You know the kind of days when you have that intense throbbing and it just sits with you all day? The type where, no matter what you do, it just doesn’t seem to want to ease up or free you from its constant reminder. It is just there, stuck in for the day, like a thick dense fog, settling over a little village somewhere in the mountains. No sign of letting up or easing but somehow its presence just lingers. You try all your usual remedies and even though they ease it slightly, its intensity is just too big to break. It seems to come from a different place than just a physical body. It is as if it comes from an inner yearning. That inner desire for love and comfort that somehow seems to come with intense pain. Someone to love you? Someone to hold you? Or perhaps you know that ultimately you are needing to fill your inner cup with your own self love… Trouble is, on this day you simply don’t have the energy. It all seems like a massive big overwhelming urge and yet its access is somehow too big or proud or out of reach.
You are still longing for comfort. Any kind of comfort that goes beyond that cute little hot water bottle you bought. (Mine is a little sheep.)
And so you reach for the one thing that you know will somehow fill that void. It doesn’t fill it on a deep, inner love level but it certainly fills up the need to feel contentment and comfort. It is food. The type of food that gave you comfort as a child or in moments before when you felt lonely or needing to fill that void. It has something about it that makes it do that… it is inevitably sweet, rich and needs to feel “naughty” on some level. Like the more you are told you shouldn’t have it, the more it seems to draw you in. It is as if the more “naughty” that food is, the more it fills the void. Like a rebellious child who just wants love and attention from all the wrong places.
I am talking about foods like rich hot chocolate with cream. French toast with banana, bacon and maple syrup. Banana fritters with ice cream and rich buttery sauce. They are laced with sugar, rich fats and the tingling naughty sensation of ultimate pleasure. (I am not writing these to tempt you but know that these have been my “comfort foods” for a long time.)
It is a really mean side effect of Endometriosis pain. It is mean because it does fill that void. It fills it beautifully with its rich, naughty decadence but it also leaves you feeling so much worse in the days that follow. You enjoy them in their entirety in that moment. Everything stops. The yearning, the throbbing and all that self-pity around having Endometriosis pain. It all seems to go away in that moment. That moment of ultimate bliss and serene mouth-watering deliciousness. You savor every minute of it and somehow, though you know that tomorrow it will remind you of why it is not good for your body, you don’t care. You just care about that moment and don’t want to ruin it with any thoughts of potential struggle the following days.
I hate this side effect and our natural desire to use food as a form of comfort. Thing is, it really does it so well. It can give us a comfort that is hard to replace with other things. When you are feeling crappy, you just don’t feel like doing beautifying routines or buying new clothes. You just want to veg out in front of the TV and fill that void with foods that warm you up in that loving way that only food can.
It is only days later that you are reminded with lashings of pain why you decided to drop those foods from your diet. Your bowels might overreact, you may get a screaming headache or you might just feel decidedly tired and worn down. You are tempted to follow the same pattern in that moment. You reach for the sweet decadence again but you know that it is an inevitable rollercoaster with wonderful highs and extreme lows but it essentially runs the same course, over and over again. You also know that the highs become harder to reach and you land up reaching for more richness, more sweetness, just to fill that insatiable inner yearning.
I used to and occasionally still follow this pattern I have shared in this post. I occasionally still reach for those comfort foods to fill a void. The void is not generally one of physical pain anymore but has more to do with my own deep desire to fulfill my deepest dreams, which sometimes just feel somehow out of reach.
I have been tempted a few too many times over the last month and I have come to realize that it is not the perpetual desire for those foods that is the issue but rather my perpetual desire to fill a void. Why we feel that void is perhaps more of the question to ask ourselves, rather than just trying to fill something we don’t always understand.
I know some of us feel an intense sense of guilt for sometimes “falling off the wagon” (so to speak). We lay on the guilt about how we are eating those “bad” foods again and we just make ourselves feel guilty to the point where the food we ate will often leave less remnant issues within the body, compared to the stress and self-loathing we place on ourselves.
We are human and we do feel voids sometimes. Sometimes those voids stem from that nasty place of self-pity. Sometimes from a different place of wanting more for ourselves. Whatever that void is. We need to figure it out, rather than trying to fill it with other things.
I am learning that this whole “eating healthy” thing has more to do with self-love and acceptance than any other thing. We have to love ourselves to recognize our own inner voids and fill them, no matter how much fear we have to confront along the way. Allow yourself to also accept your inner desires and to know that you have permission to fill them with healing and loving space.
Eating healthy is the biggest gift we can give our bodies. Choosing to use it in the most loving way it was intended is really a choice on how we see our foods.
Please feel free to share your personal desires around foods, what are your “decadence foods”? Can you relate to what I have shared?