Thank you for all your wonderful responses to my last post. It was hard to write and hard to publish, but all those little voices from across the world that whispered encouragement and said “me too” have helped me so much.
I don’t know where to begin with what to say next. I suppose I should start with an observation. It struck me this weekend as I was socialising that many people eat more than I do in an absent minded state. I’m actually pretty moderate with food most of the time, even what I would consider a “binge” many people wouldn’t bat an eyelid at. And here comes the parallel with drinking: it’s not about what or how much, it’s about how it makes you feel. And how I feel about my relationship with sugar, to put it delicately, makes me feel like shit.
I think I wrote last year somewhere on this blog that I felt that my issues with food were such that unless I addressed them, and quit my enemies (namely sugar) that I would continue endlessly in the circle of doom. Just as I once likened my alcohol issue to the myth of Sisyphus, endlessly pushing a rock up a hill only for it to tumble down to the bottom, I suspected it may be the same with food. Almost a year on, I now know this to be the case. But how to make a change?
I was thinking this morning of the ‘Stages of Change’ model, and trying to work out which stage I’m at: the phases go: Pre-Contempaltion, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, Maintenance and relapse can happen at any stage in this process. I think I’m somewhere between Preparation and Action, dancing the line between those two phases, with a healthy dose of ‘Relapse’ for good measure.
I think I’m partly feeling stuck because I don’t know what success would look like. With alcohol, it was quite simply a case of putting down the drink. The emotional implications of doing so were of course more complex, but once I’d mastered the not drinking bit, the rest fell into place. With food, the honest reality is that 75% of my intake is very good. I love healthy food. I love exercise. And yet in that 25% portion where I don’t comply to my idea of ‘good eating’, I go wild.
Now here’s an interesting thing. Most notions of healthy eating operate using the 80:20 rule, which is a pleasant and balanced way to exist. I’ve tried to aim for this. I’ve done a whole year of trying to do that. But it is increasingly becoming apparent that ‘moderation’ does not appear to work. But the alternative, 100% compliance with a healthy eating plan scares me because I perceive it as restrictive. What if I were to perceive it as a gift to myself? Would that help? Can I manage that? That shift of perception? I want to work on doing so.
I could write for hours on this subject but I must go to work. So for now, I’ll continue to try and bash my way through this knotty problem- any thoughts and experience on the matter are very welcome.