Cookie Monster Doesn’t Live Here Any More…

On June 29, 2011

I never thought it was possible for me to live with snacks in the house.  Compulsive consumption would come over me and I’d need to complete any treat within 24 hours of coming into contact with it.  It could be anything, ice cream, a box of cookies, chocolate bar, baked goods (I have a sweet tooth but this same theory goes for you savory savages as well).

Nothing was safe in my house.  More than that, I felt like I was not safe with food around, I didn’t trust myself around it, i had no control, so I would try to avoid having any food, “good” or “bad” in the house at all.

Is this sounding familiar to anyone?  Yup, we all think we are the only one with this dark
food secret yet so many of us are suffering with this deprivation/compulsion issue.

For me, it very clearly started in my childhood.  I was a chubby kid, or, as my mom would say “she’s not fat, she’s just right”.  The reason she had to say that is because my super skinny sister loved to tell me I was fat all the time.  [Thanks for the complex by the way!].

My mom, being equally effortlessly thin, didn’t quite know what to do with my sweet tooth and the only sensible thing seemed to be to keep me away from sugar completely.

Makes sense, except for the fact that people ALWAYS want what they can’t have.  So, whenever I was in a situation where treats were accessible, I indulged. I indulged like there was no tomorrow. And since I clearly knew that I was not supposed to be indulging in said sweets what should have brought adulterated joy actually brought on shame.

I was eating what tasted good, and part of why it tasted so good is because I couldn’t have it.  Yet I ate to the point where I’d almost be sick, and made myself feel terrible about the whole thing.

Can you see how messed up this?!?!  One of life’s simple pleasures getting tainted by all the subsequent negative emotions.

I can look at it now and see it all so clearly yet it took 25 years of living this pattern to acknowledge it at all.  Anyone out there having an “ah-ha” moment about this one?!?

People do this ALL the time.  We go through this cycle of deprivation, indulgence and subsequent shame.  We never end up really enjoying what we’re lusting after because the action of indulgence is shrouded in guilt.

Ok, so now we see this pattern.  What do we do about it?

Isn’t it clear?  Embrace what you’ve been denying yourself.  Yes, really.  Be honest, out in the open and do or eat whatever it is that you are craving–whatever makes you happy!  Do it, and keep doing it until it doesn’t feel so scarce.  Enjoy it, embrace it, savor it, and appreciate it.

And then, resume your normal life.  People only tend to go overboard on what they think they can’t have.  It’s like a rubber band… you pull back, pull back, pull back, and then eventually you SNAP!  The harder you pull away from something the swifter the snap.

Now, I am fully resigned to living with sweets and treats all around me.  I keep chocolate in my desk drawer (one bar will usually last a month) cookies in my pantry (I’ll go through a small package every 3 months) and a have a perma-stocked fridge with everything you could imagine.  Honestly, my fridge looks like I’m feeding 5 growing boys.  I finally have all this food around me, I can eat it at any time and it completely takes away the magic.  I don’t NEED it, because I can always have it.

I never feel guilt because guilt is something you feel when you’ve done something bad and gotten away with it… if you yourself are eating something there is nothing to “get away from”.  You did it, you’re already busted.  Should have just reveled in the enjoyment!  See what I’m saying?

The moral of the story being that YOU can have control.  Take the power away from the food by taking away it’s “forbidden fruit” status.  Allow yourself to have the things that you love and when you have them, savor every moment instead of blacking out and inhaling the food.  Pretty soon, you won’t be a Cookie Monster either.

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