by Teresa Miller
I had a moment of triumph sitting around a campfire. Chatting with a couple of friends and making s’mores, I silently asked myself whether I wanted another delicious sandwich of marshmallow, milk chocolate and graham cracker. My answer? No, I don’t think I really want “s’more,” heheh (The voice in my head has a really corny sense of humor). I’m done. And I left it at that.
Why would I consider this a triumph, you ask? Well, having spent the last five years fighting against my body in an attempt to control it, I have recently decided to take the scary step of letting my body speak for itself, and listening to it. Having spent time in self-righteous starvation mode and dealing with the shame of binges more recently, I know the misery and failure of trying to make your body’s appetites conform to your will.
The first thing I did was to allow myself to eat—even if it meant overeating, eating more when I knew I was satisfied already. It was time to let this happen without an overwhelming feeling of guilt and shame—I thought of it as a kind of “getting it out of my system.” If my body got used to the idea that it could have whatever it craved, maybe it would adapt by gradually letting me know it had had enough, and I could allow myself to stop when satisfied. I gave it a try, at least.
The fruits of this effort showed themselves that night around the campfire. Instead of the panicky voice that usually commentates in my head during an event like making s’mores (How much have I had? Do I want more? How much will I regret it?), I found myself leisurely roasting marshmallows and eating fairly unconcernedly while talking with my friends, really listening to and paying attention to our conversation rather than to the voice in my head. After a couple of s’mores, I asked myself the question: Should I eat another one? And, miraculously, when my stomach and sweet tooth replied that they were satisfied, I listened, and let the matter drop.
I realized that: relinquishing the (imaginary) control I have over my body allows it to make its wise voice heard. Oh, and that keeping my attention focused outside of myself—say, on the wonderful friends surrounding me—rather than allowing my obsessions to take over, is an incredibly freeing sensation. I feel I’ve finally taken the first (perhaps obvious) steps toward living guiltlessly. I wish you luck on your own journey!