Note: The picture above is not my belly, but it’s how I want to feel about mine.

The pudge, the folds. How do I cover it up? The moment of truth arrives every morning. When I wake, I remove every article of clothing. I take my retainers out. I remove my fitness tracker that monitored my sleep all night. I empty my bladder. I don’t even take a pill (down to one anti-depressant – is this TMI?) or sip water.

Then I step on the fancy scale that knows. (It’s one of those digital bluetooth deals.) I step so lightly. I channel lightness. And some days it’s friendlier. Those mornings after a Bikram class the day before where I’ve poured sweat and twisted and stretched and muscled and rested and breathed and created space everywhere in my body.

But most days it isn’t so friendly.

And on particularly bad days, like this morning, I jump off before it can register on my tracking program on my phone…before it can create a record. An undeniable fact. I am not 162 pounds.

Really? It can’t be.

I am not folds of fat that make it hard to breathe sometimes. I know better. {Tweet that}

That food, especially addictive stuff like sugar and dairy, is feeding something in me that isn’t about nutritional needs. It’s not biological, it’s psychological crap. It’s stupid.

How can I be a health coach and a yoga teacher and a promoter of “lifeyum” (not to mention a mom) and be a freaking sugar addict? How can I know all the answers yet still let this ripple through my family?

It’s all symbolic of not allowing ourselves to feel what we need to feel. Of numbing. Or wanting to feel a certain way — in the case of sugar, nurtured, comforted, soothed, mothered, like every little thing is going to be ok, that I’m a good person.

And it makes me feel excited and pumped up and like everything is possible. It’s fabulous.

Creme Brulee almonds. Ben and Jerry’s. Thin pancakes or crepes with real maple syrup, bulletproof coffee with grass-fed butter, warm, creamy. Lick-the-lips yum.

It feels so good.

Perhaps this is why meditation, even if only for ten minutes a day, is so powerful at teaching and retraining the brain. It forces us to be with the feelings and not shove them somewhere. Not reach for the ice cream. Or wine. Or television. It asks us to hang with ourselves, our true blue, for a little while.

The brilliance of the Buddhist teaching of soft front (open heart) and strong back is so clear now. The underpinning of everything. The diet I want to live. That I desire to embrace and step toward daily on my path.

Open, compassionate heart. Sense of equanimity.

I could cry. I did, and it’s good.

My bigger-than-it-used-to-be

beautiful soft belly

with strong underneath, too.