In my work garbage can are 5 wrappers for big Chocolate Covered Marshmallows. I love marshmallow – I really do. I love how it squishes in my teeth. I love the chewiness. I love it when it’s covered in chocolate. What I am wondering is why did it take 5 for me to feel like I had had enough?
I think I was only giving myself pseudo permission to have them at all. Afterall – it is just sugar and I know how it will make me feel. First it’s the flavor rush. The sweetness. The divine ecstasy as the flavor and sugar jolt hit my bloodstream at that same instance. Ahhh . . . sweet oblivion for the next 15 seconds. Yes I know what it’s like to have that sugary deliciousness. And I want it – now. But I shouldn’t! After the rush is the feeling like crap. It’s the sugar-low. It’s the shame.
I’m trying to be more mindful with my food. I said to myself I could have one – and I did. I ate it slowly and mindfully. But I believe the Farc (the mental voice that is like a Narc only with food) was talking to me. Interestingly the Farc talks in a low quiet voice. It’s not comforting soft voice, but more the type of voice women use when they are talking smack about a mutual acquaintance that is just out of listening distance. Anyway, the first thing that Farc whispers is “you shouldn’t” followed by “why don’t you look up the weight watchers points or the calories for each one?” I think about that — but I know if I do look up the calories or the points I will still eat it – perhaps the whole bag (so they will be gone,) I will just have the points values to go with them. Hmmm how many shame-points are in a big chocolate covered marshmallow?
So I remind myself that I am in charge and that if I want a marshmallow I will give myself permission. So I have one. I eat it fairly slowly and I taste it. I enjoy it. Then Farc says, in barely a whisper, “you know you will eat more because you just flipped the sugar-craving-switch.” Farc wasn’t being helpful like the voice of Wisdom, would have been, had she said the same thing. Farc was mocking me in that knowing way. Wisdom does win out for a bit and I wait awhile. But I want another one. Farc says “see you are weak and fat and always will be.” I have another one. I try eating it slowly – but less mindfully than the first one. I feel like I’m sneaking them, although I’m alone and there is no one to hide from. Farc gets louder and throws down the flag and shouts “what the hell . . .” I eat another, and another, and another. Finally on the 5th one I ask myself — is this the one that I’m going to really allow myself to have – completely and without judgement? I decide that yes — it is. I will eat that ONE. It’s mine and I can HAVE it. As I take the last bite I realize that it really is enough. Farc takes a shot at my worth with “you know everyone can see how fat you are.” I try to ignore it. Then I choose to ignore it. I think to myself “what can I learn from these marshmallows.” I start to question. Why was one not enough? I realize I gave myself “permission” for the first one. But I felt like I was sneaking, cheating, and rebelling. I said I could have it but I ate it with shame and not joy. I realize that even giving myself “permission” to eat puts my mind in a position that makes me feel like a whiny child and that my mother just gave in so I would stop whining. What if I really felt like I was choosing to eat it because I really just wanted it? Would one have been enough? Maybe not. But isn’t that okay?
Would I have eaten five? Maybe. Maybe not. Wisdom would have said “perhaps you should have some cheese or some milk with that so you don’t feel gross in a half hour.” (Narc would have piped up “you know that is only more calories.”) But Wisdom knows better. Wisdom doesn’t judge. Wisdom only cares about my total well-being.
There are so many messages about food and eating. Some internal and some external. Some of these voices are helpful and some are not. But what I learned today from the 5 wrappers in the garbage can is that I no longer need to give myself permission to eat something. I no longer need to forbid myself either. I AM THE CHOOSER. I choose to eat or I choose not to eat. I AM THE CHOOSER