One night last summer I was CRAVING a big burger... a nice, juicy, gourmet burger that I didn't have to cook myself. I wanted to sit at a table and have someone bring it to me.
I've been in the habit of listening to what my body wants for a while now, so I didn't try to kill the craving or tell myself I "shouldn't" have a burger. I knew what I wanted so I headed straight to a restaurant that has one of the best burgers in the city.
A warm summer night meant that I could sit outside, enjoy my food, and watch people walk by. Perfect.
When I ordered my burger, I asked for a side of spinach instead of fries. The server said, "Yeah, I know... carbs". I said "Nope, I'm not worried about carbs. I just came here for the burger...bun and all".
Back in the day I used to joke that I had a second stomach...one that would kick in after I've adequately stuffed the first one.
Well, it turns out that I only have ONE stomach and it has a limited capacity.
I've also realized that it feels better when it's satisfied and not stuffed. When I exceed this capacity, I feel like crap...I can't move, I feel sick, and the enjoyment of the meal suddenly evaporates into thin air.
The fries would've taken me over that edge.
Here's the truth: I give myself permission to have fries any time I want to. There was no need to get all the 'bad' food in at one time and try to hop back on the weight loss wagon with kale and grilled chicken the next day.
That's not how I do things anymore.
At the end of the night, my body was happy...I walked home breathing in the warm summer air feeling completely satisfied. THAT is the experience I've always wanted to have with food, but never knew it was possible.
Now I have it.
Food. Pleasure. Knowing what you want and not feeling guilty about it. It's one of the most freeing things in the world.
It hasn't always been like this, though. And if you've spent years or even decades dieting and constantly pursuing weight loss, you may be wondering "How the hell is this even possible??".
First, I'll tell you: it's not easy and it takes time, patience and compassion to get here.
Like many people, I lived in my head. I was always thinking about what happened yesterday, or worried about what was going to happen tomorrow.
I was rarely IN the present; "right now" was a mystery. I spent very little time in connection with my body. This was especially true around food.
Years of dieting and countless weight loss attempts left me unable to listen to and trust the body that carried me through life. I couldn't hear my own voice or my body's own wisdom because I'd been listening to the voices of other people for so long.
It was exhausting and left me numb.
I knew that if I was going to drastically change my relationship with food and my body, I needed to do something different.
That's where mindfulness came in. The practice of being present...of being aware of the moment, IN the moment without judgment, was totally foreign to me.
At first, it was uncomfortable, sometimes downright painful to put my mind and body in the same place. But I stuck with it...first, practicing for a few seconds sitting in a chair (yes, seconds! I couldn't even do a full minute), then practicing during meals. I noticed how the food felt on my tongue, sliding down my throat, and landing in my stomach.
It was weird but then I became fascinated by the eating process and the actual sensations in my body. It was incredible. Finally, I was able to truly taste and savor food like I'd never done before.
It was bliss.
It may seem like I'm making this out to be some magic trick (although, it IS pretty magical) that you can master overnight. It's not. It's taken me YEARS to even become aware that this was a possibility. Now, I put it into practice every day.
Being present and connected with my body helped quiet the voices that told me that I shouldn't eat, can't have, or don't deserve to eat what I want.
Now, I let my body do all the talking...all I do is sit back, listen, and honor the requests.
I walked home on that warm summer night, completely satisfied and at peace with myself and my body.
If you'd like to create a new experience with food and your body, grab a copy of my Freedom From Food Rules 101 ebook right here and get started on the path to creating a better experience with food.