m not isolating myself, I’m not cutting, I’m trying to get enough sleep, and I’m aware.

3. Awareness makes all the difference. A few years ago I couldn’t have explained to you what was going on in me. I can now and it means that I am not just a marionette to what is happening inside me. I know what those strings are and how they’re being pulled. I’m no longer limply following their movement. I’m fighting.

4. I’m a real girl. OMG I have girl emotions and girl thoughts and do girl things and it’s totally normal. I’m not the freak anomaly I thought I was.

You might be wondering WTF this has to do with weight loss. Good question. I gained weight because of my inability to take care of myself. Learning all of this is absolutely necessary to losing weight and learning to live a healthy life. Weight loss is about so much more than what you eat. It’s just as much about what you put in your mind as what you put in your body.

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