|Garrison confections: Impossible to resist! Central Falls, RI|
Last Sunday after a lovely afternoon out, I returned home to find an entire box of expensive artisan chocolates devoured. Well, almost the whole box. He left the apricot-filled piece after biting into it and deciding it wasn’t worth eating. Eleven of the twelve chocolates, gone.
Binging is totally out of character for him, although, like me, he’s always been fond of chocolate. He’s always been a grazer, eating when he’s hungry, and stopping when he’d had just enough. He always knew he could eat anytime.
I was angry and upset. He would never eat this way in front of me. I’m certain. No, he had to sneak those chocolates. Did he think I wouldn’t permit it? Did he even think about it at all?
After some time, my initial shock passed. And with some insights from my husband, it all made sense. I realized he must have been starving. He’s never been one to take his own food, to fend for himself. No, not him. So when our return Sunday was a bit delayed, I’m sure he was feeling it. Those chocolates were the easiest and quickest thing to grab.
Besides, if I was intending to give that box as a gift, I shouldn’t have tempted him by displaying it on the kitchen counter. I’m sure the trigger of smelling these freshly made delights was just too tempting.
He knew I was upset. But given the circumstances, I bet he’d do it all over again.
Yes, Mica, my dog ate an entire box of chocolates. And there’s a lot we humans can learn from this situation, particularly in this holiday season. With less structure to our days, and more exposure to challenging eating situations, consider these tips during the holiday season:
• Try to prevent your self from feeling too vulnerable. No matter what you know about healthy eating behaviors, they will be impossible to adhere to if you are starving. You’ll be looking to meet some basic needs, like raising a low blood sugar, and raising it quickly. You’ll eat fast and mindlessly. So prevention is key.
• Plug in some stress management strategies. Check out Nourishing the Soul for some guidance and great resources. Be sure to view and fantasize about being in the lovely photos!
• Cut yourself some slack. Don’t beat your self up for having a slip. But don’t ignore it either. Try to understand it, to learn from it, in order to prevent it from happening again. Did you go too long without eating? Was the visual stimulus, seeing the yummy stuff on the counter too suggestive and tempting? Yelling at my dog, after the fact, would have been meaningless for him. Yelling at your self after overeating is similarly useless. So have some compassion. And rethink your old patterns of reacting.
• Remember that normal people (and dogs) eat foods that look, smell and ultimately taste good, when available and visible on the kitchen counter. Yes, even if you weren’t depriving yourself. So take control of your environment. Take foods out of eye’s view. Wrap them up and store them in the freezer, to have when you are ready to eat them mindfully.
• Tomorrow is another day, even if it isn’t a Monday or January 1st. And if you say “I’ll wait until Monday to address my eating”, ask yourself if you are truly ready for change.