…read part 1 here…
A million foods sound delicious in a larger sense. Mozzarella sticks and cake and double cheeseburgers always seem lovely.
Culturally and socially, they’re thought to be comfort food, the kinds of things that we think we’d eat constantly if calories and fat and cholesterol were make believe. But what I came to realize, and maybe you will too, is that I don’t always want mozzarella sticks and cake and double cheeseburgers. Not like I thought I did, anyway.
In the grand scheme of things, I didn’t choose to vilify or even remove those things from my life and my diet. I chose to make them special and to honor them in a way I’d never done before.
Sure they’re delicious, but are they delicious
What am I craving in this very moment?
You may be surprised at what you find when you ask yourself this question.
Nights of drive through runs like the one I described in my last post were a rush because I was eating what I thought I wanted and what I didn’t question loving.
I was in my head, not my body.
When I stopped to wonder if I was even respectfully asking my body’s opinion on the matter of what to eat, I heard a different story.
The moral here isn’t that I quit bagels and fries and donuts cold turkey and lost 135lbs. The moral is that I stopped eating them daily. I stopped eating just to eat. I stopped frantically trying to fill myself for fullness’ sake.
I stopped eating purely out of routine and habit.
By the clock and the occasion.
I asked myself which of the foods I ate daily I really adored. And then even those foods, some staying the same, I began to respect. I wanted them to be special. I still don’t really know how to define special occasion, and yes, it was hard to move away from having those foods all the time. But they meant more. They tasted better.
To this day, since losing all the weight, I do not eat what I do not love. Of course there are occasions when I have no say in the matter of what I eat: holidays, dinner at friends’ homes, you know. But even then, there is a way to eat only as much of the meal as you like.
It means I don’t always eat the entirety of a plate’s serving.
It means I sometimes stop after a few bites of cake if it really doesn’t rock.
It means I probably eat things like boxed cookies and ordinary boxed cake mixes only occasionally, because truly, for me, they just don’t hold a candle to homemade.
I guess it’s a matter of feeling…gosh those are just so…ordinary. Not nearly worthwhile enough to me.
When I want a cookie, I find the nearest oven or the nearest neighbor who bakes. When I want cake, I drive to White’s Bakery in Massachusetts (a long way from Seattle, let me tell you) and get a gold layer cake. I opt for bakery, home-baked, or ‘good Lord this is special’ delights. Because Celeste pizza and *Oreo cookies just don’t scream out to me like they used to.
*We both know Oreos still do.
Here’s the thing: Though I’m making a good case for not eating all the zillion packaged, ordinary treats that line the shelves at grocery stores, I need to make clear that sometimes those are the treats I might crave. Just recently, nothing sounded better than Double Stuf Oreos, and being in tune with precisely my craving, I headed to the nearest market for a box. Sometimes I’m jonesing for a pack of brown sugar cinnamon Pop Tarts, so I’m at the nearest 7/11 in fifteen minutes flat.
The point is, find out what foods you really love. Realize that eating them all the time makes them less special. Respect the food and yourself enough to move them from everyday to maybe even every two days if that seems more manageable. Understand that for you, the foods you love might be Cheetos and Chips Ahoy. Go with that. Because you should only eat what you love. It will make mealtime more celebratory, more fun, more unique. Every dining experience will feel more authentic.
But whatever you do, just be present enough to ask yourself if those foods you’re about to enjoy are really, truly the ones you want at that exact time and place.
It will make a difference in not only what you eat, but how you feel about the food.
This is delicious, but is it delicious right now?