Flexible Eating, Flexible Life

My husband and I were driving through Virginia a few weeks ago, and we stopped for a coffee break along the way. The coffee shop we went to also had a list of their ice cream flavors, one of which was named “Just Ask.” So, we asked…and we found out that it was white chocolate ice cream with peanut butter and Oreos. We were sold.

We sat down and shared the bowl, enjoying each others’ company and some really, really delicious ice cream.

There was a time in my life when spontaneous ice cream was out of the question. In fact, ice cream at all was pretty much out of the question. But the thing is, I love ice cream. I love sharing ice cream with the people I love. I love the opportunity that going out with friends offers – a change of pace, something new, something fun.

Being able to be flexible with my eating allows me to live my life to the fullest. When I was strict about eating with rules about when, what, and how much I could eat, I had no room for flexibility when social opportunities or new experiences presented themselves. Putting myself in a box with excessive food rules ended up putting a cage around my whole life…one that I couldn’t escape until I chose to give up my desire for perfection…whatever that means.

Breaking the chains of my food rules meant daily making the choice to do something different from my usual. It meant going out for ice cream even though I’d already eaten a snack, proving to myself that eating both wouldn’t ruin my life. It meant going out to Panera with friends even though I felt guilty about eating out for breakfast. It meant adding butter to my toast even though I was afraid it would make me fat, putting cream in my coffee even though I had a rule about black coffee, and going a whole day without eating any vegetables.

Obviously eating extra snacks when I’m not hungry or avoiding vegetables isn’t the best way to honor my body. But I needed to do those things for a short time in order to learn how to trust food and trust myself.

What are some ways that food is putting you in a box? What are some ways that you can start branching out?

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