Apparently it takes 3 weeks to form a habit. To some, that might seem like a long amount of time. But in reality, it’s hardly comparable to the amount of time it takes to break a habit. It’s much harder to break a habit than it is to form one, and the longer the habit is maintained, the harder it becomes.
Recently I’ve come to realize what I milestone of progress I’ve made in my ED recovery. I’m not sure when or how it happened, but at some point I just stopped caring about how many calories a certain food has, or if I got a certain amount of exercise every single day. I became less obsessive over how “un-processed” a certain food was, and stopped worrying about getting the perfect balance of all the food groups. I started to see food as the way it was meant to be seen – as a means to the end; something that is both necessary and enjoyable, a source of fuel and not of stress. At some point things got put in their proper perspective- and although I’m not exactly sure how it happened, I’m sure glad it did.
But old habits die hard, and I occasionally still feel my old habits creaping up from time to time. Particularly when I’m under stress, or feeling down – then I hear those old negative voices coming up again. They tell me that I’m eating too much and that I really shouldn’t. They tell me I’m binging when I eat a bit more then I usually do. They order me to restrict, to exercise, to obsess. In short – they make me unhappy.
I try to keep things light and happy, because most of the time I am happy. I’m on the path to achieving me dreams, I have a goal in life I’m actively pursuing. That’s a whole lot more than other people have. But right now I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’m feeling pushed over the brink, I’m very stressed and pressured. I have a whole bunch of exams coming up and I don’t know where to start.
There are better and worse days, there are days that I make a to-do list and I forge ahead with my day. I take it one step at a time and I’m ok. But other days (like today) I want to bury my head in my hands and cry. My re-search is at a stand still, I barely slept last night and I’m not feeling well. So old habits come beconing.
In moments like this I feel like controlling my food will help me control my situation, I feel that if I manage to do just this one thing – then everything else will fall into place. I start panicing when I don’t know what to eat, or if my routine gets messed up. In those few moments everything I fought so hard to achieve goes down the drain.
The thing about habits is we always have a choice. We can always choose to say – “No! I’ve been down this road once before, I know where it leads and I am not going back again”. And no matter how hard it seems we can resist these old habits and by doing so – pave the way for newer and healthier ones.
Today was a hard day and that’s ok, because life isn’t perfect for anyone. There are good days and bad days. The choice we need to make is not to give up, to turn our face to the sky and choose to believe that the sun is still shining, even if dark clouds and in the way. The future is a blank sheet of paper, and we can fill it with whatever we want. And I for one, intend to make that blank sheet of paper into the most beautiful picture as I can.