Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stopping and spitting

I've been noodling over an idea, a thought, and possibly a mantra.

What if I didn't have to do anything I didn't want to do?  What if I got to have only the best?  What if the enjoyable times were what I focused on?

I'm not talking about EVERYTHING in life.  I mean, I don't really want to pay taxes, go the speed limit, or go to work.  I'm talking about the really enjoying the little things in life.

Bear with me...

My thoughts are these: for most of my life, I've been telling myself that I was fat.  I've also told myself that fat people shouldn't have candy, cookies, brownies, fat, sugar, too much fruit, too much cheese, too much peanut butter, too many carbs, and anything that actually TASTES good.

What happens with me is that when I feel like indulging myself or escaping my life, I imbibe in the above foods as a way to rebel.  I eat foods that are on a no-no list because I want to prove that I can.  Or maybe I do it because I want to feel loved and good enough in some way.

The thing that occurred to me last night, is that sometimes I'm eating things that don't even taste good.  Sometimes, I'm eating them just because I can.  Because they're on a forbidden list of things in my head that I've told myself countless times I can't be trusted around.  Because I want to feel like I'm worthy of eating whatever I want.

But what if I felt empowered to turn down the food rather than eating it because I'm scared that I'd never be offered it again?

I think THAT is what a lot of being more mindful around food is about.

This past Thanksgiving, I practiced mindful eating better than I had probably in my whole adult life.  I ate when I was hungry and I stopped eating when I was no longer hungry. 

I dropped a few pounds that week - I was on vacation, I was surrounded by foods I had no control over.  And I still lost weight.

One of the key memories I have of that week, was where my younger sister and I were in my dad's kitchen.  On the counter was a big box of brownies that someone in my dad's office had made him.  They looked absolutely decadent.  And they were something that I could have and probably wouldn't have felt too guilty about indulging in.

In the "old" days, I would've eaten one:
* because it was there
* because I don't usually have brownies in my house
* because I was on vacation
* because my sister was eating one too
* because being around my family completely stresses me out

I looked at it.  I *was* hungry.  It honestly looked good.

I popped it in my mouth; as I was chewing, I realized that it tasted more flour-y than fudge-y.  It wasn't horrible by any means.  In fact, it tasted like any other supermarket brownie that you could have.

And that's when I realized that I didn't want to waste my calories or fuel on something that didn't taste great.

So I stopped chewing and I spit it out.

To me, that was a huge win.

I felt empowered when I listened to my body and spit out something that didn't taste amazing.  I don't have to do anything I don't want to do - including eating food.  I can stop any process.

Today I'm going to challenge myself to (gasp!) actually TASTE my food while eating it.  And if I don't like it, I'll stop.

I've actually got a few more thoughts percolating around in my brain involving stopping things that are unhealthy and I'm looking forward to writing about them and getting your thoughts. 

I think there is a lot of power in stopping whatever I'm doing or about to do so that I can make the healthier choice for me.

We're all worth that at least, right?


Valerie said...

Love your concept of mindful eating. Since returning from Europe (which involves wandering and putting delicious things in my mouth, albeit not in quantities most Americans shovel things it.) I've been able to enjoy more healthy eating - ie less cheeses (my downfall.) The fact that we have something called "cheese food" is enough to make me spit. You really ARE the good stuff you put in your body!

Mrs. Happy Pants said...

Awww pants, you're the best. It's good to see someone on the same page. And to stop and spit out the brownie was most excellent of you.
I seem to have the most problems when I am being mindless with eating. Careful consideration does wonders for both of us, it looks like.
I'm still trying to find the happy medium between carelessness (overeating for me) and obsessive calorie counting and worry.
You're helping. :)

Maggie said...

This post really helped me recognize the rebellion that I used to have in my eating. Thanks for articulating it this way -- I got good insight from it.

Ty said...

Yes! This has definitely been a vague concept floating around in my mind since I started caring and paying attention to my eating. I do count calories and that makes the question even firmer in my mind:

"Do I really want to waste calories on THIS?"

And you know what I discovered? I don't even like Cheetos! I thought I loved them. But on my list of things I want to indulge in? They are REALLY far down on the list.

When you have to choose between one thing and another... it's kind of surprising, the answers you'll find.

I used to eat a whole bag of cheese puffs by myself. I thought it was because I was enjoying them so much. But now, because I don't just shovel things in mindlessly and am forced to make choices, I have realized they are just "meh" to me!

Lanie Painie said...

wow. that was really brave of you to do that. I can't imagine the guff I would take from people if I did that kind of thing. I recently found myself indulging on things that weren't quite indulgent and that is what finally started to restart my resolve.