Tuesday, September 25, 2012

5 Things I learned Eating Chocolate Cake

There have been times in my life when I've eaten an entire chocolate cake. Yes, that's a little obsessive, I agree. There have been other times where I've only eaten a few slices. Better, yes? There has never been a time when I could just have a few bites of cake. Never.  Here's what I've learned from my relationship with chocolate cake.

1. Some things are just not good for YOU.
I would often, in my relationship with cake, look around at others who were skinnier and healthier and tell myself that there is nothing wrong with chocolate cake. I would tell myself that if other's could eat it and look and feel great it must be okay for me too. Well, the truth of the matter is that flour+sugar makes me sick. It gives me painful heartburn which I would try to ignore, for hours. I eventually came to the place in my personal growth where I committed to acknowledging that there were certain activities that were just not good for ME. It had nothing to do with ANYONE ELSE. I often hear from alcoholics that they just want to be able to have a drink with friends, socially. The truth is for the alcoholic, alcohol is just not good for them. It makes them sick.

2. It's much more about psychology than ingredients.
The reality is that alcohol or sugar or even possibly wheat is not good for anyone. They all are irritating to the immune system. The truth is also that if we, those of us who over indulge in these substances, developed a healthier psychology around eating cake or drinking alcohol we wouldn't over indulge in them in the first place and we could probably get away with a little bit. The work is in developing that psychology and until that is full proof it's best to refer back to point No. 1.

3. Ignoring your signals of discomfort can be deadly.
I don't have to give you an physiology lesson for you to know that if I was regularly consuming significant quantities of cake that I was leaning into being very, physically, unhealthy. But this is part of a bigger conversation too, about ignoring warning signals not only from our bodies but also from our emotions and our psyche. When you practice ignoring anything it's a bit like giving yourself Leprosy; you start to numb those parts of yourself and that can be very, very dangerous emotionally and physically.

4. Delayed Gratification
I did not enjoy seeing myself in the mirror after eating cake. It felt awful. I felt I looked chunky and flabby and unattractive to myself and my husband. Really not a good feeling. It took me a while to get to the place where I realized that the pleasure in the moment of eating the cake needed to be delayed to the moment, rather, of standing looking at myself in the mirror and appreciating what I saw. And even more than that, delayed to the feeling of pride I could have in myself of knowing that I was finally taking care of myself and the feeling of pride I could feel knowing I was setting a good example for my children. These delayed feelings of gratification are also much more satisfactory and have longevity whereas the cake eating feelings were short lived and followed quickly with terrible bouts of guilt.

5. Self confidence comes from living with integrity
Women often complain to me about their lack of self confidence. Here's what I tell them. There's no miracle cure, there's no one else who can give it to you and there's no magic strategy. To build self confidence you have to live in integrity and do what you know you need to do when you know you need to do it. You have to step up to your life and have a relationship with you that you can rely on and trust. Giving up chocolate cake gave me one more reason to feel confidant.

So, what's your "chocolate cake"? I would love to help you figure it out and help you make the transition to a free, confidant you.

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