I allow myself to eat however I want on the weekends.
Sometimes, I'll go to brunch on Saturday and Sunday, for the fun of it and the endless champagne and social banter, of course. Then, I'll order Uber Eats from my favorite Thai or soul food restaurant in my neighborhood. Plus, I have all the sugary drinks my heart desires when I go out.
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This so-called "balance" comes with a price. When I'm eating like this on the weekends, I'm relishing in the delicious tastes I've been yearning for in the moment, but afterward, a deep sense of shame arrives, flooding my mind with defeating thoughts : Why would you eat that? Wait until you step on the scale in a few days and see that you've gained weight. You're going to feel sick afterward. You ate healthy this week for no reason, to throw it all away for this.
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These thoughts show up every time, without fail. It's like an ongoing battle with my mind. In an effort to stop food-shaming myself, I talked to Laurie Cousins, a mindfulness educator, mind-body practitioner, and teacher for the meditation app Evenflow. Her advice on how to stop food shaming has put my mind more at ease, and if this is something that you deal with, hopefully it will do the same for yours.
When it comes from a place of people being unconscious about their own ideas or behavior with food, they can try to control children's choices and eating from a place that is critical, rigid, and even punitive.
From a societal stance, it can be about the pressure from one's culture to fitting in and conforming to social norms. Also, consumerism and capitalism play a big part in food shaming by creating advertisements and bombarding the public with messages of 'perfectionism' that are unattainable and create a sense of being incomplete. When you come from a place of mindfulness, you can become the observer of your experience and choose how to respond to food shaming from yourself or others, instead of habitually reacting.https://bumtipamapyw.cf
Me, Myself and I
From this place of self-compassion, you can choose to not listen to the old thought patterns that are shaming, and instead focus on discovering how to support yourself like you would a close friend. You can ask yourself What do I need? What will make me feel the healthiest without pressure? I still believed that food would make me feel better, even though I had enormous evidence that it never had.
If Food Is Love, How Do I Love Myself?
I believed I had to do food a certain way, with very strict rules, in order to stay abstinent. I finally knew I really was insane. It was my thinking that kept taking me back to the food, over and over. But how could I possibly change my thinking with my thinking? But God can. Except that it never worked out. I finally understood about the actor in the Big Book of AA in Step Three, the one who keeps trying to be a director and get everyone to perform his way.
I was selfishly chasing after what I wanted all the time. What if abstinence was a gift from God? A gift I could take really good care of and return, with thanks, at the end of each day?
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I could practice trust. Eating alone may sound depressing, but it's actually the best way to dine. You don't have to keep up a conversation, you don't have to share, you have zero distractions, and you can focus on the most important thing: the food. That's why you came in the first place, right?
As much as I enjoy good company and a good meal, sometimes it's nice to be able to separate the two. You can relax and have some time to think to yourself. People watching really is the best part. And the conversations that surround you are entertainment enough. The first time I went to a restaurant by myself, I was having a terrible day. You'd think that eating alone would only make it worse but it was actually therapeutic.
I didn't want to talk to anyone and I wanted to just shut out the world while I ate my damn food.
I didn't text anyone back and I didn't scroll through Instagram. It was me, myself, and my heaping plate of spaghetti carbonara. Carbs really do solve any problem, but it was so great to enjoy my food without anyone else bothering me.
I left that restaurant feeling significantly better. Whether the spot is as casual as pizza or as fancy as a Michelin-star restaurant is unimportant. I'd argue that only when you're by yourself can you truly enjoy the slice or plate in front of you. Plus, you can be seated at the bar and don't have to wait as long. You've eaten at home solo plenty of times, I'm sure. So what's the difference?
The most awkward moment is when your waiter asks if you're waiting for anyone else, but usually they're the one who's more uncomfortable. It's all good once you get past that threshold.
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And there's no need to feel self-conscious. No one's judging you - except maybe that one person over there, but who cares about them?
This is a meal for one and nobody else is invited. So next time you find yourself craving good food without anyone to accompany you, just try to eat out alone.
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