Emily walks into my office. Her eyes are rimmed red and usual exuberance is hidden under a layer of sadness. She takes a seat, and breathes deeply. Her bottom lip quivers and she says, “I’m so scared, Dana. I know this is the right thing to do, but I’ve been with him for so long, I don’t know how to be on my own.” Emily has just made the courageous decision to leave her husband. While their relationship is pleasant, their intimacy evaporated many years ago. I’m reminded of Germaine Greer’s quote, “Many a housewife staring at the back of her husband’s newspaper, or listening to his breathing in bed, is lonelier than a spinster in a rented room.“
I reach out for Emily’s arm and say, “Emily, it’s better to be on your own than half of the woman you are destined to be.” She nods, and puts her head on the table. Her eyes peer up, and she says “but it’s worse than that. I’m eating like a crazy woman. I know exactly what to eat (thank you for teaching me that), but I seem to have no power over food. I’m eating M&M’s, popcorn and ice-cream, you know, stuff I’d never eat. I need help!!! Tell me how to break this?”.
It’s a plea. Emily wants substitutions but they won’t appease her pain. Right now she’s experiencing grief and loss. Grief that her marriage hasn’t worked and loss of the husband-and-wife dream. I can feel the heaviness in her body. I ask her where she feels it. She says, “the lower part of my belly, under my navel”. This area represents the first chakra and she’s just given me the first clue as to why she’s eating junky food.
The first chakra represents survival, safety and protection. The break-up was tripping this for her. I continue to inquire, and she concedes that she is financially scared; scared that she’d have to move into a place of poverty to stay in New York City. This was more of a story in her mind. She is a successful banker and she wasn’t going to be shuttled off to the projects because her marriage had dissolved. I asked her to take pen to paper when she wanted to eat and recommended she write about the fears that were surfacing. I suggested she do three things:
1. Write down what her exact fears are
2. Scan them for validity and other times she may have experienced this before, then
3. Create a very visual dream for her new single life – what would it look like at its ultimate and what would it feel like
This activity was going to take some time and would serve as a wise distraction to help break the anxiety-eating cycle she had created.
Then I gave her food substitutions. I wanted her to first look at the insights from her journalling before she simply used healthier food choices to suppress the negative energy charge she was experiencing. Below are some of the snack foods I recommended to Emily to help ground her, re-balance her first chakra and soothe her heart chakra. I also suggested she eat this in a pretty environment; on a plate, with a napkin, and with soft music playing.
Feel-good break-up foods
1. Strawberry smoothie made with coconut milk and mint
3. Brazil nuts with dried strawberries and coconut flakes
4. Radish and apple salad with fresh mint
5. Matcha tea almond latte
8. Sip on sweet rose tea with raw honey such as Tulsi Sweet Rose Tea
If you’d like to explore this topic further, I’m hosting a Sunday workshop, called Women, Food and Relationships at Surf Lodge, Montauk, on 23rd August 2015. Please join us. Email – firstname.lastname@example.org for details.Photo Credit: Stocksy