“Everything you are used to, once done long enough, starts to seem natural, even though it might not be.”
― Julien Smith, The Flinch
Money I did not have was being spent on a seemingly endless supply of fatty, salty, processed "food". I put myself deep into my overdraft and piled the weight I had lost back on.
It was an addiction by any measure and I tried to tackle it as such. Battling an addiction is a BIG job and I have maximum respect to those who have managed to do just that. For me, it was just too hard to do. After months of trying, I gave up.
Something niggled at me from the back of my head though. "What if," said the voice, "it's just semantics?" Was the whole process so hard because of how I thought about it? So I put something in place I had heard of - 21 days to break a habit. To achieve that I used something I had allowed to atrophy - willpower.
I knew that without a visual record of my progress I would give up. So I created a spreadsheet to record in real time how long I had been at it. As I type this I have just under six hours until I meet my 21 day deadline.
I am going to do it!
The were very specific rules to the challenge. I was not putting myself on a strict diet nor was I starving myself. The rules were:
1) Do not eat take away food (unless there is no other option)
2) Make sure there is always another option.
Sticking to those rules was hard. My addicted brain fought back. It made me feel ill, it gave me mood swings and it came up with a million reasons why it be okay, just this once, to dial for a meal. I fought through it and soon those thoughts diminished (though they have not left completely).
I came up with strategies to beat it all. I kept frozen vegetables that could be prepared quickly and easily. I bought Bovril drinks - 10 calories and savoury enough to fool my brain into thinking it had eaten a meal - as a way to subvert my cravings.
Last night something strange happened. The voice, the addict in my head, tried to make me order food. The rest of my brain ganged up on it and shouted it down.
In a little under 21 days the addiction had gone from being in charge to an easily ignored pest. I have already started to lose weight and later today the second 21 days begins. I will continue to not eat take away but I will add exercise to the mix. I will force myself (at first) to exercise. The lack of activity is another habit I need to break. Another spreadsheet is needed...