Wanting Without Judging

In The House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne wrote that for Winnie the Pooh, "Although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called."

Pooh might not have known what those food cravings are called, but I do. They're called desire. They're called anticipation. They're called wanting -- and if we let ourselves feel them, have them, and love them for their own sake, we set ourselves free.

I realize that's a radical statement, but after more than 40 years of working with compulsive eaters, I've gotten the hang of what works and what doesn't.

The story we usually tell ourselves about our lack of control -- especially if it concerns high-fat or high-sugar foods -- is that we need to discipline ourselves and stay away from them. Lock the cabinet doors and throw away the keys.

Okay, maybe you haven't locked your food in a cabinet, but how about those times when you're certain that the potato chips have suddenly developed vocal cords and are calling you from across the room?

If you find yourself bingeing and dieting, making proclamations about which foods you absolutely can't have in the house only to find yourself, in a moment of madness, running to the store and loading up on those exact foods, here's the million-dollar question: What are you wanting when you want those potato chips, the cupcakes?

I can hear you saying: The potato chips, of course! The cupcakes, without a doubt! But remember what Pooh said: The moment before he put his hand in the honey jar was actually better than tasting the honey itself. Then ask yourself: If honey were truly what he wanted, why was it better to want it than to have it? Why is the race to the food cravings or the moment before you eat it equally if not more delicious than actually having it?

It's not the cupcakes, it's not the potato chips, it's not the chocolate cake. If you give yourself permission to want without judging or dismissing your desires as crazy, you, too, have the power to return yourself to what you want most: the center of your own stunning, tender, radiant heart.

You, it turns out, have been the cupcake all along.