Have you ever felt a pull to got to a particular restaurant, mainly because you wanted to eat a dessert that restaurant serves? I have. All day long I’d think, “I really want that chocolate cake”.
Then, I wasn’t really honest with myself. I’d order and eat a whole meal, the whole time focused on that dessert that I’d get to have after the bread, and the salad, and the main course. Then, when the dishes were being cleared and the waiter would ask if anyone would like to see the dessert menu, I’d casually say, “Sure, I’ll take a look”, all the time knowing I was just a few minutes away from my coveted dessert….the one I had been thinking about all day long as a distraction from my life.
Here’s what I know today. If I have a hankering for a piece of chocolate cake, and acting on that desire is in line with healthy living for me today, then I should get a piece of chocolate cake. Because if I don’t address that desire, it’s a set up for a real binge. On the other hand, if I find myself thinking about chocolate cake because my underlying motivation is distraction from other things going on in my life; some stressor, some feeling or situation I’d rather avoid, then it’s in my best interest to get mindful, recognize without judgment why I’m focused on chocolate cake, and then figure out how to be more emotionally connected and effective in my life.
With either scenario…this question is for anyone who struggles with emotional eating or not. On those occasions when you REALLY want chocolate cake, what do you think would happen to the overall amount of food you consume at such a meal if you ordered and ate the chocolate cake first, since that’s what you really want? Then, after eating the cake, checked in to see if you want to order a whole meal?
Hmmm… honestly, I’ve not yet had the courage to do this in a restaurant when out with friends…I’m still a bit too self conscious. But I’m working toward it. What do you think it would be like to try that, just as an experiment?
Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in empowering people who are working on emotional and binge eating recovery. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Chair of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, email@example.com