When I started this page, I intended to update it every week. Obviously, I haven’t updated it every week as planned.
Last night at Celebrate Recovery, I got my four month chip for food. When I started this journey four months ago, I intended it to be a slower, more steady path to losing weight. While I have lost some weight, the journey continues.
The approach that I am taking this time involves boundaries instead of food items that I can and cannot eat. Deleting things like cake, donuts, and other desserts worked for me for a short period of time, but ultimately failed as I felt left out of social settings and the cravings for such food became overwhelming. Ultimately, I didn’t change my behavior toward food or my attitudes toward food that was problematic. I still idolized certain foods above all others and when I couldn’t have them for whatever reason, I felt deprived and often felt like I had been cheated or defeated in my quest for these foods.
I designed the boundaries to be inverse concentric circles. Instead of starting with a small circle and moving to a larger circle, the concentric circles are more like a target. I started with a large, broad circle, then moved to a smaller circle, then to a smaller circle again as I added more limitations to my “sobriety”.
The first circle represented a boundary that forbade bingeing on food in private or isolation. I am more prone to bingeing when I am alone than when I am with other people. So, the first circle of my sobriety was that I could not buy food such as bags of tortilla chips from Costco, salsa, or tubs of sour cream. Once I gained some success with bingeing, I began addressing my cravings for desserts. The next circle was I eliminated buying desserts and bringing them home to eat at home. The only exception was ice cream bars in the summer. I decided to try to manage them by allowing myself to have one per day, at lunch, as a dessert, and I could never have them as snacks because any time is a good time for a snack, right? This worked well and I never ate more than one bar a day. I allowed myself desserts when I went out for coffee, but found that I was going out for coffee way too much and each time I would have a dessert. So, I added another boundary circle. I eliminated buying desserts with coffee when I was alone. I added that to my definition of sobriety. Next, I realized that there would be times when I would be with friends in restaurants or coffee shops and would like a dessert or they would buy me a dessert. So, I allow myself to have a dessert when I am in a social setting, but the condition is that I can have what I want as long as I do not draw attention to myself or feel as if I am not honoring God with my choices. Yes, it is subjective, but I try to err on the side of being a bit too hard on myself with this condition.
As I head into the Christmas season, it will be fraught with all kinds of challenges. Apart from Christmas, I am struggling with bread. I love bread, particularly good bread. The food bank that I frequent offers expensive bread for free and the temptation to grab a white loaf is virtually irresistible. I know that bread is an aggravating factor with my arthritis and I would be much better off without it. Bread will likely be the next boundary circle as of December 1. It isn’t bread as much as the gluten in bread that is the problem.