Have you ever realized when you say, “I feel fat,” that can’t possibly be true?
In daytime treatment, at nearly every meal, this conversation took place:
- Therapist: How do you feel?
- Client: I feel fat.
- Therapist: Fat is not a feeling. How do you feel?
- Client (in their head):
As a person with anorexia…
I respectfully (most of the time) disagreed with the notion that fat is not a feeling when I was in treatment. The feeling of fat was extraordinarily real to me. I felt literally like I was expanding with each bite. I could feel the extra flesh spreading to all the places where I hated my body.
It is true that when the dietitian or therapist responded with “fat is not a feeling,” I was so infuriated that I was able to answer the second time with some feelings…annoyed, angry, tense.
As I have progressed in my recovery, I have found that fat is not a feeling. It’s not an emotion. It doesn’t even have a true definition, as fat is very subjective. What helped in recovery was exploring this:
Everyone is different, but here I offer a few ways that work for me when I start to dwell on “feeling fat” and want to move on to the helpful, and painful work of feeling my feelings.
Ways to #feelallthefeels:
- Vocalize those feels, to yourself or someone else. If to yourself, I love screaming or just talking it out loud (personally, I like to do this while driving but know thine own road rage)
- Modified meditation. I’m actually not much into meditation, but it has been super helpful to close my eyes, and pay attention to what is happening in my body. Are certain areas feeling tense or achy? Would stretching help? If I’m “feeling fat”, I love to lie down flat and focus on my breathing.
- Journaling. Tried and true, this one works for those of us who love to write.
- Talk to a friend. This is rare for me, and probably for a lot of us. Sharing our feelings is a vulnerable thing to do, but often someone else’s presence can provide comfort, peace, and a sense that “I’m not crazy.”
And a final pro-tip: do not be afraid of your feelings.
I am becoming less scared of what might happen when I let my feelings be known to myself, and certainly to others. Here’s the deal: your feelings exist to help and protect you. Your feelings want what is best for you.
What do you do when you “feel fat”? Do you try to feel the actual feelings beneath? What are your ways to #feelallthefeels?