Slow Eating 2.0
We have previously looked at why slow eating is so important in this work, and you have tried out some games to implement slow eating.
From now on we will go deeper. I am going to give you some insights that came to me in the last few months, either on holiday, or curiously enough, in full on creative mode putting together my product The Body Confident Project.
Listen to this this audio:
Topics discussed in this audio:
*The cover stories we tell ourselves to eat fast - the importance of humility and being honest about these lies we tell ourselves
*How eating fast can express I am not enough
*How eating fast to express I am not enough can be a way to express stress in challenging situations - i.e. there is no nice neat end time of doing work on yourself.
*Starving shame (or any toxic belief) of oxygen through your actions
*Increasing your tolerance for discomfort when eating slowly by allowing yourself to express emotions
This next piece of writing I did separately from recording the above audio, but I feel that it is saing the same thing from a different angle -possibly a more motivating one.
Fast Eating As Your Inner Bully and Slow Eating As Being With Your Imperfect Self
Can you reframe fast eating as an escape route from being with yourself? Think of it as you expressing everything you don’t like about yourself. But it is more than that - it is acting like the sidekick of the school bully.
Here is an analogy that I am trying out - let me know if it is helpful.
Let's take Biff the bully from Back Too The Future.
Watch this clip where he bullies George McFly:
In this situation, all the characters represent different aspects of your thinking:
Biff = your harsh inner critic that says you are no good
George McFly = the part of you that feels broken, who believes the toxic nonsense that the harsh inner critic spews
Biff's gang = the part of you that feels compelled to eat fast, that thinks it has to go along with Biff's nastiness. You are so awful that you have to escape yourself via fast eating (the route to not being present). In the same way the gang seem like they are having a great time, but are actually scared, you tell yourself seemingly plausible cover stories like I have too much work to do to eat slowly, but this part of you is actually motivated by fear of what that Inner critic could do if you ignore it.
Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) = the part of you that stands up to the inner critic and the gang by eating slowly. This part says: even though I am imperfect, I CAN be with myself. I CAN be present and I am not going to use fast eating as a weapon against myself.
Watch this clip where Marty stands up to Biff and note how it ends - Biff loses all his power 🙂
Fast eating is wa y to avoid being present (which is just a fancy term for being with yourself and all your imperfections).
This seems like a great option, especially when you look at all the things you can eat fast that not only help you check out of being your own friend, but give you a rollercoaster of brain chemical parties: sugar gives you a super huge hit of serotonin security, crisps (AKA chips) give you a hit of dopamine motivation, bread has gluten exorphins which create a mild opioid high. Put some cheese in that sandwhich and you add in casein which does the same job.
But these brain chemical parties are not worth it. The price you pay for getting high in this way is that not only do you have to cope with the comedown (Dammit. That didn’t last! Back to crappy old me), but there is a more subtle, insidious effect at work:
What are you saying to yourself about you if you take every opportunity to escape being with yourself? It’s like avoiding the lonely kid because all the cool kids have dictated that only losers would be seen dead sitting with dork brains over there.
What if you just decided to rebel against this bully you have installed in your head that says you are not worth being with?
What if you said “#&@!!.£&**” to that inner bully and decided to actually try out being with yourself?
And what if you saw slow eating as the tool to do this?
One more thought. Is that inner bully just the child part of you parroting previous insults and hurts from actual bullies (who could have taken many forms, like a passive-aggressive parent, for example) that you were too young to filter out? Hurts that you accepted as The Truth because of your age?
In this case, slow eating becomes an important way to uninstall those toxic beliefs, because when you do actually slow down, you feel good about yourself in the same way that standing up to the school bully by sitting with the lonely kid feels like the right thing to do.
In this way you start the starve The Truth of oxygen. Those insults and hurts start to lose their power. This inner bully has no teeth and the only power it ever had was whatever you as the sidekick invested in it.
You start to accept the imperfect you in the same way you accept other people’s imperfections. How strange and wonderful is it when you start extending the same tolerance and kindness to yourself that you offer others without a second thought. Isn’t that your birthright?
And then that Truth (that you are so awful that you can’t stand being with yourself) loses its capital T. Then you start spelling it like this:
Slow Eating As A Way To Expand The Field of Possibility
If you can weather the discomfort of slow eating and start to starve the shame of oxygen, the field of possibility opens up. More is available to you. For example:
*Healthy boundaries and saying no
*A big life transition you have wanted for a while. Now your imperfect self is up to the job of making it happen
*Self acceptance and acceptance of others
What else? What could you do if you were not held back by shame, self-doubt and fear?
Slow Eating Exercise
Take a diaphragm breath. (Instructions here)
Now take a mouthful of food. Chew it slowly, while saying to yourself: it’s OK to be with myself or I accept myself. Or I refuse to bully myself anymore.
If you feel discomfort, sit with it as long as possible. This is you standing up to that bully, which you know is the right thing to do. Plus the bully has zero power if you decide to withdraw it.
Do Ross Face (stop chewing for a few seconds and just hold the food in your mouth)
Take small bites or do the More or Less game