What’s Worse – French Fries or Crack Cocaine?
If there was one thing I can admit to not liking about myself, it would be the fact that I have an addictive personality.
I can find myself something that feels good – a new hobby, for example – and obsess over it until I’m bored with it. I literally milk all of the endorphins I can get form it and then drop it like a hot potato. I do the same thing with new music and other stuff.
A big part of my life affected by my personality is my diet. Binging use to be a big issue of mine, but at least now I have curbed it quite a bit (at least to the point of allowing me to lose weight). I still have a relapse now and again, though.
If I let myself enjoy a hyper-palatable food, I become an alcoholic having “just one” drink. It never ends at “just one” chip, slice of cake, can of beer, whatever. “Just one” becomes “just two”, which becomes “just a plate-full”, which becomes “two plate-fulls”. I do empathize with anyone who struggles with habits or addictions, because this stuff is tough.
Anyway, I did mention that I was still able to cut down some fat recently. Although I still had my occasional pig-out, I found out the best solution to the entire eating-problem (at least for MY problem).
Make a plan, and stick with it.
Let me explain further.
When you don’t have a plan, you don’t have an exact idea of what you’re supposed to do EVERYDAY. Tell me what stands out more in your mind – knowing that you ate 1000 calories more than you had planned for the day, or eating “a bit more than normal”?
When you have a plan, you can quantify how badly you deviate from your daily allotments, making your “cheat” or “binge” cause that much more guilt because you can readily see how much damage you’re doing to yourself. When you don’t have this number (because you never set-up a plan), your response to the deviation is simply “meh”.
Another thing is that having a plan allows you to get back on track more quickly if you do cheat. What I see in myself as a compulsive eater is that I try to “punish” myself for whenever I cheat or binge, causing me to eat a lot one day and very little the next. The following day, I just want to eat tons and tons again. This is called yo-yo dieting.
Actually, the original term yo-yo dieting was used to describe the act of going on a crash diet for days or weeks, then subsequently gaining all the fat back in the following weeks after the diet. In this case, it’s all the same, except my crap is shortened to a single day.
What I found though, is that having a plan prevents me from going from one extreme to the other and back. If I deviate, I just try my hardest to get back on track. The act of maintaining a daily plan, versus swinging back and forth to extremes, provides a type of mental stability. It takes me away from the repetitive compulsion, and gives me more power immediately over what I eat.
I think in the long-run, following a daily plan allows one to grow tolerance to food and strengthens the ability to say “no” to hyper-palatable foods.
The abilities to say no and to avoid patterns of binging are great attributes to desire for someone who has an addictive personality, and for me, it makes daily-meal-planning worth-while.