Stumbling blocks

Things have been going so well recently – particularly wot my health, which is really the fundamental benchmark of how I’m doing and how good I’m feeling. With three weeks of consecutive, significant weight-loss under my belt, I’m feeling like I could carry on this way forever – the plan is reasonably easy to follow and motivation is high the times temptation does strike.

But experience shows that streaks like this tend not to last indefinitely, and eating disorders – like other addictive behaviours – are at best in.manageable remission, but not gone for good – I have little doubt that I will binge again at some point in future. I’ve got to make the most of the times.when it’s easier to make as much progress as I can, so I’m trying to pre-empt failure by consideration of the factors that could wreck my happy little momentum:

* CRISES: I’ve always known this year would be a good chance to kick through a load of weight-loss goals because we don’t have any major domestic upheaval – nlre weddings, no last-minute house-moves, no extended separation. This has been true to an extent, although it’s not always obvious what form a crisis might take. I know my eating disorder feeds off.anxiety and rejection, and it can be little things like not being sure if our landlord is happy with us, or imagined attacks on my self-esteem at work, and I can fall into a stalled pattern for weeks. I also think that since our debt was paid off I’ve found it a lot easier to focus on health stuff. So the points to be on my guard about are: trying to manage life to avoid crises, considering whether my actions are building my resilience against those kind of knocks so I can deal with them better in future. What am I learning that’s going to help me later?

* CREEP: I think as I’ve gotten used to eating plans in the past my cravings have gradually returned, until I’ve added so much back in that I’m no longer losing weight. I need to stay realistic about my intake and continue to find ways to reduce.and be more consistent.

* SHORT-TERM-ISM: I’ve always seen eating plans in the past as temporary fixes, the quicker the better. This time, I’ve been going out of my way to consider how many of these changes are for life, and to find non-weight advantages, like the mood benefits of working out daily and the avoidance of carb-induced sleepiness. I can’t say I’ll be off.carb for life, but I think I’ve accepted the general principle that cheap, unhealthy carbs are over-sold and over-consumed in our society and that way of eating might not be the best for me personally.

* SUBSTITUTION: I mean this in the mental sense, what consumes my thoughts and my approach to life. Eating disorders seem to have massive and cumbersome psychological mechanisms that dominate almost every aspect of life. I’ve noticed, for example, that if I go out of the house dressed in.clothes I like, knowing I look acceptable, I struggle to fill my thoughts because of the amount of time I’m used to filling with anxiety and self-criticism on my image. If I can fill that kind of void with positive visualizations of the person I’m becoming, I can stop the beating-myself-up link of the ED thought cycle, and the more I do it the more long-term the effects will be.

* EVENTS: I get the impression that in the past I’ve been thrown off by some major social event where food was an issue – both in advance and at the time itself. Especially if it’s something where people are paying more attention than usual like  Wedding or reunion, or just something where I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself. My calendar is as full as I’d want it the next couple of weeks, and I’m going to try and keep it sparse for the rest of the quarter and not feel bad about needing my space.

Ultimately, all I need to do to lose weight is alter my behaviour so I’m putting less food, and lower density food, in myself. Getting to.the point where that change becomes automatic and permanent is a very complicated process of emotion, mood, risk, personality and life management that I’m still working through. All I can really say at the moment is that I feel so good and if I felt.like this all the time then losing weight would be easy. It’s all good, for now. I’ve been prioritising my needs and wants recently and that’s been helping too, no doubt.

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