So the past 10 days I have eaten perfectly, which by the way is some kind of record. By perfectly I mean I have generally stuck with my plan AND haven’t over eaten even once! I do my grocery shopping on Monday, which was a week after my initial “perfect eating” and I found myself looking for a treat to reward myself for making it a whole week.
Some of you are thinking “nothing wrong with rewarding yourself for your hard work”, but for me there is. It’s a super slippery slope (say that 3 times fast). It’s hard to explain with food for people who don’t have food issues, so I like to compare it to an alcoholic who has been sober for a week. She decides to meet her friends at the bar as a reward for being sober a whole week.
She has fun, no biggie, until she gets home and thinks “that was fun and I didn’t even need to drink” and goes again the next night. This time she decided to have one shot. Again, no biggie, she’s not drunk. She goes home with a sense of accomplishment and carries on with her work week.
Friday comes around again and she thinks “I am awesome, I can totally go out, have fun and take a shot, and head home, no harm done”. So Friday night she heads to the bar, but this time it’s Ladies Night, BOGO shots. No brainer, the 2nd one is free! Then the guy at the table by the bar buys her another BOGO and without even thinking about the consequences, the work it took to be sober for a week, and anything else going on in her head, in her
heart, or in her soul, she takes the shots.
After that, F#$% IT! I already screwed up, let’s go all in. The next morning it starts over. “I am never drinking again”. The cycle is EXHAUSTING!
For people with compulsive or emotional over eating issues, it is the same exact cycle. “Luckily” I have been working on personal growth, baby steps, and focusing on me the past 10 years and have FINALLY become aware of the cycle so I can start to break it.
So step ONE (as always) is AWARENESS. Once you are aware of what is going on, you can start to work to change it. If you have no idea it’s happening, you never even realize it’s an issue, you just know there is something not right in your life. To become aware you must SLOW DOWN and breathe. Sounds cheezeball I know but it’s the truth.
When you are too busy, you will miss the real core of whatever is making you (unhappy, anxious, overwhelmed, angry, etc) and there is no way you could catch the details enough to start changing them. Once you know there actually is an issue and some deets about it, you can move on.
Step TWO is to make a plan. I would start with a list of all the situations where you are messing up and then come up with a plan for each situation. For the woman in my example, it was going to the bar. One of my situations is in crowds, I overeat when I am around other people. It doesn’t matter why, all I need to know is to be ultra-aware when I am in a group setting. It took me years of trial and error but now I have a whole thought process that goes into even accepting an invitation to a group thing.
1. Is this event important enough to me or the people I love to attend
2. If so, will there be food there
3. If so, can I preview a menu to make my choices
4. If there is nothing I love that is healthy for me to eat, can I bring my own (the answer is ALWAYS yes)
About half the time I decline the invite. I have to do what is best for me. My true friends and family support that. A fourth of the time I find something I love that is healthy for me on the menu so I stick with that. And the other fourth of the time I bring my own food. Learn how to do that here… Yes, I am THAT person at the party
And step THREE is practice, practice, practice! You will mess up, maybe 100 times, but every time you do, evaluate what happened, what went wrong, and what can you do next time to improve.
Old habits are hard to break. On Monday I actually took a pint of cashew milk ice cream and put it in my basket along with a bag of avocado oil kettle chips. My plan was to eat the chips for lunch and the ice cream for dinner and then the next day go back to my new meal plan which is 21 Day Fix portions (http://goo.gl/HQPXLk) and mostly raw. No harm done!
But I know myself enough to know there IS harm done. Emotionally I would be so mad at myself, physically I would feel fat, gross, and ugly, and mentally I would give myself permission to do it again and again, maybe not right away, but in the near future. I just know me enough to know that, and now love myself enough not to allow it to happen. So I put both items back where they belong and grabbed 2 pounds of grapes and a pineapple.
I walked out of the store SUPER happy with my decision and more confident than ever that I will win the war with food.
If this article made you feel ANYTHING (scared, sad, joyful, hopeful, relieved, nervous, excited), you are not alone. Reach out to those who love you most. If you aren’t ready, find a therapist in your area that specializes in eating disorders or addiction. If you are not ready for that yet, join our AWESOME community at www.facebook.com/FoodFitnessFinanceFun. We will ALWAYS be here for YOU!
See you soon!