I wanted to share a story with you about one weekend a couple months back, because it really highlighted for me how much my attitude towards food has shifted and evolved in the past few years.
We were hanging out with some close family members and having some drinks before going out for dinner. I was drinking some red sparkling wine that seemed extra delicious, and didn’t even really pay attention to the fact I had downed a couple of glasses (given the size of the glasses, this ended up being most of the bottle of wine to myself, ha!)
This was highly unusual for me, because while I do enjoy the occasional alcoholic beverage, in recent years I don’t feel the need to indulge very often and it’s extremely rare for me to have more than one drink.
Already having had a couple (large) drinks, I happily switched to water for the rest of the evening and we went for dinner.
However, having more alcohol than usual led me to eat more quickly when we went for dinner at our favourite Mexican restaurant nearby, and along with the lowered inhibitions from 2 – 3 drinks I ate more food than usual. For the first time in ages, after dinner I was uncomfortably full and definitely not feeling too great physically.
I could have handled this by freaking out and ruining my own evening of fun with friends. Previously, my former self would have been so busy beating myself up and being wracked with guilt for over-indulging that I would have wasted the rest of the entire weekend feeling a need to deprive myself and being angry at my perceived lack of self control.
Instead, I drank a ton of water before bed, got a great night of sleep and went right back to my usual routine in the morning. Fit in some movement the next day, ate lots of veggies and protein as per my routine, and life went on as usual.
The best part? We had another family event to attend the following day and there was a big homemade cake to celebrate the occasion that I knew was one of my favourites. So I had a piece. No big deal. I used it as my #IntentionalEdible for the day since I hadn’t had another treat all day and I knew it would satisfy me and keep me from feeling deprived.
In some ways, I wanted to make sure I had the small piece of cake to prove a point to myself; that even after overindulging the previous evening, I have reached a point in my journey where I can still have a little treat the next day and be OK with it.
And you know what? It was totally and completely fine.
I’m not advocating for overindulging, because it simply doesn’t feel good physically, and is very hard on the body and digestive system. However, if you do run into one of those instances, remind yourself that everyone indulges sometimes and it’s OK. Then make your next choice a healthier one to get you back on track. Hydrate thoroughly, have some veggies and protein, fit in some movement and you’ll already be making healthier choice more consistently.
In the book The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal, there is research that has shown shaming yourself about over-indulging actually makes you MORE likely to overindulge further. Seems counter-intuitive, but showing yourself some kindness can go a long way, including healthier eating habits that will make you feel better inside and out.
By viewing these situations as oppourtunities rather than defeats, we can learn and grow from them and develop a healthier relationship with ourselves along with redefining our relationship with food.
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