There’s one more piece of birthday cake left, still frozen, awaiting my next move. I enjoyed each and every slice I had last week—the moist chocolate cake and icing—microwave-defrosted to just the right temperature.
And the festive cupcakes I bought toward the end of the week? I think they ranked even higher. Cupcakes, you ask? More dessert? Yes, they were necessary. I had to buy some. I needed to photograph them, to possibly use on my soon-to-be-updated website. And, because I love these celebratory buttercream-frosted delights!
But I must be honest. I felt compelled to indulge in more baked goods this past week, as I knew what my fate would be by week’s end.
No, I wasn’t going to be dieting anytime soon. But the annual Passover holiday arrives Friday, the holiday where Jews recall their slavery in Egypt and are commanded to deny themselves a whole list of foods. That means a week without bread, flour, rice, corn, peas, legumes, pasta, cookies, and most baked goods, which are leavened. That means no meals out, and no pizza, no Thai food or Chinese or Indian cuisine—true suffering, in my opinion.
So I find myself anticipating my deprivation. I strategize to include favorite baked items, and to work in a pizza. I pick up a crusty loaf of bread, to enjoy these remaining days of freedom.
Yet I know this holiday lasts only 8 days. I know that I’ll have the freedom to enjoy these foods that give me pleasure, which I truly love.
And so the birthday cake lasted throughout this past week. And I shared the cupcakes with friends last night, rather than hoard them for myself.
But what if you didn’t trust that you can eat these foods anytime? What if you didn’t give yourself permission to enjoy what you really like to eat, the foods that satisfy you on so many levels? Do you think the cake would last the week? Would you have been able to eat a part of a cupcake, sharing portions with friends?
From my experience, the answer is no. If you don’t feel entitled to eat sweets, for instance (or bread, or grains or fill-in-the-blank) you’ll overeat them whenever you do get your hands on them and have a weak moment. You’ll eat them and feel bad about it—and then eat some more, perhaps believing you’ve already ruined in, so you may as well keep eating. You’ll eat more than you really need, because you don’t believe you’ll get another chance. And when you eat this way, you hardly enjoy the food. You barely taste it. It’s so not worth it.
Regardless of your religion, there’s no need to stay enslaved.
You deserve to eat. And you deserve to enjoy what you eat.
You deserve to eat enough, to be truly satisfied.
Grant yourself the freedom to choose foods you’ve denied yourself.
Grant yourself the right to eat them in plain view, not in the closet or the car.
Break the diet chains that bind you, and free your thoughts from the rigidity that enslaves you.
Only you can set yourself free. And if you celebrate this Passover holiday, remember--it's only 8 days!