It's been a few days since I posted, mainly because I was going through an off focus period. I've discovered somewhat of a pattern with myself. I go for two or three weeks doing quite well, eating with awareness, staying active, feeling very positive and energetic. Then something, such as a low mood or something disappointing happening, will cause me to fall off the wagon, so to speak. That usually lasts four or five days until something triggers me to realise again what my values are and get me back in the right frame of mind. So I guess for me it's a bit of a "two steps forward, one step back" thing...but that is still moving forward one step at a time! I was given this quote by my friend Janelle:
"No one completely eliminates all their 'unhelpful habits'. The reality is most of us will repeat them again and again, as we travel along the path of self-improvement. Whilst there are countless articles and books where the authors claim that it takes, 21 or 28 or 35 or 42 days to establish new habits there is no scientific data to back these figures. They may sound good, but it is doubtful if they have any validity. So when setting out to replace unhelpful habits with more helpful ones, let's be realistic and acknowledge we are fallible human beings - and particularly when under stress, we are more likely to fall back into our old patterns of behaviour. And when that happens, there's no point in beating yourselves up (If beating up was a good way to get rid of 'bad habits' we should all be perfect, human beings by now shouldn't we? At those times when we relapse, we need to accept our disappointment, show ourselves some compassion, reconnect with our values and start again (and again and again and again.)" Russ Harris 2008
I have found this quote really helpful and I especially like the line "particularly when under stress, we are more likely to fall back into our old patterns of behaviour". When I thought about this, it really made sense because if we are stressed about something we focus more of our energy on that and have less time for our other things. I guess our brains just follow the path of least resistance and go back to the old habits because we don't have time to think about it.
I mean, despite the fact that you would think that "not dieting" is easy (and it is at times, it seems so simple and right), it is still hard because the reasons we eat when we aren't hungry are many and varied, and tied to emotional and psychological issues which I guess we have to force ourselves to face.
So I am not going to bother beating myself up because clearly it doesn't help. The only thing I disagree with from the quote is the idea of "starting again and again and again". Actually, I think we are just on a constant journey and when bad things happen we are just overcoming an obstacle in the path. To me the thought of starting over and over is tiresome and depressing so I prefer to think that, I don't know, maybe I veered off the beaten path and took a scenic detour, and now I'm back on the main path again - and further ahead than I was before!