Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tough Day on the Job

Friday was probably the hardest day I have had here so far.  I was given a task that very emotionally exhausting.  This week, there was a guest facilitator for a workshop titled Overcoming Emotional Eating.  The guests who come here as part of the conference spend Monday-Wednesday doing typical activities, with a few lectures by the facilitator.  Thursday-Saturday, the participants are involved in more in-depth sessions and activities with the facilitator and meet as a group.  On Friday, we took a field trip.  I drove the group to Publix for a little shopping trip.  But not just any shopping trip.

Before we left, I was clued in that this was part of the workshop process to overcome emotional eating.  The group was going to have to pick out their "trigger" foods, talk about them, then put them back.  Just as we were walking out the door, the facilitator said to me, "Grab a pen and paper.  I'm going to need you to do a little spying."  Oh, crap, what am I getting myself into?!

Once the guests were partnered up & turned loose in the store, I was given a little more details about this experience.  My task was to keep track of some of the most important triggers mentioned by each person.  Then she dropped the bomb:  I was going to have to come back, buy all of the food, and the guests were going to be confronted with it the next day.

I felt sick.  What a cruel trick.  But, I was trusting of this process.  The facilitator knew what she was doing and I had actually seen this on a few episodes of A&E's Heavy.  The process of following the guests through the store was actually very interesting -- to listen to them talk about the moods and emotions they experienced and how they coped and tried to cover up their feelings with food.  It was a little jokey at first, as each guest talked about how picky they were -- there are specific brands, flavors, etc. that make the trigger.  Then things got a little more serious.  As each individual described not only what was in their cart, but how much they ate and the method to the madness, I felt even more sick.  Especially knowing they had such an addiction and I was coming back later to purchase their drugs.  It also made me angry, that as a society we have gotten to a point in which we are so emotionally over-stimulated and food has become so convenient and comforting that we over-indulge so easily.

The worst part?  I wanted to drive straight home & eat.  But I didn't. I couldn't let myself.  And I'm sure you're wondering just what became of this:

Whoppers, doritos, and pizza, OH MY!  

It wasn't so much of a cruel joke as an important step in the quitting process.  An addict admitting there is a problem and being confronted with it.  The guests were surprised with the food and then forced to face it.  In what I can only imagine was a very exhausting and emotional process, they then said goodbye to their trigger foods and buried them.  I wish all of those ladies the best in their struggle with food.

During the entire experience, I thought about a saying that I have heard here quite a bit:

There is not enough food in this world to cover up what you're feeling

If emotional eating is something you struggle with, remember this next time you head to the cabinet or grocery store:
What you're looking for is not in here.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Julia,
    If only this lesson could be taught in schools.