Lately it seems as though this blog has become one long Addicts Anonymous meeting, whether it be Chapstickers Anonymous (which actually exists btw) or Gossip Guzzlers Anonymous or the constant mentions of my Diet Coke habit. Jesus, when I see it all written out like that I’m amazed I can still hold a job or pay my rent. (Well…I could hold a job, if I had one that is.) All of those things are in good fun though. However, there’s one particularly nasty relationship that I’ve had for as long as I can recall and I’ve decided it’s time to end it. So as of today, I’m breaking up with food.
But you’ll starve to death!
OK, let’s back up. Obviously, I can’t break up with food all together. Nor do I want to. What I’m looking to do is end the abusive nature of my interactions with it. The anxiety that surrounds it. The cravings and then the bingeing and then the deprivation to make up for the bingeing and the guilt and the planning to be this weight by this time so I can enjoy an event where there’s going to be lots of tasty things or get through the holidays or ahhhhhhh! It’s enough to drive anyone mad and I can’t take the craziness of it anymore. I just want to be one of those normal people you see who doesn’t maniacally plan all of her meals to fit into a calculated caloric window and then desperately look forward to the day that she can eat anything she can stuff into her face because “I’ve been good all week!” Do you ever see those people? It’s like they just have lunch and then forget about it. How do they do that?
I’m fixed on finding out.
Because I’m not just talking about eating healthier, I’m talking about changing my entire relationship with food, mostly by changing the way that I think about it. My therapist once told me that by committing to making different choices in your life, you can actually change the neural pathways in your brain, so that those choices come naturally to you down the road. That is what I intend to do and this is how I intend to do it:
I’m Quitting Sugar
This may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Seriously. But the more I read about the addictive nature of sugar, the more I’m convinced it’s time to give it up. For now, at least. The idea of never having another peanut butter cup in my life is too depressing to deal with so instead, I’m doing Sarah Wilson’s 8-week program to stop my affair with fructose. I’ve been told I can look forward to better sleep, a more stable weight, healthier skin and more energy in general. Keeping in mind that it’s only eight weeks is less intimidating than saying “I’m giving up sugar forever!” but the intention is to no longer want it once you’re done.
Every day I’m going to read or watch something inspiring to keep me on track. Whether it be this 60 Minutes clip on how dangerous sugar is becoming in our diets or this awesome article by Kelly Exeter on how she changed her relationship with food. Because of it, I’ve already cleansed my kitchen of all the crap I keep on a regular basis, including all of the “healthy” alternatives to junk like my Weight Watchers ice creams which simply replace fat with more sugar. Luckily, my brother was happy to take them off my hands.
Write About My Progress
I’m hoping that keeping a brief journal of my accomplishments every day will help establish how far I’ve come during times when I’m not feeling so motivated to keep going. Just yesterday I planned on putting together a small outline on how to approach this incredibly intimidating endeavor but just by writing about it, all kinds of ideas popped up which may aid me along the way.
Most days I would sooner agree to attending a Lileth Fair before I would commit to five minutes of mediation but we’re talking about one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever taken on in my life here, so it’s time to get serious. Being that so much of this change is rooted in what I’m eating, I don’t want to get stuck thinking of it as a diet. By taking a small amount of time every day to focus on the long term goal of changing my habits, it should be easier to continue to see the big picture.
This means no more eating in front of the TV or while I’m looking at Facebook or on my phone. When I’m doing all of those things, I’m not experiencing the pleasure of the food itself, which makes me prone to want more later.
Water! Water! Water!
I hate water. But I know I can’t continue to drink diet sodas and expect to be healthy. I’m hoping that like anything else, if I commit to drinking lots of water every day, eventually I’ll get used to it.
Know That This May Be A Long Process
In the Kelly Exeter article that I linked to above on how she changed her relationship with food, she says it took two years to truly break her obsession. However, when I think of how long I’ve been reinforcing my own bad habits, two years doesn’t seem like much to rid myself of them. When I imagine spending the rest of my life after that not plagued by constant cravings, weight fluctuations, guilt and anxiety, it doesn’t seem like such a bad deal.