Weighing over 260 pounds I told my doctor I ate healthfully I just had trouble with portion sizes. She asked, “So you’re only having a small portion of dessert once or twice a week, right?”
WHAT!!?? She wants me to give up my nightly dessert? That’s the part of my day I look forward to the most. No! This can’t be happening! What would I do on weekends or evenings if I can’t create what I was craving? I always made sure I had the cookies, cake, ice cream or candy available so I wouldn’t run out during the week.
Now my doctor wants me to give this up!? NO WAY!
Relaying that story to a friend a couple of years later she asked me why I was so panicked at the thought of giving up dessert. I blurted out, “That’s my JOY!” That dessert was my reward for making it through the day. I started noticing that as soon as I had a couple of bites of cake, cookies or candy I would instantly relax and feel pleasure. If I had made the sweet treat it was also a sense of accomplishment and pride. If my husband enjoyed what I baked, I felt loved and appreciated. This nightly dessert was not just dessert. There was a whole behind the scenes story going on that I was unaware of.
After I discovered this it was still a couple more years before I had the chili cheese Frito epiphany and began exploring the pattern and working to change it.
Recognizing these patterns and choosing differently takes courage and LOTS of it. Because I seldom indulge in this pattern anymore, unsatisfying situations are less tolerable. I FEEL the dissatisfaction, fear, anger, frustration in the moment. Instead of reaching for a sweet to calm myself, I address the situation in some other way.
Over the last couple of years I’ve expressed myself more honestly with family, friends and coworkers. This has led to an uncomfortable distance in some relationships and more closeness in others. This is why I said it takes courage. Moving closer to living an authentic life means I put myself out there more and it shakes up situations that were fine with me stuffing my preferences, desires and feelings.
For me, this exploration, discovery and expression are part of living an authentic life. Living authentically means more than being true to me. It also means to be mindful of my thoughts and reactions, to discover the habit, thought and belief patterns that are not intrinsically my own. In this way I can consciously choose what I want to bring into my life or how I want to act. I can more clearly hear the small inner voice of my deepest heart’s longing.
So now I know when I have that craving for dessert, there’s something else I’m really craving and I better find out what that is.