When I decided that I was going to commit to this “trusting my body and my hunger instead of dieting and being miserable” thing, I went out to Marie Calendar’s and bought a deep dish apple pie.
Then, since it was lunchtime and I was hungry, I cut myself a huge slice (not one of those wimpy slivers I used to eat in an effort to “not deprive myself,” or even one of those “normal” slices you might get at a birthday party. I’m talking about a big honkin’ slice). And I poured myself a big glass of milk.
And I consumed it all, enjoying every bite.
Over the course of the next few days, I ate apple pie and milk for several meals, sometimes for two of my three meals. When I finished that pie, I decided that I could do better. So I went to the local joint known for cheeseburgers and un-be-liev-able pies (Pie-N-Burger, for any Southern Californians out there), and bought myself another. When I finished that, I bought a third pie.
And so I ate three apple pies in two weeks. And then I moved to New York City, and discovered dark chocolate chip peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s and peanut butter chocolate cupcakes from Zaro’s. And I ate those, often for two meals a day, for months.
Doing that (and trust me, that process did not end after two months of peanut butter cups and cupcakes) taught me a lot of things. But one of the most powerful things it taught me is that I don’t have to be afraid of my cravings.
For a long time, I did not understand that my food issues were not about the food. They really, really, REALLY felt like they were about the food.
It wasn’t until I let myself have exactly what I wanted, for as long as I wanted (important caveat: you must eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full), that I could relax enough about the food to do the deeper work that would let me overcome my food issues, and my life issues.
So here is your assignment for this weekend (Or this week. Or this month):
1. Identify the food you love most in the world.
Deep dish pizza with sausage, sautéed onions and mushrooms? Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting? (If you live in NYC and need suggestions, let me know… ;) )
2. Buy it, in a large quantity.
I’m talkin’ about…buy a whole pizza. Buy a whole cake. Make a whole tray of brownies.
3. Set ground rules to make sure you feel safe
Decide that whenever you are hungry, you are allowed to have as much as you want, and that you will stop when you are full. Eat at a table, and put your food on a real plate. You might also want to keep a food journal – having to write something down always helps to keep us aware of when we’re eating in tune with our hunger and when we’re not.
(And hey, if you mess up, it’s not the end of the world. But it’s about trying to make sure this is an experience that will strengthen your trust in yourself, rather than giving yourself permission for an all-out-binge-fest).
Special caveat: Some of you may have people around you who give you a lot of negative energy around the way you eat or your body. That may make this assignment very challenging. I’m going to write a special post on that, soon. But for now, please just know that I am with you, rooting for you and supporting you. You have my love, and please, connect with me if you need support.
And please, please, please let me know how it goes!