I had a vulnerable moment last week when I was on vacation at my family’s lake house. I collided with some old habits of mine, and although they knocked me on my ass, I learned a lot from the experience. Even though this was not my brightest moment, I like to keep things real with you guys in hopes to inspire and connect, so here goes…
It all started as a group decision to have breakfast at The Hot Biscuit Diner on Thursday morning; a diner that I have grown up visiting each summer to indulge in pancakes, waffles, eggs, and of course, buttery biscuits. It is always a delicious breakfast with a not so delicious ending – you know, belly ache, sluggishness and bloating from such a heavy and rich start to the day.
The 3 of us sat down in a cute little booth, and as I began looking over the menu, a small wave of anxiety crashed inside of me. Do I order how I usually do and suffer through the end result? Or do I try and choose something healthy from the menu and stick to what I preach? My inner dialogue begins…
“This is your time to indulge, to really TREAT yourself to a tasty and rebellious meal! You have always done so in the past so why stop now? Sure, you will get a stomach ache, but its nothing you haven’t experienced before. You love this place!”
“Amanda, do you really want the food on this menu? Do you even know where it came from? Do you want to feel sluggish and bloated for the next 4 hours? You are a health coach, so you really should be standing strong against these toxic, tortured and inflammatory foods! Come on!”
If you’re anything like me, this conversation (or something similar) happens quite often – the inner battle between “good and evil.” The part of you that wants to keep you happy and healthy versus the part of you that wants to keep you stuck where you are.
Over the past year, I have become much more aware of how my emotions and past experiences play out in the foods that I eat. I am beginning to see that my plate is a wonderful reflection of what I am going through that day, that week, or possibly a behavior that I have been practicing for a number of years. At times I notice that my plate is sad, frustrated, and packed with foods I wouldn’t normally eat, foods that are bringing more harm to my body then good. Other times my plate is vibrant and full of life, packed with foods that I know nourish my body and help me to feel energetic and amazing!
So after finally deciding on a big fluffy biscuit and fruit cup (everything in moderation) I was still feeling really uneasy with this whole experience. This was supposed to be a fun outing but I was turning it into a stressful one. I decided that I needed to step away and regroup. I walked outside and sat down under the warm sun to take some long, deep breaths, admire all the beauty around me and begin to release all that had just happened. I needed to forgive myself for becoming so stressed and move forward in the best way that I could.
When I got back inside, I was able to enjoy my fruit cup and take a few bites of the tasty biscuit without feeling shameful or guilty. I had indulged enough to satisfy my cravings but didn’t stuff myself to the point of feeling totally uncomfortable. I considered this a victory for myself because I had begun to change a habit that I had been practicing for many years.
Growing up, this diner had always meant freedom to me, and I got that freedom through eating whatever foods I wanted. It was a place where I could really “spoil” myself. But now, I think about how I want my freedom to look and feel, and it isn’t through eating processed foods that are just going to make me feel bad about myself. I want to spoil myself with things that add more vibrancy to my life; things like green smoothies, home-cooked meals, enjoying the outdoors and spending time with loved ones.
Once we begin to notice our conditioned habits, the habits that provide us with a false sense of a certain feeling (in this case, freedom), we can begin to shift them. By raising our awareness and feeling into our bodies, we can begin to make gentle changes that help support healthy transitions we are actually wanting for ourselves.
That morning at The Hot Biscuit Diner was a wonderful reminder that this work is never finished. I have been transitioning towards healthier eating for years now, but there are still many moments when I feel challenged, and some that I feel defeated. As humans, we are always evolving, and there will always be something that we need to work through, but that is the beauty of life. It is through tough times that we learn about ourselves and then move forward in the best way possible.
Sure, not every day will feel glamorous and easy, but there is always an opportunity for growth.
with love and vulnerability,