When eating habits change, being social can be a challenge

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Day 4

I want to share my experience of being invited to social gatherings while on a 28 day cleanse.

The conversation started like this: “We want to invite you for a meal, but because you on a diet, we will invite you when you done.”

My jaw just dropped to the floor, I was speechless. I did not know what to say. In my head, I was thinking “Are you fucken kidding me? What?” But I walked away saying, "It's okay, don't worry about it." Trying to be polite and not show my disappointment, while inside I was livid, disappointed and felt hurt.

What follows next is the conversation in my head. Bare with me as it gets a bit intense with a lot of questions and moments of understanding and acceptance of myself and human behavior.

"Being on a diet does not mean I don’t want to socialise or be invited to social gatherings. Why am I using the dreaded word "diet"? I am on a cleanse to clear out the junk and give my body a kickstart. I truly believe that if I want to live a healthier lifestyle, I need to deal with the challenges that come with the choices I make.

I can’t put my life on hold because it might be hard. Who said it wouldn’t? With any change, there are levels of discomfort. Do you stop exercising just because the first week it hard and you ache all over? Or do you push through and keep going?

Socialising vs Health.

Why must eating healthy and being social be one or the other? Why not both? I choose to make changes to my lifestyle and eat healthier, starting with a 28-day cleanse. That does not mean I must lock myself in my house, avoid all people because they don’t eat what I eat. I know that temptations and cravings will be there and I am afraid that I might succumb to the temptation. It will be a test of my strength and commitment to myself if I will fold or endure.

Okay….done with the rant! Moving on…..

I was angry. . I felt excluded and rejected in some way. After I calmed down and had my little rant, I could think more clearly.

When we are uncomfortable; is our default setting avoidance? It made me question if we truly know how to be supportive or compassionate, of ourselves and others, even if a situation makes us uncomfortable?

This experience indicated to me that we have a deeper connection to our food than what we want to admit to ourselves. We are not simply eating because we are hungry and need nutrition. We use food to connect with one another in a social gathering. Eating is an emotional experience, it is not simply eating. But we rush from one thing to the next, always chasing the next thing on to-do-list, that we never really in the moment. We rush when we eat, like it is just something else we must do.

I asked myself the following questions, trying to make sense of it all.

  • Am I on auto pilot when I am eating?
  • Do I remember what my last meal was and tasted like? Did I enjoy it?
  • Am I overreacting to the situation?
  • Are they avoiding me because they feel uncomfortable?
  • Do they believe they are supportive?
  • Do I suddenly not “fit in” anymore?
  • Do I want to “fit in”?
  • Am I being labelled and judged? Do I judge them for excluding me, because I feel hurt?
  • Do I feel like I have something to prove?
  • Will I allow this event (because it will probably occur again) to continually upset me?
  • How do I want to react to a similar future event?
  • Do I choose to be understanding?
  • Is there a price to pay for living a healthier lifestyle and am I willing to pay it?
  • Should I communicate better and tell others how I want to be supported?
  • What can I learn from this?

Asking the question to myself, gave me the opportunity to explore and acknowledge to myself how I felt and why it upset me so much. I became aware of my own relationship with food and eating.

I recognised a repetitive story that has been on replay since childhood. Being different, the weird one, never understood - is difficult. I seeked approval and love from parents, teachers, friends and siblings. I wanted to be accepted for who I am. Instead I was made fun of, bullied and excluded. I wanted others approval and acceptance. When I didn’t get it - I felt rejected and hurt.

Will I continue to live this story? I had a choice to make, so I did.

  • I chose to be understanding towards others when the same situation arises.
  • That others reaction to my choice of food is not a reflection of me, but of how they feel, and how they can be supportive.
  • To not be so quick to judge others reactions.
  • To ask questions and listen more closely to what they are saying and seeing the situation for what it truly is.
  • When I react because I feel hurt it is my job to show compassion towards my own inner child and show her love and to let her know that she is safe and be the loving parent towards myself.
  • Communicate to others in an assertive and respectful way on how I want to be supported.
  • Practise being present while I eat my food and take the time to enjoy it.

As I sat down for dinner with my ‘green monster’ soup - . I felt the need for some comfort food, after the days experience. Some deep emotions was stirring deep inside me, I blankly stared into the space in front of me. Tears rolled down my cheeks. A tear dropped into my soup, bringing me back to the present moment. The soup tastes different, I thought. Must be the tears……I smiled at myself and slowly ate my spinach soup.

The story continues…….. Tune in next week for more

Would love your thoughts, please share