I just had a big Aha come to me. This evening I decided that I wanted to do some writing. Being a lazy day at the Amadors, the family unanimously agreed that dinner would be catch as catch can, TV dinners, left overs, etc. After spending the day with the family, my plan was to fix a quick meal for myself, sit down to eat then run upstairs and begin my writing.
Yesterday when Cara and I were out, I purchased some reduced salt bacon. Since I’ve been on the path of Intuitive Eating for the past 3 months, I’ve noticed that I don’t like foods that I consider to be “too salty”. I thought I would try this bacon.
This morning, after I ate breakfast, Angel offered me a sample of the bacon which I bought last night. I really liked it. However, after two bites, I decided that it wasn’t cooked exactly the way that I wanted it and I wasn’t hungry enough to eat anymore. I did not want to waste it on my full stomach. I’d wait for another time to enjoy it my way, soggy and greasy. Yum!
This evening for dinner I asked myself what I wanted to eat. I decided on making a BLT, a Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich. This has always been a big no no whenever I was dieting. The closest I ever came to it was 2-4 slices of turkey bacon, 2 slices of lite bread, light mayo and tomato slices. Big yum! Or so I thought.
Honoring my hunger this evening, I decided to throw caution to the wind and make the bacon that I purchased and prepare it exactly the way that I wanted it, nice and soggy, I’d also toast two slices of regular bread, (I love Martin’s Potato Bread)
After I prepared my 4 slices of bacon, (my way), toasted the bread, spread it with light mayo and added a couple of slices of farm fresh red, ripe, juicy tomatoes. I had my sandwich the way I wanted it. I sliced more tomatoes and cut up some ripe avocado. With my mouth watering, I sat down to eat.
As I sat down alone at the table, I took my first bite of the sandwich. It was heavenly! I closed my eyes and began to eat slowly, really allowing my body to take in the full experience of the enjoyment and savor every bite. I’ve found that I can really tune into my satisfaction cues by closing my eyes and feel the food slowly rolling around in my mouth as I chew more slowly. I probably looked ridiculous but heck, I was alone. So I also began to hum with delight.
So there I was sitting at the table with my sandwich, humming and smiling like a loony with my eyes closed. It must have been some sight.
Then all of a sudden, from upstairs my husband, Angel and the two kids walk into the kitchen. They both sit down and Angel begins to prep dinner for him and the kids. Then he begins to clean out the refrigerator, making comments about all the foods that are rotting and the status of every questionable item in there. I felt my stomach sink and all of a sudden I got angry, really angry and I couldn’t even taste my sandwich. I put it down.
Suddenly it hit me. He was doing something that was irritating me. I realized that he had a tendency to do that every single time that I sat down to enjoy a meal alone. I noticed that whenever Angel comes and joins me when I’m eating alone, I often leave that meal frustrated and hungry. Finally today I got the connection and I realized what I needed to do.
So I blurted out, “Honey, could you do me a favor and stop doing that. I noticed that every single time I sit down to eat alone; you go into the refrigerator and begin a full status update on any food that is rotting. That irritates me. I don’t like it when you do that. Would you please stop doing that now? Can we discuss the refrigerator situation after I eat?
He looked shocked and began to say, “I don’t do that.” Then PT and Cara said, “Yes. You do, Dad.” At that point, we agreed to discuss this later and work out a fair compromise.
Why am I telling you this silly story?
When you begin to take control of your choices of food and honor your hunger by eating the foods that you love, instead of just filling up on empty calories, and drinking diet sodas, and eating foods to confuse your hunger cues, then eating becomes a privilege, a gift that you give yourself each time you eat. It’s no longer a source of stress and guilt. It’s up to you to recognize that and eliminate the sources of stress each time you notice them.
When you allow anyone to reduce the quality of your eating enjoyment by talking about stressful events, nagging you or by initiating any other type of exchange that creates stress and anxiety, then you are short changing your ability to fully enjoy your food. When you feel deprived because you can’t enjoy your food, you will tend to eat more, in search of feeding your hungry heart.
Most importantly, when you don’t take control of the sources of stress in your life, no matter how big or small, you allow other people to control you in a way that does not serve your relationship.
Remember that we teach people how to treat us, by what we are willing to accept. If you don’t express your dissatisfaction with these little irritations, then it is the same as allowing people to abuse you. Most likely, this is not their intention, just a reflection of what you have permitted in the past.
As long as this dynamic recurs, you will repeat a cycle of binging in response to dealing with upsets and frustrations in lieu of learning how to honor your feelings by expressing them honestly.
What ways can you think of to create an inviting atmosphere of enjoyment and relaxation when you eat?
What are some of the requests that you might like to make of others to make that happen?
Please share your comments and suggestions. I’d love to hear from you.
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