There is a common expression in therapy circles “what you resist persists” and never have I found that more true than in the realm of food. This is why, for me, dieting is so dangerous and so ineffective. The constant restriction keeps us locked in a constant battle with the object of our obsession…food. We move between periods of complete indulgence where we obsessively feel bad about how out of control we are with food and periods of over-control where we are obsessed about what we can’t have and how self-righteous we feel for avoiding it.
Until I took the Deeper Cravings Path it never occurred to me that there was a third option; that it was possible to just simply allow myself unconditional permission with all foods along with a steadfast commitment to being present in and kind to my body. To me, this is the winning combination. When we truly embrace an ethic of self-compassion and of kindness to our body we can begin to open space for allowing whatever is…including the bites of whatever it is we are wanting, in a way that is honoring of ourselves and leaves us feeling truly empowered in our relationship with food.
The same holds true for the emotions and thoughts that we are trying to avoid, that we feel ashamed of, that we simply don’t like. Often we find ourselves in situations where we don’t want to be feeling what we are feeling and don’t want to be thinking what we are thinking…it doesn’t occur to us that the ‘not wanting’ is a huge source of the discomfort, that resisting of what already IS adds to our pain.
This is the beauty of mindfulness it helps us hone the skill of ALLOWING. Allowing is not the same as ‘approving of’, by becoming mindful of our anger, our shame, our sadness, our self-talk, our craving for chocolate, we bring a compassionate witness to it. We are acknowledging what is already there. This is what presence is all about; it is about witnessing what IS. When we can calm ourselves enough to be still and see what IS we can then bring our Wise Mind, our conscious awareness to it. This allows us to then make a conscious decision to act in a way that feels honoring of who we truly are and how we want to be in the world, be in our body.
…So if we can witness the desire for chocolate, in a space of acceptance, we can then discern consciously if it is a simple ‘mouth’ hunger looking for that particular taste or if chocolate is in fact a ‘red herring’ for something else, if instead, it is filling an emotional void, or maybe it is an attempt at emotional avoidance, or something else…
If we have told ourselves that a particular food is BAD, is for others, is not for us, then there is a good chance that the craving for that food or group of foods will persist or at the very least return after a good stretch of resisting (“what we resist persists”)… simply because there is a part of us that doesn’t agree, that doesn’t want to be exiled from something we love or from something that the rest of the world gets to enjoy.
When we give ourselves permission we find the intense craving subsides because the essential component of ‘can’t have’ is also removed. We instead can notice the urge, witness it, become curious about it and then decide… decide to honor truth…somedays the truth will be a few bites of chocolate and somedays it might be a more difficult kind of truth we need to chew on.
If you would like to learn how to have freedom in your relationship with food take the Deeper Cravings Path, join us for the 4 week series on Sunday nights starting Sept 8th or consider taking the individual coaching journey.
Wishing you peace, kindness and many delicious bites…