One of the most fundamental challenges of this journey is eating what our bodies need, day in and month out, leading with a simple, clean diet and then what I call “abiding” all the social and emotional challenges (most of them tiny, a few of them big) that will occur when we do that, especially the first few years. This is the part of the journey where, assuming we stay the course, we will slowly learn to be comfortable enough with the unavoidable, normal moments of awkwardness in life. I think this is a core challenge for people who so very often found ways (food addiction) to react to or cover any awkwardness or emotional discomfort instead of just momentarily really (just) feeling it.
I once read some sage advice in a newspaper column that I thought very much applied to this journey. A young gentleman wrote that he felt he had fallen in love with a woman who had been his best friend for many years, but he was very afraid to risk telling her, afraid he’d lose the whole relationship if he risked telling her. The advice columnist (Carolyn Hax) wrote something to the effect that either way he faced a risk. If he did risk telling her, he definitely faced (and thus chose) to live through some momentary awkwardness. But if he didn’t take that risk, by default he would be facing regret. Awkwardness is fleeting, but regret can last a lifetime.
I think that applies so much to this journey too. I have encountered (and abided) many moments of social/emotional awkwardness, since I decided to eat this way 24/7/365, back in November 1998. Some weeks/days/months were easier than others–still are. But I haven’t yet had a moment of that long-familiar “I screwed up again–will I ever win this battle?” regret since November 1998, when I decided I could (and would have to) do this with abstinence. That is a simple, but profound change from the first 48 years of my life.
A few moments of awkwardness vs. never-ending regret? Choose awkward.