“The inquisitive nature of curiosity implies openness to learning about ourselves and others and a willingness to explore our perceptions at a deeper level.”
I’m curious, do you judge yourself when you eat something you deem ‘bad’?
Do you eat it super fast, so you don’t catch yourself? So the part of you wanting (trying) to be ‘healthy’ doesn’t know? Like you’re sneaking behind your own back?
I know I’ve been there. I’d eat a cookie or add a little too much creamer to my coffee (½ a cup later….) and guzzle it down, so the healthy me wouldn’t find out. Like, “If I do this fast enough it doesn’t count, da.”
When that cookie or coffee is gone, and the judgment sets in.
I end up beating myself up, and the “wtf did I just do” or “why did I just do that” thoughts start, and I feel terrible. It’s just downhill from there. Everything I know I ‘shouldn’t’ eat is all I see and all that sounds good. My daily mantra turns into, “I already messed up today, might as well restart tomorrow.”
What if you approached these moments with curiosity instead of feeling bad or guilty?
Instead of judging yourself?
Usually when we try to change how, or what, we eat we bite off more than we can chew. This isn’t about eliminating those “bad” foods. That’s not doable. Let’s make it doable.
When we bite off more than we can chew, that’s actually where we start to make too many changes at once, and we end up under too much pressure. That extra pressure leads to more places to feel like we screwed up. It’s self-sabotage.
So let’s not take on too much at once and start by letting go of those judgments around what you put in your mouth and let’s look at it from a different perspective. Curiosity.
What is curiosity? It’s approaching life with an inquisitive interest.
What is judgment? It’s when you believe your opinion is truth. No ifs, ands or buts. Living in this frame closes us off from learning or understanding a situation.
Back to what I was saying; let’s let go of those judgments and look at what you’re putting in your mouth with curiosity.
Inevitably, eating something ‘bad’ will happen again, but instead of judgment, I want you to approach it with curiosity and think, “Huh, isn’t that interesting that I put too much creamer in my coffee! Isn’t that interesting I feel too full!”
Take it from there, “Hmm…isn’t that interesting…?”
We’re just noticing it without judgment.
See if you can embrace that and if you want to take it a step further go, “Huh I’m noticing that there is too much creamer/sugar in my coffee, and I’m drinking it anyway…let me be curious about that.” Not that that was a bad thing to do, but just notice “I still want it anyway.” This is starting to give you a little bit more information. You’re not going to interpret this at this point, but just be curious that it happens, and see if you can practice the ‘noticing without judgment.’
It’s the judgment that puts us further at war with ourselves and makes the compulsion stronger to self-destruct.
It’s like getting away with something behind your own back, but it’s you, so you didn’t get away with it. Or maybe you feel the guilt like, “I suck for putting all this creamer in my coffee, I deserve to be punished…” so you keep drinking it and piling on the guilt. But then you don’t want to feel that guilt; you want to numb it so then it turns into “I’m going to eat more so I can numb out that guilt so I can avoid feeling it and the shame.” But instead of feeling better you end up feeling worse.
Sound about right?
It’s a vicious cycle. That’s why rather than trying to stop yourself from eating the things that start this cycle, I want you to hold that frame of curiosity.
Curiosity slows everything down so that instead of eating behind your own back, you get to where you’re making a choice.
Like, “You know what? I’m noticing that I put too much creamer in this, I want to drink it anyway, I choose to drink this.”
How does that sound?
When you look at it this way, you’re not doing it behind your own back.
You’re not doing it as an attack.
You’re doing it from mindfulness and choice.
Like I mentioned above, when the body is needing, wanting to defend, it wants to hold onto everything we don’t want. Like those last few pounds you’re desperately trying to lose.
You see, metabolism is a survival mechanism. When you’re calm and chill, it works for you. But when you’re in a stress state, and you’re judging, it causes stress and ‘turmoil’ in the body. Digestion shuts down, cortisol levels increase, and losing those few pounds comes to a halt.
Don’t get me wrong, those foods that start this cycle have their rightful place.
This is not about creating a list of “good foods” and “bad foods.”
When we make these lists of good foods and bad foods, we start to identify with those terms – good and bad. So then we call ourselves “good” if we eat foods from the “good list” and “bad” when we eat foods from the “bad list.”
Ask yourself this, “when I eat _______ I feel__________. Is this in alignment with how I’d like to be feeling?”
And this is without judgment. It’s just, “Cool, okay I no longer want to be having that experience.” So if you were to replace _____ and ______, what would we put in its place?
For me, this would look like this:
“When I eat ice cream I feel bloated, sick to stomach and gross. This is not in alignment with how I’d like to be feeling. I no longer want to have that experience. I would rather replace bloated, sick and gross with light, airy, sexy and energized.”
My challenge for you is to work from the frame of shifting from judgment to curiosity so that you can stop being at war with yourself. Giving yourself this break will allow the door to open for your body to finally relax. It won’t need to hold onto that weight with a death grip any longer. The weight will naturally start to fall off when you stop being at war with your body.
So, notice that these yummy foods do have their rightful place. I’m not asking you to completely eliminate them from your life if you don’t want to. I won’t ever ask you to do that. Let’s honor that they hold their place so that the body doesn’t have to be like, “Oh, I’m never going to have that again!” Which will make them more like drugs. You may have to remind your body at times that “Yes, there is a right time and place for you, and you are delicious! Thank you for being so delicious!”
Right now you have choices.
You can choose sluggish and drained (if that’s how the food you eat makes you feel), or you can choose, alive, energetic and airy (or whatever floats your boat). Notice, and start to trust yourself, that both of those foods are acceptable choices. You’re not a bad person for choosing sluggish and drained; it’s just noticing, “What does my body need right now?” This will strengthen your intuition about that. And your intuition is a trust game. And intuitively, “I know what will be best for me right now, and I’m going to trust that.”
This is not overnight magic switch. Little by little, your body will start to relax and won’t need to grasp, or in desperation, or in a compulsion, chase those foods or feelings, those things that rob you of your energy.
Let’s talk about action steps.
I want you to notice which foods give you energy and which foods take away. Here’s the key – do this WITHOUT JUDGMENT! Only curiosity.
Notice that there is no judgment in curiosity. If you eat something that you know is an energy draining food, make a conscious choice to eat it, not scarf it down so you can fool yourself into thinking you didn’t actually do that.
Just notice… “Hmmm… isn’t it interesting that I am choosing to eat ________? What is the experience that I’m going for in making this choice?” Do it with the energizing foods as well, like, “Hmm, so interesting, right now I feel I want to choose this (power salad)! What is the experience I’m going for in making that choice?”
Now, I want to hear from you.
Answer this, “when I eat _______ I feel__________. Is this in alignment with how I’d like to be feeling?” If it’s not, if you were to replace _____ and ______, what would you put in its place?
Leave a comment below and let us know.
Thank you so much for reading and joining the conversation.
I’m truly grateful for your participation,
P.s. If you feel the same about ice cream, here’s a dairy-free option.