Looking for love in comfort

QUESTION: Masters I have a big issue related to food and anxiety. I know what is good for my body and some periods (2-4 months) I eat right, controlled, losing weight, and I feel good with my physical body and emotions. But then, something happens, like a travel, problem in school or job, end of a relationship, and then I change my relation with food in a way it makes me feel so bad with me, my body and emotions, I feel always so full, more and more food, and I just can’t control. Why I’ve been doing this for so many years? ~Giovanna, Brazil

ANSWER: Your problem is all about learning to love yourself and understanding your need for finding comfort. You seek to be loved and understood when you sense the world is against you, so you turn to food, which has always been there to comfort you and make you feel good. It is your substitute for love received from others and from yourself.

The unfortunate part is that it appeases the need for immediate comfort, but then reminds you that you are out of control because of this unconscious reaction to life. You then have another reason to be upset, since you now want to criticize yourself for this automatic response that occurs without any contribution from a consciously made decision.

To see why you always react this way to stressors, return to your childhood and examine the pattern that was established for you by your family. When and how were you rewarded for the triumphs in life? How did your family compensate for difficulties? You were programmed to see food as the only constantly available comfort zone.

You need to create for yourself a substitute for food – and we don’t mean as a nutritional stand-in. Your body craves coziness. Try placating it with soothing music, meditation, visualization, or self-hypnosis. When you feel your world falling apart, instead of reaching for food, project yourself into a comforting, safe-feeling place to rest and recoup. Find music or a meditative vibration that you can feel working throughout your body to chase away the negative, abrasive demand for food. Have it ready to play whenever you sense strife arising. Find peace and relaxation in the musical resonance without the need for the addition of food.