Ok, I admit it.
I ate the whole box of cookies.
And it was the best thing I could have done.
Not because I gave in to my cravings. Not because I went into a zombie-munchie mode. But because eating the whole thing spun me into a direction that I haven’t fully explored yet.
It’s Girl Scout cookie time and I decided to buy some. I got 6 boxes- and had them sent to the troops. I felt all warm and fuzzy sending a sweet piece of home to our women and men abroad.
Good deed done.
But I have a husband.
And those with better halves know that your decisions aren’t necessarily their decisions. Part of living with someone is living with his or her choices as well.
Usually this is no big deal. I’ve done my work; I know how to stay in my own lane.
But my lane now had a box of my favorite Girl Scout cookies square in the middle of it, because my hubby bought some, too.
And this time, they were sent to our front door.
“I can handle this,” I thought
“I’m a freakin’ weight loss coach. I can handle just one.”
As I looked at the cookies, thoughts of lack came flooding in.
“These only come around once a year”
“I love these cookies”
“Cookies won’t hurt me. It’s fine. Quit overreacting.”
I was also dealing with my feelings of being stuck.
Feeling trapped and powerless over something that had nothing to do with food.
This all fed into going beyond having a few cookies to eating the whole thing.
I can honestly say I was aware the whole time of my thoughts, my feelings, why it was happening, what was going on.
It was all crystal clear to me.
But still I didn’t want to stop eating.
My first thoughts after I swallowed the last cookie were of forgiveness.
“That’s ok- it’s not a big deal,” I told myself.
“You did a lot of things right with your awareness, one box isn’t the end of the world.”
“You’ll do better next time.”
Then I moved on to the action plan.
“OK – where did I go wrong?”
“What do I need to do next time I’m accosted by cookies?”
But these thoughts weren’t making me feel better.
The ‘you’ll do better next time’ pep talk didn’t make me feel confident or prepared this time.
It sounded pushy to me.
I had given myself that pep talk a million times.
I have that speech memorized, ready to spew at times like these.
But the words felt empty this time around. Impersonal.
Like a generic, canned speech presented to no one in particular.
By just rattling off these well-rehearsed words, I was ignoring myself.
I was first focusing on what I did instead of who I am.
I was missing the person behind the action.
I was missing me.
When we do something that is not in line with our goals, we tend to immediately go to “I can do better”. Especially when the evidence of an empty box is staring back at us.
But immediately assessing and correcting the situation focuses on the action, not on the person.
To truly do better next time, I needed to look at myself before I looked at what I did.
And not just acknowledge myself as I passed on to something else, but stop and show myself love.
Loving ourselves includes loving all the parts that are still learning. All the awkward parts that are still evolving. Every part that makes mistakes. The lumpy, bumpy parts that haven’t smoothed out yet.
It sounds so simple. So elementary. Of course I love myself and value myself and care for myself.
But in this moment, I was forgetting myself.
I needed to pause between eating the cookies and planning what to do the next time.
I needed to acknowledge that I am not the box of cookies.
I am not the plan to do better.
I am the person.
And I love the person who ate the whole box of cookies.
By focusing on loving myself, this becomes just an honest conversation about what really happened. It truly is forgiveness and moving on, in one simple, loving step.
I don’t have to define myself as “always messing up.”
I don’t have to give up on the day.
And I won’t cycle right back into doing the same thing again.
All of which happen when we don’t stop and love ourselves first.
Loving myself first, reminds me that I didn’t fail myself by eating all the cookies.
It reminds me that I’m the one in charge of how I feel – not cookies, or another person, or anything else for that matter.
There’s a difference between understanding what happened and looking at what went wrong. It took me a while to realize that.
The tone is different.
The feel is different.
The answers your get from yourself are different.
The next time you eat ‘the whole damn thing’ give yourself a moment to see yourself apart from your actions.
Acknowledge that you are not your actions.
Get centered with what you love about yourself.
Focus first on who you are and loving the whole of you – even the part that didn’t listen when you said stop.
That part is not the ego, or the habit, or the enemy.
That part is you – embrace it just as much as the shiny, pretty parts.
It’s easy to say ‘yeah- I love myself.” But do you love yourself in the moments that you would like to do-over? Do you love yourself when you overeat? Do you love yourself when you’re overweight, in debt, or you stick your foot in your mouth?
Or do you say things like ‘yeah, I love myself, but I’ll love myself even more when I have a flat stomach.’
Take a second to notice- are there limits on your self-love?
Are there times that you push it aside for the action plan so you never do something again?
Or can you love yourself as you sit in a situation that you don’t love being in.
Without blaming yourself for being there.
Without telling yourself to do something different or better next time.
I had limits on my love.
Eating the whole box of cookies helped me realize that.
I didn’t want to sit with the person who ate them all. I didn’t want to acknowledge that person as a part of me that deserves my love, too.
I just wanted to fix that person, immediately.
But fixing something immediately leaves out one crucial step.
Before you change anything about yourself.
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Ok, I admit it.