But that’s the way I’ve always done it!
I love traditions. My favorite traditions aren’t always the typical ones, some of them are a little quirky. That’s what makes them special. At Christmas, for example, my family throws plastic balls at the Christmas tree to see who can get theirs stuck to the highest branch. Without knocking the tree topper off, of course. That would be bad.
My personal traditions are generally food related. This is because food rocks. Baked goods, especially. Around the winter solstice every year I have panettone. And about spring solstice time I have hot cross buns. If you know what those are, you might be surprised that I don’t like fruitcake. For those of you who don’t know, both of those are fluffy brioche with candied orange peel and raisins, which is just one texture away from fruitcake. But it’s the texture that makes all the difference, yes?
So, it’s Eastertime, and I got my hot cross buns. I get them from Pastries at Randolph. Every year. For like twenty years. Go back ten years prior to that, I actually worked at that bakery for a summer. Best job ever, except for the customers. The smell of freshly baked pastry, the hustle and bustle of the kitchen, the magic of pate choux – all wonderful until you add the retail front counter. Ugh. The pastry buying public is not as sweet as you might think they’d be. Who can be rude when they’re holding bags of tea cookies and eclairs? There’s always someone…
Back to the hot cross buns. I buy four every year. I eat one sitting in the car, and the other three I dole out one per day for three days, eaten with my 4pm tea. An afternoon tea break is also a tradition of mine. It’s quite civilized, and a good way to catch a little quiet time as the work day starts to wrap up.
But here’s what happened this year. I’m still trying to figure it out.
I got totally burnt out on hot cross buns on day 2.
I slathered up #3 with butter at 4pm on day three, and realized I didn’t want it. I just didn’t want it. I could taste it in my mind, and the icing was too sweet, the bread too flaky. In my imagination the candied fruit bits were too chewy. Don’t get me wrong, those exact same features made my heart sing the day before. Something had changed.
What was it? I don’t know if I’ll really ever know.
The thought of not eating all of them felt like a betrayal of some sort of universal law. It’s what I do every year! I really struggled with this. If I didn’t eat all of them, what would that mean for next year? Was this the beginning of the end? Would my beloved spring tradition become a thing of the past?
Well, , I don’t know.
What I do know is that I’ve been working with women (including myself!) on their relationship with food for long enough to know that I don’t have to eat foods I don’t want. Not even if they’re the best foods ever. Not even if it’s TRADITION.
It’s mid-April in 2022. I don’t feel like eating a hot cross bun today. So I’m not going to. Like 12 step programs remind us, and like Shakespeare’s Polonius told us: “To thine own self be true.”
I still have two hot cross buns, I might want one tomorrow. Pastries by Randolph will make them again if I want one next year. But for today, even though they were expensive, and even though they’re tradition, I’m not going to eat them.
Awkward as this may be, if I think it through, not eating all of them is the best way to go. To eat a hot cross bun when I don’t want a hot cross bun would be so unpleasant. It wouldn’t taste good, it would likely make me feel a little queasy as I choked it down.
And then what of the tradition? I would have taken something lovely and turned it into something miserable. Talk about ruining the occasion.
So, for today I’m not going to eat my traditional hot cross bun. I’ll still have the lovely break in the afternoon, I’ll still have a restful cup of tea, and tomorrow, if I feel like it, tomorrow I’ll truly savor that icing adorned upscale fruitcake, because I want it and not because I feel like I’m supposed to have it.
That’s the kind of tradition I want in my life.
Do you ever eat when you don’t want to? Because you “should”, or because “everyone else is”, or because you “don’t want to waste it”? If so, you’re likely undermining the wonderful experience that the food might have brought you. It’s a crying shame, really. I work with my clients to help them free up from their self-sabotaging eating habits so they can feel confident about their food choices and good about themselves.
Interested? Reply to this email. Let’s schedule a free 30 minutes to chat. I’d love to share with you what I know, what works, and how you can be free of the guilt and shame you feel around food.
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ON THE CALENDAR:
Mindful Eating: Cupcakes!
workshop scheduled for Saturday, May 13 at 2pm,
at 532 Yoga in Alexandria, VA
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Hi! I’m Jennifer. I help women who struggle with mindless overeating learn new skills and a new approach to food so that they can feel confident about themselves and all their food choices, all the time. I believe you can move away from rigid restriction and trust yourself around food, and I’d love to teach you how. You can look forward to being free of the guilt and shame that comes from the chronic obsession with dieting. I invite you to a Free Consultation. The sooner the better. If you’re ready to feel confident and in charge of your life, now is the time. Your friend, Jennifer