One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

INSIGHTS

My Core Hurt Eating – A MUST Read for those that Overeat

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A couple of days ago I got news that my Father is very ill. Without getting into all the family dirt here I’m just going to say I’m not very close to Dad. Our relationship has been on a steady course of deterioration since my parents divorce at age 9.

I’ve been going through a whole host of emotions upon hearing the news. I’ve cried, gotten angry, indifferent, you name it. Honestly, I don’t know what to feel but as I sift through all my emotional baggage you can be sure food has been a HUGE source of comfort.

Or has it?

I woke up this morning determined to get to the root of my massive overeating these past two days (and yes… I mean massive). You’d think I’d immediately recognize that it was tied to the news of my Father but I didn’t see it until this morning. That’s when I found a series of posts by Steven Stosny, Ph.D. I have never read anything that summarize and explained my eating habits and motivations so well.

He talks about emotional eating and says it’s no different then any other kind of eating. That what we really need to understand is core hurt eating and core value eating.

Core hurt eating tries to avoid feeling disregarded, unimportant, guilty, devalued, disrespected, rejected, powerless, inadequate, or unlovable. The connection between core hurts and high-energy, high-sensory food is irresistible. Core hurts cause pain and deplete energy; rapid eating of high sensory, high calorie food numbs pain and restores energy, for a few minutes.

In contrast, core value eating is an expression of self-value. Instead of focusing on what you cannot have, you focus on building more value in your life. It helps you to stop thinking so much about weight and food and start looking at yourself and others with more compassion. As you value yourself more, you automatically value your health and well being and learn to motivate yourself with “acts of kindness.”

His series of posts have really opened my eyes to why I overate so much in my teens and 20’s and why I “relapsed” these last couple of days. My Dad’s illness is stirring up feelings in me I’ve worked so hard to overcome. Now that he is sick I feel guilty yet my old feelings of unimportance, disregard, unloved, rejection, and basically everything on the core hurt list are still there. Hence….

Core hurt eating is always overeating; we know that as soon as we stop, core hurts will get worse and energy will vanish. So we don’t stop, until our bodies make us. If core hurts are severe, and the skill to regulate them is underdeveloped, overeating turns into “attacks on food,” making the food damaging rather than nourishing, an instrument of harm rather than a means of health and well being.

That makes total sense to me. I’ve had no desire to treat myself good these couple of days. Instead I’ve been rapidly eating “high sensory, high calorie food” to “numb pain and restore energy.”

The reason why Dr. Stosny’s posts hit so close to home for me wasn’t only for his explanation of core hurt but the core value as well. I always credit the birth of my son with my weight loss and now it makes perfect sense. Once I had a child I no longer felt those core hurt feelings. I was valued. I had purpose and power to teach this little person all that life had to offer him. I cut ties with my Father which in essence allowed me to heal and one of the results of that was weight loss. I need to repeat the core value eating because it’s exactly how I felt after Ryan was born…

…core value eating is an expression of self-value. Instead of focusing on what you cannot have, you focus on building more value in your life. It helps you to stop thinking so much about weight and food and start looking at yourself and others with more compassion. As you value yourself more, you automatically value your health and well being and learn to motivate yourself with “acts of kindness.”

WOW how powerful is that?

If you have ever related to me on the weight loss thing this series of posts is a MUST read. It may give you insight to uncover what’s really at the core of your own overeating. Note: the site does not do a good job of showing these posts are a series but you should really read them in order as I have listed.

  1. Emotional Eating: All Diets are from Hell
  2. Weight Management Myths
  3. Why We Think Thin and Eat Fat
  4. Core Value Eating

My favorite line in all those posts…

“You will not lose weight until you value yourself more.”

I couldn’t agree more.



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Discussion

There are 47 comments so far.

    Mara @ What's for Dinner?

    August 9, 2009

    THank you for this… I swear, you and I are more alike than I could’ve imagined. I’m sorry to hear about your dad, and hope that you can find non-food comfort. Family stuff is always the worst for me, whether happy or sad… hugs to you :)

    justrun

    August 9, 2009

    Wow, that really is powerful. Thank you SO much for sharing. I have a similar situation with my father, and you’re right, it fuels that “core hurt eating” pretty rapidly. Hugs to you, Roni.

    Michelle

    August 9, 2009

    First of all..hugs. Second..it’s so damn true Roni. Overweight, binge eating, etc. is about dealing with emotional issues that have crept us (For most people). I am so glad that you have found something which helps, may not the be ‘end all do all’ but it helps to shed light in your world. It’s important to find a place in your life where you feel valued beyond anything that you already have…being you.

    A book that has really REALLY helped me is ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ by Lousie Hay. I am plowing through it and honestly it’s really helped me get there.

    Remember that you are valued, valuable, and able to forgive. May you find peace Roni in knowing these things and feeling them in your core.

    ~M

    Biz319

    August 9, 2009

    Great post Roni! Sorry about your Dad – I know you haven’t had much of a relationshiip with him – do you feel at this point that you need to reconnect with him because he is sick?

    Sending hugs your way!

    Michele

    August 9, 2009

    Roni..Wow great; powerful information. I am married to a man that has a similiar estrangement from his daughter as you and your Father. It also happened after a divorce. I will say he certainly tried (including originally had sole physical custody of all 3 kids) but the poisening of former wife did in any chance of his relationship with his daughter. My hubby suffers as you do…maybe your Dad is distraught over the loss of your realtionship as well you just never know. But sometimes cutting ties (and this is OK) is the only option, this is not uncommon, just a reality, a very sad one. My prayers are with you as you work through this journey.

    Elaine

    August 9, 2009

    Roni,
    Is this your story or mine? The sick father, the bad relationship, the incredible overeating…..let’s hope we both get a handle on this. My thoughts are with ya!

    rollercoaster

    August 9, 2009

    Roni, I am also very sorry to hear about your dad. I believe we all have “core hurt” from our childhood, no matter how great our parents were, because they are only human and as we all know, humans make mistakes. And when we are kids, we don’t have the ability to manage our emotions so we find unhealthy ways to cope (ie eating!).

    As we grow older, and we realize these things, that is when we have the power to begin to value ourselves from within and see ourselves as separate human beings from our parents. It’s powerful stuff, I agree. It’s tough to go back and feel all that stuff but we have to go through the pain to come out on the other side, happier and healthier than we could ever imagine.

    MizFit

    August 9, 2009

    You are Mara are two of my fave peeps and you are, indeed, a lot alike now that I think about it.
    and I mean that as a compliment.
    strong strong women.

    end of comment.
    beginning of email.

    Debbra

    August 9, 2009

    Roni-
    Sorry for turmoil in your life. As for your dad, I really don’t have any advice to give. I was in a similar situation and I struggled with whether or not I should try to re-connect with my dad as he was in his last days of life. After several sleepless nights and alot of overeating, I came to the realization that the best course for me was NOT to try to see my Dad. When I needed a father all those years ago, he could not parent me beuase he was in a bad marriage with my mother and alcoholism. Though my parents eventually divorced after 28 years, and my father got sober, the emotional damage had been done to me. As an adult I had already forgiven him because it was the best thing for me to forgive him, but with that forgiveness, I came to realize; that as sad as I was for his dying, it really had no relevance in my life now. I asked my self if I would regret later not having seen him and the answer was and still is (after 20 years) NO!! I enjoy your blog every day and I will be thinking of you and hoping you soon find some peace with this situation.

    Debbra

    Debbra

    fitforfree

    August 9, 2009

    Roni, thank you SO much for sharing this – I really needed to read it. It gives me a lot of insight into why I overate (or underate) in college!!

    Hang in there. You’re doing an amazing job taking care of yourself – just by trying to understand your feelings.

    George Lowry

    August 9, 2009

    It doesn’t help that most prepared foods are designed to be as addictive as heroin. Viz:
    http://www.foodincmovie.com/
    http://www.theendofovereatingbook.com/

    No evil intent here. Corporations have to move inventory and chain restaurants have to put butts in seats.

    Jenn

    August 9, 2009

    Roni, I’m sorry to hear that you’re dealing with so much emotional stuff lately. But I wanted to THANK YOU for sharing this information. As someone who emotionally eats, I am really trying to work through my issues and overcome my overeating – this information is very helpful. Thank you!

    Leslie Erickson

    August 9, 2009

    Roni, Thank you so much for this post and the links to Dr. Stosny’s. I haven’t read them yet but will soon. Interestingly enough, I have read this post of yours during commercials on Ruby. Tonight she’s beginning to try and recover lost memories from her childhood, and experiences some strong emotions while learning some Pilates moves. Yet she has no recall of the content of information that is eliciting the feelings. This is deep, powerful stuff, and I know understanding my own core hurt pain will help free me from self destructive eating, as you are experiencing since hearing of your father’s illness.

    Hang in and stay strong. You’re an inspiration, and your honesty is helping so many of us as we face some of the same stuff.

    Laura Brandon

    August 9, 2009

    Wow, Roni. I’m so sorry you had to go through so much pain with your father, and that it is getting all stirred up again now. This post is going to make me try a lot harder to evaluate exactly why I overeat. Thank you for sharing something so personal with us.

    Nicole

    August 9, 2009

    Hi Roni! I am so sorry to hear about your dad and more importantly how you are feeling. I lost both my parents (still have step-parents) in high school and have had to deal with my issues from childhood without them around. It has been tough and food issues are totally tied up in all of it. Thank you so much in your time of need posting this information, it is so true and really inspiring. I hope you can find peace through this process.

    Michelle in CA

    August 9, 2009

    Wow. That was a powerful email. Sending hugs your way.

    Michelle in CA

    August 9, 2009

    Sorry, I meant powerful post not email.

    rid of acne

    August 9, 2009

    you are an inspiration. I have dealt with weight issues my entire life. You story give hope. Thanks for sharing

    Laurie

    August 10, 2009

    I agree…very powerful. What strikes me the most is that you really do know why you are overeating. That knowledge is very powerful because you will be back in control soon. You understand why you are temporarily out of control and that is so key. Understanding your emotions is so key. I am sorry for the hurt you felt in the past and the feelings you are having learning your dad is ill. These are tough to deal with but I know you will do it with grace.

    Alison

    August 10, 2009

    I’m sorry that your father’s illness has drudged up all of this pain. Good for you for getting to the bottom of your eating response!

    As someone who has lost the weight but still struggles with occasional “bingeing” – this is an interesting concept and I look forward to delving into it.

    Thanks as always for being so helpful and insightful.

    Jenn

    August 10, 2009

    Roni, I think that you & I live parallel lives except you’ve already made it to the point where I need to be. I am very sorry to hear about your father’s illness.

    My parents divorce at 9 and the subsequent abandonment I felt also started my battle with food & weight. I always wonder when it will ever end?? I thought it had 4 yrs ago. I was in a good place on the scale, my mind was right & I was so proud of me. My surprise 2nd pregnancy was my latest downfall. I love that child more than life but I have not been able to get back to that healthy weight and its been a mental struggle for 2 yrs. In that same time, my father issues also resurfaced therefore I’ve resorted back to the emotional overeating. I will do so good for a few weeks, then I have a bad day & no food in my house is safe from me!

    I appreciate the articles. They’ve caused me to think about the root of my eating issues. I don’t think the issues with my father will ever resolve but I need to deal with myself & stop worrying about him. I have to value me, even if he won’t, so that’s where I can begin.

    Thank you so much Roni!!

    Cynthia (it all changes)

    August 10, 2009

    WOW Roni! First of all let me say ((((Hugs)))). It’s a difficult situation to be in and a lot of us understand the overeating to numb the feelings.

    This post really hit home to me with all I’ve been going through over the last several days. I’m going to take some time this afternoon to read those links to get some more understanding. Thanks again for sharing.

    Svanhvit

    August 10, 2009

    Thank you!! Thank you so much! This truly hit home with me. I have been struggling for years now and am finally getting on track.
    Simple truths, but so difficult, too!!

    Big hugs to you, I bet this is a rough time for you!

    Carolyn

    August 10, 2009

    Awesome post!

    Miss Tiffie

    August 10, 2009

    Amazing post Roni <3

    “You will not lose weight until you value yourself more.” << such a good quote

    xoxo

    Vanessa

    August 10, 2009

    Roni – I am so sorry to hear your father is ill. I too have a not so healthy relationship with my dad and can only imagine what you’re feeling right now.

    Also, I’m sorry I couldn’t read the entire post in one sitting – the first round of quotes has me in tears. I promise I will go back – I need to ‘hear’ what you’ve had to say. I have suffered emotional eating my entire adult life.

    This past Thursday, my mom was told she’s got breast cancer, for the 3rd freakin’ time. We are devastated and not knowing how far it has progressed is killing me. I share this only because I must confess to the entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s Pfish Food, in one sitting. Not to mention a whole host of other delightful goodies. =)

    What I have read so far has helped put the foods I’ve eaten, and why, into real perspective.

    Remind yourself, as I do every day, we are given only as much as we can handle.

    Thanks for being here!

    DLAOKC

    August 10, 2009

    Roni,
    I’ll be 54 in two weeks… still fighting this battle. This information today is so helpful – thank you. I’ve long known that the key to my weight loss battle is in my head, not my stomach!
    Just ran an errand from work, and drove through Starbucks for an iced NFNW mocha… ordered a grande instead of a tall (accidentally.) Got to the window and they had (accidentally) made it a venti…. I drank a tall’s worth and left the rest – core VALUE eating.
    Hugs…

    Melissa

    August 10, 2009

    Wow, Roni, that’s some tough news to swallow … thinking of you. That was some great reading material … good food for thought. I hope you don’t mind if I reference your post in a future post — the core value eating concept makes sooooo much sense (as does the “hurt”) and it’s a great message to get out there. ((hugs))

    Heather

    August 10, 2009

    I’m sorry to hear about your dad and how it got you down. I’m also really sorry that people thought you wanted “advice” (however well intentioned).

    I found these articles FASCINATING — really reallly realllly. BUT, I wanted to read more about how to eat from core values. Do you just do it, and practice = perfect? Or are there any other tips?

    Melissa

    August 10, 2009

    Hi Roni –

    I’m sorry to hear about your Dad. I had similar family issues with the passing of my grandmother. My mother, the one person who should always be there for me had to chose between her children and her mother. As an adult, wanting to help my mother through her struggles, I was cast aside, treated like a child and not allowed to help my mother or mourn my grandmother. So, in dealing with my grandmothers death and my mother’s “confusion” I’ve gained back the weight I lost a year ago. So the struggle begins again. *sigh* This post meant a lot and opened my eyes once again to what I’ve been struggling with deep down. I haven’t read the articles yet but will soon. Thank you and I hope all goes well for you.

    Michelle

    August 10, 2009

    Oh Roni – I SO feel for you! I have been a blog “lurker” for over 2 years. I never have posted, but you have inspired me so much. I have been going through some family illness/ drama in the last 6 months or so, and have gained 30 of my 40 pounds lost back. The “core hurt” vs. “core value” is SO true. I appreciate your honesty and am SO THANKFUL that you posted the insights you have found – it is so helpful to everyone who reads and loves you! The blog world is so strange in that you don’t truly ”know” each other – but feel like you are good friends. You and your family are in my prayers – I hope all goes well with his illness. BUT, keep running the race and keeping the faith, girl! You are of GREAT value to yourself and lovely family. Thanks again for your thoughts and sorry about my rambling – I am a newbie. :-)

    Kim

    August 10, 2009

    Roni,

    I don’t know if it is my computer or not, but the last 2 links are not working. I am loving these articles…your post and the first one especially help me to understand why I do soo very well when I am in one place as opposed to where I live now. In the place I call home (not where I currently live) I FEEL different about myself and life…and have the friends who back up those feelings of value and worth…

    Really really want to read those other articles!

    roni

    August 10, 2009

    Kim – They are back up! Seemed the site when down for a bit. Try now.

    Allison K

    August 11, 2009

    It’s a little disturbing how much I can relate to the “you will not lose weight until you value yourself more.” I’ve struggled with my self-worth a lot over the past year or so, and control over my weight definitely suffered. Getting back on track (emotionally) is hard.. but I’m so close I can taste it.

    It seems as though life is “piling it on” for you. But it’s obvious you’re going to come out of it stronger. You have all the tools in place, and all the knowledge. All the best with your current situation, and thank you for sharing.

    Tiger G

    August 11, 2009

    My dad died when I was 4 and I grew up with a mother who never stopped grieving. I never put this together. I was her eating buddy, someone to accompany her on eating binges. I finally lost weight after the birth of my first son (core value) and then my husband and I hit a rough patch right after I got pregnant last summer and I (i’m doing) the binge eating thing and haven’t stopped. I didn’t come to your site today for some deep therapy but WOW. Haha, who knew?!
    Thanks for the insight, it was a powerful article and I really loved your post. You can get through this, you’re stronger than you know.

    lunzy a la lunzygras

    August 11, 2009

    awesome post! trying to catch up. big hugs!

    BigTickles

    August 11, 2009

    Thinking about you and hope you pull through Roni!

    BigTickles

    August 11, 2009

    Oh and great post… (duh forgot to say that…. baby was screaming in my ear)

    Janet

    August 17, 2009

    I’m very sorry about your loss and send you and yours my prays.
    The post was awesome- full of emotion and real caring. It won’t be
    pleasant to get through this time, but needed to stay “whole”.
    Peace!

    Lyn

    August 20, 2009

    I really enjoyed this post Roni. Thanks. And I hope you will come to peace with your feelings re: your father.

    healthy ashley

    August 20, 2009

    I’m so sorry about your dad, Roni. Even though you’re not close to him, I understand it still affects you!

    This post is awesome. I’ve been going through a lot of core hurt eating lately because I’m not focusing on my value… I’m focusing on what I lack. Thanks for making it all make sense.

    Jess

    January 21, 2010

    Wow, I am so glad you posted this. I have struggled so much this week with emotional eating, but in reality I’ve actually been struggling for about a year now with this problem. I’ve been trying for over a year to lose weight and have lost with no success because of my emotional eating issues. I truly believe that is the only thing holding me back.

    I found it interesting that you said, “you will not lose weight until you value yourself more.” I identify so much with that. I keep thinking it doesn’t matter how much I work out, I will never lose weight if I don’t stop using food for comfort or treating my body like a garbage can.

    I’m so glad I found this post. Thank you. I will definitely go check out those articles.

    I make choices about what foods are moral and what foods are healthy, and I try my best to make those decisions more rational and less emotional. Intuitive eating to me means recognizing that I am overeating.

    India

    November 16, 2010

    thank you :] my father also left me when i was 9. i’m 18 now, and just reading this article, made me realize that his actions shouldn’t shape my life, only i have that power. thank you, so much aha :] i finally have the strength to pick myself back up, after these years of confusion. THANK YOU.

    NYCPatty

    January 10, 2011

    Oh my God Roni, that is why when my relationship with my ex broke up 5+ years ago, I got to my heaviest weight ever. I ate everything in site. I completely didn’t value myself because we were over and I wanted to die (not that I would ever hurt myself..honest!) I just wanted to disappear from this world where I couldn’t be with him. It took me until 2/11/09, the day I started my weight loss journey, to see that I was totally worth being healthy. I’m sitting here at work with tears coming down my face…this is so beautiful and powerful. I think I need to remind myself of this every day. Thank you for the gift you’ve given me today.

    Brittany

    August 24, 2011

    This is beautiful and so powerful! I needed this today! Thank for your this wonderful reminder– that i am worthy of all of those things! And i’m worth being healthy! I won’t stop until i get to that point of being healthy :) YOu are FREAKKKKING awesome!

    Chris

    June 10, 2015

    Wow, Roni.

    Bookmarking for later reference. Thank you.

    Jeeze, just WOW.