Why I haven't lost my baby weight
We do anything to stop our maimed past seeing the light of day
I’ve always had a problem with food. I can’t get enough of it. When there’s cake in the fridge that I’ve spent the entire day resisting, I don’t sleep. And when I do end up making my way to the kitchen at night to silently cut myself a piece, I eat it fast, racing to swallow every mouthful whole, to finally feel full… till I’m empty again.
I was ‘skinny’, you see. The sickness was hidden in my bones. There was no fat to give my disease away.
When I got pregnant, the end of every meal was celebrated with dessert. Drives across town at odd hours to Dubai’s hidden gems were standard detours my husband and friends were subjected to. The ‘baby’ had its cravings. It was only when I finally gave birth that I realised which baby’s craving I was satiating. It wasn’t my son’s. It was mine. My inner child needed to be stuffed full or she would speak. And her voice made my eyes bleed.
The inner child. She made me do it. She made me eat. It was her, not me. And why can’t I stop her?
Who is this inner child I could blame so freely? Psychology describes her as "the part of us that doesn’t get the nourishment we need as a child". When our parents didn’t give us what we needed (to be seen as worthy, to be loved, to be heard), a part of us stayed malnourished, screaming to be heard, loved and seen. Eckhart Tolle calls her "the pain body". Yes, ‘she’ is in pain. And it’s hard to bear. We do anything to stop our maimed past seeing the light of day.
Food stopped my inner child from speaking. What do you do to shut yours? There’s plenty to choose from: Work too much, exercise incessantly, people-please, shut down, fantasise, gossip…
Some appear ‘positive’ like being a perfectionist or a workaholic. They’re not. You’re still running away from yourself. We all are. But here’s the thing — none of those escape strategies will blur the pain. Nothing will shut your inner child up forever. You will wake up to her muffled screams. Eventually, it will become more unbearable to run than to stay.
I dieted, dropped a few kilos, felt good about myself… till I didn’t. And then the cycle would resume — eat, stuff, repeat — till my pain was there in plain view and my inner child made herself seen. The bones were buried too deep now for me to seek solace in.
"So how do I finally stop eating?" I asked my counsellor one day. And what I learned was simple. It was profound: Listen to your inner child. Feel her pain. The cravings will go away. And until they stay, indulge her a little. She will eventually fill up enough with your love to let food go.
My feelings just needed to be felt. There’s no sugarcoating it.
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