Shit, I Didn't Want to Eat That
When was the last time you savoured a whole meal, or even a rich dessert? Being fully present with our food is a luxurious and sensual vision- tasting every bite, experiencing the pleasure, being fully awakened in the moment.
But food is rarely experienced like that as we rush here and there, eat things we don't love, compulsively bring bite after bite to our mouth, barely chewing, thinking about what we have to do next, or in some cases, what to eat next while we finish off the bottom of a pint of ice-cream, trying to out-run our guilt.
Your ability to stay connected and present with yourself and your thoughts while eating any food is your ultimate freedom.
But for many, as soon as that mental chatter or fear of eating a 'bad food', or eating outside the plan or eating something you know doesn't line up with the way you want to eat comes in, you're off- disconnected, anxious, unconscious, escaping from the pain that you've 'yet again eaten something that you told yourself you wouldn't'.
You self-criticize, then build your story of frustration and guilt, and tell yourself that you'll be good tomorrow, and if you skip a meal maybe it's possible to not gain any weight.
That shift that happens after a bite or two of a food that a deeper part of you feels is off-limits, unhealthy, or 'bad', that smallest switch from an enjoyable taste to a feeling that you're back there, eating the foods you told yourself you wouldn't, that perspective shift means everything. It's the difference between enjoying the food, tasting it, staying connected, or giving up and giving in as you anxiously rush to finish the food just so that you can be done with the moment and put it behind you. In those moments between pleasure and guilt, enjoyment and anxiety, connection and self-punishment, there is a choice to be made. What do you want to make this moment mean? When you have one bite, one cup, one handful or slice, what do you want to make it mean?
Shit. Crap. Why can't I control myself? Now I've screwed it all up. I told myself I wouldn't eat this again. Now I won't loose the weight. I'll never be able to stop doing this. Fuck it. I don't care. I'll eat it all so I don't have to think about it again. I feel gross. Why do I do this to myself? I have no self control.
Uh oh. I didn't really want to eat this again. But it is delicious. I know I love this taste. I'm not bad for eating this or wanting this. But I usually can't stop myself from eating the whole thing and I know that. I wonder how I actually feel about this food? A few bites are good, but then my mouth starts feeling weird. I like the idea of this food, but in reality I don't usually taste it after the first little bit. I don't have to eat the whole thing. It was my choice to have some, and that doesn't mean I did anything wrong, it doesn't mean I have to eat all of it. I do notice that this is a triggering food though. It may be hard to stop eating now, but I know I'll be uncomfortable if I keep eating. I wonder which discomfort would be in my best interest? It's easier to keep going, but that's not what I want. I'm in charge of what I do. I'm not even enjoying this. I must be susceptible to this food in a way I can't quite understand, and that's okay right now. It's just good to notice these things.
What you make it mean, is everything.
Know that when you start feeling negative emotion, it's common to go unconscious, check out and eat it all in an attempt to be done with the whole thing and move on (though you never really move on).
When you stay present you have to experience yourself, notice how you feel, and be responsible for your actions. Most people find taking responsibility harder.
But the question is, which is truly harder- taking responsibility and doing hard things, or not taking responsibility?
It's okay if you didn't want to eat that thing but you did anyway. That happens. Food is powerful.
But don't pretend you have no control, because you do. You absolutely do.