Last week I showed up to a meeting at 2:15 in the afternoon and on the conference table were the following.
Here is what I did.
That was it.
Never once was I tempted to taste or consume any of it. Not once.
At this point you may think I’m full of BS.
Or at the very least you think I’m BSing myself.
I get it.
I would be skeptical of me too, if I were you.
In my not so distant past I used to be someone who would have sat there, at that table, and went for it, pushing thoughts of resistance swiftly aside as I indulged in a brownie and then snacked on popcorn for the entire duration of the meeting, unable to resist the salty snack at that energy-dip time of day.
And I would have worried while I was eating.
And I would have been totally distracted by my thoughts and feelings after eating.
And this is an abbreviated list of my thoughts.
Adding insult to injury, I would have missed about 50% of the meeting because my mind would have been busy with all of these anxiety-fueled thoughts. I wouldn’t have been mentally present.
Were I not to have dove straight in and eaten the brownie and popcorn, I would have missed just as much of the meeting-- maybe even more-- because I would have sat there with overwhelming urges to eat the brownie and popcorn, using ALL of my willpower and resistance to not do it.
And it would have lasted for about 10 minutes before I gave in, first to the popcorn, choosing to tell myself that
And then at some point in the hour I would have used up all of my willpower and given in to the brownie, maybe eating only half at the table and then eating the rest on my way out the door, just before I drop the cocktail napkin in the garbage-- as if eating over the garbage is not eating the whole thing.
And I would have felt like shit. For having eaten those two things, yes, but mostly for going against my own will. I didn’t want to eat them. I knew I didn’t. And I tried to resist. But the urge felt too strong, so I gave in.
How is this possible?? How can we want something so badly for ourselves-- to not eat junk food and to lose weight-- and yet we feel compelled by a force greater than ourselves and give in?
The way that I and so many others who have done this work have reconciled this is by reconciling our desires with our thoughts.
Instead of perseverating on the food on the table, I had a few fleeting thoughts in observance of the fact that I had no desire. I marveled for a moment about how far I’d come and how awesome it felt to not be distracted by the argument in my head and the shame and guilt that were inevitable.
I literally do not desire brownies or popcorn anymore.
I genuinely did not have a single urge to eat anything at that meeting yesterday because I have done the mind work necessary to overcome those unwanted desires.
And you can, too.
You just have to want to learn how to rid yourself of desire for things you don’t want to desire.
And, you have to want to do that more than you want to desire those things.
Some of us are not ready for this.
Some people say they don’t want to want it, but are unwilling to walk the path of discomfort in order to come out on the other side.
They fear not-wanting.
What would it mean if they couldn’t enjoy a brownie again?
And the question I would ask them is which do you want more? To want the brownie, or to not want the brownie?
I am not talking about resistance. I am not talking about will power. I am talking about not wanting it at all.
Think about something you naturally don’t want. Maybe it’s cigarettes. Maybe it’s brussel sprouts. Whatever it is, imagine I place a tray of them in front of you right now. How would you feel? Would you be resisting them? Would you be using any willpower at all to not binge on them? No! You would say, no thank you and push them away, not giving them another thought.
That is exactly what brownes and popcorn feel like for me now.
And that is freedom, my friends. Pure, unadulterated freedom.
Not wanting, non-desire is the key to permanent weight loss.
You can do this.
Lia Pinelli is a weight loss coach and educator who helps women put an end to emotional overeating and lose weight, permanently.