About This Website
Welcome. The goal of this website is to provide a healing resource for those who experience conflict in their relationship to food. Our culture tries to reduce this conflict to a simple formula: If you’re overweight, diet; if you’re average weight, diet; if you’re thin, diet to stay that way. However, the result of this formula is anything but a solution – it’s crazy-making. I once heard a speaker refer to eating disorders as crimes against humanity – in the sense that eating, something so very essential to a human being, so natural and such a basic right, could be hijacked so totally that it become a source of constant desperation and suffering.
As an alternative to the outrageous equation of [Problem With Food + Diet = All Better], I want to provide a forum for exploration into the true causes of and true remedies for conflict in the relationship to food. I want to consider an equation more like this: [notice suffering + pay attention + give compassion = understanding and healing]. Why bother when you can do a 30-day plan to quickly drop pounds instead? The short answer is that if diets truly worked we’d all be thin and peaceful by now. And if you still have an issue with eating, it is likely still causing you suffering which you’d naturally like to end. If we really want to end the obsession with food, weight, and body – to no longer count calories, to no longer fear gaining weight, to no longer hate what we see in the mirror – we’ve GOT to pay attention to the reasons we do this to ourselves, and not pretend that we can just get rid of the whole thing by “finally having enough willpower,” “finally getting all our shit together,” “finally working out enough.” It’s like asking someone who’s very sick to just put on enough makeup, drink enough tea, and stop complaining in order to function at top speed at work the next day. You do that long enough and the person gets run-down, maybe collapses, maybe gets hospitalized. Unlike alcoholism or drug addiction, food and body obsession does not necessarily put you in danger of crashing your car when it’s gotten extremely out of hand. The price is different – it’s a long-time exhaustion, a heaviness on the soul, an ongoing feeling of not-being-one’s-true-self, the perpetual sense of struggle. And you don’t get to give up food cold-turkey one day. If there’s going to be true peace, there must be work done to heal the very relationship to food – not work to just cover up the symptoms until you eventually bust again anyway.
Weight is not the only thing our society has a quick-fix attitude about – the quick-fix mentality absolutely pervades the culture, in an effort to skip the suffering part, skip the hard-work-of-healing part, and instead just go from desire to having. It’s just like a 2 year old who has not yet learned to tolerate delay of gratification.. Everyone knows their mantras are “No! No! No!” and “Now! Now! Now!” The price of being dependent on instant gratification and constant comfort is that you can never truly know yourself. If the baby always stays in mother’s arms she doesn’t get to take her first steps, have her first fall and then her first walk across the room into uncharted territory.
Imagine what this culture, this world could be if everyone was willing to tolerate discomfort in order to achieve their true heart’s desire. Imagine if women put all the energy of this obsession into creative work and healing in the world. Imagine how much healthier the image of woman could become. Imagine how high school might be for the next generations of daughters. Imagine the freedom all people might find in taking true joy in their bodies, and how this might impact the constant desire for cheap replacements for joy. Could it be, that one could find watching the wind work through the people and leaves and litter of the sidewalk could be wholly more engaging than watching a choreographed moment of flirtation on television? How would it be if we weren’t dependent on our fixes? How would it be if we had the freedom of feeding ourselves well, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and got to live out what that feels like?
The beautiful news is that even a brand new baby, even a 5 year old, has the capability of feeling what their bodies need and knowing how to feed them – it’s something that we can have again.
The beautiful news is that the work needed to achieve it requires the exact opposite of what diets require. To find what’s true, in any context, what’s called for is complete relaxation – complete trust. Diets tell you that clearly you cannot trust yourself, so you’d better control yourself into being acceptable.
Which of these truly speaks to your heart? When you think of love, do you believe it’s something that demands constant control and suffering? Or do you believe it’s about lightness, trust, flow, acceptance, letting go, honesty, relaxation?
You can eat in a way that is you loving yourself. Being in tune with what’s really there and responding to it in a way that promotes deep well-being. Well-being may not sound very dazzling – but what are we looking for in trying to be thin? Permission to be all that we are, acceptance, access to a great and vibrant life, feeling beautiful. True well-being means actually feeling beautiful, dazzling. Feeling vibrant. Feeling like a magnificent creature, energized in a way that makes it almost irrelevant what you are doing, because wherever you are you are getting to BE, YOU, and being you feels like life itself. THAT’S well-being.
So – again, welcome. Welcome to this place where I’m going to reflect on the path of attaining well-being – self-love – principally through exploring the relationship to food and body. I hope that you find understanding, a sense of not being alone, a sense of possibility, maybe even community, here – but more than anything I hope we each come closer and closer to finding our joyful, knowing, peaceful, radiant selves.
My name is Judy, and while my formal training includes a BA in Psychology and an LMSW from NYU, my education in the subject at hand comes mostly from experience. Perhaps I’ll never know exactly when and how it all started, but I do remember that around 5th grade, it became clear that a prerequisite to really fitting in was to become thin. I haven’t been thin for one day in my life. I’ve also never been obese. However, these external judgments don’t really speak to the struggle, which is essentially the same whether one experiences compulsive eating, anorexia, bulimia, or some other form of conflict: the inability to trust yourself regarding food, and the inability to be in touch with and love your body. The torture hit a peak in high school, and went on after that. For years, it mainly took the form of counting calories, “doing a good job” for most of the day or a few days, and then “blowing it” soon after. In my case, the back-and-forth was so constant and extreme that I virtually never lost a single pound, and gained maybe 1 or 2 per year. One day in college, after “hitting rock bottom,” I forced myself into a tunnel-vision that enabled me to lose 10 pounds for the first time in my life. I still can’t help but find it hilarious (in a sad way) that only after I found myself unable to lose any more weight at that time, did I finally seek help. I went to a therapist to find out why the hell I could not get myself to just keep losing weight. I did not go to therapy because I could not bear the thought of counting calories for one more day, because I could not trust a person I had fallen in love with, or to address any other deeply troubling emotional issues. I went because I had finally lost 10 pounds and could not lose any more.
Thank all forces of goodness that this therapist told me to go pick up the book “Overcoming Overeating” by Jane Hirschmann and Carol Munter, and began to guide me into questioning what was more important than losing weight. I viscerally remember feeling like nothing could matter if I wasn’t thin first. Having this feeling in a room with a therapist, just with another person at all who wasn’t simply in agreement that thin is best, brought my obsession clearly into view in a way that it had never been before. It had been all in my mind, and you know the extent to which we can torture ourselves in there, with no one ever knowing. There was a part of me that I had banished, which was able to say “No!!! That’s not me!!! I don’t want this person to actually believe that I care about being thin more than anything else!!” And this part of me was willing to listen to this person and read this book.
This book essentially stated that there is not something fundamentally dysfunctional in you which makes your hunger unacceptable and out-of-control even though others can eat normally. Rather, there are psychological and emotional issues expressing themselves through the relationship with food and body. You are not the most pathetic person in the world who is the only one who can’t just follow a diet – the truth is… Diets do not work! Ever!
This began my journey into healing my eating rather than controlling it. The only thing that enabled me to be willing to go through this process was the knowledge in my deepest heart that being pathetic and out-of-control could not be the truth of my life, dooming me to struggle and fail forever. And if it was true that diets don’t work.. Then it didn’t mean that I was failing.. It meant that I had been trying to do the wrong thing. The hope that there may be a path that actually led to resolution, a path that I could walk – this is what birthed me out of blind obsession and onto the path itself.
At this point, I have found joy in eating again, which I had truly almost given up for life. I currently still have great resistance to eating only when I am hungry and stopping when I am full, and great resistance to loving my body as it is.
I am extremely grateful that you have brought yourself here and taken your time to read this. May this website be helpful to you, and may you feel welcome to work individually with me if that would best serve you at this time.
Love, and looking forward to sharing with you,