Falling Off the Rails
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I'm in a state of body and mind right now that is not conducive to health, or to weight loss. It's an "oh whatever" state of mind. An "oh, what's an extra handful of peanuts? It's only another handful of calories!" state of mind. An "oh, who cares if I don't go to the gym today -- I'm only going to eat those calories back later" state of mind.
And I know it, intellectually. I don't feel good. I feel bloated, fat, lazy, sore, and unhealthy.
Wellness and weight loss are achieved only by the effects of many, many small steps. If I'm stopping myself from taking these small steps, I'm stopping myself from achieving my goals.
I was doing pretty well. Why is it so easy to fall off the rails?!
It bothers me. I'm not a stupid person. So why is it that intellectual knowledge has so little bearing on my actions? Habit? Then why does intellectual knowledge have so little bearing on habit? I don't know.
I had a patient the other day who was an alcoholic. She had recently relapsed, and was berating herself for negating five years of good work with a few nights of solid drinking. She was a mess, emotionally and physically. And, although I have never struggled with alcohol (I don't drink because I know if I did I probably WOULD struggle with alcohol), I understood everything she was saying. "Why do I keep doing this?" "It doesn't make sense for me to keep drinking." "I'm scared of what I'm doing to myself." I know, too, from years of watching people die from cigarette-induced disease that KNOWING something is bad for you isn't enough to make a change. FEELING that something is bad for you isn't enough to make a change. Being scared that you're killing yourself isn't enough to make a change.
So, what IS enough to make a change?
I suspect it's different for everyone. Social support, a catastrophic event, behavioural and/or other types of therapy. But to anyone who says that losing weight is simple -- that it's simply a matter of eating less and exercising more -- I say, riiiiiiiight. Maybe sometimes that's true, but I have an addiction. I have an addiction to unhealthy food, and unhealthy quantities of food.
I'm not quite sure how to treat that addiction, but I'm working on it.
The first thing I'm going to do is start paying attention to the small steps that make up the big journey.