Interrupting our Patterns

by Courtney on August 29, 2009

I have been receiving an insight about my compulsive/emotional eating tendencies. It has occurred to me that at this time in my healing, perhaps the power to heal and change them is not as much in whether I can not eat when I have the urge to and am not hungry, but rather, whether I can interrupt the pattern in the middle of it?

When I was in the thick of my binge-eating phase, binges felt like a roller coaster I couldn’t get off. I felt it coming on, then it was like someone else took over my body and my mind and went at it, while I watched with horror, with no power to stop it. Then, when what felt like this ‘entity’ was done with its damage, ‘I’ would come back and wonder what the heck just happened. Where did I go? At that time of my life, I felt completely powerless to interrupt the pattern once I had already started eating.

As I have healed, I have regained that power little by little. First, I was able to interrupt the binge mindset from lasting a week. Then, I could interrupt it so it only lasted a few days. Then, just a day. Now, I’m able to sometimes actually stop in the middle of my eating, put the food down and go do something else. Simple things, things people with normal relationships with food do all the time, and.. previously unfathomable to me.

The all-or-nothing, one-wrong-move mindset is falling away. In other words, the idea that once I ate one bite compulsively, I was a failure, so I might as well eat for the whole day, or week. And really, that kind of thinking is so dysfunctional. I ate 200 calories, so I might as well eat 2000? I didn’t exercise for 2 hours today, so I might as well not exercise at all? Just because I ate a handful of nuts when I was stressed, I can stop there. The world will not end. The day is not ruined. Not unless I choose for it to be.

A huge part of my healing has been accepting the truth that small, consistent habits are what bring results. It does make a difference if only once in a given day, I chose to take care of myself in a different way than using food. I can practice increasing the number of times I choose to give myself what I truly need (which is often not even obvious, but at least I am aware of that.) It does matter if I only exercised for 3o minutes. All the teeny, little pieces all matter, because they all accumulate towards an end, over a week, or a month, or a year, or 50 years, or 100 years. The responsibility, the change, the power exists in the moment, in each passing moment only. It is the only place we can choose to be different, act different, think different, feel different. As Louise Hay says, “The point of power is in the present moment.”

Consistently and joyfully,

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