A consistent characteristic of weight and eating difficulties is the frustration and empty promises "I'm never eating chocolate cake again", "From tomorrow onwards I'll be disciplined", and self-sabotage "No, you're not having a croissant" *five minutes later* "I might as well have it", and internal shouting, "you've no-one to blame but yourself", "how will I ever get in shape in time for that wedding".
The cycle of all-or-nothing eating, feeling stuffed to the gills, guilty, disappointed and ashamed, then eating some more, makes it difficult to step back and see the wood from the trees. For me the pressure and the panic of "I HAVE to lose weight", "this year it HAS to be different" but not knowing what to do different only drove me to seek refuge in the biscuit tin.
It's an exhausting cycle. But it can be a relief to take a step back from the angst, pressure and self-criticism to look at your habits and beliefs around eating with a sense of curiosity and awareness. Our eating habits can be so contradictory and deluded that they're almost funny. Here are some of mine and Heyday members:
"I didn't eat that"
• Eating doesn't count when standing over the sink or in front of the fridge. I should really pull up a chair to the sink.
• Eating doesn't count if it is off someone else' plate, or if I 'tidy' or trim around the edges of a cake (trim = eat).
• If I shared the bun or slice of cake with someone else, well, that was a healthy move.
• If I eat chocolate early in the morning, such as around breakfast time (yes, shame on me!), it doesn't really count, because I have a whole day ahead of me to burn that energy.
• I postpone life by eating. When I have a few tasks to do, such as writing this blog, my impulse is to march to the kitchen for that obligatory cup of tea and something with it. I eat to postpone the uncomfortable.
• When I'm preparing a snack for my daughter, I pick the edges of it because I want to have some too.
Why do you tell yourself that some eating doesn't count? Is it because you tell yourself you shouldn't be eating that, or you should feel guilty for eating it and so you convince yourself you are not really eating it?
This January I'm taking a step back to see the whole tree, to deliberately be more aware and conscious of my eating habits. I'm not going to fight to change them but I'll be curious about what it is like to prepare a sandwich for my daughter and hand it to her without insisting on having to have some too. Or maybe instead of standing over the sink, I'll pull up a chair and allow myself really eat without the denial of "I'm not really eating this". Consciously letting go instead of fighting with myself. So, what's your "I didn't eat that" habit?