I feel like this past week has really encapsulated two opposite ends of the eating spectrum, if such a thing exists. I started off last week active and on with high hopes for my detox plans.
I ended the week bingeing on chocolate chips and finding little motivation to go running or do any other form of exercise.
Obviously, these two experiences are on such opposite ends of the spectrum that the only way to reconcile them in the future is by adhering to a happy medium.
I just need to figure out what that is.
I realize that I’m not happy at either end of the spectrum. Yes, I felt awesome doing the detox and I really started to see results (less bloating, more energy, a svelte physique), but it didn’t leave me any room for error. I don’t regret doing it, especially since I didn’t go into it with a restrictive mindset; I was very aware that it would only be a two week experience. But while I was eating healthy whole foods, I was shirking mindfulness. Eating a salad full of protein and healthy fats is great for you, but when you get used to eating it in front of the television, it becomes less healthy. Because your brain no longer focuses on the experience at hand, the quintessential eating, but the television, which satisfies the brain with immediate visual pleasure. There’s no thought involved. It requires only one sense.
Eating, however, requires all 5. Try to argue with me on this, but I have some support. Sight to see what you’re eating. Smell to, well, smell what you’re eating. Taste to… that one’s obvious. Sound to hear our mouths break down the foods. (That explanation sounds kind of gross.) Touch to facilitate what we’re eating. OK, not suggesting we go ahead and play with our food… but unless we all eat snout-first like pigs (is anyone else thinking of Randy in A Christmas Story right now?), we need our hands to move the food from the plates to our mouths. When you eat while watching TV, the eating experience– that essential moment of nourishing our bodies with (most of the time) home cooked food– becomes secondary. Food becomes less important, and that balanced relationship between food and our bodies becomes nonexistent. It’s no wonder we’ll mindlessly eat dessert even though our bodies may already be full from dinner.
And that’s how I wound up on the other end of the spectrum. I guess you could say the bag of chocolate chips is what got me there, since I told myself I bought them to make some sort of dessert but knew deep down that I just wanted to endlessly eat chocolate chips for the heck of it. And I did make things, like raw cookie dough (raw like the raw diet, not raw eggs) or chocolate banana soft serve. But I made these to satisfy only one sense, the taste. I guess since I ate these in front of the TV, I was really satisfying two– sight and taste. But I certainly wasn’t making these to satisfy all five senses. And I knew that. When I toyed with the idea of enjoying dessert somewhere other than the TV room, the idea of dessert became a lot less appetizing. When I thought of sitting down and mindfully eating my bowl of banana soft serve, healthy as it may be, I didn’t want it anymore. But yet I made it, and I plopped down on the couch and watched TV.
So now you have a better idea of my past week. And yeah, running didn’t happen the past few days. Yesterday, yes. Today, yes. Only because I realize that I need to make a change, and no change happens without a little extra effort. I’ll write about my frustration with motivation to exercise another time.
I’ve been asking myself why, for two consecutive nights in a row (and after two mornings of vowing “never again”) I turned to some unnecessary and unworthy caloric creation (chocolate chip creation, to be specific) just to satisfy some weird craving that had been plaguing my brain. I didn’t think I was using food to supplement any part of my life that had been lacking, recently. I still keep in touch with friends, I still enjoy myself outside, I have a great family that loves and supports me.
I think it was fear. I was self-sabotaging myself because I was afraid of change. Of personal change. I was afraid that, after how healthy I had been with the detox, I would finally start to leave all my food issues behind me and become a different– albeit healthier, and happier– version of myself. And I guess that scared me. While I have maintained a healthy diet and weight in the past, some hidden issues reared their ugly head and I found myself back where I started from. I think that I was afraid to move forward and put those demons behind me once and for all, because I would always worry that they would follow me. And how much easier to let them.
I think that’s why I kept pouring from that bag of chocolate chips. To be fair, that bag has not yet been depleted so I haven’t been doing any sort of disastrous bingeing. Or perhaps not even bingeing in the first place. And while I’m no psychiatrist, I think that fear is what caused me to keep heading into the kitchen, back to that chocolate chip bag, again and again. Fear of leaving behind my unhealthy relationship to food, fear that doing so would only invite failure in the future. Fear of living up to my full potential, fear of finally letting myself life life to its fullest, because deep down I would always have those demons, that potential failure lurking underneath.
But I’ve put a lot of those demons behind me. So all my fears are, pretty much, unbiased. I’ll always have an addiction to chocolate, but I won’t let it ruin my life. And any sort of effort I’m making to sabotage myself and my healthy eating is superficial. I’m just testing myself to see if I’ll overcome this challenge, and I let myself fail. I didn’t put up a fight.
But no more. I have so much to focus on in my life other than my past relationship with food. I have to much potential to live up to that I will not let myself get dragged down by these demons, imaginary or not. Nothing is easy, but success is worth it and feeling healthy and in control of my life and diet is ultimately more important than any unhealthy relationship with food I may have had in the past.
So here’s to the future, and a lifetime of happiness. Here’s to experiencing life in its fullest. Here’s to having a green smoothie and a cookie in the same day, and being okay with that. Here’s to overcoming our past and fulfilling our potential. Here’s to us!
I wish you all the very best in your own endeavors, and thank you endlessly for all of your support with mine!