Today: I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.
Today was really exceptional. Days like today feel connected; connected with my daily practice, connected with support, connected with people "in the same lifeboat," as Dr. Lerner says.
I did a quick grocery run tonight after my group support calls. I really enjoy the act of making sure I have what I need when I need it. I feel most connected with my food plan when I'm in the store doing the shopping. I'm the same guy that many times carried a very different perspective into the store and I'm still capable of going into a store with a completely different perspective if I relent on the daily practice that helps keep me well.
I think a positive trip depends on the intention and expectation I carry through those automatic doors. If my intention is to buy things supportive of my plan with the expectation that it will provide what I need in order to maintain the integrity of my food plan in the coming days, then it's a completely different experience. If my intention is driven by the gravitational pull of compulsive over-eating and my expectation is that it'll somehow "fix" something or fill a void of some kind, then I'm off the rails and to the races, straight into a depressive cycle where the expectations are never met. Food is not a fixer.
An exchange with a reader from the archives:
"I have never been able to not go off the wagon with food choices when I'm out of my routine. Say like a birthday, holiday, etc....and the much bigger problem for me is it's an opportunity to go nuts for a few days after that too. It takes that long for me to reel myself back in. Or another one is something happens to me that upsets me and I've always used food to numb myself. I can't figure out how not to. So what I'm saying in the long version is how do I gain those tools? It's just not happening for me."
Thank you for sharing your struggle. You're not alone.
One thing that's helped me is making sure my plan is something I enjoy--in other words, I'm loving the foods I "get" to eat, every day. It isn't something I dread. What happens is, when my perception and expectation of what it means for me to be "on plan," is something I can easily live with, I'm less likely inclined to take a vacation or holiday from it. There's no desire to flee from deprivation into an anything goes type situation--because I don't feel deprived.
Now-- here's the rub:
Even with this "I'm loving it" plan in place, what you described still happens...
My abstinence from refined sugar may have very well turned off the "binge switch," those biochemical reactions in the addictive part of my brain--but what it doesn't stop is, my natural inclination to seek comfort in excess food when times get stressful and emotional. It takes a separate action plan to deal with that.
And it doesn't stop it to simply say, "excess food doesn't solve anything--it doesn't help resolve issues--it isn't a fixer--it's simply a temporary diversion--a distraction from our real experiences..." Does it help? The only help it provides is that temporary distraction from whatever is weighing heavy on our minds at any given moment. BUT AGAIN-- saying that, processing it, agreeing with it 100%, still doesn't stop the tendency to dive in when we're feeling those things.
One thing to remember: Feelings have a beginning and an end. Whatever it is, will come and go--weigh heavy, then subside--be on the forefront of your consciousness and then fade back into your sub-consciousness. When you're feeling like buffering your emotions with food--remember that this will pass...the moment will evolve and change...and in the meantime, while it's pressing: Find support asap!!!!
This is the most critical element I've discovered along my path: Building your support and accountability structure is imperative to your success. Find someone to be a support text buddy/friend. When those feelings start welling up and the obsessive food thoughts come flowing into your head--tell on 'em!!! Don't keep them exclusively in your head--because if you do, they'll typically win, almost every time.
Share what you're thinking--get it out in the open...When you "tell on 'em," it has a powerful effect.
What happens when a playground bully is exposed to authority figures? They typically turn into little angels. Same dynamic. When we expose those thoughts by bringing in our "support team," something powerful happens---suddenly we're not facing it alone...suddenly our resolve to maintain the integrity of our plan is strengthened--often times, just in the nick of time.
Today's Featured Tweet:
Thank you for reading and your continued support,