• on March 18, 2016

Painful truths: my visit to Brighton

By Jan Holden

This week, I visited the IEWIN group that my daughter Emily holds in Brighton. Thank you to the refreshingly authentic group of women for sharing your stories and experiences with me. They are, like us in Colchester, working gently through the IEWIN Process together to find peace around food and their bodies. We shared, discussed, did a group meditation. We had some interesting moments with packaged baked goods and tangerines and tomatoes, similar to our experiences in week five in Colchester. Emily held the space for us all beautifully. The insights were plain to see.

Coming to an IEWIN group is an opportunity to shine a light on our behaviour. Not in a harsh critical way “You did that WRONG! You shouldn’t eat THAT! Look at the state YOU HAVE GOT YOURSELF INTO!” Not the regular berating, nagging and scolding that we often get into on a daily basis. Our approach is completely different.

We want to reconnect with our body’s signals and the language of our body, but we often just aren’t tuned into the body’s signals of comfort or discomfort. With our busy, frantic 24/7 lives, where is the space to be quiet, to be still? The body has no words, only sensations. We are being asked to FEEL. Difficult for those of us who use food precisely so that we don’t feel!

We use food:

  • if we are happy/sad/bored/lonely/jubilant/there’s an “R” in the month (the reasons and justifications are truly endless)
  • if we eat to “zone out”
  • if we eat to calm down
  • if we eat to stave off tiredness and exhaustion
  • if we eat to get high
  • if we eat to please other people
  • if we eat to distract us from our problems (yes, they are still there afterwards)
  • if we eat to the point of painful fullness
  • if we just eat too much and/or too often

and especially if we choose “food like substances” to put into our mouths and then into our digestive system, regardless of hunger or satiety (haha! I always prefer to binge on carrots-NOT)

We are asking too much of our body.

Our shouty primitive “go on, eat it, all of it!” brain may be temporarily sedated, we may feel numb or high, but our bodies are left physically dealing with the aftermath.

Our bodies want us to do things differently. Not just want, NEED us to do things differently.

We felt into the quiet belly during the meditation. We traced the journey of whatever we choose to put into our mouth. We felt for the different organs as they try to make the best of whatever it is, try to digest and assimilate our sometimes dubious choices. We know that all our body truly wants and is designed to handle, is the nourishment of unprocessed, real food.


The group ended with a round of “Painful Truths”. My painful truth is that I can no longer disassociate my choice of food from the effect it will have on my precious, one-and-only body. That my choices have been so driven by my primitive brain, in all its chaotic, sugar fuelled narcissism, that my health suffered greatly.

Another painful truth: I behave compulsively around high fat and high sugar food, particularly cake, oh and puddings, oh and……. Sometimes I can get into my PFC and choose really wisely and consciously and sometimes, well, you know the rest.

If you have painful truths around food and your body, we are here for you. Join our community on FB or come to a group. We are starting an evening group in Colchester in mid May. Details to be announced.

So there we are. Brighton, thank you for having me. I will be back!

#ieatwhatineed, #compulsiveeating, #bingeeating, #listeningtothebody, #mybodymyway, #consciouseating