So, I’ve spent some time with the floodgates open. I got rid of the “lists” of good and bad foods. I’ve eaten whatever I want and as much as I want. This phase was absolutely necessary for me because I needed to give myself permission to eat… without guilt. I’m freaking out less and less over my size and food. I’m not fighting with myself over holiday food. I’m also not bingeing. It’s a funny thing, when you give yourself permission to have something, your rational self can actually make decent decisions if you let it.
I can’t believe I’ve actually chosen to sit and eat without distractions several times. Being “alone” with food was always a struggle for me. I can’t believe I’m actually turning my nose up at Little Debbie snacks, oreos, french fries, and even some donuts. I’m trying to remember when I had a french fry last… I think it was over a week ago… I had 4… FOUR french fries. The kids had baked some for their chili and I snagged a couple that looked perfectly cooked, savored them, and then didn’t want any more. Say what?
Ok, and here’s something else I’m noticing. When I eat in front of the tv now, I’m not completely numbed out. I actually take small bites and taste the food. Not every time, but more often than ever before (which was never). When it stops tasting good, I’ve even… gasp… stopped eating. Now, of course that’s easier to do when you’re not eating while doing something else, but like I’ve stressed, I’m trying to keep from turning this into a list of rules to follow. I’m allowing myself to gradually make changes. When I feel strong enough to tolerate eating without distractions, I do. Like the other day, I had tofu scramble and then I was going to eat an orange. Well, I took a couple of bites of the orange and thought, “this really doesn’t taste that good.” I thought maybe it was the orange, but I didn’t throw it away just yet. I stopped eating and decided to wait till I was fairly certain I was hungry again. The orange tasted better later, which meant the reason it had stopped tasting good was because I was full before.
Then, last weekend the Husband and I went out for lunch. I ordered a cup of black bean soup with a baguette, an amazing half veggie sandwich, and mineral water w/ lemon. Oh, and a chocolate chip cookie, almost forgot about the cookie because… get this, I still haven’t eaten it! It’s in the fridge. Anyway, I decided to follow Josie Spinardi’s advice to eat what you like best, first. I thought about the cookie, but then thought, “I know that if I only eat the cookie I will be hungry and moody within an hour.” So, I turned to the soup, bread, and sandwich. I smelled them like the judges on MasterChef do. I imagined myself being a food connoisseur. I thought about Anton Ego from Ratatouille who will only swallow food he loves. The bread and soup smelled awesome, so I thought I would start there. I was tempted to avoid the bread for diet-mentality reasons, but ditched those thoughts immediately. I don’t like the really hard crust, so I broke it open and pulled out the soft middle (usually I would eat the whole thing anyway). I dipped this into the soup (my favorite way to eat it). Yum. I did this till the tiny inside was gone (like three bites). Took a sip of mineral water. I smelled the sandwich again and had a bite of it too. Yum. Then a spoonful of soup. Yum. Took a sip of mineral water. Yum. I liked all three. So I repeated the process. Bite, bite, sip. Then I paused because something had changed. It was subtle…. extremely subtle, but there was a shift. I couldn’t decide what it meant but I thought my body might be saying “all done”. I looked at my food. More than half of it left. How could I be done? I repeated again, but this time really focusing on the taste and texture, and then sat there… contemplating.
The “clean plate ranger” in me screamed “you can’t leave that food there!” The guilt monster yelled, “what about the cookie? The Husband got the cookie because you wanted it. Are you going to waste the money spent on this meal by not eating every bite?!” The diet monster insisted that I was, “only pausing because I was trying to ‘be good’ and lose weight.” I told them all to shut up a minute so I could listen to my body. I decided that I had eaten enough, not because some diet said I was out of points or calories or exchanges. I was no longer hungry, and I was perfectly satisfied. I was still a bit thirsty, so I had more mineral water. We packed up the remaining food and I had it later that afternoon when I got hungry again… except for the hard crust on the bread, the Husband ate that. I do still have the cookie though, which I had honestly forgotten about until now. How does a sugar junkie forget about a chocolate chip cookie? Yeah, it seems amazing to me too.
Now, I should note that I did end up overeating for dinner. Mainly because I ate dinner in front of the TV. Still even though I was stuffed, it wasn’t a binge, and I wasn’t angry at myself. I noted that I felt really uncomfortable, sick even, and then I let it go. Late that night, once the stuffed feelings had subsided, I thought I wanted some potato chips. I had five small ones. I tasted each one and they didn’t taste nearly as good as I hoped, so I stopped eating them. I decided I must be eating for reasons other than hunger (major breakthrough), because hunger makes food taste better, not worse. I realized I was tired and needed to sleep… I left the chips and ate nothing else.
This was totally abnormal for me. If I’m “off my diet”, I don’t stop eating chips (or anything) simply because I’m not hungry. I would have finished those chips, and then if the taste wasn’t satisfying, I would have hunted around in the kitchen for something else. This especially would have been an issue if I was feeling guilty over eating past fullness at dinner. I would have thought, “oh well, I’ve already blown it, so why not eat everything I won’t allow come morning.” If that thought crossed my mind (which I genuinely don’t remember), I pushed it aside and focused on truth, let go of guilt, and listened to my internal cues. No sense in entertaining “last supper eating” because I’m allowing myself to eat whatever I want. These are some significant changes for me. My relationship with food is definitely changing. Hooray!