DAY 20: The paradigm shift that sustains active recovery
The paradigm shift that sustains active recovery
It’s so easy – and I mean soooooooooo easy – to lose sight of the fact that we want to live in active recovery. We’re walking along, minding our own business, when we are cued by a highly alluring food, our guard down, and then BOOM! We’ve indulged without thinking and we immediately regret it.
When this happens to me it feels like I’m inside one of those old Road Runner cartoons, except I’m Wile E. Coyote and an anvil has just landed on my head. Afterwards I slink off, stars spinning around my head and I’m battered and bruised once again.
But for me, these episodes occur less and less frequently now, and I often realize what’s happening before it becomes an out-of-control, full-on binge. Miracles do happen!
I believe the reason I’m able to keep my goals in the forefront of my mind most of the time now is because I practice what Dr. David A. Kessler, author of The End of Overeating, refers to as “the critical perceptual shift.”
“Ultimately, the goal of Food Rehab is not only to change your eating behavior, but also to fundamentally alter your perceptions of hyperpalatable foods. The enduring ability to eat differently depends on coming to view these foods as enemies, not friends.
It is not enough to be told that you shouldn’t overeat, or that foods high in sugar, fat, and salt will only get you to eat more foods high in sugar, fat, and salt. No one can persuade you with intellectual arguments that such foods will not relieve stress but will only make it worse. The moment you’re thinking, “I deserve this,” or “I’ll only eat a little,” no one can remind you that you’ll feel differently after the meal.
But as you learn new approaches to eating and recognize the powerful influence of hyperpalatable foods, you will internalize these ideas more fully. Only then can you see that food has kept you trapped in a cue-urge-reward-habit cycle. Only then can you accept that food rewards are short-lived and that their more enduring effect is to sustain your desire to keep eating. That’s when you realize that if you stay trapped, you’ll never eat enough to feel satisfied, and that’s when you’ll stop expecting food to make you feel better. That’s when awareness of the long-term consequences of conditioned hypereating hits with full force.
When this happens, you begin to assign different value to foods. Your attitude shifts and you begin to see foods in a new light. You have made that critical perceptual shift.”
The End of Overeating, pages 234 – 235
Making this critical shift – it’s really a big, fat, ginormous paradigm shift from seeing trigger foods as “treats” or “rewards” to viewing them as a trap – really cements the deal.
There is tremendous power in this paradigm shift.
And this is how we sustain recovery, plain and simple.
More tomorrow. Until then, stay strong.