There have been more large bowls of candy passed around my company this week than ever before. I even won a large bowl filled with full-size candy bars at a conference (I couldn't win the laptop or the TV. Nope, my ticket is pulled last for the Candy Bowl Centerpiece!)! The first few days I completely abstained. Didn't touch a single wrapper. On Wednesday I enjoyed one piece of candy - A Peanut Butter Snicker's Square. Mmmmmmm! Yesterday when I left my office, I was embarrassed by the number of wrappers in my garbage can. YIKES! And I didn't contain my candy feast to just my desk so I know there were more wrappers with my fingerprints scattered in garbage cans throughout our Center.
As I was thinking about it last night, I had an AH-HA Moment. What had made the difference? Purposeful eating.
Those first few days when I abstained from even touching the candy, I was very focused on it. Most of my time was spent hoping the bowl wouldn't be passed around the Conference Table again. I was so worried about eating too much. I even re-routed myself through the office so that I didn't have to pass those who I knew had candy bowls on their desks and would offer me a piece if I popped in to say hi. I was very uncomfortable.
On Wednesday, I took a cut-up apple with me to a meeting. When the candy bowl was passed around the first time, I took a piece and set it on the table. During the meeting I munched on that sweet apple and left that candy bar sit. After the meeting, I stole a few seconds to myself in a quiet office, stood looking out the window and slowly ate that Peanut Butter Snicker's Square in four bites. The peanut butter, the peanuts, the chocolate - It was so good! After that, I didn't really think about candy any more.
Yesterday, when that bowl was passed around the Conference Table the first time, I grabbed a piece, unwrapped it, popped the whole snack-size piece in my mouth and practically swallowed it whole. There was no thought, no enjoyment, no nothing. I was not satisfied at all. And my guard was down. So the rest of the day I just popped piece after piece of calorie-filled chocolate bars in my mouth. Meetings. A Halloween Parade for our participants. End of the day chaos. I just went to town and didn't pass up a single piece. When I saw that pile of wrappers at the end of the day, I felt sick.
Lesson learned! When I ate slowly and focused on the taste and texture, I was satisfied. When I thoughtlessly crammed piece after piece in my mouth, I didn't even realize what I was eating let alone enjoy what I was eating. I just kept eating mindlessly searching for that satisfaction.
So today - a day filled with lots and lots of treats - I'm not going to trick myself into thinking that I have this eating thing under control. But, I'm also not going to deprive myself of the joy that comes from chocolate. I will enjoy a treat or two today, but I will focus on the yummy goodness of those treats and not simply shove empty calories onto my waistline.