Honoring Our Cravings . . . and Building a Business and a Life out of Love.
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I had to frame eating out of love. Restriction and control was causing me too much pain. I was constantly setting myself up for failure. ‘Don’t eat that’. And then I would. And then I would repent. Food obsession prevents a woman from really being present in her life. It is the ultimate method of avoidance. It separates us from others and from life. So asking, ‘what would I REALLY love to eat today??’ Is sinking into the truer question,
‘What do I really want?’ What do I really, really want??? What do I crave? What do I desire? What can I have? Can I allow myself to have it? Enjoy it?
Am I capable of allowing myself to have what I want???
These are amazing questions. This hits so deep in me. Not allowing myself to have the food I wanted was a message to myself that I didn’t believe in my own desires and I certainly didn’t trust myself with my appetite and needs. If I let myself ‘eat what I really wanted,’ the cravings would NEVER be satisfied, the cavern of desire was too deep, I would eat and eat until I blew up because there didn’t feel like I had a cut-off point. But the deep cavern of desire was not and is not and still won’t ever be about food. Cliché, yes.
But the truest thing I know.
And trust. I didn’t trust myself with my appetite. I remember food panic going way back to early college. I’d wake up in the morning and be stricken with anxiety. I’d start my day thinking,
‘I can’t do this, I can’t eat like a normal person. My appetite is colossal and there’s never enough’ And the resulting feeling was total despair and angst. I didn’t know how to approach this with love, I just drifted through every day in anxiety and feeling bad about every thing I ate.
So now, it still feels unnatural at times. But I say,
‘What would I REALLY love to EAT today?’ because I know that’s how I need to talk to myself. It has to be a daily practice. It changes the brain. It re-wires the thinking from, ‘I shouldn’t. I don’t trust myself. I’m a deep well of insatiable need’ to ‘I can give to myself. I trust myself. I can live in peace and harmony with my desires. It’s all good.’
There is a peace to be found in eating what you love that I haven’t found in any other way. Not everyone can relate to this connection, but for me, it’s fully correlated. For so long, I struggled with being at peace with my body that the angst manifested in my obsession with food. I wanted to “fix” my criticism of my body and my internal unease by eating better, restricting, dieting, getting “control.” It was no surprise I never fixed myself by dieting. It can’t be fixed by dieting. I had to start to eat with love to make any headway on my crippling anxiety. I had to eat what I loved and make peace with my cravings to address the deeper issues. For so long, I struggled with what I “should eat” or “shouldn’t eat.” It was a wonderful way to distract myself from feeling anything else or thinking about uncomfortable topics.
Food obsession always reveals a deeper worry.
To eat in peace allows us to get honest about what we really feel. The new mantra had to become “What would I really love to eat today?”
I wanted to eat a lot of things, and I wanted doughnuts. I assumed other people wanted to eat doughnuts too. I started making them for myself and getting them out there to the masses. This permission to myself to eat doughnuts turned into a multimillion dollar business—a sign that making decisions out of love can have great results.
About the Author
Leigh Kellis founded The Holy Donut in Portland, Maine. It started as a tiny wholesale operation out of her kitchen and grew in 6 years to a 3 location operation employing 80 people and selling 2 million donuts per year. The business resulted from her honoring her donut cravings and wanting to add something sweet and comforting to the world. The Holy Donut has been written about in The New York Times, Wall St Journal, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Elle Magazine and The Boston Globe. Leigh encourages people to ‘eat what they really love’ and see what good things can happen!