How about you? Are you an eater or an abstainer? First, I want to point out that eating disorders are an entirely different situation and discussion from what I want to raise today. I am not referring to when behavior has become over-the-top and dangerous, like with anorexia or obesity. Also, I realize that for some people, it's just not possible to walk the middle way with food. And I want to honor that dealing with food disorders is a serious, life-long practice that takes a lot of steadfastness and courage.
For many of us, it's fine to go 'off your feed' a little in times of distress or reach for a popsicle when things get a bit overwhelming. As long as you are aware of your behavior ("OK, I just going to step back and chill a little with this popsicle") and that you aren't replacing dealing with the issues with your food response.
Me, I'm usually an eater. I relate to Deputy Police Chief Brenda Johnson in The Closer or Audrey Hepburn in the film Charade who, when confronted with a difficult moment, grab for the nearest food substance and start nibbling away. Unfortunately I don't seem to be able to keep the weight off like these skinny ladies, so I have to watch it. The trick is to pay attention to fullness and stop well before then. I try to keep heathy nibbles around like almonds or raisins. Little bits of things that I can pop into my mouth without too much consequence. (Chocolate-covered almonds are another story, of course.)
Sometimes, though, I go in the opposite direction and 'forget' to eat all day. This only happens when I'm away from my home and office and running around. It's curious, though, and a little alarming, that I can override my body's hunger signals.
What I appreciated about my doctors statement is that it encouraged self-knowledge while not demonizing my natural response. Be aware of who you are and how you respond to your life and let that be a guide for your behavior, she said. It's proven to be enormously helpful advice.
Tell us your stories about eating or abstaining in times of distress or even times of joy.