Do you ever think, “But I don’t want to ask if I’m hungry!” before you eat?
Being a “resistance junky” in my own mindful eating journey, I found the secret to overcoming this.
I realized that my resistance was tied to thinking, “If I pause to ask if I’m hungry, I might not get to eat the food that a part of me feels I must have right now!” For example, when I feel anxious (trigger), then I have a craving, then all of a sudden, eating a chocolate cake is the only thing I can think about. You know the feeling, right? It’s like a part of me is absolutely convinced, I MUST eat that chocolate cake!
I discovered that if my end goal was to not eat the chocolate cake, I’d resist asking “Am I hungry?” or doing anything else that remotely resembled an effort to get myself to not eat the cake. It makes sense after all:
If a part of me believes that cake is the only solution, then I won’t want to do anything that might get in the way of me and my cake.
So, here’s what I learned: What we resist persists, so as long as the end goal is to not eat, a part of me will resist anything that might prevent me from eating. When I give myself full permission to eat the cake, without guilt and without even a hint that first pausing to ask “Am I hungry?” might result in not eating the cake, my resistance falls away. In fact, I can even embrace that part of myself who believes eating chocolate cake is a good option in that moment. Without that resistance, I can put my focus on becoming curious about how I feel, knowing that after checking in with myself, I can still decide to eat chocolate cake if I want to. It helps me see that sometimes chocolate cake isn’t what I actually need or want after all.
So, the next time you feel resistance, check in to see if you have any thoughts that not eating is the right, best, or good choice. If you do, consider giving yourself full permission to eat, and shift your thoughts to something like, “I’m just going to pause for a moment to get curious about what I am experiencing in my body and what I am thinking and feeling before I eat.”
Notice that when resistance has nothing to push up against, it just falls away.
I invite you to give yourself grace through this process. It is a journey and it takes practice, just like any other new skill. If you wanted to perfect your three point shot in basketball, you’d expect to miss many times before you consistently made the shot. It’s the same with mindful eating! Just keep practicing; it’s in the practice that the lasting change and transformation occur.
(Editor’s Note: To learn more about your options when you feel like eating and you aren’t hungry, read chapter 3 of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat.)
Have you experienced resistance to asking if you’re hungry? Comment on this blog post to ask questions and share your experiences.