I was walking to the gym one day, listening to a podcast, as I often do. This particular day I was listening to one of my mentors, Susan Hyatt, describe the incredible impact that the question, “What would feel most like love right now?” had on her life. Although I’d heard her talk about this question many times before, this particular day, the weight of it hit me like a ton of Hagen Daaz.
Years ago the greatest pleasure I thought my life offered was when my ex husband agreed to do what I begged him to do several nights a week: drive to 7-11 to buy me food. Spoon already in hand, I waited with excited anticipation for my Chocolate Peanut Butter Hagen Daaz and soft Cheetos to arrive so that I could dash down to the basement to eat in front of reality TV until bedtime. (NB: I’m not blaming my ex for my own binge eating behaviours; we were both doing the best we knew how at the time).
During these episodes I sat on the couch like a numb nut, like an out of control robot on eating auto pilot. I remember the feeling of my bloated stomach and my body screaming to stop, that I’d eaten way past enough. Nonetheless, my mind overrode those alarm bells because, “I had a hard day, I deserve this. I went to the gym today, I deserve this. I helped out a colleague today, I deserve this. I read my Bible today, I deserve this. I’m scared because I want a divorce, I deserve this. I had a great day at work, I deserve this. It was so cold outside today, I deserve this. I took the garbage out today, I deserve this.”
At this time in my life, all paths, whether happy, sad, mad or glad, led to Hagen Daaz.
But there always came a time when the spoon hit the bottom of my personal pint. My food was gone. And I was left alone with overwhelming guilt, physical pain, an overweight body and yet another promise that tomorrow would be the day that I’d be better.
None of this felt like love.
I don’t suffer from binge eating any more. Thank God. I finally understand the weight of that question on that particular day. I ask myself often, “What would feel most like love?” 100% of the time the answer is not, “You should eat a pint of Hagen Daaz, Crystal.” Rather the answers sound something more like, “Sit down and write, Crystal. Go for a walk, Crystal. Just finish up that project, Crystal. Make a nourishing meal, Crystal. Make those calls you’ve been procrastinating, Crystal. Call your parents and ask for help with the kids, Crystal.”
For those of us with emotional and binge-eating tendencies, we may actually believe that food is love, that the most loving thing we can do for ourselves is to TREAT ourselves to some Hagen Daaz. I work with women all the time who want permission to take a “cheat day” on the weekend because they’ve been good, they’ve been looking forward to it and that this is what they deserve. In my personal experience, a cheat day often led to a one, even a two-day binge.
Yes. We do deserve to treat ourselves, to reward ourselves. I’m certainly not suggesting we never have any “joy” foods again. I’m suggesting that your reward is to actually choose something that is loving for yourself and that feels like love. Filling up on sugar, wine and carbs, going to bed feeling sick and bloated, waking up feeling like crap and hung over…does any of that feel like love?
Sweetheart, you deserve more pleasure in life than a pint of Hagen Diaz ice cream, so did my former self and so does my current self.
Nourish your body in a way that feels most like love. Need some ideas on how to do that? Check out these blogs for some new and insightful ways to reward yourself with incredible food. Beautiful, nourishing food, that energizes your mind and body for your Flourishing life…this is what you deserve. Nutty4Nutrition and Carrots and Cake are two that I love and both local to beat.
For the next 4 weeks, I will be writing about choosing love specifically as it relates to the many facets of a woman’s life. It’s the month for love. So, let’s be conscious. Let’s choose love. Let’s flourish.
Join me in asking yourself this question as often as you can. It is helpful in any and every situation, “What would feel most like love right now?”