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Old 10-10-2007, 04:08 PM   #11
MetaChick
Trying Intuitive Eating
 
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I spent more than 30 years chasing willpower and self-control over food. I lost hundreds of pounds doing countless diets, only have the whole thing eventually break down over and over again over some 'temptation'. I loved myself in times of strength and despised myself in times of weakness. The binges I've had would curl your hair.

People who do not struggle with weight or with food would never define their relationship with food as one of willpower or self-control. Never. For them, eating is a nearly effortless natural cycle that is almost exclusively driven by internal mechanisms and not by external rules. THAT is what I want now, and after practicing it for over 8 months I know that over time I can have it. It has been joyously liberating.

Fretting and obsessing over a candy dish is an awful, awful feeling and one that almost always ends badly, with a handful of far more than we need in a sweaty and guilty hand. Chocolate is a lovely treat, and one I enjoy almost every day. These days it's usually in the form of one square of a rich, dark 85% Cocoa bar (good for you!) but that has been an evolution that began with a large bag of every kind of chocolate treat in my desk that I allowed myself to have freely and without limit, as long as I was physically hungry. Imagine my utter surprise when I discovered that with no rules whatsoever what I chose to have was ONE. When I could assure myself that this would always be here, and I could have it whenever I wanted, one little chocolate treat eaten after my lunch was enough.

I have many stories like this, where I found I had to go through the food to make peace with it rather than tiptoe around it. One as recent as the other day, when I chose to have a cinnamon danish cookie after dinner. I felt that familiar tug of obsession and I wanted more of that cookie taste in my mouth. After a second of fear and despair, I calmly and peacefully told myself I absolutely could have more cookies - as many as I wanted. In that mental and emotional quiet I was able to listen to all my feedback systems and I realized I neither needed or wanted more. I've learned from experience to make a point of eating that type of cookie again after subsequent meals to completely eliminate the threatening feelings. It works every time, and I haven't even thought about them in a couple of days. Once again, they're just cookies and I might eat one and I might not. Might have a peach instead. Who knows, and it doesn't matter because your body CAN self regulate if you truly, joyously, fully trust it. If I have too many cookies this week, soon enough I'll be craving peaches.

If you do decide to have a candy from the dish, I would suggest you have it as part of your midday meal or other snack. Make it part of satisfying a true physical hunger and give it your full attention and truly try to enjoy it. Savour every second! And if you want, do that every day until the day comes that you could take it or leave it, and then leave it until the next time you truly want that little treat.

You can't control all the candy dishes in the world, and you can't directly control the longing you feel for foods that easily lead to weight gain if overeaten. You can control your actions, but that path can be fraught with unnecessary stress and unnecessary disappointment. Trusting yourself and your body can be a wonderfully empowering thing, and a great tool no matter what plan you are following.

Good luck with everything!
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