This week’s post is a little on the long side, but it’s so important, I hope you make the time to read it through.
I’m not going to lie…when I thought about writing out my weekly “what I actually ate” part of this newsletter and my website this week, I really, really, really, REALLY didn’t want to.
I got a little anxious and a little afraid.
Because of course when I envisioned doing this for you, I wanted to be a leader – to show you what healthful and balanced looks like, to show how even food that some might label “bad” can be part of a sane relationship with food.
But what happened this week was that I had my head so buried in a computer that I neither planned nor shopped nor cooked, but instead relied on going out most of the week when I was exhausted at the end of the day.
Eating too much and eating an out of balance amount of food with no real nourishing value.
And so, a little bit of the “imposter syndrome” reared its head and I just didn’t want you to see what was going on over here. What if you no longer trust my guidance?
I definitely thought about leaving that part of this newsletter out this week.
But then I remembered a few things which I’ll explain, and I decided the best thing I could do was show up.
Show up for you. But, more importantly, to show up for me.
Because one of the most challenging yet most important things we can do in this life is simply to show up.
There are TWO WAYS that this often plays out in our partnership with food and eating and for that matter any other partnership we are in (with our work, with people, with new endeavors). I happen to be using food as a lens for all this writing, but really it applies to everything!
We don’t follow through on the promises we make to ourselves.
Sometimes I think the whole question of willpower could fall away if we reframed our intentions. As I mentioned in last week’s post about being willing, it is crucial to clarify your desires in a way that is meaningful and inspiring to you. The second part of this is to realize that your goal (if it has truly been formulated from the depths) is not external to you. You are essentially entering into a committed relationship with yourself, making a promise to yourself and for yourself, that you can be trusted to do what you say you will do FOR YOU. When you are clear that that is what’s going on, your willingness and power will be there, and no willpower will be needed.
You also need to clarify where the promises you make to yourself fall in priority to the other commitments you have. If you don’t, you will always lose out.
When we don’t honor this primary commitment, we hide.
This is what I felt like doing. I have done it before (many times, I realized) and I have seen my clients do it. It is perfectionism at work – not showing up unless we deem we are perfect (which if you have a perfectionist brain will never ever be allowed).
I recently worked with a voice coach. There was between-session work that I ended up rarely doing (see #1 above). I started out strong, but as the weeks wore on, I let off. And what I started to feel was a reluctance to keep our appointments. However, at the same time, I was working with a client or two with eating and the same was happening for them. They started not showing up for our calls. When I probed, it was because they felt like they weren’t doing a “good enough job” and thought I would be mad at them. Never the case – and a topic for a whole other post! Experiencing being on one end of this made me determined to show up for myself and my coach in the voice lessons. And even though, yes, I might have been more prepared, what I learned by showing up when I felt less than was more powerful than I could imagine.
Hiding can take the form of quitting, denial, excuse-making or self-induced guilt that robs of us any will to keep going.
So, what’s the remedy?
It’s simple – take stock of your real situation, without judgment, shame or blame, adjust accordingly, renew your promise to yourself, and keep going.
In my case the facts of my real situation were: I worked longer hours than I am accustomed to, I wanted to unwind after the end of the day, and I ate more and more unhealthily than I generally want to.
I also know that one week does not make or break a life-time of habit making. So, I recommit to working in such a way that I have energy and desire to cook for myself. And I recommit to the steps I take to not over-eat.
No drama, no denial, no quitting, just truth, honor, and perseverance.
They’ll win the day every time.
May you learn as much or more from my faltering as my flying!
Oh, and that beautiful voice teacher, Kaitlin June, just recorded her own song about showing up and how perfectionism gets in the way. The context is different — social justice work – but it speaks to adulthood and the willingness to do things that we don’t do perfectly. Give it a listen!
May your days be truly delicious and satisfying!
Hi! I’m Laura Jarrait and I work with women who adore good food but feel like it’s running or ruining their lives. They don’t want to diet or quit socializing around food but are tired of feeling less than their best and guilty, obsessive, or confused about what they eat. I help them keep the pleasure and drop the stressful thinking and extra weight, so they feel confident, light and free — all without ending their love affair with food!
I would be thrilled to help you do the same! Get your free Beautiful You guide that teaches YOU how to eat with pleasure and thrive at your natural weight or learn more about how I can support you in your eating, body love, and weight-loss goals.