Imagine that that I told you to “eat whatever you want.”
What do you imagine?
Are you sitting at a table surrounded by food? A box of deep dish pizza, a six-layer chocolate cake, chips with bowls of dip and guacamole?
Do you envision eating and eating and eating?
Do you envision eating until any reasonable person would be sick?
Even if this isn’t your exact fantasy, when most of us are faced with the thought of eating “whatever we want,” we envision frequent, large quantities of rich food.
And that’s why I can’t eat whatever I want, we tell ourselves. Because I would eat till I got sick and till I got fat.
But can I offer a reality check?
Why is “eating whatever you want” the same thing as “eating until you feel sick” ? Does it have to be?
I mean, yes, something that I “want” is a deep dish pizza with Italian sausage, sautéed peppers, and onions.
But something else that I “want” is the energy to take a gentle walk, do my work, and spend time with the people that I care about.
So I don’t really want to eat so much pizza that I can’t do the other things I want.
Is it possible, if you’ve always thought that you could never “eats whatever you want,” that you’ve just been defining “what you want” too narrowly?
If “eating whatever you want” means “eating only junk food, forever” — it probably wouldn’t make anyone feel great.
But if “eating whatever you want” means doing a nuanced calculation in the moment, balancing all of your complex needs — to satisfy your taste buds, your body, your soul, your emotions….isn’t this something that we all can do?
p.s. If you’re reading this and thinking, “I guess I might feel good and relatively healthy if I ate in this way, but it wouldn’t be good enough because I wouldn’t lose weight…then let’s talk about that elephant in the room.
p.p.s. If you'd like to work on figuring out how to actually do that in-the-moment calculation to figure out how you truly want, I'd love to invite you to join a Dessert Club.