The Zen of Heartburn

What if, when you bought something that you didn’t need, you got heartburn?

Like, that awful feeling of having a pill stuck in your throat that happens after you eat that thing that you shouldn’t have eaten. Or too many of those cookies. Or too much of anything.

The joys of indigestion

I have made no secret of the fact that I struggle with binge eating, so if you are new here and are just learning this, hello, and sorry, TMI.

However, since the start of this year, when I stopped shopping, I have been making a parallel, in my own mind, at least, between the urges that push me to binge eat and the urges that pushed me to buy things I didn’t need.

Also, sorry, TMI, perimenopause is a monster. It is messing up things that were never messed up before. It gives me just enough time to get used to one weird symptom before it throws a new one my way.

Well. For the last month, it has been indigestion. At first I didn’t know what it was. I just felt like I had swallowed something the wrong way. After a few days, I did my own WebMD search and discovered what was happening. Acid reflux. It had a name.

You would think, if I know that eating too much is going to give me heartburn, that I wouldn’t do it. You would think. Yes well, my binge brain doesn’t think that way.

And neither does my coveting brain.

Why that new rule?

So, yesterday, when I gave my “Week 38 Update”, I mentioned that when it came to my closet, I was now going to practice a “One In-One Out” rule, meaning that anything new I brought into my closet would have to displace an item (of a similar kind) that has either worn out or that I am willing to part with.

This rule came about because of my heartburn.

Over the last month, I have had to play around with portion size, with meal times and wrestle with my own binge urges in order to get this stupid acid reflux under control.

I have figured out that an entire meal that is smaller than my fist will not light the fire in my esophagus. Anything more than that will leave me bent over in pain for hours.

The size of my fist is what I can handle. It is what I need. I must be absolutely mindful of every single item I bring to my lips. If I have more than I need, or if I eat more often than necessary, then I will feel like crap for way longer than I would like.

Well. Cue the closet correlation. Right now, my wardrobe is at a size, as in, a number of items, that I am comfortable with. Everything fits in the Boudoir. I have (more or less) defeated my need for immediate gratification. I haven’t had the thought that “I should really buy more hangers” in a good long while. My current wardrobe size is like my fist: it’s the quantity that is just about right so that I don’t get heartburn.

That dreaded word…

I used it once already in this article, and I am going to use it again here, so close your ears, you people who like me roll your eyes when people talk all “zen”:


Yup. I hate that word, too. Except it truly makes a difference when it comes to my heartburn. And I believe that it is going to make a difference when I get back to actually shopping again.

I hate that word because people who wield it make it sound so easy. It’s not easy to bring our attention into the present moment. It’s not easy to refrain from judging ourselves.

I hate that word because oftentimes, people who use it also attach ideas like a “gratitude journal” to their odes to mindfulness and honestly, who has the time for this?

But let me say this: not having heartburn is very strong impetus for controlling my binge eating. Also: knowing that I love every item of clothing in my closet and that if I want to bring something new it that it will have to displace something is a very strong impetus to avoid bringing in things that aren’t perfect.

Controlling, or rather, talking back to those urges becomes possible with mindfulness. A simple sentence like, “You have everything you need,” is intensely helpful for overcoming urges for more.

The end is in sight

This week I will be doing my third quarter Challenge review. Realizing this freaked me out a little. In the next three months, I need to have all the tools in my toolbelt to face the New Year, a non-challenge year, when all things are possible.

As much as I hate it, I think that exploring mindfulness practices might just be what I need in order to get ready for 2022.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

3 thoughts on “The Zen of Heartburn

  1. Wow. Just wow. I binge eat too. I have heartburn too. I just don’t have the shopping binge thing. For clothes, anyway. For me it’s craft supplies, and material. (Once I spent $100 on beads that all cost only a quarter a bag. Yeah, and I didn’t even bead craft…My husband nearly grounded me.) I’m so glad I found you. You’re very encouraging. Thank you, Lily.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Girl, we all binge on something, don’t we? Why is “enough” never enough? Books for some, “Likes” for others. I had a theory that it went back to Maslow and the Hierarchy of Needs. But some binges are hard to explain in those terms (I’d say beads are one of those…) We’re going to get to the bottom of this! One day at a time!

      Liked by 1 person

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