For the next step in breaking the habit of eating too many biscuits, cakes and chocolate bars, I’m consulting a book, Managing Your Mind.
The book says there are six steps: 1) Decide to change. 2) Use awareness training. 3) Devise strategies to help in stopping the habit. 4) Replace the habit with an alternative behaviour. 5) Persist by being consistent and keeping track of progress. 6) Learn to manage lapses.
These seem to me to be very sensible steps, with a high probability of success.
Notice that I am not talking about losing weight here. I have decided to look at this as the breaking of a habit. I’m well aware that people get and stay fat for all sorts of psychological as well as circumstantial reasons. Currently, my life is full enough of opportunities for psychological and spiritual growth – I’m a parent, after all. I’m going into this assuming that because my meals are actually quite healthy, I don’t eat huge portions and I do get some exercise (though I could get more), breaking the habit of eating too much fat and sugar will automatically result in losing weight.
Step one: decide to change. What does the book say about this? That it’s the single most important step. I’m to make a list of all the disadvantages of the habit, and all the advantages of breaking the habit, and keep the list where I will see it often, e.g., as a bookmark. I often have several books on the go at once, so this could work. I will also put the bookmark on the bathroom and bedroom mirrors and on the snack drawer. When I wrote ‘snack drawer,’ my heart sank. That’s really sticking it to a girl, that’s reminding her of her commitments when she least wants to hear about it. It brings up what this is really about:
I WANT TREATS!
In my life as a single mother of a sometimes challenging child (yes I know they are all challenging sometimes, but I find mine really challenging, and often. Really.), it often feels as if I am always (note use of extreme word) at the mercy of someone else’s needs. By the time said child is in bed, past 9 p.m. these midsummer days, I am tired and I am fed up with effort. I want reward. No-one is here to off-load to and I don’t seem to pick up the phone any more. No-one is here to give me a cuddle and say, soothingly, ‘there, there dear, everything’s all right.’ No doubt a mature and self-disciplined person would go straight from kissing child goodnight, to half an hour of yoga, a relaxing bath, and bed. I go straight to the chocolate biscuits and the internet. The minute I enter the living room, I feel a delicious sense of freedom and self-indulgence. Now I get to do whatever I want! Which would be all well and good if the snack were low-cal and I turned off the computer by 10 p.m. But I don’t.
Note the amateurish graphic. It took me hours — but I am determined to master technology, one challenge at a time.