Dessert Moments

May 5, 2016


“I should not eat dessert or even want it. And if I get dessert, I must share it.”

During our work together, Christina unearthed this deep seated food rule about eating dessert that had nagged her for her whole life. It began as a diet restriction imposed on her as a child by well-meaning, but misguided adults who wanted her to be thin (thin = happy).

Their message was, “Dessert makes you fat.”

During her coaching session, we explored this rule of hers, its origins, how she followed it and why she sometimes rebelled against it. Gradually she came to see how oppressive that rule is.

Deeper than delicious dessert, this rule restricted her day-to-day choices, pushing her into denying herself the sweet stuff of life: luxuriating in a relaxed Sunday morning with her fiancé, playing with her dog, Eloise, in the park just for the fun of it and walking aimlessly in New York City taking it all in with no agenda. But to a part of Christina, life was serious business with no time for relaxation or play.


Just as we were imagining what her life would be like without the no-pleasure-for-you rule driving her, her doorbell rang. She asked me to hold the line while she answered the door.

When she picked up the phone, she breathlessly exclaimed, “You’re never going to believe this! There was a delivery guy at the door with a box of cookies and chocolate milk for MEEE! This is my absolute favorite dessert in the world!”

We both squealed with delight.

“Should I really eat it?” she asked in a hushed tone.

“You tell me,” I cheekily answered.

“YESSSS!” she replied. “I’m kinda hungry, the cookies are warm and gooey and the milk is rich and cold. And, ha ha ha! I can’t share it with you because we’re on the phone! If this isn’t a sign, I don’t know what is.”

We sat in sweet silence while she delighted in dessert, and I marveled at the serendipity of the whole thing. I couldn’t have planned a better illustration of my point:

Challenge the Food Police.

The fourth principle of Intuitive Eating states:

“Challenge the Food Police. Scream a loud “NO” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating minimal calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. The Food Police monitor the unreasonable rules that dieting has created. The police station is housed deep in your psyche, and its loud speaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments. Chasing the Food Police away is a critical step in returning to Intuitive Eating.”

Christina’s assignment from me that week was to continue to relax the no-pleasure-for-you rule that kept her imprisoned, and to purposely seek life’s dessert moments, including eating once forbidden food, as well as enjoying playful, relaxed time with her furry friends and family.

Happily, she absorbed the delicious life lesson.

A few months later, Christina sent me selfies of some deliciously sweet moments, one of which was a photo of her and her husband on their wedding day simply tagged, “Dessert Moments.”

Take a cue from Christina and relax your no-pleasure-for-me rule that is keeping you from your “dessert moments”, and be sure to send me a selfie!

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