It fascinates me that we have identified the voice in our head that tells us to eat the things we crave and have given it a name like binge monster, inner gollum, or mad monkey. We spend a lot of our time and energy telling that voice to shut up and go away or smacking it metaphorically with some blunt instrument.
We seem to forget that mad monkey is an important part of ourselves who is expressing what we desire on some level. We don't usually entertain, for more than a second, random ideas of self harm. Have you ever had to battle day in, day out, with a desire to throw yourself under a train? [I know people do, but I am not sure that they read this blog, or are particular tortured by denying themselves sticky date pudding].
We should recognise that mad monkey is trying to offer us what he thinks is the best for us. He doesn't want us to be miserable, hungry or separated from something that we love (food). He wants the pain - physical or emotional - to stop. And just like a helpful husband, he knows just the way to fix the problem.
I think we should be kinder to Mr Monkey and therefore ourselves. We should speak kindly to him and acknowledge his good intentions. Maybe we should give him a more flattering name and make him a her? I like to think of her as my primal instinct, the part of me that represents my protection against biological harm - so I shall call her Primal Power.
Ms Primal Power
19 June 2009
Dear Ms Primal Power
Thank you so much for doing your job so well and looking out for my health and wellbeing. I completely understand that you think I need to have more fat stores in case of a famine, but I can assure that I am lucky enough to live in a place where starvation is not going to be a problem. There will be another meal coming in a few hours time and I will feel less happy and healthy if I eat these empty calories you are urging me to eat.
I would love it if you could understand that following my cravings does not improve my life - can't you remember how sick, tired and miserable we were when we ate without respect or restraint?
I think it would be a great idea if you could show up and help me with some other things in my life that could benefit from your single mindedness and your unique outlook.
When I'm too tired to run, remind me that I need to be fit enough and fast enough to outrun all those wild beasts. When I am thinking about staying in bed on cold mornings, remind me that I need to be strong enough to build a shelter, and to carry home the food I have gathered. When I am bored or tired, remind me to enjoy the brief moments of rest I have because life is a struggle to survive.
And if we can work this out - I promise not to hit you with a baseball bat ever again!
Love KatieP x