I’ve observed a connection between those of us who are sensitive, intuitive, and empathic and a sensitivity to sugar and food and body struggles. We often take on the roles of “helpers” because we feel so deeply — we are wonderful in this capacity. This disposition can also be our greatest burden in the modern world, and we may use sugar and food to create a buffer between us and the intensity of our feelings.
In today’s audio excerpt from a recent support call, I dive into this subject:
“When we’re talking about feeling the deep, deep sorrow of the world, that is something that I’ve noticed about every single person I have ever talked with, or worked with, or got an email from, or who’s bought any of my programs, that deals with sugar. I actually have a theory that those of us who are highly sensitive, intuitive, and empathic, (and I’ll unpack what that means in a second if those terms are unfamiliar to you), we tend to struggle with sugar. And we tend to also go for sugar and food.
And I think that it’s not a causation. I don’t see it as one causing the other. I just see them correlated.
When you’re intuitive, when you’re highly sensitive, it means that you process sensory stimuli at a very high level. You might be more sensitive to pain. You notice and feel things with your senses on a much deeper, finely-tuned level than other people. Where others might feel things, say, at 40 watts, you feel it at 120. And where other people might notice ten different degrees of say, sadness, you might notice, like, 1,000. It’s at a more finely-tuned level, too. You feel things more in your physical body.
So, for example, you might turn your socks inside out because the seams bother you. You might be more sensitive to just how clothing feels about your body. You might be sensitive to how something smells. You might be sensitive to how something looks. You might be a lover of beauty like I am, which is part of the reason, I think, many highly sensitive people can be really hard on our bodies and our body image. It’s that we have such high ideals about how things should look.
But beyond high sensitivity, there’s the intuitive empathic element. And when you are intuitive and empathic, it’s not just that you’re highly sensitive to the things you pick up with your five senses. You’re sensitive to energy and sensitive to emotion. You pick up on stuff that other people don’t pick up. You’re a sponge.
I’m reading a book called “The Highly Intuitive Child,” because I have highly intuitive, sensitive, empathic kids (I don’t know where they got it from!) And the author [Catherine Crawford] said, [paraphrasing]: ‘People tend to be ducks or sponges. When you’re a duck, everything rolls off your back. You just shake it off like a duck. When you’re a sponge, everything is channeled through your body, and it tends to stay stuck.’ And I think one of the reasons why we go to food and sugar is because it grounds us and moves that energy out of our body. It’s either a buffer, how we don’t feel that energy, or it’s how we get it out.
I’m going to be talking about this a lot more moving forward. I’ve been writing about this in the Heal Overeating Untangled Workbook, and I’m like a kid at Christmas when it comes to this workbook – I’m so excited to get this out to you!
If you recognize yourself as empathic and highly intuitive, then you are sensitive to energy and emotion. You are a sponge. You pick up on stuff. And people who are intuitive, empathic, and highly sensitive tend to be healers, nurturers, nurses, coaches, and helping professions, therapists, teachers. The strength of your intuition and empathy and high sensitivity makes you incredible at that job.
The flip side of that is one of your greatest challenges. And that is how do you not take on so much? It can feel overwhelming, all that you feel.
And certainly when we have just a horrible tragedy like what happened in [Newtown] Connecticut, you may be processing a thousand people’s feelings. You might be having a whole nation’s grief moving through your body. I can feel my kids’ feelings. The way a friend of mine jokes about this who’s also this way, she says, ‘It’s like other people outsource their feelings to me. I process them for them.’
So the tools that can help you when you’re feeling energetically or emotionally overwhelmed – I’m going to briefly talk about them here – is grounding and boundaries.
And when I say boundaries I don’t mean, like, the physical boundaries of saying no to someone. I’m talking about energetic boundaries. I’m talking about softening some of your antenna and choosing what you take in or take out.
Grounding is your best friend if you are highly intuitive, empathic, and sensitive. You need to feel rooted and connected to the earth and connected to something bigger than you. You need to feel strong and nourished. Anything with rhythm and routine in it is going to be helpful to you.”
Wanting more hands on help?
- One of my grounding practices is to use a meditation that emphasizes rooting into the earth.
- I also like to place a heavy, but comfortable object on my body to viscerally experience the sensation of grounding.
- Another book recommendation: Weight loss for people who feel too much by Colette Baron-Reid
- Heal Overeating: Untangled includes references and tools to help you ground throughout its chapters (as this is such a fundamental aspect of my work), and a grounding ritual is part of Session 7.