• Something I ate last week: Stilton Stilton Stilton!

    "Cheese goes very well with wine. It's what they do in France." -- Mary Berry said that. She was actually talking about red wine, not cheap Cava, but I'm no more French than Mary Berry, so that's all right.

    Here's something I eat every day: A snack. I would be very sad without my snack.

    It is almost always some fancy crackers, and a very strong cheese like Stilton.

    And this would spoil my supper, except I only have one slice of cheese and two (2) crackers. And I think you can see here that my wineglass is basically a thimble. (On weekends I have more.)

    I tell you this so you know: I drink. I snack. And I would sell my soul for cheese. It's only a little bit. And it's very, very satisfying.

  • One moment of mindfulness is all you to need change forever.

    One moment of mindfulness is all you need to change the way you eat ... forever. 

    You are probably familiar with Geneen Roth. She saved my sanity in my 20s, so I will love her forever. And I’ve been lucky enough to be on more than one retreat with her, where one time she told this story: 

    A Buddhist abbot was sitting down to breakfast with his monks. They ate in silence. No chatting, no phones, no entertainment.

    The abbot also ate in silence, except to snort or harrumph … in response to something he read. In his NEWSPAPER.

    The monks watched him, irritated. Finally, the resentment got the better of one of them, who burst out, “Master, you always say ‘When you eat, eat. And when you read, read.’ But here you are at breakfast with a newspaper!”

    So the abbot lowered the newspaper, looked at the monk, and said, in a mild way: ‘It’s true. When you eat, eat. And when you read, read.

    "But when you eat and read, eat and read.”

    And then I think Geneen probably reiterated, But listen, when you eat, just eat.Or something like that. Because she’s pretty committed to mindful eating, and mindfulness altogether.

    And that’s where we part ways. Because you don't actually need to be constantly mindful while eating in order to stop bingeing or overeating.

    (I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to be. Any meal could be your last meal! Might as well be present for it.)

    But to go straight from compulsive eating to mindful eating can be too fancy of a move for a lot of women. It’s hard to do in one step.

    So I suggest something even simpler: Decide what you’re going to eat before you eat, and don’t eat more than that. Be mindful if you want to. Read the newspaper if you prefer that. 

    One moment of mindfulness is all you need to change the way you eat forever.

  • Something I ate last week: Rasika's Date Toffee Pudding

    What I had for lunch.

    "Of course you can have just one!" -- Nine out of 10 advertising copywriters (privately)

    Here's something I made and ate this week for my cookbook club: Date and Toffee Pudding from the Rasika cookbook. Aka sticky toffee pudding, it is one of my favorites and guess what? NOT A HEALTH FOOD. 

    The directions read "Trim the mounded pudding tops; reserve the trimmings for a snack." Good idea, Mr Sunderam! I will do that.

    And I tell you this in case you feel that certain foods are "triggers" and you must avoid them forever and ever, The End. If ever there was such a trigger for me, it would be sticky toffee pudding. But I can eat one now and be done. And not have another for a long, long time.

    And that was not always true. 

    We all have foods that aren't worth messing with, I'll give you that. But you might find more freedom in letting yourself make that choice never to have something - while knowing that it is a choice.

  • 3 Ways to Handle Difficult Conversations for Overeaters

    Let's get you off that wheel

    A client recently had this common problem: She was expecting a difficult conversation with a difficult person. Anticipating the conversation, and the person’s behavior, was making her anxious.

    And anxiety - surprise! - was causing this client to eat out of control.

    This is a familiar cycle for all of us. It looks like this: 

    Unpleasant event (present or future) -> anxiety -> eating -> temporary relief -> painful physical effects -> shame / anxiety -> repeat, etc., repeat.

    To simplify even further, we could say there are basically three parts to this cycle, and thus three options for interrupting it. There are events, there are feelings, and there actions we take. Which result in more events, more feelings, and more actions. 

    (Some people call this cycle “karma.” I’ve been around that wheel myself perhaps 9,237 times. Ugh.)

    1. You can attempt to control the conversation (event) to control the anxiety (feeling) to control the overeating (behavior). This strategy has a success rate of about 0%, I would guess. Life is a series of uncontrollable events - many of them undesired.

    2. You can allow uncontrollable events - that’s called participating in shared reality, and it’s a smart approach. You can then attempt to control the feelings that follow. This too is kind of a losing proposition. Feelings can be ignored, squished, distorted, indulged, amplified, transmuted or simply experienced as they are - but they cannot really be controlled, because they can’t be prevented or extinguished.

    3. Or, you can take control of your eating. This is a solid strategy with a great chance of success. Events can’t be controlled. Feelings, contrary to belief, can’t be controlled. The real locus of control is our behavior. 

    You could have the worst conversation in the world. A cop could come to your door and tell you your kid was in an accident. Your husband could tell you over morning coffee that he’s moving to Australia - alone. Your landlady could call and say she’s sold your apartment and you need to be out in two weeks.

    Anything can happen, and you can still decide that donuts will not be your response to catastrophe. How do you do that? How do you simply change your behavior?

    That’s what we do here. We replace chaotic eating with a flexible-but-structured approachWe take control of our eating by dismantling the binge habit.

    What happens next is that we find better ways to work with unpleasant events and tricky emotions. In the absence of chaotic eating, better options appear as if by magic.

    Titelprent van het pamflet: Iamertiens Oft Aventuersche berouw Clacht gedaen aen den Ouwe trouwe Geus, 1619, anonymous, 1619, Rijksmuseum. Used with permission.

  • Something I ate last week: Supermoon Bakehouse

    What I Had for Lunch 

    "80% of primate neurology is devoted to checking out what the rest of the community had for lunch. It's how we're wired." --Dian Fossey I'm guessing

    You know how when social media was new, people used to say "I don't wanna know what you had for lunch"? I could never understand that. What are you, not a primate? I always want to know what you had for lunch. 

    ​On that note, here's something I ate last week, at Supermoon Bakehouse on the Lower East Side:

    And I tell you this so you know that

    1. I'm not some perfect clean-eating diet guru ladyperson (I hate the idea of "clean" eating; it's basically diet culture) and

    2. there is delight and deliciousness on the other side of an eating disorder and

    3. you can eat this shit without being overweight and

    4. you can eat this kind of thing for breakfast (or two of these things, which is what Iactually did) and still have salad for lunch because you feel like salad, not because it's payback time.

Stop bingeing and overeating. Immediately.

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