An Entire Tub of Celebrations

..And I'm not talking about the chocolates!

In the past few weeks I have been noticing more and more sure-fire proofs that Beyond Chocolate has been working its magic on me.

No matter how much work I feel I still need to do on this or that principle -there will always be areas of possible growth, and thank goodness for that!- there is ample evidence of internal change, and I wanted to write about it as an honouring ritual for myself and as encouragement for the beginners out there (or more seasoned BCers in need of inspiration for a celebration ritual!)

So, I invite you to partake in my tub of Celebrations!

In the pub after a show: Alice hands me a few packets of crisps.

I am hungry- haven't had dinner yet - but I really don't like pub crisps. Not a fan of crisps in general, the only ones I go for nowadays are the plain, Kettle ones, and not that often. I am hungry...but not for this. I say "no". Alice's subsequent comment about how "good" I am being is water off a duck's back. (Eat What You Want, what you really really want...)

In front of the mirror: I catch sight of myself.

Is my body exactly as I would love it to be? No. But I am thinking: "Hey, it's me. It's my body. I am OK. I don't adore it, but it's OK. I own it." Sometimes I even catch myself saying "hey ya sexy thing!" in my head while looking in the mirror. And I mean it! (Humour goes a long way to help own that bod...)

At the table: the other day, I caught myself eating lovely doughy cookies.

I started when I was hungry, put a few on my plate but realised I was slipping into cookie-eating trance. I paused and STOPPED. There was one half of a cookie left on my plate. ONE HALF! AND I DIDN'T EAT IT.

Yesterday I caught myself putting my fork down...

With just a couple of, say, broccoli florets left on the plate. No biggie.

In the shops: it's lunchtime and in my typically disorganised fashion (see, I still have areas of "work in progress"), I haven't taken time to prepare lunch or go food shopping.

So I'm at Boots. Budget is tight: I go for the meal deal. I have a choice between the sandwiches, the salads and the sushi. The sandwiches really don't appeal. But to be honest, neither do the dry-looking, processed-dressing-full salads. I choose the sushi. With absolutely no second-thought of "oooh but how about bread and ham and cheese, be naughty" or oooh but the salad would be lighter and healthier, be good" whatsoever.

At home and elsewhere: how many times these days do I NOT ACTUALLY FANCY CHOCOLATE?

I have been craving lightly seared, well-seasoned tuna steaks and steamed- just-right-broccoli with a touch of sesame oil! Or maxi-salads with all sorts of yummy veg! Or ultra-crisp sausages with green beans! Not. Even. Kidding. There will be a blog post later on about the strange moment when I realised I was craving something other than my "previously forbidden foods". Bizarre! And fantastic!

In my pockets: as I write this, there is an UNTOUCHED square of After Eight in my coat pocket.

One square. It's been there a couple of days, one of those that are handed to you with your cuppa coffee. I have not yet fancied eating it. Altogether now: "whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?"

In the kitchen: there are still a few Quality Streets chocolates left in a jar...

I was given them almost a YEAR ago at a party. And you know what? Most of them have been eaten by my flatmates. Given that I broke my first diet with a Quality Street Mega-Binge, this is significant. (Tuning In goes a long way)

At work: Conversation with a colleague, word for word:

HIM: Have you lost weight? ME: I really couldn't tell you. Not on purpose if I have. HIM: Ah. (flustered pause) Not that I meant you needed to lose weight or anything... ME: Honestly, don't worry. I'm happy with my body as it is."I'm happy with my body as it is." I said that and in that moment MEANT IT 100%. (This does not mean that I don't have body image issue-triggers, like living with a "could-be-a-model" young woman. But in that moment, and more often than not these days, I truly mean this.) Moreover, there was NO afterthought on the conversation. I didn't think more about it, neither about the first comment (which would, in the past, have propelled me to heights of ecstasy), nor about the second apologetic add-on (which would, in the past, have plunged me into self-doubt again)

Sauna thoughts: conversation with a very body-conscious friend, after being both invited to a girlie evening of sauna-going followed by dinner:

ME: I don't really know if I fancy this, don't really know these gals well... HER: Yeah, I mean sauna might be a bit tough, 'cause they're all so young and beautiful, but you know they are also very nice, they won't say anything! ME: (...) I wasn't even thinking about that. I genuinely don't mind going to the sauna with them. HER: Oh. Well I do, with my 36 year-old body and everything.Now I would be lying if I said my friend's assumption that my hesitancy came from feeling uncomfortable in my own skin with a bunch of younger, slimmer women in a sauna didn't frustrate or hurt my feelings a tad (my gremlin piped up: "oh, so SHE thinks you SHOULD feel uncomfortable..." and I told it "that's B.S"). But the fact is, she may well have been right on the money with this a year ago. Today, however, I noted with interest my discomfort had nothing to do with body image issues, but simply with not feeling socially inclined. HUZZAH

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