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Food Struggles, Temptations, and Staying Strong

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Over time some of us have picked up some bad eating habits that have brought us to Spark for help. We may be out of touch with what normal eating looks like. We may feel helpless and out of control.
Our thoughts are consumed with food. We have more food magazines and television programs than ever before. We share pictures of our food on social media. We look at the pictures of what our friends are cooking/baking or eating. *smiling* Have you noticed how quickly the rustling of a food or candy wrapper gets our attention? If someone comes into the room eating, we look to see what they are eating. Maybe I should call this "Habits I've learned from my Dog", LOL.

We have years of bad habits. Even if we aren't eating badly, we may be consuming too many calories. We are bombarded with advertising by the food industry. We have more eating opportunities than any other generation.

This week when I was listening to videos online, I came across one that expressed some thoughts I want to share. He was talking about the secrets of food addicts, based on questions he is asked by people who are struggling. Here are the four points that indicate that you may be addicted to food.

1. When you long to cut lose and eat again. It shows you are out of touch with normal eating. You will NEVER be able to go back and cut lose, any more than you can go back and believe in Santa Claus. You may be planning your day around food [obsess about what you can eat].

2. When you look for easy shortcuts. If you want stuff free or easy, you are trying to buck the system. [You don't want to do the work to change your habits and your way of eating.] You believe you deserve better than anyone else doing the work. There are no short cuts.

3. When you put your weight loss success in someone else's hands. You are thinking like a victim. You think life is bigger and tougher than you. You are a sheep following the crowd.
You should say, "Thanks for the tips. Now I know how, and I'm going to kick butt."

4. When you recover binge from a diet. You start a diet. You mess it up. So instead of salvaging it, you binge until some future day when you say you'll start over, like next week or after the new year.

You do not have to be a slave to your eating.
* * * * *

I recognized the old me in some of these comments. What do you think? Do you think we ever get totally free where we are immune to listening to the siren call of old habits?

I confess I still have moments when I hear someone raiding the refrigerator at night, hear the hiss of a soda being opened, and that for just a millisecond there's a momentary sadness that I can't do those things anymore. I can't eat willy nilly with friends. Last night while they ate ice cream, I had an apple (which is still high in sugar).
Habit reigns me in and helps me make better choices. Most of the time, I enjoy my healthier eating style.
Will I become a truly "normal eater," not even hearing the call of unhealthy foods? I know a few people who are not even tempted by what we think of as treats. I used to think they were a little weird. Maybe they are the normal ones. Now I am stronger to say no to things that I know are not good for me.

In October I had another health scare (an old condition that was acting up) that made me cut added sugar and foods high in sugar from my eating plan. This is way beyond just moderation. I was scared enough to get through Halloween and Thanksgiving. Now my brain is questioning the need to give up all sugary Christmas treats. Even cereals that I know are loaded with sugar are suddenly more appealing than they used to be. I talk myself through it and know that I need to be strong.

Sometimes I am so strong that I think nothing will move me from this way of living. It's an illusion, easily shattered by a few days of creeping off-plan behavior, a little here and a little there. I haven't found total immunity. Sometimes it's easy, and sometimes it's hard.
I admire those who set a course and stick with it, never wavering from their goals, never regaining, never undermining their new lifestyle they have chosen. I know some of you are at that point. What is the secret? The battle starts in the mind. We always have that two-second window to choose a different course.
The longer we do this, the quicker we are to get right back on course, too.

Thank goodness for Spark where we can share our thoughts and find encouragement with people who understand because they are on the same journey, even though we are in different places on our walk.

Wishing you all a blessed Christmas. Enjoy the season without losing your inner strength.
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