In the movie Philomina, Judy Dench plays the riveting role about an Irish mother who has a son born out of wedlock who was forcibly taken away from her by nuns and sold to an American couple for adoption.

Philomina, a deeply devout Catholic, lives in shame of the birth for 50 years, but finally she can not take the suffering any longer and sets out on a quest with a journalist to America to find her lost son.

The only part I’m going to reveal about the movie, which I highly recommend, is about her worry when she arrives in America what has become of her son. “What if he is obese? You know how large the portion sizes are in America?” She said to the journalist.

Americans have the highest rate of obesity and related illnesses world-wide. I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but instead of instilling will-power, many Americans who suffer from obesity victimize themselves and/or give up. 

The fact is, all of us have the potential to overeat and become obese. Bad stuff is going to happen to all of us, which presents the perfect opportunity/excuse to binge eat. In other words, many of us turn to eating as comfort and to dull our pain, but overeating makes us feel even worse.

This movie made me think that over-eating is a cultural phenomena. Why is it that Americans turn to food to dull their emotional pain? I’m not sure I have the answer to that, although I do know that we need to lean in to the pain in order to cease emotional eating. 

Philomena was a victim of abuse from the nuns. While Philomena didn’t have the issue of emotional eating issue, what moved me most was her transformation: the more she let go of the shame of the nuns taking her son from her, the more she was able to see the wrongness in the situation and the more empowered she became. In other words, she freed herself of the shackles that held her back from living a fulfilling life. 

What is holding you back and what detrimental habits have you formed because you’re too fearful of change and moving forward? If you’re feeling stuck, please contact me at lauri@embracingmyself.com