Today Mark and I drove into the city and stuffed ourselves with Ethiopean food until we hurt ourselves. My stomach was just a big ball of delicious pancake and sauces.
I have to wonder whether I'd eat less if I didn't have such good food options around me. A coworker, for instance, started fasting to prepare for her upcoming wedding. She planned on drinking only a mixture of cayenne pepper, maple syrup, lemon juice and water for two weeks. Needless to say, she stopped the fast on the second day because it tasted so terrible.
I can and will eat tremendous amounts of food, especially during times when I feel deprived of other things.
'I'm working hard, so I deserve to cram my stomach with this delicious savory pancake and curry,' my brain reasons.
Or, 'I'm traveling next week, therefore I deserve this organic dark chocolate bar with mint and a hint of rosemary. It has anti-oxidants!'
New Yorkers have a tendency to overindulge. We work hard and play hard. This reminds me of a story I read in a Zen book about 'hungry ghosts', people who have insatiable needs. These 'ghosts' fail to fully appreciate what they already have, so they stuff themselves with indulgences - food, drink, fancy belongings...anything exterior to themselves that might constitute a form of 'happiness'.
Zen, on the other hand, is fully internal. It's all about appreciating what one already has. I love the philosophy: you are never lacking. Even your 'faults' are necessary to one's personality.
I'll have to bring my Zen book with me on my trip this week. Every time I'm tempted to reward myself with delicious plates of (free) food, I'll have to think: 'I'm okay as I am. Enough, already!'