Every time I try to diet, go raw, eliminate sugar, go dairy free, gluten free or paleo, the worst result of my efforts is what I like to term my “Hangry Bear”.
One day I am focussed, motivated and determined, next minute I want to tear the head off any person that is in my vicinity.
Food and I have a very sordid past.
I don’t have a long list of ex lovers or a deep history of family dysfunction but I have a whole cupboard full of stories that will make a decent memoir one day.
A memoir about diets, failure and the never ending New Years Resolution of finding my health again.
My Hangry Bear self is always associated with food or lack of it.
My Hangry Bear comes out roaring especially when I feel embarrassed, when I feel shame and when I feel defeated.
The Bear self is not actually hungry, it is just demanding attention, it is asking for my help, it is seeking someone to tell it to calm down everything is going to be okay.
Lately I have discovered a story that is directly linked to the birth of my Hangry little bear. I was ten years old, I remember the colour of my ballet leotard, I remember the moment when my Ballet teacher read out the words, that would forever change my relationship with food.
One line written in stone, that birthed a angry, shamed filled relationship with food that has plagued me ever since. A little ballerina, who desired so much to live her adult life on a stage performing and dancing to make people smile.
The examiners words on my report card that year, completely changed the course of my life.
She wrote this; (I was not even in highschool yet)
“Amanda, has the capacity to go all the way to the top with Ballet, except she is too fat.”
Hello Hangry Bear.
Hello food as my comfort
Hello food every moment when I feel shamed, embarrassed or on the verge of dreaming for greater days.
I battle with food, because it is my arch nemisis of both pleasure and pain.
Talking with a counsellor recently she asked me this question “If you could go back to that moment and speak to the little girl what would you say?”
I replied “I wouldn’t talk to the little girl, I would walk straight up to that examiner and I would tell her that she was wrong. That words have such significant power over children and do you know the damage you have done in writing such condemning and shaming words over a young childs life. A child that so deeply respects and reveres you.”
My adult response floored me.
I felt empowered, I felt overwhelmed at the capacity to stand up for my ten year old me.
I felt like for the first time in my life, I could rebuild those broken ruins and calm my hangry bear.
Maybe my bear could even go into hibernation for a very, very long time.
I am still battling every day at the moment with this area of my life, but Brene Browns latest book Rising Strong is completely unravelling these parts of my life and asking my shivering, shamed self to step out from those places that are holding me captive.
Chapter four and five have been very difficult chapters for me to read.
As we rumble with those Hangry Bears hiding in our deep places and when we face the true reason why we are responding out of shame, failure and hiddenness we cannot go back again without changing.
We can read words such as;
“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort, choosing what is right over what is fast, fun or easy; and choosing to practise our values rather than simply professing them.” Brene Brown
Here in this forum I can be all “you can do it”, “live the life you have dreamed of” and “Go make your dreams happen”…
I cannot be completely true to the whole picture, if I am not facing the sewer rats from my past, those stories from my childhood so deeply connected to my creative pursuits, dreams and passions and make you think that I have it all together.
I rumble and wrestle constantly with my weight, because I allow those stories from my past to frame my appetite instead of the truth.
When I choose courage when I look in the fridge rather than comfort.
When I choose to do what is right for my health, my family and my future rather than what is fast, fun or easy.
When I choose to practise the values I write about here instead of just professing what I think you want to hear.
Only then am I able to face those places of deep brokenness and see ever lasting change.
This year I am facing down that Hangry Bear and I am determined to discover what it is that provokes Him. I am determined to find ways to woo Him. I am wanting to live beyond this place of shame and embarrassment in my life.
That was heavy,
A question for our book club members who are reading along and commenting.
What goals have you set, that rock up on your New Years List every year? Do you have a Hangry Bear running around wreaking havoc, trying to undo your efforts every year?
Today, is the first time in a long time that I don’t want to press publish.
This book is hard work,