While on vacation last month, I had an enormous array of delicious food to eat. I was so excited to eat local specialties — many of which were quite literally grown from the gardens of the restaurants where we were eating. And then of course, there was dessert. This particular dessert pictured was my favorite. I now know why profiteroles are a “thing”. Prior to that experience in Rome, I had encountered them as partially stale, mushy blobs — easy to pass on for something more enticing.
Yet, I noticed something very interesting while I was away. I was eating things I don’t normally choose — like I had a mediocre croissant that normally wouldn’t even hit my radar. It took me a couple days to realize that my mind was telling me that because I was on vacation, I could do whatever I wanted. Well, yes. But, didn’t I always get to do what I wanted?
Apparently not. This rush toward eating without boundaries took me a couple days to realize. I still had rules “back home”. I may have physically allowed myself to have no restrictions, but there were still hidden rules about what good eating looked like (Btw, check out this amazing blog about physical vs emotional restrictions). So, I overcompensated for a few days with a swing toward over-eating, eating things that I didn’t like, and abandoning all notions of restraints.
As if my mind was wanting to test this theory in a safe environment. We really can do whatever we want.
I found myself stuck there for a bit. Quite honestly scared that I may stay stuck here. My body didn’t enjoy this experiment — but it was important. It unearthed some more ick left over from years of dieting, eating restrictions, and rules about eating for pleasure. And it became a tell for me for something a layer deeper.
I loosened its grip by just acknowledging that there was still some internal struggle going on and in that moment, I didn’t know what to do about it. Not having a plan, in & of its own-self, is something that unnerves me. Embrace uncertainty & wade around in the waiting.
While in the waiting, I realized part of me was eating as a way to take in enough-ness. That I would miss out on some part of this incredible trip if I didn’t experience enough. There were so many life changing experiences and new pleasures that I wasn’t sure how to hold them all within me. So, I relied on the familiar feeling of physical fullness instead.
And with that, an answer emerged. Taking in the moment was enough. I was enough. I could whisper some variation of this mantra to myself when I felt caught in that moment.
Do you have rules about eating? Maybe ones that aren’t obvious on the outside. Maybe ones that are triggered by what you are experiencing in this moment? We do things that make excellent sense to a part of ourselves. And yet, we beat ourselves up about those things and try to punish ourselves into falling in line with willpower and discipline.
I have some more tools & thoughts on how to get started on this journey and I’d love to share them with you. Email me your biggest rule and let’s find out what’s under there.