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Hi, friends.

First off, I'd like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to so many of you who filled my inbox and my comment section with such sincere and sweet words of motivation 2 weeks ago! That particular post was a difficult one to write, and I really appreciate the support I felt from all of you! I can't say that it makes writing Skinny Saturday any easier (ugh), but it does make me feel like I'm writing something worthwhile here. And that means a lot to me, so thank you! I'd also like to apologize for the majority of you who have not received a response from me yet… it's been a crazy month, and I'm just getting back to normal life. I promise, I'll be writing you back soon!

So… where should I start this week? It's more or less the same story it always is…

I fell off the wagon again. Hard.

Really hard.

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As in I-bought-a-book-about-compulsive-overeating kind of hard.

I only read a few pages before I closed it for the day. I didn't stop reading because it wasย  a bad read or even because I didn't find it helpful. But the author poses a question within the first few pages that I thought deserved careful consideration before I continued reading. So I've been thinking on that question all day…

In summary, she asks, would you rather have the freedom to eat when you're not hungry or would you rather have the results of eating only when you're hungry?

My first thought was, the results! Obviously! It's like when people ask, “Would you rather eat junk food or would you rather be skinny?” I want to be skinny! Duh!ย But the way she worded her question stopped me just long enough to for me to realize that this was something I really needed to consider. Am I willing to give up the freedom to eat when I'm not hungry? From what I gather in the introduction, this is basically the premise to her book… learning to accept your body's hunger signals, eating when you're hungry, not eating when you're not (regardless of social agenda or time of day), and enjoying the food you do eat when you're hungry (even if it's not grilled chicken and salad).

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Considering how easy to answer I thought this question was, I'm surprised to admit that I still don't have an answer for it.

I really like food. And I want to enjoy it as more than just fuel for my body (which is a topic, by the way, the author of my book might still approach– remember, I've only read a few pages, so no judgement yet)! So am I really willing to give up all of the non-essential eating in my day?

The author reminds us that we enjoy food more, that our senses are more stimulated, when we wait to eat until we are hungry. Which makes the experience better. So…. maybe that means I could have a treat with my meal? Would that be ok?

That still rules out a lot of social and habitual eating that I enjoy… like popcorn during a movie. That's not necessarily something I'd tack on to a meal like a dessert. But it's something I really enjoy and don't want to give up altogether.

Anyway. I don't really know where I'm going with this. Just thinking out loud I guess. Still trying to figure out my answer to the question. And I don't think, honestly, that this author is going to suggest doing away with all pleasurable eating. I think we can all agree that a commitment to lifelong deprivation isn't a super healthy, well rounded approach to anything. But I did find it interesting that her question gave me so much pause. How can I not readily answer this question??

I feel like she finally touched on a real nerve, a real issue that I need to tackle within myself. More than that– it's a series of questions I need the answers to if I'm going to find a healthy way to eat throughout my life…

Which is more important to me? Eating what I want, when I want? Or having a body I love?

Can I love my body and still eat what I want?

How much of this is about finding a positive self image and how much is about creating an actual better body?

Basically, what is reality vs. what I see in my mind?

If I could truly embrace my self image, would the path to healthy and controlled eating naturally follow?

Or is it the other way around?

Do I love the food? Or do I love the emotion associated with it?

Is emotional eating always bad? Is it ok sometimes?

Can I allow myself a treat every once in a while? Every day?

Can I actually live within a treat limitation?

Can I actually live within any food limitation?

Or is that just a set up for more failure?
I don't really have any answers today. Just questions, questions, and more questions.

Every time I hit this part of “the cycle” (the post-reckless-overeating phase, riddled with guilt), I form a new game plan and am ready to hit the road running. But I have no game plan this time. I've been through a few in my head today (in between big scoops of cookie dough dip)… back to counting calories? Maybe not counting calories, just focus on eating the foods I know are good for me? No sweets? One sweet after Emma's bed time? Only eating foods I make at home?

It's always about trying to find the balance between the restriction I feel like I need and simply trusting myself to make good choices…

Any ideas? Any light bulb moments for you? Which works better for you– restriction (calorie counting, tracking points, dieting) or trusting your body and your own judgement? How do you handle eating treats and “non-essential” foods if you're in the “trust yourself” camp?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts this week!