Reframing the “Catch”

1162162406_ba47710bd3The other night over the phone, my mom told me how proud she was of my behavior this weekend — both she and my sister noticed how little (if at all) I talked about food, exercise, anything. I wasn’t, in their words, “obsessive” like I usually am. Coming from them, it meant the world to me.

My mom also acknowledged how she understood the challenges I faced — being surrounded by food 24/7 with family who love to eat as much as I do — and how she thought I handled it like a champ.

She said she didn’t know what I was doing or how I was doing it (not obsessing), but she could see a change in me, I seemed calmer, more resolute maybe?

I blushed a little over the phone, and told her that I of course didn’t just stop counting for the holiday … but that I just kept my thoughts to myself, journaled in private and counted in my head. It wasn’t actually so hard, come to think of it. “Information is a gift. Information is a gift.”

After talking to my mom, I chatted with a friend who was concerned about the embarassment and humiliation I felt about being caught in the act. She made a good point: she said I seem to tie shame to my chew-and-spit incidents, and brought up the fact that sometimes people take a bite out of something and don’t like it and (politely) spit it out; no harm, no foul.

Yet I stigmatize it, allow it to make me feel shamed. Me.

I mean, really, would I feel guilty if I bit into what I thought was a banana and found out it was a plantain and spit it out because I don’t like plantains? No! I’d probably feel bad for wasting food, but if a taste doesn’t appeal to me, what’s the harm in that?

I’ve put something on my plate before to be polite, taken a bite, not liked it and left the rest. Did I feel shameful then? No.

We also talked about how I insisted I felt I didn’t “need” the brownie … and she reminded me that sometimes people don’t “need” food; they simply sometimes eat just to eat, when they’re happy. Food is social, food is fun. It’s not the enemy.

Granted, it’s best to eat (from a nutritional standpoint) when we’re hungry and to make good choices, but sometimes it’s really ok to just “eat” and enjoy.

I’m not sure why I struggle with this so much. I think because I have drilled it into my head that if I’m not eating out of pure hunger, it’s emotional or mindless eating.

But sometimes emotional eating is pleasurable, and it’s not a bad thing( so long as it’s not done in excess). Like our anniversary dinner at the Melting Pot. Or a holiday. Or savoring dessert with girlfriends. All pleasurable food-related experiences.

Thanks to my friend, reframing these two perspectives helped me understand myself a little better. I hope to keep them in mind going forward.

How about you? Have you had any helpful reframing experiences recently?

7 thoughts on “Reframing the “Catch”

  1. How cool!!!

    I gained 3 lbs over thanksgiving… but rather than viewing it as something negative, and sobbing my eyes out like I normally do after a gain, I laughed, said “well, at least I enjoyed myself” and have been working hard to get these 3 lbs off!

  2. Sounds like you have a wonderfully wise and supportive mom! That’s a wonderful way to “reframe” your thinking, and not beat yourself up over it!

    I think that since becoming more independent and confident over these last few months, I’ve realized just how much the emotions and stresses of others affect MY emotions and anxiety. I’ve been better lately about seeing that certain things are NOT about me, that they belong to someone else, and it’s not for me to worry about.

  3. Wow, your mom is very wise and has such a healthy relationship with food it sounds.

    It’s important I think that you’re hearing this from your mom. She’s the one that raised you and nurtured the way you ate when young. it’s so important to remember that certain events ARE meant to be enjoyed! if no a whole brownie, then a half one!

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