The Headspace Diet Foodie Type 2: The Binger
Headspace foodie type: Binger
There are many of us out there. Doing a pre-summer official handshake with ourselves to ‘cut down on carbs after 6pm (for real this time)’. Signing a post-Christmas treaty to ‘from now on only eat when I’m hungry’. Writing up a mid-term contract to ‘actually never eat sugar again, like ever.’ Taking a tough stance on food to finally be as healthy, sprightly, skinny and awesome as we know we can be and not taking any more crap from the whining fat kid inside who wants to stuff her face with crisps, dips, chocolate and anything deep-fried. And for a while it works. We make our culinary decisions with the meticulous precision of an army general, we eat only sprouted greens and quinoa and baked fish and organic cucumber and spinach and more spinach and we feel like this is finally it, like the allure of carrot cake icing holds no more sway over us- this time we are it in to win it and its going to be green stuff on a plate for life.
Until we go to our cousin’s wedding. And there’s dessert. And we really can’t pass up dessert- I mean that would just be rude. Plus its warm chocolate cake on espresso mousse with hot chocolate sauce. So we throw in the towel (just for the night), pick up our spoon and take a bite. And we finish our dessert. And then we finish our neighbour’s dessert. And then the guy-we-just-met-sitting-across from-us’s dessert. And then his neighbour’s dessert. And we keep eating all the things that we really shouldn’t, can’t and wouldn’t eat for the rest of the night and possibly until the next day’s afternoon depending on how successful we had previously been in not eating all those things in the weeks before.
Binge-eating takes on many guises, can come in varying degrees of intensity and is an oft-discussed topic and in my case it has always come as a result of taking an unrealistic and unhealthy stance towards food and my self-image- an aggressive stance that does not allow for the enjoyment of food, rather, a restriction followed by a release neither of which I have ever been very present with.
So where does mindful eating come in and how has it changed my relationship with food? As is in all aspects in life, mindfulness creates the space to find a balance and not be constantly pulled around by emotions and cravings. The difference is with this balance in comparison to other diets is that its not a pre-determined, intellectualized ‘I will now have a balanced relationship with food’ kind of balance but its a spontaneous balance that arises out of being there, fully, with the food in front of me. Just as meditation is a lesson in learning that each breath is completely different from the last, so is mindful eating that each spoonful is a new adventure for the taste-buds.
This is by no means saying that I don’t ever get cravings for that second piece of chocolate whispering sweet nothings from the cupboard or that I dont sometimes lose my awareness and wake-up mid-burger not really knowing whats actually going on in my mouth but the mere knowledge that a slab of rocky road can be experienced Bite-by-bitesville rather than Pie-Hole Gorgetown has been pretty profound for me. Mindful eating has allowed me to see my eating habits for what they are, soften to them and not be so reactive when faced with situations which would have spun me off previously and with this has come a much more relaxed attitude to eating in general and a much more enjoyable experience of it all.