What do you really want from food?
by Dmitri Bilgere
“I want to eat whatever I want, as much as I want, whenever I want,
and never exercise. That’s what I want.”
My wife Fawn had asked me what I wanted my relationship with food
to be like. Hearing me answer, I think she was starting to regret
“I want to eat hot fudge sundaes. I want to eat donuts. I want to
eat chocolate chip cookies — In fact, that’s such a great idea, if
I wasn’t talking to you I’d go get some cookies right now! That’s
how brilliant that idea is. I want to eat what I want, when I want
it, and as much as I want of it, and nobody can stop me.”
We were talking because I had committed to slim down and become
more healthy, but — and this is putting it mildly — I wasn’t
feeling like doing what it would take to get those outcomes.
“Cookies, and more cookies,” I continued. “That is what I want.”
“SO, WHY DO YOU WANT THAT?”
Fawn looked a little shocked by my belligerence. But, being a smart
facilitator, she moved on with the process anyway.
“Okay,” she said, “That’s what you want. But WHY do you want that?
What does it seem like doing that will give you?”
I knew the answer without a moment’s hesitation. “Why do I want
that?” I answered. “That’s an easy one.
“I want to eat whatever I want because I want to be FREE. I don’t
want to live that dull, grey, restricted, boring life of eating
‘healthy.’ I want to be unrestricted and free, eating up the
wonders of life. I want life without restriction. I want joy and
color and amazingness. And if that means eating cookies whenever I
want them, then that’s what it means.”
Fawn had wisely uncovered what I truly wanted: Freedom.
And she had seen my prescription for freedom: Cookies.
It was time to take the next step.
THE HEART NEVER TRULY LONGS FOR SOMETHING UNWHOLESOME
In the work we do we are always looking for the deepest longing a
person has in a situation. We like to think of it as if the Divine
placed that longing in your heart. It’s sacred.
And by that same token we believe that the heart never truly wants
something unwholesome. We never truly, in our deepest heart, long
for something that will destroy us.
Therefore, when I said “I truly long to eat cookies, and never
stop,” Fawn knew that I was full of it. Did I really, truly, on the
deepest level of my being, long for something that would eventually
give me diabetes and a heart attack? Of course not. The heart never
truly longs for something unwholesome. Fawn knew she had to look
“Okay,” she said. “So let’s get into this. I really want to
understand your experience of eating cookies and being free. Where
do you get the best cookies?”
“The coffeeshop by our house,” I answered. “They have the best
freakin’ chocolate chip cookies in the world. Hot out of the oven,
perfectly browned, chocolaty and gooey. MMMmm. I wish I had one
“Okay,” she said. “Imagine how it feels to walk into that coffee
shop. You walk, in, and what happens?”
“I walk in, and walk up to the counter.” I told her. “I see the
cookies. I smell them. Wow, they look so good. I have to have one.
I absolutely have to have one.”
Fawn said, “Just out of curiosity — could you chose NOT to have
“No!” I said. “I can’t chose that. I must have one. I want one. I
have to have one. I must have one! I must! I must!”
At that moment I had one of those “comes the dawn” experiences.
I had one of those rare human moments of actually hearing the words
that were coming out of my mouth.
And it was quite a revelation.
“Hey, wait a minute!” I said. “If I must have one, I don’t have any
choice. That’s not freedom! That’s not freedom at all!”
NOT FREE AT ALL
There I was, a guy who was committed to feeling free. I had just
discovered that I wasn’t free at all. In fact, I was being
controlled by the very food I desired most.
That was a big realization.
I continued to talk as I unpacked this new insight. “You know, I do
like the pleasurable sensations of eating; that’s for sure. But I
see now that I do NOT like being out of control. I do NOT like
going to a coffeeshop for a cup of tea and getting a cookie and a
hot cocoa because I can’t stop myself. I do NOT like that at all.
I continued, “I don’t want to be controlled by ‘there’s a cookie, I
have to get it. There’s a mocha, I have to buy it.’ I hate that,
actually. I hate that I’m consigned to being out of control, and to
not have any choice.”
As much as I enjoy eating, I had to admit, “There’s no joy in being
out of control.”
In that moment, I discovered that my true longing was to be in
control of my eating. My true longing, when it came to sugary foods
that made me fat and out of control, was simply to stop.
“I want to be able to take a stand,” I told Fawn. “I want to be
able to take a stand in the world and say, ‘for the sake of my
health, I’m not eating that.’ I want to be THAT free.”
UNTIL YOU FIND YOUR DESIRE TO CHANGE, CHANGING IS HARD
Before I did the healing I’m describing, I had said I wanted to
change my behavior around food. In fact, I’d said it on the
teleseminar where I announced this project, and in
earlier posts on this blog.
But when I was “dirt honest” about it, I had to admit that I really
liked eating whatever I wanted, because it seemed like it was a way
of being free.
Your motivations may be different than mine. Perhaps feeling free
is not your top priority. Perhaps it’s feeling supported, or
feeling powerful, or feeing in control.
But, fundamentally, if you are saying you want to change your
behavior, but actually don’t want to change it, you probably
shouldn’t lie about it. You need to look deeper to see if that
behavior is really, truly giving you what your heart longs for, and
move from that new realization.
Let’s look at my case: If I hadn’t acknowledged that I wanted to
keep on eating everything, how well would I have been able to
change my behavior around food? Probably not very well. I would
have “talked a good game,” but still eaten and eaten and eaten.
I often see this in my clients, and participants at my workshops.
People want something to be different in their lives, then pretend
to want to take the action to make that change happen… but part
of them really doesn’t.
Then they try to change, but their repressed desire to do the
behavior they are supposedly trying to stop works against them.
They then wonder why they are having difficulty, and why they can’t
Once I acknowledged that I really liked overeating because I
thought it gave me freedom, I was able to look deeper. I was able
to ask, is my compulsive eating really an example of being free?
From that perspective I was able to see quite clearly: It was not.
In the face of that realization, I really started wanting
self-control. I got “on board” with my desire to control what I was
eating. I wanted to be free to make my own choices about food, not
have them made for me.
This opened up a real feeling of lightness and possibility for me.
I felt a new energy in my body, and the energy said this:
“I want to chose, and I CAN chose.”
I started to really feel the truth of it. I wasn’t doomed to be an
automaton, shoveling sugar into my mouth. I COULD chose for myself.
I started feeling how it felt to able to make my own choices,
rather than having food make those choices for me.
It felt great.
GETTING ON BOARD WITH CHANGING
Your process may be different than mine. The important thing is
that you PARTICIPATE. You have to acknowledge where you are at
RIGHT NOW — even if it’s wanting to eat everything in sight. Then
you need to look deeper, to your deeper desire, and let yourself
come into relationship with that longing.
When your heart is really “on board” with changing, it’s much
easier to ignore the cookie you’d otherwise eat, or whatever else
is tempting you as you set about changing your life.
For me, since this process happened — almost 2 weeks ago now —
I’ve found myself staying away from the food that I’d normally go
I haven’t been using self-discipline — I’ve simply been following
that desire of my heart to make my own choices, and to be free.
Here’s how I’ve been been doing since I started this project:
During the first interval, a 3.5 week span, I lost at a rate
equivalent to 5lbs/month — my target rate. The rate during the
second interval — 15 days — was equivalent to dropping 4.8lbs/month
— very close!
This last bit I’m especially grateful for, as immediately after
doing the healing I’ve described here, Fawn and I went on a trip to
a place where I usually GAIN weight. I was able to easily pass up
all the brownies and cookies this place offers, and actually LOST
weight on my trip. That’s good news indeed!
I’ve been really encouraged by the comments people have been
posting as I’ve been taking this journey. I hope you’ll comment if
you feel called to, and let me know how things are going with YOUR
journey toward change — whatever that change may be.
You can share your comments with Dmitri and read other people’s at
What do you really want from food?
– is a deeply personal issue that everyone decides for himself. Sometimes the price is high, sometimes low. But this is not very important for life. Life is an interesting thing. And the price on Viagra – too.