Five Steps to Recovery: #5 Finding Soul Satisfaction

In the past four newsletters, you’ve learned how your behaviors, emotions, core beliefs, and body sensations relate to your food and body image struggles. Each of these previous levels has prepared you for what I will discuss now: how to reach soul satisfaction. At some point, you will come to realize that your food and body image issues are can’t be fixed with diets and that there may be a deeper root cause of these issues that you have not addressed.  All this adds up to not being able to express who you are on the inside and not being able to express your true and authentic self, no matter what your size or shape.

When you find soul satisfaction you will be able to bring it into all areas of your life, including your relationship with food and how you feel about your body.

Here is an example from a former patient:
Erica’s father was a larger-than-life person who did everything to extremes, including drinking in excess. When he drank, he was often violent or threatening to her mother and sometimes toward her. When she came home from school, she never knew whether she would feel safe or need to hide in her room to avoid his rage.  This insecurity followed her into adult life. Her fear was that she was not good enough to pursue the job she dreamed of as an ICU nurse. In the Anchor Program, she was able to recognize that the insecurity and fear came from her childhood.  By reconnecting to her unrealized passion, she found other areas of her life falling into place—including being able to conquer her food and body image issues.

What Is Soul Satisfaction?

The soul is the part of us that is unchanging and separate from the thoughts, judgments, and experiences of our day-to-day lives.  No matter what you go through in life, this part of your self is the part of you that remains without change, unblemished, and not tarnished by life’s struggles, disappointments, betrayals or pain.  Satisfying your soul is about living from who you truly are, being anchored by your essential nature.

Being anchored is about being true to yourself and accessing your inner strength.
Sometimes life’s struggles can change you and take you off your path or make you lose focus in life. When you find your true anchor in life, you tap into a vast reservoir of intuitive, natural knowledge that will help you shift your beliefs, use your body sensations and body wisdom as cues, regulate your emotions, and manage your behaviors. Without this deep well of knowledge in which body, mind, and soul are connected, you will continue to operate on superficial levels, repeating past mistakes, reenacting old traumas, and living your life based on beliefs that no longer serve you.

When the deeper urges of your soul or your spirit are not being met, it can feel as if you have a huge hole inside.

I’ve mentioned previously that food can often represent something that is missing in your life, and body dissatisfaction (or the desire to be thin) can do the same. You may have unconsciously tried to fill that void with food or distract yourself from the void by focusing on your dissatisfaction or hatred of your body.

When you are able to live more from your authentic self, you will feel like a storm-tossed sailor who has found a safe harbor in which to drop anchor. You will feel like you’ve come home—to your self.

How can you find soul satisfaction?

If you’ve struggled with food and body image issues for most of your life, your self-worth may be inextricably tied to the number on the scale or whether you’ve had a good- food or bad-food day."  

By now, you may also realize now that self-worth can’t come from appearance, or a certain body shape or size.  True self-worth comes from your essence or your true self. You can tell the difference between true self-worth and superficial self-worth by paying attention to your feelings.

When your life is a reflection of what you value most, what you love, you are more likely to be living a life of soul satisfaction.
When you shift your focus from the number on the scale to fulfilling your soul’s needs, it shapes everything you do in life.   Perhaps you have forgotten or left behind parts of your true self.  Now is the time to reclaim that true essence and to begin the process of reclaiming the parts of yourself that have been ignored, forgotten, or left behind. Erica, for example, had put aside her desire to be a nurse.   Whatever parts of the deeper urges of your soul you put aside, now is the time to revisit those urges and listen to your soul’s needs.   Now is the time to come home -  to your self!


1.     List foods you tend to crave or binge on or crave and the emotions you feel when you eat them:

a.     When I eat (specific food), I feel (emotion).
(Example: When I eat strawberry shortcake, I feel comforted. It reminds me of my grandmother, and she was the person who I thought cared for me the most growing up. I usually crave this food when I am feeling stressed or lonely.)

2.     What is your soul’s need that you are trying to satisfy with each food? (Example: My soul need for strawberry shortcake is a need for love or companionship, a need to feel like someone really cares about me.)

a.     My soul need for (specific food).  Is a need for (fill in the blank).

3.   Take a moment to recollect the dreams you had when you were younger and thought anything was possible.  What are those deeper urges of your soul?
(Example: I want to travel. I haven’t allowed myself to travel because of my size, but I don’t want to let that stop me).

Happy New Year!!

Dr. Carolyn