When I started categorizing everything I ate
into grams, calories, fat, carbs etc.!
My husband and I were driving the other day and he said: “let’s stop and get some ice cream.”
My auto response was: “Okay, if you want some. But I’ll pass for myself.” He then asked me what I was thinking. At that moment I clarified what I was feeling against what I really thought and shared this with him. I explained how I completely ignored that eating ice cream with him would be absolutely delightful. Instead my auto thought stream had kicked in: I can’t have ice cream, it’s too much sugar and fat and I cannot add on another ounce to my waistline. (food was my enemy)
In that moment driving in the car, I realized I was still blocking the very sweetness of life which started when I was a teenager determined to be thin at all costs. But now, a zillion years later and much older, I was smart enough to recognize that those were just thoughts and thoughts can be changed.
At age 15, long before I knew that I created my reality, I decided I was broken and needed fixing. I made a decision that my image in the mirror should look like Twiggy. This began the journey of hanging my hat on a defined waistline and wearing skinny jeans! Anything else was failure.
So I feared food, exercised when I didn’t want to, sometimes starved myself, or loaded up on caffeine (whatever it took) to stay thin. I memorized how many calories were in everything – from a piece of bread, to a cherry, a pat of butter, a slice of cheese. Sugar was bad, vegetables were good only if they were raw without any dressing… Toast smeared with peanut butter became a celery stick with 1 tsp of almond butter. My thinking went from loving food and eating to: “if I touch that delicious cookie that I love, everything I’ve accomplished will go out the window!
The only acceptable image in my minds eye for myself and everyone else’s physical body was thinness which interpreted to “Better Than”…. although I was much kinder to others than I was to myself.
Eventually, when we are ready (and not until then), we make a new decision.
Personally, I rowed upstream and rowed upstream for years, resisting the numbers on the scale until I was plumb worn out. I had lost my mojo. Eventually I was ready to make another new decision and turn towards what I really wanted – which was to enjoy the sweetness of life.
Over the months, I began this change by being WILLING to feel what was underneath the chaos and the twisted thinking. Whew! I felt hopeless for a short time because I didn’t know where to go from here. But, stopping for 5 to 7 minutes at a time and sitting by myself letting the emotions roll, helped me to unwind, relax more and to ease up on myself.
I also noticed my body actually gained weight – the very thing I was always terrified of!
I let that happen. Once again I was willing to feel the criticism, the judgment and the anger at my body for betraying me. I let these feelings that I had pushed down and ignored surface and burn off, by feeling them. This meant I had to slow down even more and feel the sadness and grief, as I realized I had traded loving life and enjoying food, for approval.
However, the best part is that over the months the emotional intensity decreased, life got easier and I wasn’t overly concerned about squeezing into clothing.
This is where all the power is.
As I let myself off the hook more and more, I started to unravel the story that many of us tell ourselves around fat versus thin. I asked:
Why did I think that fat was wrong?
Who taught me that? When did it start?
The answers to these questions were not that important. The powerful part was realizing that its never been about calories, fat and food. It was just an idea “I’ve got to be thin at all costs” that I adopted a long time ago (when I gave up loving myself). It was just an idea that manifested in my physical reality based on my thoughts.
This “food issue” is a very popular topic in our culture whereby many of us just accept that there is a right way for the body to look and a wrong way. One perspective equals approval and the other body style equals shame.
The wonderful thing I began to discover is that thoughts evolve and change when I am ready, and not one minute before.
So, I truly believe its really all about retraining ourselves to love life and get off the diet and food seesaw. Nowadays I often think as I am eating: I accept the sweetness of life in whatever form it takes. I am taking in the sweetness of life with gratitude and love, knowing that it will bring peace and balance to my body and to my life journey. That is what I truly want.
I can eat ~ not because of the fiber, the calories, the carbs, the wheat or the barley – but simply because it tastes good and because I want to eat it.
What a Relief ! maryanne