Be the change you wish to see in the world...

- Gandhi

Monday, October 14, 2013

Stop Beating Yourself Up

VeegMama portrait of Stephanie DreyerI love food.  Really love food.  I look forward to a good meal, and savor the experience of preparing fresh food.  Fortunately, I eat healthy, low fat foods, but I still struggle with portion size and wanting to eat seconds (and thirds sometimes!).  Although I know I eat healthy, I am very conscious of the food I put in my mouth and how much, almost to obsession.  I am trying to lose the last 7 pounds I can't seem to get off since my having my third child (he's know 4 1/2....) and I am always on a mission to shed them.  I go up and down on the scale, but always seem to plateau right around these 7 pounds, and it is a huge thorn in my side (or literally, a bulge in my belly).

Recently, I was preparing my usual plate of tacos (yay, Taco Tuesday), using lettuce leaves instead of the delicious, corn tortilla shells my dad makes (and everyone else at the table eats).  They smelled so good that I decided to "cheat" that night and eat my tacos in the shell instead of the lettuce leaf.  I enjoyed those tacos immensely, but during my chow down, I kept saying, "I shouldn't be eating these.  But, they are so good.  I shouldn't be eating these."  Finally, my oh so very wise father replied, "Why don't you just enjoy them?  You decided to eat them so just focus on how good they taste and enjoy yourself."  It took a day or so for that to settle in, but you know what?  He was right.

Why do I (we) do that?  Why do we torment ourselves and take away our pleasure in the midst of the experience?  Life is too short to get mad at oneself for eating corn tortillas.  Did I really do that to myself?!!  I have decided that I will no longer beat myself up when I want to eat something that isn't on my usual list of food choices, if I make a thoughtful, measured choice to eat it.  I will no longer berate myself for taking a little extra on my plate (we're talking an extra tablespoon of hummus here, people, not an ice cream sundae!).  That negative energy is just fueling a defeatist cycle of guilt and angst that is probably causing stagnant energy in my body that is working against my weight loss.

I think if I can appreciate my food experiences - all of them - with the thought that I am honoring myself with healthy, delicious foods, it is okay to let my body have what it wants when it wants.  I must learn to trust my body to know what it needs to stay healthy and fit.  Let me say that again: I must trust my body to know what it needs to stay healthy and fit.  Now, I must learn to listen.

As an attempt to listen better, I am expanding my mindful eating practice to include the following steps to allow for this trust and acceptance.

1. Evaluate/measure my desire for the food now and the pleasure it will bring me to eat it.
2. Commit to a choice, do it, and let go of further thought on the subject.
3. Savor the food or accept the decision not to eat it.
4. Thank myself for my choice (knowing that either way, it was the right choice for myself at that moment).

Can you relate?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Please comment below.