So, I signed up for a sort of spiritual blogging bootcamp, in which they send you a topic every day, so that you can write about it. And I got my topic this morning, and it’s now the middle of the afternoon, and I still have not written my blog. My topic is Food. Or, Spirituality and Food. Or, My Favorite Recipe.
So I’ve been working on this for some time now — in between actively staring at my computer screen I’ve been half-re-watching Game of Throne’s first season — and still, I got nothing.
Not because I don’t think about food, oh, no. Since I was 13, and developed my own eating disorder, I have thought about food. And not that I don’t think about it as a spiritual issue, oh, no. Since my early 20’s, it’s been clear to me that whatever I was doing, or not doing, with food, had spiritual implications. And not that I don’t have any favorite recipes, oh, no. Those I’ve been collecting all my life.
No, it’s that I feel I have nothing coherent to say.
From a lifetime of 1) either dieting or bingeing, and then 2) either actively *not* dieting, or bingeing, I have started just letting go. I eat what I want when I want it, and I don’t eat things if I don’t want them. And if there’s nothing around that I want, and I’m actually hungry, I eat a bit of something to tide me over. And whatever patterns I’ve got about what I eat when, I’ve been keeping them if I want, and breaking them if I want.
And this sounds simple but it’s profoundly not.
The process really got going when I realized that even when I’m actively *not* dieting — which I’ve been working on for some years, because I realized that dieting and bingeing are the same thing, only with about 10 seconds between them — I’ve still got rules. All sorts of rules, some articulated and some I wasn’t even aware of. When to eat what. What a portion is. What a proper breakfast looks like. How many vegetables to put on the plate. When to eat sweets. On, and on, and on, and on.
Well, more and more research is showing — at least this seems to be where we are now — that it’s actually dieting that screws up our relationships with food, the biggest and the quickest of all the factors. All those rules in between our brains and our hunger, our brains and our pleasure, our brains and our bodies.
So, where I’m at is that I’m working on living in the moment, where I am now. This is all I’ve got. I threw out every damn piece of clothing that I can’t actually wear right now, this minute — not some mythical next week or next month. I go to great lengths to make food I want, and then if I don’t want it, I don’t eat it. I do not necessarily finish everything on my plate, but if I want seconds, I go and get them.
It’s totally terrifying.
And it’s simple, oh, so simple. But it’s not easy.
I was reading some advice about eating according to one’s own true inner voice, and the advice was great! Really, it was. It was all about being mindful, and listening to your body, and honoring your desires and true self. And then doing what is right for you.
And I think that’s SUCH good advice. But decades of following rules, one set after another, or clever sets of rules disguised as non-rules but actually very ruly — well, that sorta messes up the intuition channels.
So I have no advice. I’ve got years of experience, but I have no advice. But I can say that what I’m doing feels saner to me than anything I’ve tried before. And I can say that I figure it will take some months, if not years, to really hear, at a deep level, what my relationship is to food. And which ones I want then.
Perhaps later I will share a recipe.