I used to scoff at people who would say they were so busy they “forgot to eat.”
When I was in college, I was an art major and spent many, many hours in the art department building working on projects. I remember being there late at night or working the weekends away, and other students would lament that they hadn’t eaten all day because they were so focused they “forgot.”
How could someone forget to eat??
I never seemed to be able to stop thinking about food, as much as I wanted to. I was either considering when it was time to go eat or scrutinizing if I’d eaten too much or trying to watch portions so that I could lose weight.
One day several years later, I was at marketing conference and invited to a fancy restaurant to join a group of highly successful entrepreneurs. As I looked over the menu, I could see there was nothing less than $50 on the menu. Focusing more on what I was going to order than the people around me, I dropped out of the conversation. I became wrapped up in trying to decide what would be filling but not fattening, the best choice for my money, etc.
Across the table from me was a woman who was absolutely gorgeous. Not just beautiful in the traditional sense, but stunning in every part of her being: the way she carried herself, her laugh, her colorful, form-fitting dress, everything. I was captivated by how comfortable she seemed in her body, classy and poised yet bold.
As the waiter came and took our orders, this woman ordered several rich appetizers, a salad and a main course. I was mildly surprised, wondering where she was going to put all the food since she was very slim.
Throughout the meal, I noticed the woman took a bite here, a bite there… but mostly stayed completely involved in the conversations around her. She seemed completely engaged in the people she was talking with, and disinterested in her plate. As the waiter came and took plates away, the guy next to her commented that she hadn’t touched much.
I can still hear her voice in my head saying, “Yeah, I enjoy the presentation and savoring the best things on the menu, but it’s boring after a few bites.”
I had never thought about food that way before. Food could be boring? It was always something I was either looking forward to or trying not to obsess over… but never boring.
This woman clearly thought about food differently than I did. And, to be completely vein, I could see that clearly her thoughts were serving her figure and her level of enjoyment more than mine were.
Here I had devoted 30-40% of my attention at that dinner wrapped up in what I was ordering, how much it was, if it was too indulgent, etc. rather than being present with the amazing people around me. I was coming from a scarcity mindset both in my attitude towards money as well as food.
This woman clearly didn’t bat an eye at the prices, was quite happy to enjoy savoring the richest bites and was fully attentive to the people around her. She was operating from a place of authentic abundance on multiple levels, and she gave off that vibe. It was captivating to all those around her, including me.
Both the art students from college and this woman stuck out in my mind as I became seriously upset with my relationship with food.
I had grown up in a family that loved to eat; food was involved with socializing, rewarding, playing, relaxing. Forgetting to eat or being so extravagant would have been brushed off as “unhealthy” or “wasteful” – negative connotations.
Yet these people didn’t occur to me now to be unhealthy or wasteful. They simply had another approach. I started to see a whole world of beliefs or “invisible scripts” I had about food (and money, and scarcity). The more I started to look at how other people that I admired approached food, I learned there are reasons OTHER THAN THE FOOD to go to a nice restaurant. I also learned that there were many other ways to think about food, and none are “right” or “wrong.” They’re just different ways-and if the way I was approaching food wasn’t serving me any longer, than I needed to experiment with other ways.
(Likewise with the ways I approach money, or work, or sex… but that’s another rabbit hole too deep to get into here.)
I also realized that if you try to change your approach around the people who are comfortable with the way you have always been, it can be extremely difficult.
Most people aren’t comfortable with change-and they aren’t comfortable with YOU changing because it throws off their perception of you and challenges their own beliefs.
Which is why, If you politely decline a piece of cake at a birthday party, they’ll probably say, “Come on, it’s Susie’s birthday! You can at least have a small piece… “
So not only are you facing questioning your own beliefs, you’re also up against forces that don’t want you to change the way you are.This is why SO MANY people fail to create new habits or routines in their life, even with the best of intentions. It’s a very tough wall to climb.
If I had stayed with my old beliefs and patterns that were comfortable to those around me, I’d still have a binge eating disorder. I’d still be desperate and quietly dying inside, hating myself and losing motivation across all areas of my life.
Guess what? It’s NORMAL to grow, to feel dissatisfied with where things currently are and to yearn for more. Life is about growing, changing and evolving. You see it everywhere around you: in nature, childhood, education, investing, etc.
There’s nothing bad or “wrong” with you for wanting more, or for questioning your current approach to food (or any area of your life). While those around you may suggest that it’s better to stay as you are, I’m here to cheer for you WANTING MORE.
Not just more satisfaction with your relationship with food. More fun. More play. More peace. More wealth. More success.
How are you going to get MORE?
It starts by figuring out what’s keeping you where you’re at.
If you ask yourself why you haven’t already gotten to that “more” point, what’s your answer? What reasoning do you come up with? Keep in mind that your brain is going to rationalize in any way that it can as to why you can’t grow or change. Remember the animal brain? The part that is committed to your survival? That part doesn’t like change. It will fight it in any way that it can, because it’s the unknown where it cannot ensure your survival. So you’re going to have all sorts of excuses coming up when you try to change what you’re doing now.
But before you get too stuck in a battle of wills with yourself, trying to force a new approach, look for people that have achieved that “more” state that you would like for yourself. Who has a relationship with food that you admire? Who has created peace, wealth or success in a way that you would like to?
What’s different about their approach? See if you can guess what beliefs they have about themselves and these areas of their lives.
The more examples you can find, the better. Then experiment. Play with a new approach for a day. If it suits you, keep it for another day.
If it means going into the fanciest restaurant in your city and ordering the most indulgent items on the menu, taking a bite or two of each and then being finished with the meal… try it.
If it means investing in a new coat that’s three times more than what you “should” pay (but you know you’ll wear it for the next 6 years because you love it so much)… try it.
If it means taking a day off from work in the middle of the week to stay at home and watch your favorite movies all day because you need a break… try it.
Whatever you experiment with, the more uncomfortable it feels to do it-the better.
That’s a good indication that you’re on the path to challenging your deeply-rooted beliefs and transforming into the next phase of yourself.
The more, the better…