I’ve been wanting to do something related to diet/weight/pleasure trap stuff for a good while now, but I haven’t known what form it should take or how to go about it. All I’ve known for sure is that I absolutely did not want to do the same old same old, where we circle around the old good girls/bad food hamster wheel and ritualistically self-flagellate for our lack of “compliance” and obsess about the minutiae of what’s “allowed” and what isn’t and buckle down to “do it right this time.” We have all seen that movie before, many times.
“Enough” came to me almost like a voice, a particularly exasperated and booming voice, as in: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. But also: the addictive compulsion of “why can’t I ever seem to get enough.” And also that refrain so common to so many of us: I never feel good enough, I am not sure I have never in my life felt good enough. It can be true that we have unrealized or thwarted goals in our lives, including those related to weight. But I do not believe, at this point, that taking an adversarial position to ourselves with respect to those goals is necessary—I’m not even convinced it’s especially productive.
My background in 12 step, my own struggle with addiction to alcohol and food, and my so-called “mystic chip” have all taken me down a path on this question that recognizes the seriousness and difficulty of the challenge but also rejects the good girls/bad food framework once and for all. It just isn’t the full story, and it’s ultimately counterproductive. The fact is: not all overeating is the same. There is I-couldn’t-resist-the-tasty-treat overeating and there’s other, utter self-destructive and self-abusive varieties. I believe our reasons are not always the same. And I also believe we have our own reasons, our own motivations, our own escape routes.
The pleasure trap is real: modern processed food has drug-like effects that marvelously and consistently allow us to change our state, detune from our bodies, and feel things we have temporary control over rather than perhaps other things we don’t have as much control over. It is a drug we seek because it works, but I am far more interested in the question of what it is working to do. What is the problem we so desperately need to solve? What is it that we seemingly cannot tolerate without food as a comfort, a punishment, a distraction and escape, or all of the above?
The basic format is an hour long zoom call, once a week. I want this to be open to anyone who would benefit, and I don’t want to charge for it. If you are able to and would like to contribute to the cause, of course that would be greatly appreciated and will allow this to continue as long as it makes sense for it to continue. You can increase your pledge on Patreon, find me on Venmo at jenhowk, Paypal at firstname.lastname@example.org, buy me some dog food with an Amazon gift card, whatever feels like a good trade. You can also “buy me a coffee” (in $5 increments) at: buymeacoffee.com/jenhowk.
To preserve privacy there won’t be posted replays. Calls are at different times each week but will be emailed out to the current list at least 24 hours ahead. I’ll try to move it around to accommodate different time zones and work schedules. To get on the list for emails you can sign up here: https://forms.gle/4e1BbSQpK2vTTuYG9
We start every meeting with a few boundaries/ground rules for discussion, which are:
- We keep the focus on the emotional backdrop of disordered eating, rather than rules or details about what’s allowed/not allowed.
- We recognize that everyone’s relationship with food is different and we try to avoid generalizing about what anyone “needs to do” to “be successful” and other similar language.
- We are here to encourage ourselves and each other to accept (and—gasp—even love) ourselves wherever we happen to be at any point in time, whether that means deep in the “fuck-its” or deep in the groove of a chosen plan. We do our best to avoid assigning harsh value judgments to those different experiences.
If that resonates, I hope you choose to come along.