Tale of Two Parties

Recently someone came in explaining how he had gotten off track and eaten more than he intended at a party.  There is a food he avoids because it causes cravings. He had been to parties during the summer and easily avoided this food. But then “something happened” and he ended up having the food and eating much more than he planned and had to fight against cravings for a few days.

In wanting to help, I wondered what was different about that party. So I asked him if he wanted to be there. He said no. In fact, there were some things related to the people at the party that resulted in unpleasant thoughts and feelings for him. It all happened so fast, he didn’t have time to center himself before the unpleasant emotions turned into a desire for something pleasant, or at least relief from the unpleasant. And so he ended up “in the food” as we sometimes say.

When this happens to us, the last thing we need is to feel guilt and shame and to beat ourselves up. As soon as we can, whether it takes an hour, day or week we re-center ourselves in whatever way works for us. This can be talking to a confidante, journaling, breathing, meditating, praying or practicing some other form of mindfulness. Then we reflect on the events, thoughts and feelings leading up to eating something we didn’t mean to eat. Finally, we change anything that needs to change such as our thoughts and actions. In this way we respond, rather than react to the event. 

It’s helpful to keep the motto in mind: peace of mind protects from piece of cake.