Originally published in City Girls
If you’re the type of person who has the slightest tendency towards dieting, a restaurant is a carnival for your inner critic.
Going out to eat used to be a source of endless torment for me. As I arrived at a restaurant I would hold the day’s calorie count in my head, calculating and recalculating based upon my changing memory of how many of my co-worker’s cookies I actually consumed and what exactly could be deducted for my quick workout. Holding all the numbers in my head was exhausting but necessary to make a “good” decision about what to order for dinner so I wouldn’t mess up my flawless day of eating.
As I sat down at the table with my two friends, after losing a battle of whether or not to eat the bread sticks the bar tender had placed out, I already felt a little weak, or so I told myself that’s what I was before the meal even unfolded.
When I opened up my menu, the voices in my head began their familiar rant.
“Gnocchi? Are you kidding me? Look at your thighs! They look like gnocchi, all squishy and lumpy, I thought the goal here was to lose weight, not gain it. You know that only thing you’re allowed to eat is salad.”
Salad it is.
My friends order roast chicken, and of course, gnocchi, respectively. I really hate them sometimes. They can eat all the dark meat and carbs in the world, and they don’t seem to gain a pound. I swear if they were to go on an all-fat binge, it would go straight to their boobs. Politely I ask to try their meals.
The first bite is amazing. The second is even better. “Ok just one more, then I’m done… but it’s free… and they probably won’t even notice that I’m eating their food anyway… does it really count if I’m eating off someone else’s plate?”
Standing up from the table makes me painfully aware of how uncomfortable I am. My waistband is digging into my side, my stomach feels hard and distended. Though I am aware of the physical impossibility, I feel like I have gained fifteen pounds. I must look like a heifer.
A frisky text from my boyfriend revealing he just arrived at my apartment makes my stomach churn, though it used to give me butterflies. A few cold exchanges and my aloofness allowed me to slip into the opposite side of the bed untouched. I became acutely aware that my preoccupation with food left me dissatisfied and lonely since I chose calorie counting and a bloated belly over fun conversation and an intimate encounter. I was missing something, and I knew that I would have to put my obsession aside in order to start living.
The process of setting down my pre-occupation with food was a long and hard but powerful healing process. That adventure brought me so much clarity that I now have a career helping women overcome their emotional eating patterns.
So how do you stop the patterns? It’s all about being mindful and not strict, indulgent and not stingey, and focusing on taste as opposed to calories.
Strange, you say? Hear me out. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my four hot and easy tips for how to slow down and slim down.
Simple actions to take your life back, know your worth & feel alive no matter how drained, overwhelmed and far gone you feel.