Pasta (And White Bread) Mi Amore

Intuitive eating is a lot like meditation.

When I began experimenting with intuitive eating about two years ago, it all seemed so simple. Eat what you like, when you're hungry, and stop when you're full. And pay attention to what you're eating – eat mindfully.

It's a little like meditation in the sense that it sounds simple, but then, it opens you up to a whole other world (and at the same time, a proverbial can of worms).

Meditation, at least as far as I can figure out, is about attention. You sit there all by yourself, counting your breaths, observing your thoughts. And when you mind starts to wander, you bring it back. Through this process you learn about yourself – the real you – stripped away from the usual noise that surrounds your life.

When I started intuitive eating, the first thing I really allowed myself to eat, at the frequency I desired, was pizza. Pizza had been my nemesis, that food that I was sure was causing me to store some extra poundage. It was like Stephen King says about being an alcoholic – I couldn't understand how anyone could leave pizza lying around (he says this about alcohol, however, left carelessly behind in a glass). My desire to eat the whole pizza was overwhelming. But I tried so hard to control my pizza intake. So when the limits were off, I ate pizza like a champ.

These days, I still love pizza, and I do eat it when I want, but I think I've had my fill. It no longer has the same power over me. As intuitive eating experts say, releasing restrictions on the frequency I could consume pizza – effectively legalizing it – really did the trick. But make no mistake, this was not a quick fix. It took probably a whole year to come to terms with my pizza 'addiction'.

These days I've moved onto pasta. And white bread. These are two of the things that in the dieting world (and in celebrity magazines) seem to be off limits. If you want to be thin, you must replace them with chicken and veg and whole-grain pita bread, or whole-grain whatever. It's not that I don't like whole-grain bread, but I'm so fed up with thinking that I have to eat it to be healthy, that I'm resisting it for the time being. So these days, when I pack a sandwich for lunch, I use white rolls.

I'm not sure how long this will go on, but I'm not worried. I know at some point that I'll have had my fill. Or maybe not. Maybe I like to eat my sandwiches on white rolls and I'm pretty sure it's not going to kill me.

So as I continue with the intuitive eating journey, I just pack my lunches and boil my pasta and observe. I'm mindful, but I'm no longer controlling. These days, my body is in charge and I listen. It's scary to stop controlling everything, but that's what meditation teaches – that actually you can't.

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