Throughout my journey, I’ve met some fabulous and inspiring women. I find more often than not, as any teacher would agree, I learn just as much from my students as they learn from me. We walk the same path together, and along the way, we find ourselves in very similar situations. Last year during the Christmas season I heard two distinct stories on the same treat: Turtles. Yes, those decadent chocolates filled with caramel, pecans and love. These sweet treats found their way into two of my Rebels lives, not for the same reason, but definitely for the right lessons.
The first Rebel, let’s call her Jane, seemed to constantly find herself in the same uncomfortable family situation. After every family dinner, her mother would bring out a decadent dessert and offer it to all those in attendance, except for Jane. She would take the time to ensure every other person had a plentiful helping, and Jane was left with a feeling of neglect. After one particular family dinner, where Turtles had been the sweet treat, Jane left feeling frustrated. She decided to stop on the way home and pick up a box of Turtles for herself. As Jane sat on her couch, staring at the box of Turtles, she resolved to eat two. The first Turtle was her act of defiance, a Turtle that seemed to say, ‘I do what I want, and I’ll eat what I want!”. The second Turtle was the treat she wanted to begin with. She ate that second Turtle for the enjoyment, and was satisfied after it was finished.
Had Jane eaten what she wanted in the first place, she would not have over-indulged later on. Jane ended up eating more of the dessert than she would have if she had insisted on eating a Turtle at dinner in front of her family. I encourage all of my Rebels not to be ashamed of what they eat, and to not be hesitant to eat in front of others. Everyone eats, and everyone enjoys the occasional treat.
The second Rebel, let’s call her Sarah, woke up one snowy morning and thought to herself, “I could really go for a Turtle.” But the time was 7:00am, and Turtles aren’t considered by many to be an acceptable breakfast food. So Sarah waited. She pushed aside her craving, and went about her day, but the little thought of Turtles kept her hungry. Throughout that wintery day, Sarah found herself hungrier than usual. She grazed on anything she could to satisfy her hunger, not realizing it was actually a desire for the Turtles. Finally, around 10:00pm she ate the Turtle. Guess what? She wasn’t hungry after that.
Sarah ended up eating more than she would normally throughout the day to make up for her craving. She wouldn’t allow herself the treat because she believed it wasn’t an acceptable time to eat it. We so often hold ourselves to guidelines about acceptable eating patterns. For this reason, I encourage all of my Rebels to loosen up the ideals that they have on acceptable eating habits. Every body has different needs, and every day comes with different wants. As Marie Antoinette would say, “Let them eat Turtles for breakfast!”
However, there is a difference between physical food cravings, and emotional food cravings. Emotional eating is often brought on by feelings of anxiety or stress, or problems within a relationship. When we eat emotionally, we often over indulge. This is because we are not physically hungry to begin with. It’s impossible to satisfy an emotion with food, no matter how hard we try. If you’re unsure of whether your craving is physical or emotional see if you’re satisfied with only a bit of what you’re craving. If after a couple mouthfuls you find yourself looking for more, then it might not really be what you want.
While you’re enjoying your treat, it’s always good to check in with yourself. Try asking:
- Am I still tasting this?
- Is this still satisfying?
- What am I feeling?
The full taste and excitement of a treat is usually in the first few bites. If you find your taste buds going numb, you might be eating for another reason all together. Try to recognize how your body is feeling while eating, and check where your thoughts are drifting to understand if your craving was physical or emotional.
While it’s important to be aware of how your mind and body feel it’s also important to allow yourself to indulge. I encourage each of my Rebels to let go of the shame of public eating, and to break the rules of those traditional eating habits. Especially during the holiday season, there will be plenty of temptation. Don’t ignore the treats, try them! When you do indulge, truly savour your treat. Allow yourself to enjoy it guilt free. There’s never been a better time to love yourself and treat yourself than during this season of giving.
Until next time,
Live Life. Love Food. Be Free.