After completing a detox, I often reflect on how this experience is so much more than about food. Instead of counting down the days, like I used to in the early days, I approach this process more as a time of a self-discovery and view my actions from a mindfulness perspective. Looking through this lens reveals something meaningful about my relationship with food and my attachments. It’s about really paying attention, and practicing loving kindness with myself when the need for attachment in relation to food can be strong.
When I started my last detox– in the midst of travel and holiday parties because it showed me something important. It showed me that I can ebb and flow through the process, knowing that it’s OK if something “off plan” ends up on my plate. This allows me to practice acceptance with the situation and not to beat myself up. All I need to do is carry on with a happy mind, and enjoy my little indulgence because I know that most of the time I’m making good choices to nourish my body and mind.
Traveling through airports when time is tight and healthy sources of food are scarce, I found many teachers surfacing in the form of Starbucks and Einstein Bagels and the reminder of living the “middle way” is where the sweet spot really is. In other words, not living to extremes where you deprive yourself of every enjoyment, or go over the deep end by feeding your body regularly with fast and processed foods.
If making good choices becomes part of your lifestyle, then you can have your cake and eat it too, trust me. I know this is true because my life is a living example of that. I was once an obese kid, and I tried every diet and had no clue about food. Years later I realized the secret. I discovered that deprivation is what kept me fat. It kept me in the prison where I thought I could never eat French fries again because I wasn’t a “skinny girl.” So take my advice and don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the plan. Enjoy a little treat at those holiday parties because you know you’ll get back to business at your next meal. This approach is what will truly keep you on track.
There’s no attachment when you genuinely take the middle way.
You can enjoy every bite of that soft, chewy everything bagel without holding on to the desire to keep that feeling. Enjoy and then let go. If you struggle with your attachments to food, then meditate about it. If you feel a strong desire coming on. Stop, and close your eyes for a few minutes first. You may discover that this intense feeling will begin to subside.
Try to eliminate the this is “good” or that is “bad” mentality. Abandon feeling guilty. It’s a bad mindset that serves you only anguish. The goal is to find confidence about our regular daily choices, and it’s up to us to trust ourselves.
During my 21 Days to Mindfulness Challenge, in this post, I share a meaningful William Blake poem that gives me such comfort and inspiration because it reminds me that all enjoyments are passing and that I can simply enjoy them, smile at them, and then watch them pass by. This short, four-line poem is the ultimate teaching on letting go of attachment.
On a detox, when all is stripped bare, something profound happens if you stop to take a look. You can see your attachments, or all those comforts “over there.” The ability to view them in an objective way arises, instead of in a distorted, denial kind of way. We may know certain foods and behaviors are hurting us, but we tell ourselves lies to justify eating them. I’ve come to the realization that I want to focus on foods that nourish and give me strength, not make me weak.
I will go over to the dark side on occasion, but I’ll come back to the light too. I’ll take the middle way approach and make good choices eighty percent of the time and cut myself a little slack on the remaining twenty. This detox has brought me back full circle and back to myself. It opened my eyes about the habits that I’ve formed and I’ve been able to reset my preferences so to speak– reboot my system and make a fresh new start.
I will continue to enjoy “Pasta Tuesdays” with my son and husband, who look forward to that each week. Food is meant to be enjoyed and experienced, and the sound of yummy noises coming from my son London, makes the entire experience even more delicious!