Alum Jill C reviews “But I Deserve This Chocolate,” a book on the excuses we make that prevent us from living a healthy life. We’ll be giving away one copy on Friday, April 20, through random drawing, which you can enter by leaving a VALID e-mail address and telling us why you want the book in the comments section below.
I recently received a copy of “But I Deserve This Chocolate” by Dr. Susan Albers, PsyD. It’s a book about the self-sabotaging and self-critical thoughts that keep alive our unhealthy eating habits. Dr. Albers lists the most common “excuses” we often use and then gives mindfulness techniques to address each one. Many of the excuses will probably sound as familiar to you as they did to me.
One excuse that I related to was “But I Want More Food!” Often while I am eating I can sense that I have hit the satisfaction level in my body. I get sad and feel loss even though I know that my body doesn’t need more food. When we feel this way, Dr. Albers encourages us to take time to think or journal through what we may really want more of in our lives, because it’s probably not the food. We are led to believe by the media that having more makes one happier. But really, is that true? When I eat more than what my body desires, I feel physically uncomfortable and lethargic.
Another excuse that resonated with me was “I Can’t Decide What To Eat.” Did you know that, on average, humans make about 220 decisions related to food each day? No wonder we get overwhelmed! But our inner wisdom can tell us what and how to eat if we listen. Our bodies give us messages about whether we want sweet, salty, crunchy, protein, etc. Dr. Albers suggests having five healthy meal options available that we feel we can eat mindfully. Our kitchens should always have these ingredients on hand so we can prepare those meals when our bodies guide us.
Jon Kabat-Zinn’s definition of mindfulness is “‘intentionally drawing your awareness and attention to the present moment in a nonjudgmental and accepting way.” I don’t know about you, but I have a hyperactive critic in my inner world. Dr. Albers says that over time, our inner critic is fueled by other people, the media, habit, our personalities, biology, and perfectionism. Picture a backseat driver, like your Great Aunt Lola, criticizing you in the rear view mirror. That voice is not typically helpful in getting you to your destination, is it? Does your inner critic ever bark out the following thoughts?
“You have no willpower!”
“You shouldn’t eat that!”
“You cheated on your diet!”
“You’re not worth the effort!”
Sometimes these thoughts deflate me. I have to remind myself that thoughts are not facts. Then I sit with them, listen to their stories, and decide for myself if they need to be challenged.
If your inner critic is yelling out these kinds of things, bringing mindfulness into the picture will help. I would encourage you to read “But I Deserve This Chocolate.” It’s an excellent tool to keep you mindfully moving toward a goal of health.
Read more about the other books by Dr. Albers, “Eating Mindfully” and “50 Ways to Soothe Yourself without Food,” staples in the Green Mountain bookstore.