Note: This post was inspired by a conversation with some other licensed facilitators for the Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating program. You can more about the program here or at www.AmIHungry.com.
Have you ever had a dieter’s Last Supper? Those nights before you’re starting a diet, so you decide to treat yourself to your favorite foods, have a last indulgence before you aren’t allowed to have such treats again for who knows how long?
I can’t help wondering how many people approached New Year’s Eve this way, feeling like they needed to get it all in, meanwhile resolving to do better come the New Year. Not that it takes New Year’s to do this. Any day can have a Last Supper, though they might happen more often on a Sunday, or on the last day of the month, and certainly New Year’s Eve is a perfect opportunity.
I’ve had these sorts of meals before, and while they made sense at the time, in retrospect, I wonder what I was thinking. Even while eating, and more typically overeating, I couldn’t fully focus on the foods, thinking too much about how I wouldn’t be having them again for the foreseeable future (not unless I cheated, that is).
But imagine if you’ve had your last Last Supper. What if, instead of dieting, you tried something else, something that didn’t restrict you so much that you felt the need to cram in every morsel beforehand? What if, every day, you simply had the food that you loved, in balance, variety, and moderation, and ate it in a mindful, loving way?
That idea never occurred to me when I tried diets in the past, so I don’t know exactly when my last such meal was. I do know, though, when I decided that I’d had enough of that approach. It wasn’t a New Year’s resolution, or any particular day. I simply realized, in August 2000, that I never wanted to go on another diet again, and furthermore, I knew I didn’t have to go on a diet in order to achieve my goals. I changed how I ate, yes, but I didn’t do it in a restrictive way, and that made such a difference.
As we start the New Year, may you find your own path towards a healthy and happy relationship with food.