The title of Alexandra Amor’s book about healing the drive to overeat is It’s Not About the Food. How is it possible that a ‘problem’ related to eating too much can not be about the food we consume?
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Transcription of the Episode
Hello, and welcome back explorers to another question and answer episode of Unbroken. I’m your host, Alexandra Amor.
I’m here today with a question from early on in my exploration of this understanding. If you would like to submit a question to be answered here on the show, please go to alexandraamor.com/question and you’ll see a little form there. You can submit your question to me using that, and I’ll be happy to answer it.
Today, the question is actually about the title of my book, It’s Not About the Food, which you see here behind me. And why is it called that?
Why is overeating not about the food?
To answer that, I’m going to tell you a little bit of a story, first of all, kind of an analogy. For years, I’ve had this weird little pain in my mid upper arm. So for those of you just listening it’s sort of between my elbow and my shoulder midway, on the outside. And it definitely doesn’t feel like nerve pain. It’s more like a kind of a pinching feeling when I make certain motions.
I would say about 10, or 12 years ago, I went to massage therapy and I explained to the girl, and she got me to point to exactly where the pain was. And then she worked on that pain for, I want to say two or three appointments. And it really didn’t move the needle at all. And so I kind of left it.
It’s not debilitating, it’s not interfering with my quality of life at all. I just notice it sometimes and it would be nicer if it wasn’t there. So I just kind of left it alone, because we weren’t really making any progress.
Then a week or two ago, I was at a different massage therapist and she was asking me what we wanted to focus on that day. And almost as an afterthought, I said to her, “Oh, and also, by the way, I have this weird pain here in the middle of my upper arm between my elbow and my shoulder.” I pointed to it, and instantly, I mean, right away, she said, “Oh, yeah, that’s because your rotator cuff muscles are really stiff and tight.”
I got her to explain what rotator cuff was. And it’s apparently a series of muscles kind of around your shoulder. And they have something to do with your with our shoulder blades. I can’t explain it entirely. I’m not a massage therapist. So what she did then was she worked on those muscles a little bit during that session. And she gave me some exercises to do on my own at home.
I’ve been doing those; stretching my arms and doing various things to relieve or release some of the tension of that rotator cuff muscle. And this pain in my arm is actually improving.
After the massage session, I got her to explain what that was. And she said what it’s called is referral. So there’s something that can happen in one part of the body and it will refer to a different part of the body. So that’s exactly what was going on here. That rotator cuff muscle, according to this massage therapist, is not connected in any way to my the middle of my upper arm. There aren’t any nerve paths that lead from one to the other. The muscles aren’t connected directly. And yet, this tension in my rotator cuff muscles is causing this pain in my arm. What it is, she said, is a tendon that’s being pinched between two I think she said two muscles.
I walked away from that and thought you know what, that’s really interesting because there’s a real parallel with this understanding that we’re exploring, the Inside-Out understanding. And it’s this and it’s and it’s exactly why my book is called, It’s Not About the Food. And that is that when we experience food cravings and the kind of pressure and drive that causes us to develop an over eating habit or any other kind of habit, the drive the impulse the craving for cigarettes or alcohol or gambling or whatever it is. We innocently like the first massage therapist I mentioned, we go in, and we try to address the problem where it exists.
So that original massage therapist massaged my upper outer arm, because she thought that that’s where the problem was. And that’s exactly what we do when we have these habits; we use willpower to try to prevent ourselves from participating in our habit, we abstain from the things that we feel we have a habit around, or in the case of food, we try to curb our eating and constrict and control and manage it. I talked about that in a previous episode about the beach ball and trying to manage keeping the beach ball under the water.
But what’s really going on is exactly the same as what’s going on in this situation with my rotator cuff and my arm is that we’re experiencing something in one place yet the answer doesn’t come from addressing that specific situation directly.
The answer comes from looking at what that feeling, that craving, feeling that drive to over eat, is trying to point us toward.
So this feeling in my arm was pointing me and I didn’t know this at the time, innocently, but it was trying to point me toward my tight rotator cuff muscles. And the drive to overeat or the cravings we feel around food are trying to point us toward our innate well being and resilience and the true nature of who we are as a whole and innately well beings, spiritual beings having a human experience. But as I said, we innocently just like that first massage therapist dive in and start dealing with the problem where it looks like it exists.
And in this case, in the case of unwanted habits, they they aren’t actually a problem, just like the pain in my arm wasn’t a problem about my arm, it was pointing to something else. So when I realized that walking home from the recent massage therapist, I wanted to share I think it’s just the perfect analogy to describe what it is we’re trying to look toward when we when we are talking about this inside-out understanding and why it is that our cravings are not a problem. They are information.
That’s just the same as the pain in my arm. That was simply information about the tight rotator cuff muscles and our cravings, our information about our true nature about how we’ve momentarily – even if that moment has been a long one – we’ve innocently forgotten, or don’t know who we are, and that we are innately whole and well and resilient. And the more we see those messages for what they are, the more they don’t need to exist.
The analogy, going back to this muscle thing is, the more I stretch my rotator cuff muscles and get them to loosen up, the more of this pain in my arm is going to disappear because it’s not necessary anymore. And the same thing goes for habits and cravings.
The more we see cravings for the message that they’re trying to deliver about our innate well being, the less and less they need to exist.
That certainly has been my personal experience I talked about in the book. It’s not about the food, about how some of my habits and cravings drop away on their own. And, in fact, in fact, all of them do. As I have more and more insights that deflate that beach ball that I talked about in a previous episode, so that’s what I wanted to share today. I hope that analogy is a little bit helpful for you when you’re exploring this understanding as it relates to an unwanted habit, including over eating. And so I’ll leave it there for now. I hope you’re doing well and taking good care of yourself and I’m sending you lots of love. And I will talk to you again next week. Take care bye bye
Transcribed by https://otter.ai