This month’s challenge is meant to work hand-in-hand with last month’s: Eat like a kid.
Here are the rules:
::If you are going to read labels on foods you want to buy/eat, you are only allowed to read the list of ingredients. No looking at the calories or grams of fat per serving.
::Absolutely NO WORRYING about calories or fat while you eat. Don’t even THINK about it. And don’t think about how many hours of cardio you will have to do to burn off what you’re currently eating.
::Eat whatever you want. Obviously, if you have dietary restrictions for health reasons, then I’m not suggesting that, say, diabetics should go on a sugar binge. But, no restricting what you can eat just because you’re worried about gaining weight. If you want an ice cream cone on a hot summer day, have one. No guilt.
::Eat with gusto. Eating is one of the greatest pleasures in life and it is meant to be enjoyed. Eat things you really like, with quality, flavorful ingredients. Pay attention to what you are eating. Take time to check in with your senses. Relish every decadent bite, whether it’s a garden salad or tira misu.
::Stop when you’re full.
I realize some of these are loaded issues. Eating what you want and stopping when you are full are pretty heavily charged actions for many of us. Believe me, I know. But I will address all of that in future posts coming this month.
But for now, all you have to do is enjoy the pleasure of eating and pay attention to what you are doing and how you feel while eating. Easier said than done, sometimes, but it’s a practice of mindfulness we all must return to again and again, even if we don’t have weight/body issues. When you get right down to it, it’s simply an act of being present and allowing ourselves to experience pleasure – something that is a huge part of radical self-acceptance.
Remember being a child and waiting all day to get that one bowl of ice cream for dessert. And enjoying every single bite. And licking the bowl. And being satisfied with that, not needing to check the fridge ten more times to see if there was something else to eat. It was an act of enjoyment. Fun. And there were no shoulds and shouldn’ts and worries and anxieties attached to the activity. The thought that we might not fit into our shorts the next day didn’t even cross our minds.
Until I can get back to this subject, check out what I wrote about my first love affair (minus my usual destructive behavioral patterns surrounding the act of eating) with food when I went to France a few years ago. And then try having a relationship with pizza:
And don’t forget to keep playing like a kid.